HLV rewatch: Continuity/logic. The gloves are off.
Okay, nitty-gritty venting will commence below. Negativity about continuity and logic problems, you have been warned.
On rewatch, I’m so hugely disappointed with this script, and thus, the arc of the season. I wanted to love this so much! And yet. And yet…
Too many smart people in one story.
This was like watching a comic book where the superpowers of the characters were just too powerful…they’ve created an impossible situation where everyone is smarter than everyone else. We’re meant to believe that Sherlock Holmes is the most brilliant man ever. Except for his brother Mycroft. Or maybe Irene Adler. Or Moriarty, because wait, HE’S just as smart as Sherlock. Or, actually, Mary Morstan, who turns out to be an intelligence agent. Except then there’s Charles Augustus Magnussen, who has his own mind palace which apparently puts Sherlock’s to shame. What’s in the water in England, seriously?
With so many ridiculously intelligent people introduced, it makes Sherlock, what… the twelfth smartest person on the show, or something?
And it causes huge logic problems:
- Either Sherlock knows from the beginning that Mary is an intelligence agent AND ASSASSIN and doesn’t tell John (which seems like a HUGE detail to keep from your best friend who’s about to get married), OR Sherlock doesn’t know! He doesn’t figure it out! SHERLOCK HOLMES. Seriously. Are either of these scenarios plausible?
- Mycroft, being even smarter than Sherlock, must have known Mary was an assassin. Which makes it even crazier that he didn’t say anything. What could possibly have been his motivation, considering this all led to basically heartbreak and near-death for his beloved little brother?
- Once Sherlock returns from his 2 years away, why doesn’t Mary come clean to him straight away? If she knows Sherlock is an actual genius, why try to conceal a secret from him? Is she more intelligent? Because if so, WTF.
- Magnussen outsmarted Sherlock, in the endgame…which is, again, Sherlock being outsmarted, if in fact Mary managed to do it. (And unfortunately, we didn’t really get enough time to see how brilliant Magnussen was. I wish he’d been more fleshed out.) His mental mind palace filing cabinet was interesting but again, how many sneaky genius-level people can we fit into the script?
Mary shooting Sherlock:
I’m sorry, someone really needs to explain this to me, because in hindsight (and on a second rewatch), it makes no logical sense whatsoever.
A trained crack shot extraordinaire assassin is in a room with 1) the man who is blackmailing her, and 2) Sherlock Holmes, who happens to be her husband’s best friend. And she shoots Sherlock. WHY?
- "Shoot Sherlock for Magnussen’s benefit" makes no sense. In that case, kill Magnussen. He’s unarmed and on his knees. He will remember nothing as soon as you pull the trigger.
- "Shoot Sherlock because John will be a suspect if you kill Magnussen" ALSO MAKES NO SENSE, and it’s Mary’s actual reason for doing it. Think about it: Even if she shoots Magnussen and John IS a suspect, SHERLOCK HOLMES IS IN THE ROOM and can prove to the police in a matter of seconds that John Watson didn’t do it. THAT IS WHAT SHERLOCK DOES. I’ve seen him. I’VE READ THE BOOKS.
- Then we’re left with the fact that, as a crack shot who can shoot a hole in a fucking coin, Mary looked like she had ample time to shoot both Magnussen and Sherlock before escaping. There is actually no reason I can think of that she would ever leave Magnussen alive, especially if she was there to kill him in the first place. Leaving him alive gives him even more dirt, because hey, he has info that she tried to murder him! Mary, are you an idiot, a drunk, or a criminal?
- …all of which makes it even more baffling that Sherlock argues that Mary tried to save his life. (When he did, in fact, flatline.)
How powerful is Mycroft anyway?
- He can run CCTVs, he IS the British Government, he’s the one man Magnussen wants, he’s basically Mr. Influence, and… he has to send his brother out into the field on a 6-month death mission, there’s really no other choice? What would be really cool would be if he’d orchestrated all the Moriarty TV so that he could bring Sherlock home, but… would the writers actually do that? I’m starting to think they wouldn’t be so clever.
How much time passed in this episode?
- What happened after Sherlock got shot and John referred to “months of silence” with Mary? Did John move out? Why don’t we see any of that? Because if he moved out, that’s a big fucking deal, and if he lived with her without speaking to her for months, that’s also a big fucking deal.
But mostly, what was disappointing in HLV was that I felt manipulated. The music swelled up SO dramatically during all the intense, hushed conversations, and I felt like I was being told what to feel even though the actual script never answered my questions. I mean, crank up the violin strings and I will start to cry, but at the end I felt like the stakes and the drama and emotion in this episode were manufactured rather than grounded in anything that made sense.
What I love about the original Sherlock Holmes is that he is extraordinary in an ordinary setting. And when John asked in HLV, “Is EVERYONE here a psychopath?” I think that was a very valid question. No, John. Not everyone was originally a psychopath. I think we must be at least two or three psychopaths over our quota.