". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

*Sherlock* Season 2 Ep. 3 "The Reichenbach Fall"

I confidently declare "The Reichenbach Fall" an improvement over "The Hounds of the Baskerville."  “Hounds” was so lackluster it was no stretch at all to make an episode with more sizzle, but "Fall's" snap, crackle and pop goes far beyond that.

Moriarty installed a keylogger on Holmes's computer?  While sitting right there in Holmes's presence?  Really?  And even if Moriarty did it remotely, surely Holmes's abilities would have a password that couldn't be hacked.  Ah, wrong about that! Not a keylogger, but the keycode to the universe and everything was planted in his rooms by Moriarty. But that didn't happen either because Moriarty reveals the keycode does not exist.

In this game of Mirror Mirror On the Wall, Who Is the Smartest One of All, nobody recognized the host of a nationally broadcasted children's program in this celebrity obssessed culture? Really? I wouldn't recognize him probably, but celebrities do not inhabit my consciousness. The other night on our way to dinner a member of our company recognized a Bold Face Name walking toward us (upper East Side, veddy wealthy), and immediately recognized another at the restaurant. He and his wife work with celebrities all the time, which many in NYC do, and those who provide you a living are much in your mind.

The internets mentioned that Moriarty or somebody wore a mask of Holmes's face when the children were kidnapped, but I didn't see or hear that in the episode. So for me there's been no explanation for the girl's screams at the sight of Holmes.  Of course we're missing bits that were on the BBC broadcast.  Or perhaps I did miss it in this one, despite paying close attention.

"Hansel and Gretel" for the kidnapping, OK. An envelope of bread crumbs was left and it did nothing in the episode other than provide another pointer to the Grimm's fairy tales that sent Sherlock on the hunt for a candy factory. Thus the connections to the Brooks storyteller on kids tv -- quite liked the hint of  ITV's logo sky -- the Jeremy Brett Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was on ITV -- when Moriarty highjacks the taxi video broadcast to tell the story of "Sir Boasts A Lot."  But  "Snow White" for Sherlock and James, I can't figure out where that fits -- the little people, the normals, as Moriarty goes on about, frequently and at length, i.e. Snow White and her seven dwarfs, perhaps?  Or when the resurrection takes place next season?  I hope so or else again this is careless writing.  I'd prefer them to be careful and good writers.  Or, I missed it this time around, as much attention as I paid.

Moriarty does say that newspapers are fairytales, and never more so than now, are they?  With the so-called investigative journalists collaborating with the Big Liars, as does she who so repels Sherlock Holmes, thus making her all the more enthusiastic to destroy via the media the creation of Holmes it has made -- as Watson warns right at the top of the episode.

Only more repellent than this journalist is Moriarty's claims of sexual charisma for himself so often in the "Fall." It went hand-in-hand with his pulling out the old chestnut of Bach and Unfinished Melody, in the way that kind of culture does that sort of thing over and over, invoking lines from the long-ago dead as if uttering, "If I told you I'd have to kill you," as if it mattered and was also intelligent and bright, proving superiority. Then, couple that with Moriarty essentially declaring himself in love with Sherlock (in love with himself as the other face of Sherlock?) -- this evokes a very high level of disgust and recoil in the audience, doesn't it? The media's celebrity-worship and celebrity-destruction is another face of the same thing.

This kind of -- maybe we can call it cultural commentary? -- was skillfully embedded in the "Fall," maybe was even its theme? It was very good with that.

What I liked best, first, were the Molly parts, which have left me with a concern that perhaps Sherlock is developing a serious illness. That was only a hint, but then, what else would be hinted in that first lab scene in which Molly keeps talking and walking away from something Sherlock seemed on the verge of confessing to her?  The second thing I liked best was Mycroft's confession to Watson. That was straight up le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which last year was in people's minds due to the film re-make of the old BBC miniseries (which was so much better than the movie, particularly this part). The part in which Smiley meets with Karla, in which he reveals essential information of himself, which Karla uses against him later, while Karla never speaks a word, was just freakin' brilliant on the part of le Carré and brilliantly played in the 1980 miniseries. (In the movie it is told, not shown, as it was in the miniseries.)

The rooftop section was very well played by Cumberbatch, as were the two scenes with him and Molly. These show him 100% functioning human being, despite his reveal to Moriarty that he is not "one of them."  Watson was splendid in this episode. I've come to care about him very much. Watson is decent, witty, smart, and though he can be always counted on, as can his loyalty, he's the surprising one, as that lovely bit that begins with "What are you looking at," and ends with him handcuffed with Holmes.

Now I'm hoping for something even better, i.e. more coherent, from next year's   Resurrection sequel to the Fall -- shades of Buffy!*  And Batman and all the other superheroes who die only to rise again!


* I'm guessing that Holmes was wearing a Holmes mask during the rooftop face-off with Moriarty.  There was a fiddling with his back hair, which we saw from the back .... The mask was then put on Moriarty .... but we did see the arms and legs windmilling as the body fell from the roof, so, who knows? And what about that hung model at the top the episode?  Why are people talking about a garbage truck coz I didn’t see one – which could be me missing things again. Then the so-called passersby when Sherlock flew – internets say they are Sherlock’s homeless, blocking Watson from witnessing Sherlock's body substitution, keeping him from taking a  pulse (all those incidents of coupled hands in this episode: Watson’s and Sherlock’s; the bodyguard-killer who is executed when shaking Sherlock’s hand, while he and Watson are handcuffed together; Sherlock and Moriarty shaking hands while Moriarty offs himself).  And, where is Moriarty’s body, and, where is Mycroft in all this? Neither of them are at the cemetery.

To Be Continued --


buddy2blogger said...

Very incisive review of the episode.

Great job, C.

As to the possible explanations for Sherlock faking his death, I agree with your theories. The homeless (aka The Baker Street Irregulars in the canon) and Molly no doubt helped Sherlock.

BTW, at the end of the post you have mentioned 'To be Continued'. Will you be posting a second part of this review...


Foxessa said...

I just meant the story was to be continued next year.

I think I've put down about all I've got to bring to this by now!

As well, the writers do tend to do a fair amount of hand-waving about things, which only when being considered start not to make sense.

I do hope sincerely they are brilliant in the sequel in which Sherlock returns from the dead, and keep the hand-waving to the barest of minimum!

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

Really, really do hope that because Sherlock has had to put right Mycroft's mistakes and solve his crises throughout these 6 episodes. And this time around it's impossible not to think of all those dummy bodies in the 'Coventry' craft from "Scandal" -- could there be another, the one that tumbled from the roof?

Some are even thinking that perhaps this entire sequence of events was schemed by Mycroft and Sherlock together to put down Moriarty. Who knows?

Mot of all though, why was Sherlock laughing on the edge? Because he realized he'd never have to wear that stupid hat again? :)

Love, C.