Hell's Half Acre (hells_half_acre) wrote,
Hell's Half Acre

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Rewatch: Sherlock - A Study in Pink (Part 1)

This rewatch will be posted in 3 parts over 3 days, because it clocks in at ~14,500 words.

For those of you who read my Supernatural Rewatches, you will be very familiar with the format. However...

Special Sherlock Disclaimer: I talk a lot about love, falling in love, being in love, etc. in this rewatch. If you choose to read this as romantic love, that's your choice, but it's not what I meant. I am using "love" and "in love" in an asexual sense. Basically, I am talking about love in its purest form (as I see it), divorced from sexual attraction or lust; however, you are, as always, free to interpret things differently than I do. 

Sherlock Rewatch - A Study in Pink (Part 1)

The opening: I love how we open with the flashes of war, how we delve right into John. It's also quite the way to open a series - to have one of your heroes, the audience surrogate, no less, be introduced coming out of a nightmare, crying, and being horribly depressed really. We're not seeing John Watson as he truly is; we're seeing John Watson at his lowest point. He's alone, broken, and he doesn't seem to fit into the world anymore.

The camera lingers on the gun. And this is one of those times where I don't think it's just a matter of Chekov's gun being introduced properly. I think it also tells us something about John...that lingering shot on the gun after the nightmare and the depressing shot of him all alone and sad in his bedsit. Firstly, it takes a lot of effort to have an illegal handgun in Britain (and yeah, there's really no way John has a permit for that.) Secondly, he keeps it handy...not locked in a case somewhere, but in his top right drawer underneath his laptop. The laptop he seemingly uses everyday (or at least opens and stares at).

Call me controversial, but I think the gun is John Watson's way out. He can't go back to war and he can't be a surgeon any more. The two careers that he devoted his life to have been lost to him thanks to one bullet. He doesn't get along with his sister, and he's probably sitting around thinking that no one would want someone with a limp and an intermittent tremor and who has trouble paying the bills.

Let's just return to the subject of the war for a moment though. Gatiss and Moffatt managed to rationalize a lot of ACD's contradictory canon (bullet in shoulder then in leg, etc...) but they also created their own. As an army doctor, John shouldn't have been on the front lines. Though, I guess in fairness, we ARE talking about a war that has blurry lines. Still...there's also the fact that John is a crack shot/marksman. He would be a wicked assassin - and I don't think that's necessarily common for members of the medical team. So, John is interesting...very interesting indeed.

"You just wrote 'still has trust issues'"
"And you read my writing upsidedown. You see what I mean?"

-Another thing I love about how John is introduced. He's not an idiot. He can read writing upsidedown and just because he's paying her, does not mean that he trusts his therapist. I also find it interesting that John is said to have trust issues. If I were to psychoanalyze him myself, I'd probably put that down to the alcoholic sister rather than being PTSD related. I once had a whole theory about Harry that's based on absolutely nothing really.

"John, you're a soldier. It's going to take you a while to adjust to civilian life, and writing a blog about everything that happens to you will honestly help you."
"Nothing happens to me."

-And that's the problem, isn't it. John Watson is bored.

Love the theme music of course. It's my ringtone.

We meet the first victim...to tell you the truth, the cab angle always seemed a bit obvious to me. It's emphasized so much in this first death. I'm not sure if we were supposed to put it together before Sherlock did or if we were supposed to not...but yeah...

"I'm just going to go home and get my umbrella"
"You can share mine."

-Sharing umbrellas can be annoying, but I always kind of liked it with some friends...It's like an excuse to snuggle in public.

LESTRADE! Oh god, I love you...I love his voice/accent/everything.
-I'm just going to leave that note as is. :P

"But you can't have serial suicides"
"While apparently you can."

-One of my favourite Lestrade lines...though, we'll come to the absolute favourite in a minute.

-You know, we ASSUME that it's Sherlock...probably is, but still, it's never confirmed. He only signs the private text to Lestrade. Though, Lestrade and Sally are so sure it's him, that's probably confirmation enough.

"If they are murders, how do people keep themselves safe?"
"Well, don't commit suicide."

-Still my favourite Lestrade line ever.

Does John see Stamford in the park? The first time I watched this, I thought maybe he really had just not seen him sitting on that bench...the second time, I thought maybe he had seen him and didn't want to talk to him. Now...well, now I think he honestly didn't see him. I mean, after all, it had been awhile and Stamford had put on weight.

Mike Stamford is an interesting character because he's essentially the matchmaker of the series. He knows both John and Sherlock. Not only that, but he knows them enough to think that these two people actually just might be able to stand each other. He knows John from medical school, and he knows Sherlock from St. Bart's...and there's a good chance that he knows Sherlock WELL. Yet, he isn't counted as one of Sherlock's friends and we never do see him again. I sort of have this picture of him as being one of those types of people who get a kick out of Sherlock, but sort of treat what he does as a "trick" which annoys Sherlock. Mike seems to be a happy fellow, so Sherlock's abrasiveness obviously just slides right off his shoulder, but Sherlock is probably annoyed to death by Mike...probably BECAUSE his abrasiveness doesn't drive him away. Mike is like a hetero-male version of Molly in this scenario, I guess. Only, he obviously doesn't moon over Sherlock. Nor, I guess, is he actually around that much.

"I heard you were abroard somewhere getting shot at. What happened?"
"I got shot."

-A great exchange...and really a concise sum-up of war.

"I can't afford London on an army pension"
"Ah, you couldn't bear to be anywhere else, that's not the John Watson I know-"
"Yeah, I'm not the John Watson-"

-I don't even have words for the fine acting really. You have John instantly angry, not really at Mike, but at the fact that he doesn't even know who he is himself anymore and he probably just wants people to realize that. He doesn't want people treating him like he's an adventure loving womanizer, because now he's a broken lonely man that's been barred from going on adventures. That being said, I don't think he really wants people to treat him like THAT either, but it's hard knowing how you want to be treated when you're depressed.
-Also, it's important to note that John does try to hide the tremor from Mike. His surgical career is over because of that tremor, and Mike would know it...and it'd be just another obvious sign that John went out and broke himself and now has nothing.

"Come on, who'd want me for a flatmate?....What?"
"You're the second person to say that to me today."
"Who was the first?"

Why does Sherlock need a flatmate? Seriously, let's think about this for a second. Sherlock has money. He can take cases for free and still wear expensive suits. Maybe he doesn't have much money? But in the next episode, when John has trouble with his bank card, Sherlock lends him his without pause. Sherlock isn't hurting for food money like John is. Sherlock doesn't need to get a part-time job like John does. So, his money comes from somewhere...most likely, it has something to do with the fact that him and his brother still refer to their mother as "Mummy" and both sound like they went to posh schools. Sherlock's brother IS the British Government, so maybe his money comes from there? But, would Sherlock accept a living allowance from Mycroft? Not likely. So...it's probably that Sherlock was born to money and as long as he spends it wisely, he won't ever hurt for it.

So is getting a flatmate really about saving money for Sherlock? A better question: Why did he have to leave his old apartment? I had a theory once that maybe Mycroft WAS in control of the purse and he had given Sherlock some sort of stipulation - he could be independent and do what he wanted, but he had to have a flatmate who would do things like remember to pay the rent, keep Sherlock from burning down the place, and purchase milk and beans. But, again, would Sherlock really let Mycroft have any control over his life?

So, why does Sherlock need a flatmate? Perhaps...and this is going to sound crazy, but I might try to build up a case for it during this episode...PERHAPS Sherlock needs a flatmate because Sherlock WANTS a flatmate.

"So, bad day was it?"
-I love this introduction to Sherlock...the entire Riding Crop Scene, not just this part. But, I want to talk about this part...because up until now, Sherlock COULD have been normal...but I think it's this obvious joke from Molly and Sherlock's complete non-reaction to it that really sets up the fact that Sherlock is different. Sherlock is not going to politely laugh at your obvious jokes, even if you are adorable.

"Are you wearing lipstick, you weren't wearing lipstick before?"
"I uh, I refreshed it a bit."
"I'm sorry, you were saying?"
"I was wondering if you'd like to have coffee"
"Black, two sugars please, I'll be upstairs."

-And again, we see Sherlock zero in on the lipstick. Yes, he notices things...but not necessarily what Molly is trying to accomplish with the lipstick. That being said, he may very well read this social situation completely correctly and just not let on that he does. Sherlock has a vested interest in keeping Molly's interest and never directly rejecting her... you could call him a manipulative bastard for it, and you'd be right...but I think part of the reason Sherlock does it is because he doesn't understand FRIENDS. I think Molly would still be his friend if Sherlock rejected her romantically, but Sherlock doesn't realize this...not until S2.


The phone. Did Sherlock actually need to send that text right then? I don't think so. He knew John was a potential flatmate and needed an excuse to get closer to him, to see whether the tan-lines went beyond the wrist, to see his hands, his cuffs, the type of phone his potential flatmate had.

"...told Mike this morning that I must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for, now here he is just after lunch with an old friend clearly just home from military service in Afghanistan...."
-Again, Sherlock was talking to Mike that morning to the extent that he basically made small talk. He didn't say "Mike, do you know anyone who might want to be my flatmate?" He said, "I must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for"...so, was he talking about the apartment he wanted, but needed a flatmate to get? Did Mike OFFER to keep an ear out for anyone looking for a flatmate, and Sherlock replied with "Don't trouble yourself; I must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for," thinking that there was no way Mike could possibly know anyone that Sherlock could stand? But again, did he say WHY he needed a flatmate? Perhaps it's a stipulation of Mrs. Hudson's? She obviously knows Sherlock, maybe it's her who wants a flatmate who will pay the rent... but then again, if she made that stipulation, she would have known that Sherlock was single, which she obviously doesn't. Perhaps Sherlock never gave Mike a reason...but man, I would have loved to have been around for that conversation.

"Is that it?"
"Is that what?"
"We've only just met and we're going to go look at a flat."
"We don't know a thing about each other. I don't know where we're meeting. I don't even know your name."

-John is angry. I love how John gets quietly angry.

Now comes Sherlock's deduction of John, which, no, I will not type out. But I love how you can see John shift from angry to amazed...this is a shift that Mycroft fails to produce in John later, much to his own undoing.

The real question is: what, in all of what Sherlock deduced about John, makes Sherlock think that JOHN is worth his time or might actually survive as a flatmate. My only thought is that he might actually put a lot of stock in what Mike Stamford thinks, and be basing this solely on the fact that Stamford is recommending John to him. Other than that, Sherlock may just want to play with John a bit - see if he can cure the psychosomatic limp...or is Sherlock intrigued by John's combination of education and military service? We never find out why Sherlock was willing to give John a try...why he seemed eager to PLEASE John, to impress him and make him happy - again, I have a theory, but we'll get to it later...

"The name is Sherlock Holmes. The address is 221B Baker Street. Afternoon!"
-Awesome introduction.

I love the way they incorporate modern technology into the visual of the show, by the way. Tons of people have commented on this, but they manage to have it fit into the environment in a non-obtrusive way and it's brilliant. The texts and technology become just another part of the landscape and dialogue, which really, when you think about it, is what texts and technology ARE in today's world...just part of the environment.

"Mr. Holmes"
"Sherlock, please."
"This is a prime spot, must be expensive."
"Mrs. Hudson, the landlady, she's giving me a special deal, owes me a favour. A few years back her husband got himself sentenced to death in Florida, I was able to help her out."
"You stopped her husband being executed?"
"Oh no, I ensured it."

-Mrs. Hudson backstory! I absolutely love Mrs. Hudson's backstory. I have it all worked out in my head. In the commentary, Gatiss and Moffatt joke about Sherlock convicting an innocent man because he wants reduced rent - but that's just jokes. Really, the way I imagine it, Mr. Hudson was guilty.

I imagine that he had to travel to America a lot for work, and each time he was there, he'd shack up with some girl - maybe he was into hookers or something, I don't know. But, in my imagination, Mrs. Hudson wasn't a dummy, she knew it was happening...and she started putting the evidence together. - credit card bills and receipts and stuff that she found in his suitcase/pockets when she was tidying up after he came home. And maybe he killed a couple of times or maybe it was just the once - but Mrs. Hudson read the news from Florida and realized that it had to have been her husband...so, maybe it was actually her that tipped off the US police. Only, that wasn't enough - no one wants to live with a murderer, especially one that has already betrayed you. So, she looked for a detective to help her, someone who could go to Florida and make sure that the case was going to go in the prosecution’s favour...and she found Sherlock.

And in my imagination, Mrs. Hudson showed Sherlock all the evidence of her husband’s wrong-doings that she had collected over the years, and maybe they weren't BRILLIANT, but the amount of thought that went into the evidence was more than Sherlock expected. And Sherlock fell in love with Mrs. Hudson for being cleverer than she appeared...and Mrs. Hudson fell in love with Sherlock because he took her seriously, and he smiled at her, and he told her she had been clever, and her husband had never told her she was clever because he was a bastard who didn't appreciate her. And they had never had children, because although there was a time she had loved her husband, she couldn't really remember when that was or what it had felt like...but suddenly Sherlock was there, and he was nice to her and wanted to help, and he was thin and maybe not long off the drugs... and he reminded her a bit of her husband, not the murderer, but the man that she had fallen in love with...and so Sherlock was kind of like her son. Like the son she would have wanted - rushing about and a bit abrasive like her husband, but fundamentally good like she was.

But I've digressed...

Sherlock shows John the flat, and again, we see this expectant expression on Sherlock's face that he gives John throughout this episode. He desperately wants John to like it. Why? Why is Sherlock putting so much hope into John Watson? I think, when it comes down to it, Sherlock isn't worried that John won't like him (though he is a little), Sherlock wants to like John. He wants John to answer things correctly and react to things a certain way, because he WANTS John to be his friend. And that's just not a way to say "He wants John to like him", what I'm trying to say is that Sherlock needs to like John.

"This could be very nice. Very nice, indeed."
"Yes, my thoughts, exactly-"
"As soon as we get all this rubbish cleaned out" "-went right ahead and moved in"
"So this is all uh..."
"Well, obviously I can straighten things up, a bit-"

-Again, Sherlock isn't the type to adjust his life to other people. "Sometimes I don't talk for days, would that bother you?" Why straighten up? Why is he attempting to woo John so much? This is the one instance where I'd say that Sherlock is worried about John not liking him - the rest of the time, Sherlock is worried that Sherlock won't like John. Again, why he's willing to put this much effort into John and not some other random bloke that might have answered an ad for Flatmate Wanted, I don't know...it has to come down to John actually being brought to Sherlock by Mike Stamford. Which again, why put so much faith in Mike Stamford's opinion? Or is there really something about being a military doctor that makes Sherlock think "This is the one!" I suppose, arguably, yes, yes there is.

"That's a skull"
"Friend of mine, well, I say friend..."

-Oh Sherlock, never change.

"There's another bedroom upstairs, if you'll be needing two."
"Of course, we'll be needing two."
"Oh don't worry, there's all sorts 'round here. Mrs. Turner next door's got married ones."

-I love Mrs. Hudson. But again, this shows that Mrs. Hudson doesn't know Sherlock's sexual orientation (something I hope the series never outright confirms) AND she doesn't know Sherlock's relationship status. They're obviously familiar with each other though, so I guess certain things were just never discussed.

"I looked you up on the internet last night."
"Anything interesting?"
"Found your website: The Science of Deduction."
"What did you think?"

-The faces! I love how Sherlock WANTS to impress John. It's uncharacteristic of him, which means he really is interested in John. He wants John to be someone. Sherlock is willing to give John a chance, but he desperately needs John to react in a certain way to him WITHOUT resorting to pretending to be someone else (as he does to get what he wants out of witnessess/persons-of-interest.) Sherlock needs John to like HIM. Sherlock, fundamentally, wants to have a friend.

"Who's on forensics?"
"Anderson won't work with me."
"Well he won't be your assistant."
"I NEED an assistant."

-Do you Sherlock? Or do you just want one? I don't think Sherlock needs an assistant at all, or at least, doesn't really think he needs one. He's just lonely.

"Brilliant! Yes! Four-serial suicides and now a note. Ah, it's Christmas!"
-I love how this version of Sherlock is so happy, I mean, in a weird dark way because he's happy about murders...but still, I like how they didn't make him a intellectual robot. He's human, even if he doesn't want to be, and he has emotions.

"...John have a cup of tea, make yourself at home. Don't wait up!"
"Look at him, dashing about. My husband was just the same. But you're more the sitting down type, I can tell. I'll make you that cuppa, you rest your leg."
"DAMN MY LEG! Sorry, I'm so sorry. It's just sometimes this bloody thing."
"I understand dear, I've got a hip."

-As I mentioned about, I like this exchange because Mrs. Hudson just compared Sherlock to a convicted murder WITH AFFECTION. Also, yeah, she kind of deduced John wrong there...definitely not the sitting down type.

"You're a doctor. In fact, you're an army doctor."
"Any good."
"Very good."
"Seen a lot of injuries then, violent deaths."
"Bit of trouble too, I bet."
"Mm, yes, of course, enough for a life-time, far too much."
"Want to see some more?"
"Oh god, yes."

-Again, it appears that Sherlock thinks of the army doctor thing as an afterthought... so, maybe it was Mike's recommendation that has Sherlock pinning all his hopes on John. Sorry I keep harping on about this, but I feel like it's one of the greatest mysteries of this episode. What is John to Sherlock?
-Now, that out of the way, I love this exchange just because you finally get to see "The John Watson You Knew"...John's being offered water in the dessert here and it's because someone has finally taken the time to realize that John misses the war and they broach the topic in a way where John doesn't feel like a freak for it. (Again, Mycroft will make this mistake later).

"Both of you?"
"Possible suicides, four of them? There's no point sitting at home when there's finally something fun going on!"
"Look at you all happy, it's not decent."
"Who cares about decent, the game, Mrs. Hudson, is on!"

-Again, we get another great snippet of Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson's relationship. She's not offended that he's happy about murders, she's amused and affectionate about it, even while she's trying to point out that it's not decent of him. And Sherlock, in his happiness, kisses her - and it's ADORABLE.
-Also, we get the first real glimpse of Sherlock's attitude towards "decency"...in that, who cares about it? And really, decency is just something that people act at in order to be polite...and Sherlock can't be bothered with being polite.

Taxi conversation (listen, I'm not going to type out the whole thing. I will talk about my favourite parts.):
-The look on Sherlock's face when John says "The police don't consult amateurs." Priceless...like John's just lost the game right there by calling Sherlock an amateur.
-The deduction is so much fun to watch - it makes a very long speech from Sherlock visually interesting.
-I think about the scratches on John's phone everytime I handle my own gadgets (hint...I do not have many luxery items).
-"If she left him, he would have kept it. People do. Sentiment." - This line is so much more important when you have seen S2.

"There you go, you were right."
"I was right?"
"The police don't consult amateurs."
"That was amazing."
"You think so?"

-FACE...ha ha, that's all my notes say there, but I think I meant that I love Sherlock's face. Because he did the whole deduction explanation, and this is really John's ultimate test...and even though Sherlock is putting so much hope into this possible friendship, he is still expects John to tell him to piss off.

"Of course it was. Extraordinary, it was quite...extraordinary."
"That's not what people normally say."
"What do people normally say?"
"Piss off"

-SMILES! I love how they both smile while LOOKING AWAY from each other. Oh god, the platonic flirting/infatuation is through the roof. 

Part 2

Tags: meta, sherlock-bbc

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