In an interview with BuzzFeed this evening, Sir Ian McKellen revealed that he’ll be playing a 93-year-old...
In order to become the supreme adult, you must perform the seven wonders:
- Public speaking
- Not being afraid of teenagers
I’m a hopeless romantic with a dirty mind who has high standards.
The male anti-hero lead character has recently developed as an audience favourite. Whilst not entirely segmenting an audience into groups of against and for, the anti-hero is generally portrayed as the main protagonist who has had to, or is attempting to, overcome a great obstacle, to perform a feat of wonder. In overcoming this obstacle, a transformation occurs. The usually timid man becomes intense, challenging and sometimes brutal.
Think about the journey Walter White embarked on, originally to ensure that his family could survive after his death from cancer. Don Draper exchanged identities with his deceased commander in order to escape a past of childhood sexual abuse and abandonment. Rust & Marty perfectly portray the spectrum of bad men.
Marty is frequently unfaithful to his wife, while also possessive of his mistresses (which results in Marty becoming enraged and violent). Rust is at the other end of the spectrum; detached from ‘normal’ societal norms, Rust views the world with an air of repugnant indifference. These attitudes and posture of Rust’s position him as strange, abnormal and cruel because he won’t play nice at dinner, because he doesn’t want to come over for dinner, because what’s the fucking point? Both are anti-heroes in their own way, bad men to certain people, but as put by Rust, ‘The world needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door’.
So how does an audience identify with a bad man who doesn’t have a reason for his badness, who can’t show proof in Exhibit A, B or C for his cruelty? Why do we still identify, without question, with the high-functioning sociopath?
Much of our identification with Sherlock stems from the simple fact that the story is basically now part of the public domain and at some point the story has formed part of our cultural consciousness, be it via the original Doyle novels, or through television programs or movies based on Doyle’s original work. The most basic element of the original story of Sherlock is duality. The original construct of Sherlock is a falsity; a confident, well-educated, articulate, highly-intelligent man-suit was glossed over the veneer of the decaying, stupefying, barely-functioning addict. Sherlock (much like Jekyll & Hyde) epitomises the dual nature of man; brave and depraved.
If we move from the original construct to the 2010 version, we see something very different and immediately confronting. Sherlock is just a massive twat. Rude, abrasive, unconcerned with societal norms and self-destructive, the self-described high-functioning sociopath doesn’t give a reason for his behaviour. He doesn’t have to explain his rudeness because he doesn’t know that he is being rude because he has no concept of the social niceties which rule the current situation he finds himself in. His thought-process when he tells Molly that her mouth looks too small without lipstick is not about degradation; to him he is merely stating a fact about the physical shape of her lips in proportion to the rest of her face. When he abandons John at their first crime scene, it is not because he doesn’t like John, nor is he being discourteous. He just knows that he has to find the pink case that the killer dumped. Whether or not John accompanies him or not relevant to the purpose for him leaving the crime scene.
But where Doyle’s original story is stemmed heavily in Gothic horror territory (dual nature of man within the very two-faced Victorian society at the time), this Sherlock’s duplicity is rooted in his relationship with John. The illegal and legal drug use is touched on throughout the series; Lestrade and Mycroft separately organising a drug raid on 221B Baker Street, Sherlock’s use of patches instead of cigarettes.
However it is not a crutch which Sherlock leans on; instead it is his relationship with John. It is this relationship which makes Sherlock continually examine his behaviour, continually question his own judgements, and continually evaluate the evidence. It is John who saves Sherlock from his own self-destruction in ‘A Study in Pink’, by shooting the killer who has been baiting Sherlock to take a pill which will more than likely kill him.
This act assists Sherlock on his path to his own self-discovery and humanisation. The Sherlock who was about to take the pill doesn’t have anything to live for, and his arrogance is so extraordinary that he believes that he can outwit his way out of every situation. In ‘The Great Game’, Sherlock’s final attempt to outwit Moriarty will result in the death of himself, Moriarty and John and it is only a well-timed phone call from Irene Adler which prevents mutually assured destruction from occurring.
It is in ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ where Sherlock’s transformation from a cold and clinical detective to a friend who sacrifices his own life to save those around him. It is on the roof where Sherlock is completely outwitted by Moriarty, who calls Sherlock’s bluff and kills himself. By doing this, Sherlock has to kill himself, otherwise those closest to him; Mrs Hudson, Lestrade, John, will all be killed. Whilst ‘A Study in Pink’ and ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ both see Sherlock on the brink of suicide, his motives for the attempted suicide are at opposite ends of the spectrum. This Sherlock has evolved and is beginning to critically apply the concept of friendship, love, trust, and respect to his work. This magnificent feat of character development is none more evident than when comparing the Sherlock in ‘The Great Game’ to the Sherlock in ‘The Sign of Three’. In ‘The Great Game’, John is exasperated by Sherlock’s inability to care about the humanity of the current situation (“There are lives at stake Sherlock. Actual human lives. Just so I know, do you care about that at all?”). Sherlock sees no reason to exhaust any cognitive abilities on an aspect of the case which he views as irrelevant (“Will caring about them help save them? Then I’ll continue to not make that mistake.”). In ‘The Sign of Three’ during the delivery of his wedding speech and attempt to solve a murder plot, Sherlock states, “Don’t solve the murder, save the life”.
Sherlock can now see the value and respects his relationship with John, and this has led him to create new thought-processes and develop a different approach to his problem-solving. Whereas Seasons 1 and 2 of Sherlock featured a lonely but vast mind-palace, Season 3 has shown a mind-palace rich with symbolic interactions taken from Sherlock’s real world; Molly, Anderson, Mycroft, Redbeard, Irene, Mary and even Moriarty feature in Sherlock’s consciousness.
This reconstruction of his most private places is testimony to the evolution of his character and his integration with the ‘goldfish’. But Sherlock is still an anti-hero. He murders Magnussen by shooting him point-blank in the head, in order to protect Mary (and therefore John and Mycroft) from any further intimidation. His suicide being a fake was common knowledge amongst several people, but not John (for fear that John’s sentiment would put Sherlock at risk). His incredibly dark acts are precipitated by a protective response. Like Walter White, he has very good reasons for doing these very bad things. But he is still a very bad man.
This lecture is so fucking boring! Bring back the fucking cat, at least she varied her pitch and tone in her meowing.