If you haven’t seen The Empty Hearse, do not read the following post as there are major spoilers.
So it’s finally here! The Empty Hearse made it’s debut in America last night and I, like so many other Americans, was glued to the TV for 90 minutes, completely oblivious to anything in the world going on around me, even dinner. I have to ask myself, why did it take so long to get to America when it aired on New Year’s day in Britain and elsewhere around the world? And the only answer I can think of is that the British hate us. They hate us and they know their TV shows are better, so they rub it in our faces and make us wait 19 grueling days to find out what happens to our favorite crime solving team in London.
That’s my theory and I’m stickin’ to it!
But seriously, the first thing that came to mind while watching the first episode of season three was: “They must have so much fun making this show!”
The fun starts at the beginning when we see everyone’s reaction to Sherlock returning to London, back from the dead after two years.
Of all the characters, John’s reaction was quite possibly the best I’ve ever seen in TV history. I have to say I enjoyed Martin Freeman’s performance in this episode the most and I can safely say that both he and Benedict Cumberbatch were born to play these roles. They were brilliant and the two, along with a terrific supporting cast and brilliant scriptwriting, really make this show worth watching. It’s really too bad there aren’t more shows out there like it.
In the scene where John sees Sherlock for the first time since the funeral, Sherlock dresses up like a French waiter and thinks he’s going to play a funny joke by springing the news on John that he’s not dead, only to suddenly and shamefully realize that John’s not laughing. I almost felt sorry for Sherlock in this scene because he doesn’t really know what to do and he says the worst possible things he can say in the situation. He appears naked and vulnerable in front of his friend. He no longer has his protective walls around him. He can no longer use arrogance as a shield and it becomes clear as day that although he’s a genius, he’s socially retarded. Yet somehow the scene plays out well and ends up being hilariously funny. So without further explaining, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Benedict Cumberbatch said in an interview that he was worried about what the fans would think of his “new” Sherlock. He was worried about how they would take his performance (not that he even needs to care, but it says something wonderful about him as a person that he does.) I see now why he was concerned. Sherlock has changed. Although I really enjoyed the show and I thought Cumberbatch’s performance was brilliant, I have to admit that I did feel a bit of nostalgia for the old Sherlock. And I mean the Sherlock we see in the very first episodes. The withdrawn, aloof, and seemingly uncaring Sherlock. I actually loved him for his arrogance and his biting quips. They were hilarious!
“Don’t talk Anderson. You lower the IQ of the whole street.”
“Why?”, “Because you’re an idiot.”
“So you scratch their backs?”, “Yes, and I disinfect myself.”
“Brilliant, Anderson.”, “Really?”, “Yes, brilliant impression of an idiot.”
Unfortunately, in the Empty Hearse, Sherlock’s witty one-liners are few and far between. At this point in the story, Sherlock can no longer feign indifference to protect his secret — that he’s an idiot when it comes to human relationships. So his arrogance and insolence are somewhat gone, especially when dealing with John Watson. When he sees him again after two years, he reminds me more of Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock, especially in the restaurant scene above as he nicks people’s stuff to disguise himself. It was very much like in the movie, The Game of Shadows. He is also like Downey’s Sherlock in that he appears vulnerable and needy in this scene. He needs his friend to accept him again. He is no longer the independent Sherlock who can hide behind his walls. He has formed a bond with someone, someone he needs, and suddenly realizes how alone he is without him. So, in that scene, he steps out and shows himself publicly and in doing so, makes it glaringly obvious that he has no idea how to relate to people and their emotions. This facilitates Mary’s very insightful observation about him at the end of their night when she says: “Gosh, you don’t know anything about human nature, do you?”
And speaking of Mary, I thought Martin Freeman’s wife, Amanda Abbington, was beautiful and perfect in the role. They couldn’t have picked a better actress. The natural familiarity and chemistry between her and her husband (in the show and in real life) shone through brilliantly on the screen.
I also love the relationship the character, Mary, forms with Sherlock as she says to John in the cab: “I like him.” It’s very different from Guy Ritchie’s Mary.
Cumberbatch’s real parents were also perfectly cast as Sherlock and Mycroft’s parents in the show. Forget about nepotism. There was really no other set of actors who could have pulled it off as convincingly.
It was great to see more of Sherlock’s personal life come out in this episode — meeting his parents and watching him and his brother talk about their childhood as they play Operation.
What I found touching about Sherlock’s discussion with his brother is that through all of their intellectual garble as they analyze the hat, Sherlock can all the sudden see something about his brother that he never saw before, that is, before he met his best friend. Mycroft is lonely and doesn’t know it.
Despite all of these terrific aspects of The Empty Hearse, there were a few small disappointments. One of them was the relationship between Molly and Sherlock. I was disappointed that they didn’t end up together because you can tell that she really loves him. The scene below where she tells him she’s engaged was particularly heartbreaking.
I was really hoping they’d end up like this:
The picture above is not what really happened, by the way. It’s a scene from one of Anderson’s “how Sherlock survived” theories.
And speaking of Anderson, I have to say I was truly disappointed in Anderson and his whole Empty Hearse club. The fact that Anderson goes semi-insane, loses his job, neglects his personal hygiene, and starts a “how Sherlock survived” club was so ludicrous, I had a hard time watching.
This is Anderson? The one who hated Sherlock? The one who wouldn’t work with him in the Study in Pink? The one who conspired with Donovan to arrest him for attempted murder in the Reichenbach Fall? His total transformation was way too out of character (and where was Donovan in this show, btw? She was completely missing. Not that I’m complaining, but her absence went without any explanation whatsoever.)
I admit, I was worried something silly like this — Anderson’s side story — would be written into the show given the enormous amount of fame it has acquired. I was worried that it would get over-sensationalized and it did. But then again, maybe this is just the scriptwriters’ way of ridiculing the huge online world of Sherlock fan fiction and the insane media hype that has been built up so gloriously around it. That could be. Steven Moffat strikes me as the type of person who might do that.
The last little annoyance with The Empty Hearse was that we don’t really find out how he did it. Sherlock faking his death, that is. Toward the end, he gives Anderson a brief run down of events, but even Anderson admits that he is the last person Sherlock would tell and so we are left hanging with no real explanation. Even when John asks him at the end how he did it, Sherlock doesn’t give him a straight answer.
The only fact I got out of Sherlock’s explanations to his friends was that Mycroft was involved which sheds light on the out-of-character annoyance I spoke of in my last post on Sherlock. I had wondered about Mycroft’s involvement. I knew there had to be an explanation for his lack of empathy. It was too out of character for him. And there it was. So, I’m satisfied.
But after all this, my absolute favorite part of the show was the ending — the exchange between John and Sherlock. It was best part of the entire episode.
Thank you, BBC! Now I can patiently wait for the next episode: The Sign of Three.
I’m writing this post today because I feel like there is something that really needs to be said. Ever since October of 2011, I have been libeled relentlessly by several people, mostly book bloggers from Goodreads.com, because I spoke out against the author abuse I found running rampant on the site. For almost two years now, these people have been claiming I did and said things I have never done. I’m writing this post today to set the record straight. Below are two lists describing exactly what I have done and what I have not done. This is the truth about me.
These are the things I HAVE NEVER done:
- I have never attacked or harassed reviewers of my books.
- I have never published private information about another person, or “doxxed” them through unethical means.
- I have never attacked or harassed other authors, nor have I ever placed revenge one-star reviews on another author’s book or created fake accounts to do it.
- I have never created fake accounts on Goodreads or Amazon just to place five-star reviews on my own books and inflate their ratings.
- I have never bought reviews for my books.
- I have never review-swapped with another author.
- I do not run STGRB. I am not Athena Parker, or anyone else who is behind that blog.
These are the things I HAVE done:
- In October of 2011, I was perusing Goodreads reviews of a book I wanted to read by another author and found an extremely offensive, author-bashing review. I made a comment on the review that I thought it was inappropriate. I was attacked by a gang of Goodreads bullies. I stood my ground and defended my position. Afterwards, I wrote a blog post about my experience called Unacceptable Behavior.
- In February of 2012, I joined K.C. Neal’s Spread Love Not Hate anti-bullying campaign and wrote a post about the Goodreads bullies whom I had observed launch organized attacks on authors they didn’t like. I was again attacked and so were my books. They were showered with one-star reviews that were mostly about me and not my books. I left Goodreads shortly afterwards.
- I have paid for reviews in the form of Bookrooster.com and blog tours with Premier Virtual Author Book Tours. In other words, I paid a third party a fee and they distributed my books to readers/reviewers/blog tour hosts who read them and wrote reviews for their blogs, for Amazon, and for Goodreads. Therefore, if there are several Amazon reviews on my books that are not verified purchases, that is why. In addition, my first book, The Raie’Chaelia, is also free on Kobo, on Amazon, and in my online bookstore. Therefore, purchase of that book is not necessary in order to read it.
- I left Goodreads in February of 2012 and I never intend to return.
- I have only ever responded positively to readers/reviewers of my books, either thanking them for their review or offering a refund if they didn’t enjoy them.
- I have only ever been supportive of other authors and have done my best to help them succeed.
For the past two years, I have been libeled, stalked, attacked, and threatened (by phone) all because I witnessed an injustice being done on a website (Goodreads) and instead of cowering in silence, I decided to speak out openly against it. I’m not the only one who has spoken out. Many others have as well. The fact that the problem escalated to the point where it was brought not just to national, but international attention and the fact that Goodreads had to act in order to correct it proves that I was right and that I’ve been a victim of bullying and abuse. I am tired of being targeted, especially by those who should know better.
That is all I wanted to say.
This is funny!
Interesting! Coming November 2014!