This past Sunday evening, Janet and I watched the finale of the latest Sherlock series. It was a test in patience, I have to confess, but the reward was wonderful!
(I’ll try not to give anything away for those of you who haven’t seen the episode yet. But reader beware!)
Part way through the episode, I was on the verge of walking out because of the violence. The episode was quite violent. I also found the production values to be more oriented to younger viewers, and this baby boomer finds the quick changes of view and the multi-dimensional shots somewhat disorienting. However, I persisted and deeply appreciated the ending.
In general, I find Sherlock to be more than just a new rendition of the Sherlock Holmes character. The plots and portrayals of Holmes and Watson give us pause to consider our own lives. What lies beneath the surface of our masks? What secrets do we hold onto? What memories have we suppressed? How do we view the world and take in the many stimuli we experience? How do we make deductions? How do we decide what to value? To whom do we give our loyalty?
This finale was particularly explosive in the way it blew apart the façade of over-rationalization. It captured the sense that as a Western society, we rely way too much on our reason and logical thinking. We have lost touch with our emotions and sense of what we value at the core of our beings. This finale of the Sherlock season invited us to think about our relationships and the very basic fact that we all, despite our imperfections and challenges, need love.
I gather from reading some of the reviews of the finale that the number of viewers in the UK was down significantly. Some of the complaints of viewers centre on the fact that the plots were too complicated. People didn’t want to have to think, and, more importantly, feel.
The man who plays Mycroft, Sherlock’s older and patronizing brother, is the creator of this series, Mark Gatiss; he’s also a co-writer. He said that he wanted people to be challenged. And responding to the criticism that the plots are too complicated he said that if people want something simple, they should read a children’s book. (See the Daily Mail online and other entertainment news.)
This Sherlock series was complicated and you had to pay attention. But that’s good. It certainly made me think about my own life and what I hold dear, the losses that I have faced. It made me think about my own fears and how to confront them. It calls to mind the warning at the beginning of Knowledge Network dramas; I can’t remember the actual phrase but it’s something like: “This program contains scenes that are difficult and challenging… kind of like real life.” While the actual events of the finale weren’t at all like real life, the underlying questions were.
What did you think?