Sherlock has another power, to add to his already impressive list of superhuman powers – the ability to switch the drug taking habit on and off, without it ever permanently affecting his razor sharp brain or his physical well-being; even when he’s so spaced out he’s literally climbing the walls. This is generally not the case for your average, run of the mill addict. Maybe the Beeb should accompany the drug induced hallucinatory episodes with a cigarette pack type warning on screen, for the young and impressionable (or the old and worn out) that ADDICTION CAN KILL (I’m a bit of a Puritan) and that it mostly doesn’t make you look all sexy and a bit like Heathcliff on speed, but this is the land of Sherlock, where we must suspend all manner of disbeliefs.
The Lying Detective was back on true Sherlockian form, complete with seamless special effects and various type fonts floating around people’s heads, and it was a pleasure to disbelieve just about every second of episode No.2. For, do you and I really believe that Sherlock wouldn’t recognise his own sister, when even I, with my non-Sherlockian brain power, cottoned on to the fact that John’s hippy woman on the bus, his therapist and the daughter of evil serial killer Jimmy Savile (sorry, Culverton Smith) were all the same woman wearing different coloured wigs? And wait………Sherlock has a sister? This totally out of the blue fact was so unexpected, my suspension of disbelief went out the window. Is there a sister in the original books? (I can’t be bothered to wade through my Holmes brick-like tome to find out.) Where has the sister been all this time? The only possible reason Sherlock wouldn’t recognise her, when she came limping into 221b Baker Street, is that he hasn’t seen her since they were kids, so we’re left wondering what catastrophe occurred that split the siblings apart – or indeed what the Holmes’ household must have been like to produce a drug taking sociopath, an oily government official and a murderess suffering from a multi-personality disorder.
Maybe Euros (name, not the currency) is the evil flip side to Sherlock. Equally adept in the art of disguise, equally as clever, equally as emotionally cold (although Sherlock has now taken to hugging people in this latest series, as well as dripping with empathy for his old mate John.) Could Sherlock’s own sister turn out to be his real nemesis, rather than that skinny little short-arse, Moriarty?
I thought ‘Miss me’ referenced Moriarty, going by past episodes, but here it was, written on a CD and being bandied about all over the place, in relation to Mary’s death and the evil sister. And John started seeing dead people, as Amanda Abbington re-appeared on our screens as a very real figment of Watson’s desperate imagination, offering comfort, advice, understanding, even when he confessed to his texting flirtation. This seeing of dead people is an effective televisual means of conveying the confusion and loneliness of loss but it never happens in real life. Your average dead person is almost never on hand for a chat and a cup of tea. When people die they just disappear, never to be seen again, which is why death is so horribly final. Then again, Sherlock is all about suspension of disbelief (I’m repeating myself.)
My last acquaintance with Toby Jones (Culverton Smith) was as Captain Mainwaring in the recent film version of Dad’s Army. There he played a little, bumbling, hen-pecked Bank Manager, with aspirations for military greatness and a failure to see that most of the time he looked a fool (the writers did give him a moment of heroic glory.) As Mainwaring, Toby Jones was touching, pathetic and comic, with an underlying sadness. As Smith he gave us a weirdly nightmarish mini-me version of Jimmy Savile, giving Sherlock a tour of his (and Savile’s) favourite room – the mortuary. He surrounded himself with kids in a hospital, making their dreams come true via bringing Sherlock along to tell the kids some detecting stories – all very Jim’ll Fix It – whilst mentioning his close connection to the Queen and his charity work.
The whole tone of this episode was nightmarish (it would be when your evil protagonist is aping a real-life super villain who also conducted his nefarious doings in ‘plain sight.’) Perhaps the most nightmarish aspect of the whole thing was Culverton Smith’s teeth. What a revoltingly stained and wonky sight those gnashers were; quite put me off my late evening jam and toast.
We found out a lot of previously unknown stuff on Sunday; that Mrs Hudson is very rich and seems to have Sherlock thoroughly sussed; that Mycroft might be getting it on with Lady Smallwood; that Sherlock has a sister; that you can never trust your therapist; that dead people follow you around; that forking out roughly £4k to get your teeth fixed is never a waste of money.
I’m looking forward to how this exercise in Sherlock madness is going to end.