Thursday, December 27, 2012

Loveable Freak Reviews Sherlock (BBC)- "A Study in Pink"

  Well, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I know I did. One of the things I got this year was copies of both season/series one and two of BBC's Sherlock! And since 1) I'm obviously going to watch all the episodes, 2) I have no Elementary to review this week (I'd be lying if I said I'm not enjoying my break from it to watch the one I  fully like) , and I've been wanting to review it anyway, I'm going to review the show that finally complete me sold me on Sherlock Holmes!

Well, at least Fluttershy's excited...

  Anyway, let's start from the very beginning, a very good place to start, "A Study in Pink"!

  In this episode, John Watson, fresh from Afghanistan and wounded, is trying to adjust to civilian life and needs a place to live. A friend of his happens to know someone who needs a flatmate: Sherlock Holmes. The two move into 221B Baker Street, and no sooner than when they both get to the flat, Detective Inspector Lestrade comes over to get Sherlock to come help with a case. Four seemingly unlinked people have committed suicide the past couple of months, and all in the same manner. Sherlock invites John to come with him and help, and adventure, intrigue, the reveal of a more sinister force out there, and the beginnings of one of the greatest fictional friendships ever ensues.

 Oh, and beware, I may have some minor...

  Anyway, I really, really love this episode. It's a good, strong episode. With really good writing. I said it before with my Top 9 New Doctor Who Episodes, but Moffat (who was in-charge of writing this episode) is really good at writing first episodes of seasons. At least, four out the five times I've seen him start a season he is (we'll get to the one exception next season).

  Alright first of all, let's start with the man himself, Sherlock. I love Benedict Cumberbatch's version of Sherlock. Yes, he can be rude, but it's not in a hate-able way (if that makes sense). And yes, I love his snark.  He's amazing in the episode, and (unlike a certain other modern Sherlock), I liked him right off the bat. And it felt good to see the "relationships aren't my area" Sherlock, again.

 As an anecdote, I should mention that when I first heard Benedict's voice, I was surprised to hear it. It's so deep and, well, Alan Rickman-eske. Honestly, am I the only one unfamiliar with him who was surprised to hear this baritone come out of him?:

  Another interesting thing about Sherlock here is probably my favorite line from the episode: "I'm not a psychopath, Anderson, I’m a high-functioning sociopath, do your research." It was just an awesome comeback. Though it should be pointed out he's not really a sociopath, technically speaking. Some article I read (well, skimmed) went out of it's way pointing that out (I'd link to it, but it felt like it kept saying the same thing, basically it comes down to something sociopaths don't KNOW they're sociopaths, and he obviously has empathy and treats John and Mrs. Hudson well.). But of course, anyone who watches this show could probably tell you (if you don't mind me jumping ahead a bit)
"My left."


  Sorry, I minor tangent.

  Let's move onto John. I love John here, too. Martin Freeman, first of all, plays the "straight man to the strange" type really well (just look at The Hobbit, for instance). This is probably the most we see him use his medical skill to help with a case this episode, though, since it does feel like they focus more on the soldier aspect. Watson here is just loyalty incarnate on this show; they've barely known each other a day and he's already willing to kill a man to protect Sherlock. And we get to see this version as more along the lines of Cumberlock's conscience. Plus, he gets to be awesome in this episode when he makes the greatest shot ever: he shoots a man in the shoulder from another building, through two windows and across an alley, with a hand gun, and doesn't miss.

  Speaking of the relationship, I like it on this show. They have good chemistry. It's not quite up to the levels of Downeylock and Law!Watson, but then again these two have only just met. I also had to laugh at some of the teasing the show did about a certain interpretation relationship of the two leads. Especially a hillariously awkward conversation between the two leads at dinner:

  Oh, John, it's only going to get worse for you on this show...

 On to other characters! I really like Lestrade here. The more I re-watch this show, the more I appreciate him. You can see this guy is rather competent, and that's why he's a DI. And the way he gets into 221B to search it near the third act was great, too. Plus, in the last scene, I noticed this time a little smile after Sherlock tells him to forget what he said about who killed the serial killer and goes over to John. He knows what John did... :) Nicely done, Rupert Graves.
Words of wisdom...

  Also, we have Sherlock's older brother, Mycroft, here, played by co-creator/writer Mark Gatiss. The way they introduce him here was clever. They made it ambiguous, until the end, as to whether or not he was Moriarty. I have to say, there's something about this Mycroft I like and identify with. One of the things you get from him is that you can tell he loves and cares about his brother, despite the issues these two have in this incarnation. Seeing this as an older sibling who butts heads with her younger brother, but still loves and cares about him at the end of the day, I can kind of sympathize with him.

  There are also some new characters who are exclusive to this show. First of all, there is Molly Hooper, a pathologist who has a crush on Sherlock, whom I just adore. There's also Anderson and police Sgt. Sally Dovovan, two people working for Scotland Yard. I don't think anybody likes those characters, and that's kind of the point. Donovan, in a way, has a a minor redeeming quality, as she tries to talk John out of staying with Sherlock, since she thinks he's a psychopath, but she's still not all that likeable. And all we love about Anderson is picking on him.

 The story/mystery was good. One of the things I like is that each case is treated like an adventure.

  Some non-character story things to squee about here are this series's trademark subtitle-things. Basically, every text or typing in general has the words floating in the air on-screen, you you can read what's being said. It's quite creative. Also, we actually get to SEE Sherlock's deductions and thought processes here, via subtitle-things. It's also creative and clever. And it helps to follow his train of thought and see inside his head.

  One last full note: I love the music on this show. The theme song is excellent, as is the background music. The standouts being "Final Act" and "The Game is On".

  I also watched this episode with the commentary, (it was Moffat, Gatiss, and Sue Vertue (a producer on the show and also Moffat's wife). It was a little dull, but some interesting things from it were:
  • I got a kick out of whenever Moffat and Gatiss went fanboy. The two are longtime Holmes fans, and officially started working on this show in 2007, so I'm glad it worked out for them.
  • There is a 60-minute pilot version of this episode (from 2009), that I'll review later (it's also on the DVD). Maybe for my 200th Post...
  • Apparently it was the other writer for the show, Steve Thompson's, idea to make Gatiss Mycroft.
  • Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor on Doctor Who), had originally auditioned for John Watson.
  • They think that Sherlock's drug use is "always overstated", so they didn't make a big deal out of it. (Oh, hindsight, you are hilarious).
  • I kind of geeked out whenever they said something I agreed with, such as 1) they said that underneath, the stories are of the greatest friendship ever (I agree). And 2) one of them (Moffat, I believe), described what was happening to John this episode was him "going down the rabbit-hole", which is a term I often use to describe when Watson meets Holmes.
  • The origins of how they got the deerstalker in season 2 are on this commentary track!
  • I felt the need to point out that they had an error when they were going on about the antagonist's motives in A Study in Scarlet. I was like, "No, sirs! Jefferson Hope wasn't married to Lucy! They were engaged, but when he left town, the two Mormons killed her father and married her to one of them, and she died of a broken heart so he sought revenge!" I then laughed at the fact that the girl who's only been reading those books for less than a year was correcting the guys who've been reading them since they were kids. ...I'll try not to bring it up if I ever meet them...
  Last minute thoughts:
  • There are too many favorite scenes, exchanges, and lines to count here. Just... watch the episode.
  • The episodes filled with nods to canon: first of all, the whole story is a reinterpretation of A Study in Scarlet, the "Come at once if convenient" texts were from Canon, as was "A three patch problem" (though it was a three pipe problem (I forget where they're from). The thing about John being shot in the shoulder but having a limp this episode was a nice nod to the fact Doyle was inconsistent as to where the good doctor was shot (In Scarlet, it was the shoulder, and in The Sign of Four it was the leg). Speaking of Four, the cell phone deduction was a variant of the watch deduction from that book.
  • Where the heck did Sherlock get John's cell phone number early in the episode?
  • I have a weird obsession with how the cabbie says "bottle." (it's like "Bah-el") Dunno why, I just do...
  Overall, this was a great episode. I sucked me in, and did all the things a good first episode should do. Unlike Elementary's pilot. It's my favorite episode of the series, and the one I've watched the most. Now I've got to watch my least favorite episode of the series, which ironically comes next...

  Next, I review "The Blind Banker"...


  1. Agree with you that this was one of the best first episodes for a series in a long time!

    The acting, the direction, script and music - everything is top notch. I enjoyed the initial mystery surrounding Mycroft/Moriarty. I think Mark Gatiss's version is the definitive one of Mycroft.

    Cheers, B2B.