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

Rewatch: Sherlock - A Scandal in Belgravia (Part 3)

Part 2

Mycroft: "The only one who fitted the description. Had her brought here - your home from home."
Sherlock: "You didn't need to come in, Molly."

Molly: "It's okay. Everyone else was busy with...Christmas. [...]"
- This exchange between Molly and Sherlock is really important because it's the first time they see each other now that Sherlock actually KNOWS about Molly's feelings with him, now that the pieces of Molly that Sherlock didn't get right before ("there's always something") have finally been corrected in his understanding of her. And what does he do? He completely ignores his brother in order to focus solely on Molly, whereas before Molly was ignored in favour of anyone else in the room. And then when Molly lets slip that she's also alone on Christmas, Sherlock makes note of it - not verbally, but you see it in his reaction. You see him care.

Molly: "Who is she? How did Sherlock recognize her from- not her face?"
- I don't think Molly is asking because she's jealous here, or because it might or might not confirm Sherlock's sexuality/sexual-activity. I think Molly is asking because she wants to know if Sherlock just lost someone important to him. But that's just my opinion.

Speaking of Irene's "body", let's remember before that Sherlock couldn't deduce Irene not because she was naked, but because she had carefully crafted her body to reveal nothing. All she had to do to fake a body for Sherlock Holmes was to find another body with her dimensions that was also carefully crafted to reveal nothing.

Mycroft: "Just the one."
Sherlock: "Why?"

Mycroft: "Merry Christmas"
- Oh Mycroft, I know you mean well, but I don't think you should give people who are recovering addicts the things that they are recovering from - even if you are fumbling through trying to be a good big brother.

Sherlock: "Look at them. They all care so much. Do you ever wonder if there's something wrong with us?"
- Before we even get to Mycroft's answer, let's talk about this question. This is the only time that Sherlock ever lumps himself and Mycroft into the same category... and it's a category of people *incapable* of caring, or have chosen not to care for so long that they don't know how to do otherwise anymore... either way, it's the same affect. Sherlock doesn't feel like he cares about people, and that's never been a problem for him before. But now he's found that he's STARTED caring. He cared about hurting Molly's feelings, he cares that Irene lost whatever game she was playing... and I think he's wondering if he was perhaps wrong all these years to not care, or he's wondering if he's wrong now that he does...

Mycroft: "All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage, Sherlock."
- And this is where I think the more detrimental side of Mycroft comes out. I see a lot of fics out there that have Mycroft as a champion for Johnlock, or at least pleased with it. Heck, I wrote one such fic myself. But the truth of the matter is that Mycroft's position is the opposite - caring is not an advantage. Any connection Sherlock makes is just a source of inevitable weakness. Mycroft has socially isolated himself, and he wants the same for Sherlock... the difference is that while Mycroft is happy being alone, Sherlock is not... and I don't think he ever has been. You can avoid getting your heartbroken by never loving anyone, but is a life without love worth living? Now, of course, this isn't to say that Mycroft is wrong. Sherlock's humanity IS an exploitable weakness - I just think it's also what gives Sherlock a life that he doesn't want to lose.

Sherlock: "This is low-tar."
Mycroft: "Well, you barely knew her."
Sherlock: "Merry Christmas, Mycroft."

Mycroft: "And a happy New Year."
- I like how Sherlock ends the only serious conversation he ever starts with his brother after two sentences. But the brother's part civilly - which, ironically, I think exposes that Mycroft does care for Sherlock, despite his words about how caring isn't something that Sherlock should want to do.

Mycroft: "He's on his way. Have you found anything?"
John: "No, did he take the cigarette?"
Mycroft: "Yes."
John: "Shit." *to Mrs. Hudson* "He's coming ten-minutes."
Mrs. Hudson: "There's nothing in the bedroom."
John: "Looks like he's clean, we've tried all the usual places. Are you sure tonight's a danger night?"
Mycroft: "No, but then I never am. You have to stay with him, John."
John: "I've got plans."
Mycroft. "No."

John: "Mycroft-"
- Okay, so we learn a couple of things here:
1)This isn't the first time there's been a "danger night," and Sherlock might not have been clean for the past year, because John knows where "the usual places" are.
2)Mycroft does admit that he's never sure with Sherlock. I mean, I know he's talking about how he's never sure when/why Sherlock takes drugs, but that's a pretty big thing not to be sure about when you're Mycroft Holmes. This, along with some dialogue later, indicates that Mycroft doesn't actually understand Sherlock as well as he'd like to believe he does.
3)It's Mrs. Hudson who checks he bedroom, this will be important soon...
4)John knew that Mycroft was going to give Sherlock the cigarette. Seriously, how was that a good idea? Granted, I'm not a recovering addict, but personally if I do one thing wrong, I'm more likely to do a second thing wrong now that I've broken the ice with the first thing. Like, I got a tattoo, so then I just decided that I might as well get my ears pierced, because you know - I had already altered my body once so what the heck. If I'm late enough starting work, then often I just decided that maybe I should just skip work altogether. And I KNOW that's not the same thing, but it MIGHT be.

Jeanette: "You know, my friends were so wrong about you. You're a great boyfriend."
John: "Hm? Okay, that's good. I mean, I always thought I was great."
Jeanette: "and Sherlock Holmes is a very lucky man."

*John groans*
- This is not the first time John has heard this speech, and it will not be the last - because Jeanette is right. There's no competing with a life-partner, asexual or otherwise.

Jeanette: "Don't make me compete with Sherlock Holmes!"
- Oh Jeanette, that's not in John's power. You're competing with Sherlock Holmes because you want John to love you like he loves Sherlock... and that's not going to happen. You're the third in this threesome, and the third doesn't compete with the primaries and it never usurps one.

John: "I'll walk your dog. I'll even walk your dog..."
Jeanette: "I don't have a dog!"
John: "No, because that was...the... last one. Okay."
Jeanette: "Jesus."
John: "I'll call you."
Jeanette: "No!"
John: "Okay."

Mrs. Hudson: "That really wasn't very good was it."
- Before I say anything else, I want to draw your attention to Mrs. Hudson's line and John's reaction to it. John is mirroring Sherlock. "Not good?" "A bit not good, yeah" - and John REALIZES this, and you know what? He's not upset at all. He's perhaps even slightly amused.
- Also, John's attempt to placate Jeanette are hilarious, because he's offering to do her a favour... like, "sorry about this, I owe you one." Completely missing the fact that she's upset because he doesn't love her, not because he's blowing off their date. And he's not really sorry, because if he were sorry, he'd correct the behaviour. John's not sorry for blowing off the date to care for Sherlock, if he were, he wouldn't do it, or he'd be making promises never to do it again.

John: "Oh, hi... are you okay?"
Sherlock: "Hope you didn't mess up my sock-index this time."
- Mrs. Hudson checked the bedroom, so if the sock-index is messed up, it's not John's fault.
- Sock index!
- Also, I love how Sherlock just observes the flat and knows... and I love how Benedict suddenly plays Sherlock like he's a sad little kid. I don't know how he does it, but he does.

I love the theme Sherlock composes for Irene. It's gorgeous. It makes me regret giving up the violin in my teens.

I never noticed before that Mrs. Hudson is removing an empty plate and a full plate from the table... I guess that was our "Sherlock isn't eating" information - and wow, I missed it every time I've watched this until now.

John: "You composing?"
Sherlock: "Helps me to think."

John: "What are you thinking about?"
- John is all set to go out... and we find out in the next scene that it's New Years, so this mood Sherlock has been in has been going on for a week... and he's still trying to get Sherlock to talk to him. John's a good friend.

And Sherlock tries the counter from John's blog as the code - but the counter really is just faulty. Poor Sherlock. Irene's dead and has left him with a puzzle that he can't solve. I wonder if he feels like he's failing her (himself) somehow?

John: "Listen, has he ever had any sort of girlfriend, boyfriend, a relationship, ever?"
Mrs. Hudson: "I don't know."
John: "How can *we* not know?"

Mrs. Hudson: "He's Sherlock - how will we ever know what goes on in that funny old head?"
- I know that Gatiss and Moffat have said that they believe ACD Holmes is heterosexual (and therefore so is theirs?), but I really love the fact that they've written this show in such a way that we never really do find out what Sherlock's sexual orientation is - more than that, I love that it doesn't MATTER. This whole episode is about how love is something completely separate from sex - as a culture, we tend to be obsessed with the times when the two coincide, so it's really refreshing to have something that is focused on the opposite of that. John is sleeping with women that he doesn't love, and Sherlock is not sleeping with anyone but loving people all over the place.
- I also love that by now John has figured out that he and Mrs. Hudson are the two people closest to Sherlock - that he's known Sherlock for a year and feels that he's somehow a failure for not knowing Sherlock's romantic history.
- I also think it says something about why John is Sherlock's closest friend - because John believes that he SHOULD know, that Sherlock IS knowable. Mrs. Hudson doesn't. And despite their history, I don't think Lestrade really takes the time to try to understand Sherlock either. John wants to understand Sherlock - he did from the very beginning and even after a year, even when he realizes there’s so much he still doesn't understand, he still WANTS to understand, and most importantly, he still tries to.

StrangeWoman: "Any plans for New Years tonight?"
John: "Nothing fixed. Nothing I couldn't heartlessly abandon... you have any ideas?"

StrangeWoman: "One."
- Oh John, maybe it's because I'm a woman, but I would not trust gorgeous strangers on the street suddenly wanting to spend time with me... though, hey, can't say I blame you.

John: "You know, Mycroft could just phone me, if he didn't have this bloody stupid power complex."
*Car takes him to a power complex*
- Ah haha, joke. It's stupid and I love it.
- Also, I love that they pulled this ruse with the fake Mycroft-kidnapping, because between S1 and S2, I saw it in many a fic and I did think it was brilliant each time, because John IS too used to black cars whisking him off places.

John: "Couldn't we just go to a cafe? Sherlock doesn't follow me everywhere."
- Yes, he does. Especially when you get into strange cars right in front of the window where he's currently playing the violin...

John: "He's writing sad music, doesn't eat, barely talks - only to correct the television. I'd say he was heartbroken, but ah, well, he's Sherlock. He does all that anywa-"
Irene: "Hello Dr. Watson."
- So, if Irene didn't have her Sherlock-plan before, John just handed it to her.

John: "Tell him you're alive."
Irene: "He'd come after me."

John: "I'll come after you if you don't."
- Oh, how I wish John would. But seriously, John responds to everything from a position of friendship. He doesn't care about whatever case they're currently in, or were in, or the fact that Irene comes with CIA killers on her tail - all he sees is that his best friend is sad, and he's just found a way to fix it.

Irene: "...and I needed to disappear."
John: "Then how come I can see you and I don't even want to."
- I love John.

Irene: "Look, I made a mistake. I sent something to Sherlock for safekeeping and now I need it back. It's for his own safety."
John: "So's this. Tell him you're alive."
- Firstly, Irene didn't make a mistake. This is just part of the play that she started with the photographs. Secondly, I love that John is the guardian of Sherlock's heart. John's there for his emotional safety.

John: "Fine, I'll tell him and I still won't help you."
Irene: "What do I say?"
John: "What do you normally say!? You've texted him a lot!"
Irene: "Just the usual stuff."

John: "There is no usual in this case."
- Anyone willingly communicating with Sherlock Holmes besides John Watson is unusual. :P

John: "You *flirted* with Sherlock Holmes?"
Irene: "*At* him, he never replies."
John: "Sherlock always replies to everything. He's Mr. Punchline. He will outlive God trying to have the last word."
Irene: "Does that make me special?"

John: "I don't know, maybe."
- So, here's a question. Why didn't Sherlock reply? Irene implies that the lack of attention is attention - that perhaps he didn't reply because he's infatuated with her. I'm not sure... she beat him when it came to the photographs, he knows there's something big going on... does he not reply because Mycroft told him not to? Unlikely. Does he not reply because he doesn't know how to respond to flirting? Slightly more likely. Does he not reply because as long as he doesn't reply, Irene doesn't know where she has him...doesn't know if her plan is working or not?.... it's possible.

Irene: "You jealous?"
John: "We're not a couple."

Irene: "Yes, you are."
- I love Martin Freeman's acting, because...well, it's so subtle, but her 'yes you are' hits John like a ton of bricks and he hardly moves. He knows she's right.

Irene: "There 'I'm not dead. Let's have dinner.'"
John: "Who the hell knows about Sherlock Holmes, but for the record, if anyone out there still cares, I'm not actually gay."

Irene: "Well, I am. Look at us both."
- Possibly my favourite lines in the whole episode. Let's talk about it!:
1)You can tell the couple comment struck home for John, because he completely ignores the fact that Irene just did what he wanted and he continues the whole 'not a couple' thing... and this is, I believe, the last time in the series he actually bothers to voice a denial. He might not have consciously chosen this relation to be *it* for him, but regardless, it is. We don't have a choice in who we fall in love with, we only have a choice in what we do with that love.
2) But what I love the most is what Irene is saying - because she's saying that sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with love, with (non-sexual) infatuation. She's saying that John loves Sherlock, but more than that, she's giving permission for John to love Sherlock as much as he already does without having to feel like his sexuality is threatened.

*text-alert noise*
*Sherlock leaves, John goes to follow, but Irene stops him*

Irene: "I don't think so. Do you?"
- I love that reveal. I also love how although Irene does stop John, she still does so in a way that acknowledges that John is actually the authority on the care and treatment of Sherlock Holmes.

And then Sherlock, in a daze (thinking? actually upset? about what? The fact that Irene tricked him again, or the fact that John and Irene both claim to love him?), finds that Baker 221 Baker St has been broken into....

I love this sequence... I love how you slowly see the rage build (along with the music, which is brilliant) as Sherlock sees what happened... as Moffat says in the commentary, you suddenly feel like Sherlock is capable of anything, and it's a scary thought.

Irene: "Oh Sherlock, Sherlock..."
Sherlock: "Don't snivel, Mrs. Hudson. It will do nothing to impede the flight of a bullet. What a tender world that would be."
- This is just brilliantly acted on Benedict's part. I love, when he first looks at Mrs. Hudson, how there's a millisecond where the act drops and you can tell that he wants to comfort her, and then just as quick the mask drops back into place - but his words also speak for his opinion on the matter. They sound cold, but Sherlock is bringing attention to the fact that Mrs. Hudson herself is *tender* - it's a comment (warning) to the Americans, to tell them that they've crossed a line by threatening someone as tender and loving as Mrs. Hudson.

And then Sherlock sees the bruises, the torn cardigan, the cut on the cheek... and then we get the "deduction gaze" but instead of deductions it's targets and vulnerable areas... and to me, this sequence is Sherlock reflecting John, the crack shot/soldier part.

Sherlock gets the goons to leave and the old "frisk me" trick works... I swear, head-butting is like a THING in Britain (according to their TV shows/movies)... if British people ever develop their own martial art, it'll involve a lot of head-butting.

Sherlock: "You're alright now. You're alright."
- Awww, Sherlock. No one messes with Mrs. Hudson. I love the glare he levels at the unconscious American after checking on Mrs. Hudson. I also love every single movement he makes while comforting Mrs. Hudson...again, Benedict is awesome.

John: "What's going on? Jesus! What the hell is happening?"
Sherlock: "Mrs. Hudson's been attacked by an American, I'm restoring balance to the universe."
John: "Oh! Mrs. Hudson! My god, are you alright. Jesus! What have they done to you!?"

Sherlock: "Downstairs. Take her downstairs and look after her."
- I love Sherlock's "restoring balance to the universe" line.
- Also, I love how John's reaction is the same as Sherlock's - to suddenly become enraged and give the American nasty looks.

John: Are you going to tell me what's going on?"
Sherlock: "I expect so, now go."

*John looks at the American and smiles*
- Seriously, it's a blink and you miss it, but John looks at the American and he smirks. I tell you, it does things to me. One of the reasons John and Sherlock get along so well is that John can be just as morally grey, dark, and dangerous, as Sherlock.

Sherlock: "Lestrade? We've had a break in at Baker St. Send your least irratating officers and an ambulance. Oh, no no no, we're fine. No, it's the burglar. He's got himself rather badly injured. Oh, a few broken ribs, fractured skull, suspected punctured lung. He fell out of a window."
- Oh Sherlock, I love you. There's something so very menacing about listing the injuries that you are about to give to someone while you preemptively all the ambulance.

Mrs. Hudson: "Oh, that was right on my bins!"
- Perfect scene is perfect.

And Lestrade's least irritating officer is Lestrade. ;)

Lestrade: "And exactly how many times did he fall out of the window?"
Sherlock: "It's all a bit of a blur, Detective Inspector. I lost count."
- I love how Lestrade just walks away... Lestrade and Sherlock have the best working relationship, really.

Okay, there are a couple of really telling things here that Sherlock does with his actions rather than his words... first, he wipes his feet on the mat (adorably) when he enters Mrs. Hudson's apartment. Then, he immediately opens the fridge and helps himself to food. To me, that just speaks so much to how Sherlock is at HOME in Mrs. Hudson's flat. As Benedict points out in the commentary, "Now, wiping my feet and going into the fridge is something I do at home. It's something Una's SON does at home." Sherlock treats Mrs. Hudson like a mother.

I also like how they gave Mrs. Hudson a different entrance. Mrs. Hudson's door must be around the back, with her kitchen underneath Sherlock's bedroom. 221B has a really weird layout, mind you, so maybe it doesn't make any logical sense.

John: "...She's got to take some time away from Baker St. She should go and stay with her sister, doctor's orders."
Sherlock: "Don't be absurd."

John: "She's in shock for god's sake and all over some bloody stupid camera phone! Where is it anyway?"
- It's interesting that John's "doctor's orders" to being in shock are to leave Baker St. :(
- On a whole other note, I love how John is underestimating Mrs. Hudson here... as we're about to find out. Being in shock isn't necessarily a sign of weakness...

Sherlock: "Safest place I know."
- I love how Sherlock looks over to Mrs. Hudson as he says this with a great deal of affection.

Mrs. Hudson: "You left it in the pocket of your second best dressing gown, you clot. I managed to sneak it out when they thought I was having a cry."
- And this is what makes Mrs. Hudson awesome. She probably even was having a bit of a cry, but that hardly prevented her from looking out first and foremost for Sherlock. Also, I wonder what Sherlock's second best dressing gown is - the plaid one or the blue one?
- The thing with Mrs. Hudson is that she's easily underestimated, until you consider her backstory...she had a husband who was a murderer, she hired a private detective to ENSURE he was executed, she then BONDED with Sherlock Holmes somehow to the point where she not only was willing to offer him cheap rent, but was also willing to put up with thumbs in the fridge and damage to her walls and well, everything. She LOVES that boy, and it takes a very particular type of person to love Sherlock Holmes, but not only that, it takes a very particular type of person to BE loved by Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock: "Thank you. Shame on you, John Watson."
John: "Shame on me?"
Sherlock: "Mrs. Hudson leave Baker St!? England would fall."
*Sherlock puts an arm around Mrs. Hudson*

*Mrs. Hudson laughs*
- I love the soft look that John gives them as they hug. I think it's at that point, even after having lived there for a year, that John realizes just how much FAMILY Mrs. Hudson is to Sherlock (and by extension, John.)
- I also want to point out that the "England would fall" line is important. It indicates that Mrs. Hudson is a stabilizing force in Sherlock's life. She's a foundation.

John: "So, she's alive then. How are we feeling about that?"
Sherlock: "Happy New Year, John."
John: "Do you think you'll be seeing her again?"

*Sherlock plays Auld Lang Syne*
- I love John continually trying to check in with the emotional well-being of Sherlock. I also love the fact that Sherlock doesn't really feel the need to answer him... though, he does, in a way. How does he feel about her being alive? He answers by wishing John a happy new year - Irene is not the most important relationship in Sherlock's life, John is. Will he see her again? The answer is of course, yes, because he has her phone and she told John that she wants it back - it's only a matter of time. But, he chooses instead to play Auld Lang Syne, which is traditional for New Years too, but the first line of it is "Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?" which, oddly enough, is a question. Maybe Sherlock is simply saying that he doesn't know, or maybe this is just another affirmation that it's the older and deeper friendships that matter the most to him. Or maybe, he's just playing a New Year's song at New Years.

But he does wish her a happy new year, possibly before he even started playing... so, I think he knows that seeing her again is inevitable, he's just not sure at this point what form it will take.

Molly: "Who's phone is it?"
Sherlock: "A woman's"
Molly: "Your girlfriend?"

Sherlock: "You think she's my girlfriend because I'm x-raying her possessions?"
- I love how Sherlock is the one with a concept of what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like. :P
- Also, it's interesting that Molly is asking Sherlock if he has a girlfriend. The last time she saw him (that we know of), she knew that a female who was possibly close to him died. So, is she trying to figure out if that female was his girlfriend? Or is she just curious now as to whether he HAS a girlfriend already. I think that at this point, Molly has realized that no amount of trying is going to win her the notice/affections of Sherlock.. So, perhaps Molly is just trying now to be the friend that she actually always was - and she's trying to take an unbiased interest in his life.

Molly: "Well, we all do silly things."
Sherlock: "Yes, they do, don't they. Very silly."
- I like the fact that Sherlock uses "they" when Molly said "we" - one could argue that he's talking about women, so therefore "they", but I think he's actually just talking about humans - and he's still putting himself in another category. "They all care so much." Women aren't silly. People are silly.

Sherlock: "She sent this to my address and she loves to play games."
Molly: "She does?"
- Poor Molly.
- The ironic thing here is that Sherlock is actually on the right track. Irene DID do a very silly thing with the password that revolved around her interest/fascination with Sherlock, it just wasn't his address.

I love that Sherlock can SMELL that there's been someone in his flat. :P

I should talk about the fact that I love that we see more of Baker Street in this episode (and this series). It makes it seem so much more real and less like a set.

John: "Hey, Sherlock?"
Sherlock: "We have a client."
John: "What, in your bedroom? Oooh."

*John smiles*
- I love the the way John TALKS. I love the teasing edge to his voice when he asks if the client is in Sherlock's bedroom, and I love his smile at seeing her there. It's interesting, the smile... maybe John's not as jealous as we thought!

But, beyond that, let's point out the fact that Irene decided to reintroduce herself to Sherlock by sleeping in Sherlock's bed. She's done too things here, she's reaffirmed the fact that she IS Sherlock (thus gaining his empathy) and she's also presented herself in an entirely vulnerable non-threatening position (complete with hair that's down, instead of neatly pinned up). She's brilliant.

John: "Molly Hooper - she could collect it, take it to Bart’s, then one of your homeless network could bring it here, leave it in the cafe, and one of the boys downstairs could bring it up the back."
- Sherlock face during this is HILARIOUS. First he's horribly confused, why is John bringing up Molly Hooper? And then he kind of gets this quirky amused face going on. Hilarious.

Sherlock: "Very good. Excellent plan, John. Full of intelligent precautions."
John: "Thank you, so why don't- oh for f-"
- Haha, oh John. Even when you're brilliant, it goes unappreciated.

What is interesting here is that JOHN'S plan involved Molly Hooper. And Irene was there to hear it... and Irene is connected to Moriarty, and yet Molly still manages to fly completely under his radar. Much like she flew under Sherlock's until this episode, and well, even right up to TRF really.

Irene: "For protection. I make my way in the world, I misbehave. I like to know people will be on my side exactly when I need them to be."
- It's interesting that Sherlock shows piqued interest at the word "misbehave" - no comment on that, I just noticed it.
- Also, this is exactly what Irene is doing with Sherlock. She is making sure that he is on her side exactly when she needs him to be, which is right now.
- Finally, this is another difference between Irene and Sherlock - Irene covers her bases, she arranges people who will support her (forced or otherwise) in strategic locations/positions. Sherlock doesn't do this, he doesn't seek support from others, and it costs him in the end. Ironically, this is also a difference in the brain chemistry between males and females - when crisis strikes, males get a shot of adrenaline, females get a shot of the chemical that makes us form social networks (I actually forget what it's called).

Sherlock: "But you've acquired something that's more danger than protection. Do you know what it is?"
Irene: "Yes, but I don't understand it."
- And we come to what Irene needed Sherlock for - the reason she wanted Mycroft to put him on the board.

Ah the duplicate phone... it was smart of Sherlock, but sadly, not smart enough.

Sherlock: "Oh, you're rather good."
Irene: "You're not so bad."
- Narcissists! But this is the thing - they're attracted to each other's intelligence, not each other's bodies/sex. This is actually what flirting looks like between them.

John: "Hamish! John Hamish Watson - just, if you're looking for baby names."
- Oh John, I love you. Sherlock looks horrified, however. Irene is just amused.

Irene: "...what can you do Mr. Holmes? Go on, impress a girl."
- And this is the problem with Sherlock, he DOES like to impress. It's why he loves John, who is continually impressed by him. Sherlock has been hated his whole life for who he is and what he can do - I can't say that I blame him for clinging to these instances where people actually PRAISE him for who he is and what he can do.

I do love John's face when Sherlock solves the code in 8 seconds. It's very much a "I would have you here over this table until you begged for mercy twice" face. And the thing is, when Sherlock does solve the case in 8 seconds, the first thing he does is LOOK AT JOHN. Irene is the one that told him to impress her, but Sherlock is looking at JOHN for HIS reaction. Part of me wonders if Sherlock would have hesitated more if John hadn't been in the room...if it wasn't so much about wanting to impress Irene, but having another chance to impress John.

Sherlock: "Please don't feel obliged to tell me that was remarkable or amazing. John's expressed that thought in every possible variant available to the English language."
Irene: "I would have you right here on this desk, until you begged for mercy twice."
Sherlock: "John, please could you check those flight schedules and see if I'm right?"
John: "I'm on it, yeah"
Sherlock: "I've never begged for mercy in my life."

Irene: "Twice."
- John might not say that out loud, but he says it with his EYES, so yes, he HAS used that one before. Irene never does get Sherlock to beg. She defeats him, I mean, she just did - but he's never at her mercy, like she is at his. I guess that's what a lot of people had issue with.

Point of order, but no one can type one-thumbed behind their back on a phone.

And Mycroft's plan unravels...because this wasn't a game between Irene and Sherlock, it was between Irene and Mycroft...or rather, Moriarty and Mycroft.

Sherlock: "Coventry!"
Irene: "I've never been. Is it nice?"
Sherlock: "Where's John?"
Irene: "He went out a couple of hours ago."
Sherlock: "I was just talking to him."

Irene: "He said you'd do that."
- I love this. Sherlock just goes into thinking-mode and the world moves around him unnoticed.
- Also, I love the sort of...amused affection... that Irene uses when she says "he said you'd do that." I think Irene is starting to realize that Sherlock might not be as in her thrall as she thought he was - the most important person in the room (or not in the room as the case may be) is still John.

Irene: "What's Coventry?"
- This is the thing...how much does Irene actually know?

Irene: "Have you ever had anyone?"
Sherlock: "Sorry?"
- And how much is Irene just intrigued by the thought that Sherlock might actually be a virgin? How much does that appeal to her? There's a lot of power in being the one to take someone's virginity... and Irene likes having power.

Irene: "And when I say 'had', I'm being indelicate."
Sherlock: "I don't understand."
Irene: "I'll be delicate then. Let's have dinner."
Sherlock: "Why?"
Irene: "You might be hungry."
Sherlock: "I'm not."
Irene: "Good."

Sherlock: "Why would I want to have dinner if I wasn't hungry?"
- I don't think Sherlock is as naive as he sounds. I think he's honestly telling Irene that he's not interested, and I think she might know it... but she's still trying to figure him out.

Irene: "Mr. Holmes, if this were the end of the world. If this were the very last night, would you have dinner with me?"
Mrs. Hudson: "Sherlock?"
Irene: "Too late."

Sherlock: "That's not the end of the world, that's Mrs. Hudson."
- Same thing. Irene knows what's coming. Her part with Sherlock has been played, and so it IS the end of that world - it's the end of the world in which Sherlock believes this disguise.

Mrs. Hudson: "Sherlock, this man was at the door. Is the bell still not working?" *to the man* "He shot it."
- Oh Mrs. Hudson, it's probably not best to advertise that your tenants have an illegal firearm. Though, you do put up with a lot, so I can't say that I blame you.

Sherlock: "Well, you're looking all better, how're you feeling?"
American: "Like putting a bullet in your brain, sir."
- I never noticed that Sherlock actually uses a slight American accent when he asks him how he's feeling. It's cute!

American: "They'd pin a medal on me if I did...sir."
- That's the first clue that Sherlock just messed up big time.

Mycroft: "You've been stumbling around the fringes of this one for ages, or were you too bored to notice the pattern?"
- This is all kind of tragic, because Sherlock smiles at Mycroft's plan... he's impressed. We can't forget that canonically, Mycroft IS smarter than Sherlock (or 9 times out of 10 he is)... but maybe he's not so much, maybe it's just that Mycroft doesn't need the adventure to make puzzles interesting. Sherlock likes the danger, the adrenaline...which is why he deals with bloody murder. Mycroft likes the intricacies, the delicate webs, which is why he deals with politics. I think Mycroft wants Sherlock to be "more". I think he believes that Sherlock could be great - even greater than he is - if he would just stop chasing criminals down dark alleys. The problem is that Sherlock wouldn't be happy if he weren't chasing criminals down dark alleys, and that's something Mycroft can't quite grasp.

Mycroft: "That's all it takes. One lonely naive man, desperate to show off, and a woman clever enough to make him feel special."
- I don't think Sherlock is lonely, or naive, I think he was honestly tricked. I think Irene honestly just got the better of him... I mean, he does love showing off, but I think he would have shown off no matter who was standing next to him.

Mycroft: "I'm not talking about the MOD man, Sherlock. I'm talking about you! The damsel in distress. In the end, are you really so obvious? Because this was textbook. The promise of love, the pain of loss, the joy of redemption. Give him a puzzle and watch him dance."
Sherlock: "Don't be absurd."
Mycroft: "Absurd... how quickly did you decipher that email for her? Was it the full minute, or were you really eager to impress."
Irene: "I think it was five seconds."

Mycroft: "I drove you into her path. I'm sorry. I didn't know."
- And Sherlock loses. Irene has used his own game against him - using a persona/disguise to get the information that she wanted and then moving on... how often have we seen Sherlock do the same, granted his games are usually shorter - to get into a flat, to get an accomplice to give away information unknowingly...
- The thing is though that Mycroft also lost. What's he apologizing for here? Is he apologizing for putting Sherlock in Irene's path because it hurt Sherlock's feelings? No. Mycroft doesn't care about Sherlock's feelings. He's apologizing for putting Sherlock on the board in the first place, because Mycroft didn't realize that it was a move that his enemy WANTED him to make, that their game plan depended on it. Mycroft also screwed up here.

Irene: "Mr. Holmes, I think we need to talk."
Sherlock: "So do I. There are a number of aspects I'm still not quite clear on."

Irene: "Not you, Junior. You're done now."
- And this is when it's confirmed to Sherlock that he was just a pawn in a game between Irene and Mycroft... that Irene wasn't there to play with HIM. And I think that's what burns him.

Irene: "There's more, loads more...[...] unless you want to tell your masters that your biggest security leak is your own little brother."
- Okay, so the Americans wanted to get the phone before Irene decoded the email. I think Sherlock was right from the beginning "I don't do anonymous clients" - and this is why, there's mystery at both ends of the case. If he doesn't know WHY he's getting a phone, then of course he's going to make a mistake...like decode a message in front of an enemy. So, that was another mistake on Mycroft's part. At what point did Mycroft realize that Irene wanted Sherlock as a decoder? He should have pulled him aside then and told him everything. Sherlock wasn't a security leak because he had information, he was a security leak because he didn't.
- Who would actually suffer from Mycroft's "masters" finding out about this mistake. Mycroft isn't giving in to protect Sherlock. He's giving in to protect himself. He's the one that messed up here. MYCROFT is the actual security link. And this isn't the first time he messes up this series...and it's not the first time that Sherlock takes the brunt of Mycroft's mistakes... which goes a long way to answering the question as to why the two brothers don't get along. "Past resentments" indeed.

I do like the conversation where Sherlock explains to Mycroft how he can't break into the phone, and he can't torture the pass code out of Irene... Sherlock HAS been doing Mycroft's reconnaissance for him these past few months. He HAS been helpful.

Irene: "I'd imagine you'd like to sleep on it."
Mycroft: "Thank you, yes."
Irene: "Too bad..."

*Sherlock laughs*
- Sherlock still likes her. She does, after all, share his sense of humour. And even though Sherlock's feeling bad for being defeated (and no doubt, disappointing his brother) - he still enjoys anyone taking the piss out of Mycroft.

Irene: "I can't take all the credit. Had some help. Jim Moriarty sends his love."
Mycroft: "Yes, he's been in touch. Seems desperate for my attention, which I'm sure can be arranged."
- And this is where we actually see the board. Mycroft is one king, Moriarty is the other - Irene a queen, and Sherlock a knight. (John's a rook, because rooks were always my favourite.)
- And I think THIS is what really burns Sherlock, because Moriarty is SHERLOCK'S nemesis, not Mycroft's...but Moriarty is playing with Mycroft now. I'm not saying that Sherlock wants to keep Moriarty to himself, but the game has just expanded to include much larger things than Sherlock is used to dealing with, hence why they took him off guard.
- Or maybe there's an element of brotherly concern? Does Sherlock worry about Mycroft, despite their resentments? Is Mycroft included in the circle of people that Sherlock loves? Is part of their estrangement in TRF a thought out measure to keep Mycroft out of Moriarty's plans?

Taking a brief moment here to talk about acting - when Sherlock is legitimately stressed out, worried about something, he clenches his right hand, holding it close to his face, sometimes rubbing his fingers over the meat at the base of the thumb. He does that here, with the mention of Moriarty.

Irene: "...gave me a lot of advice as to how to play the Holmes boys. Do you know what he calls you? The iceman... and the virgin..."
- I think those were clever things to tell Irene on Moriarty's part. Moriarty, after all, had to entice Irene to be a major player in his game. He needed a queen... and what better way to get her intrigued than to give her names for her enemies that told her what they were like emotionally, or rather, what their hearts were like? The Iceman - can't be seduced. The virgin - naive...the virgin can be played.

Irene: "...didn't even ask for anything, I think he just likes to cause trouble. Now that's my kind of man."
*Sherlock closes his eyes*
- And I think it's at this point that Sherlock realizes that Irene has been played too. That they've both been played. I mean, there's an argument for how much Irene really understood... if she really understood everything, would she of worked for Moriarty? Should we be judging her character with the thought that she DID understand everything? Or should we be judging her character based on the idea that she too was just another piece on Moriarty's chessboard?

I also want to just jump in here and point out that throughout this explanation, Irene keeps glancing over at Sherlock... as she speaks, her attention is less and less on Mycroft and more and more on Sherlock... desperate to show-off perhaps?

Part 4
Tags: meta, sherlock-bbc

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