Sherlock: The Lying Detective
January 8, 2017 8:08 PM - Season 4, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Sherlock faces one of the most chilling enemies of his long career: the powerful and seemingly unassailable Culverton Smith - a man with a very dark secret indeed.
posted by litera scripta manet (73 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is a MUCH better episode than the last. Not perfect but MUCH better.
posted by I-baLL at 8:20 PM on January 8, 2017 [15 favorites]


It's funny how the episode begins and ends on a gun barrel.
posted by I-baLL at 8:25 PM on January 8, 2017


I mean this as a compliment because I enjoyed it a whole lot, but there were stretches of that episode I found physically uncomfortable to watch. I've seen other commenters say the scene with the hospital kids was needless and draggy, and it was an odd bit, but man, it made my skin crawl.
posted by jameaterblues at 8:36 PM on January 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


I enjoyed nearly all of the episode but watching John physically attack Sherlock, even after he was on the ground, was just awful. If they're going the big-chunks-of-past-episodes-didn't-literally-happen route I hope to go they start with that.

(And I do think they're heading that way. In addition to all the previous imagery, in this episode we get Culverton telling us "I'm afraid that some of the memories you've had up to this point might also be corrupted". Yet as someone on tumblr pointed out, he never uses his Memory Juice on Sherlock, which is a hell of a Checkov's gun.)
posted by galaxy rise at 8:44 PM on January 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


Not enough Lestrade, but at least there was some detective work, which was nice.

If they're going the big-chunks-of-past-episodes-didn't-literally-happen route I hope to go they start with that.

I doubt they're going there with past episodes, but the next one might be chock full of Fake Memory Palace vs Real Memory Palace.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:57 PM on January 8, 2017


I think this was a great episode, overall. Far better than Six Thatchers, and probably my favorite out of Season 3 and Season 4 (To be fair, this may not be saying that much. I enjoyed lots of moments in Season 3, but it was definitely rather...uneven, to say the least).

Anyway, my one quibble is that I actually didn't find Toby Jones's Culverton Smith to be that frightening. Moriarty was pretty chilling, at least when I first watched those episodes. And Magnussen made my skin crawl in every single scene he was in. I still sometimes skip over some of his scenes because he's such a creep.

I'm not complaining, exactly. I enjoyed Smith as a character, but I just didn't find him particularly scPerhaps it's too much time spent watching Hannibal. That whole, "I kill because I like killing people and have no regard for human life" thing just loses some of it's weight after a show like Hannibal. And it's not like Culverton Smith even ate any of his victims.

But the show itself was definitely unsettling. The portrayal of John and Sherlock and both of them grappling with their grief over Mary was great.

I wasn't thrilled about the little Mary ghost though. It was nice to see Mary again, especially to see her without being hit over the head with the whole "I'm a murder spy!" thing, but it also drove home the fact that it feels like Mary was always just there as a prop for John and Sherlock, not as a character in her own right.

It will be interesting to see where they go with the whole Sherrinford/long lost sister thing in the next episode.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:31 PM on January 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


A couple other random thoughts:

I have to admit that for a second there, I thought the therapist was going to pull off a wig and glasses and reveal herself to be Moriarty. Clearly this show and/or fandom is getting in to my head too much.

I really love Lady Smallwood, so I'm glad they've kept her in as a recurring character. I thought it was cute the way she flirted with Mycroft.

Although that does remind me of one thing that rubbed me the wrong way. It really seemed like Mycroft was playing dumb, either on purpose or via poor writing. He's always shown himself to be quite good at understanding human psychology even when he himself can't relate in the same way. And he's even better at understanding Sherlock's psychology. So why was he acting in this episode like he couldn't understand that Sherlock's unravelling was because of Mary dying? That made no sense to me.

I love Mrs. Hudson, even if the whole car thing was a bit ridiculous. Incidentally, she's probably the most fully formed female character in this show, the only one not defined by her falling in love with one of the male characters. Somewhat ironic, given how much of a non-character the landlady is in the original stories. But Una Stubbs is awesome, always.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:45 PM on January 8, 2017 [10 favorites]


Prediction: Sherringford is the name of the asylum Eurus has been all these years, or at least was supposed to be. At the very least the dialogue about Sherringford has been very carefully constructed to never confirm that Sherrington is a person. (And I know he is in the books, but that proves nothing.)

Also: Better episode. A little confusing overall -- I think I'll need another viewing. But at least I want to see it again.
posted by argybarg at 9:47 PM on January 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


(And I know he is in the books, but that proves nothing.)

He's not a character in the books, Sherrinford Hope was a name for Holmes in an early draft, and then was picked up by Baring-Gould's fanfic.

I agree that in BBC Sherlock it's probably a place, not a person.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:56 PM on January 8, 2017 [5 favorites]


Oh good catch, thanks.
posted by argybarg at 10:03 PM on January 8, 2017


I enjoyed nearly all of the episode but watching John physically attack Sherlock, even after he was on the ground, was just awful.

I thought that was narratively necessary. Mary's death forced Sherlock and Watson to confront some uncomfortable truths. Watson had been hiding from his rage (or at least from expressing it directly to Sherlock) and from the gap between the person he was the person Mary believed him to be, and Sherlock had been running from the worth Mary put on his life. All that grief and guilt was bound to converge in a physically and emotionally raw confrontation.

But was anybody else bugged by Mrs. Hudson's giggling? Initially I thought it was going to be the tipoff that this would turn out to be all in Sherlock's head, because it was so out of character. Especially when she explains about the mantel-stabbing -- she always struck me as someone who would deliver that without laughing that way.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 10:39 PM on January 8, 2017


Smith was terrifying because Smith was Savile.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 10:53 PM on January 8, 2017 [29 favorites]


For British viewers, it's fairly obvious early on that Smith is Savile (fun runs, honours, etc), but I don't know how much overseas viewers would really know about him?

The mortuary bit would maybe strike as far-fetched unless you knew it was an actual thing that happened, as was a celebrity having keys to a hospital. Threatening staff with the sack etc.
posted by threetwentytwo at 12:09 AM on January 9, 2017 [10 favorites]


Smith reminded me in a few instances of Trump. That bit about the Queen could open an abattoir and we'd all buy tickets because she's so rich and powerful she could get away with anything reminded me of what he said during the campaign about being able to shoot someone and everyone would still love him. The scenes where he's behind a (game show?) counter pressing a big red button and saying things like "Don't call us, we'll call you" reminded me of the Apprentice and the spot where he's advertising (presumably) a restaurant implied to me, because of the flames, that it was a steakhouse. Not all of it fit so...maybe I'm just seeing patterns. I certainly don't think Trump is as devious and sharp as Smith seemed to be. It's not a stretch for people (especially wealthy ones) to assume they're untouchable by the law. I'll read more into the Savile horror, I remember hearing about him but didn't do much in-depth reading. Anyway, that was my quick impression. Smith WAS creepy to me, but didn't inspire in me (as far as a TV show can do) the extreme fear that Moriarty does.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 12:27 AM on January 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


Euros is not, of course, a girl's name.
posted by Grangousier at 2:38 AM on January 9, 2017


Smith was creepy enough to serve his purpose. Holmes and Watson taking care of him was just a side dish anyway. It was probably the best episode since the second season of the show but the ending wrote a pretty big check. That always concerns me. Especially when this particular show has ranged from one of the best things I have ever seen on TV to something I am almost too irritated at to finish watching. Although in fairness this incarnation of Moriarty was so fantastic that it would have been almost impossible to follow the first couple of seasons with something that felt as engaging.

The scene with the kids was just a bit too weird even for this show.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 3:03 AM on January 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


I've just had a horrible thought.

Moffat might be setting up Euros to be Transgendered, and I don't even want to consider the unfortunate implications and media fallout from that stupid trope being regurgitated *again*.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:46 AM on January 9, 2017 [5 favorites]


Anyway, my one quibble is that I actually didn't find Toby Jones's Culverton Smith to be that frightening.

Me neither. Unless I blinked and missed it, there wasn't ever any actual depiction of any killing he may have perpetrated. Nor was there any reason given as to why Sherlock publicly denounced him as a killer. Other than a drug-fueled psychosis, we're never told why Sherlock has such an opinion of the guy. Have there been a raft of killings? There's just no sense made of the sudden antagonism aimed at this specific target.

The opening scene of him dosing his board with the memory-killing drug was sinister as hell, but it never paid-off in any meaningful way. That he had a permanent room at the ready with the drug implied he was, in fact, killing people, but there really should have been some meat behind the implication.

I thought the whole "Sherlock told us you'd be at this address today, two weeks ago" conceit to be ludicrous.

Overall, a better-ish episode than Six Thatchers, but still too manic and exhausting for my tastes. For me, Sherlock is more effective in a brooding mode, than bouncing around the scenery like David Tennant's Who on speed.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:01 AM on January 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


So why was he acting in this episode like he couldn't understand that Sherlock's unravelling was because of Mary dying? That made no sense to me.

The best way to resolve this problem is to conclude that Mycroft understood more or less what Sherlock was doing but chose to back his play, including acting as if he were trying to "solve the problem" when he understood very well what was going on. It's not perfect, but it'll have to do. (It's otherwise unimaginable that Mycroft would leave Sherlock in that hospital to be creeped upon by Culverton.)

There were some character moments in this episode I really liked, but the final twist was just too damn soapy for me. Also I don't think I can bear another Moffat pseudo-"strong female character" who ends up living and dying for the men, which seems very likely here (presumably she is on a revenge spree of some kind).
posted by praemunire at 8:27 AM on January 9, 2017 [6 favorites]


Moffat might be setting up Euros to be Transgendered, and I don't even want to consider the unfortunate implications and media fallout from that stupid trope being regurgitated *again*.

This thought occurred to me also, actually, especially with the whole brother/sister fake out, but I almost didn't want to mention that because, well, Moftiss is bad enough when it comes to portraying cis-woman. I can't imagine that they would handle a trans character in a way that isn't offensive and tone deaf.

But I think this probably won't turn out to be the case. In both Six Thatchers and this episode, Sherlock had that apparent flashback with the singing and the two kids running on the beach, and it looks like one of those kids is a girl, so I'm guessing it's more likely this is a memory of his sister from when he was little. Though that too could be a fake out.

At the same time, isn't it a bit odd that Sherlock wouldn't recognize his own sister when she came to him impersonating Faith, even in his drugged up state? I guess maybe if he hadn't seen her in a very long time, since they were little kids, then it could be reasonable.

Oh, and apparently the actor who plays Euros Holmes is Sian Brooke, who starred along Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet. I didn't actually recognize her in this, although I did see that production of Hamlet.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:31 AM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Smith was terrifying because Smith was Savile.

For British viewers, it's fairly obvious early on that Smith is Savile (fun runs, honours, etc), but I don't know how much overseas viewers would really know about him?

Yeah, I'm from the US, and I didn't put that together, although now that I know about the reference, I could definitely see how that would add an extra layer of creepiness to Culverton Smith's portrayal in this episode, especially with the scene with the kids at the hospital.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:40 AM on January 9, 2017


I guess maybe if he hadn't seen her in a very long time, since they were little kids, then it could be reasonable.

That's what I think: that Euros was taken away when he was very young. The family may even have chosen to act as if she didn't exist, basically remolding Sherlock's memories. "It's never twins" "I'm the smart one", etc.

It's a bit puzzling though in that (to my eye at least) she looks several years younger than Sherlock. Too young to be a twin, too young to be sent off when Sherlock was truly too young to remember (since she probably wasn't, like, murdering innocent Irish setters while in diapers).
posted by praemunire at 8:48 AM on January 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


The opening scene of him dosing his board with the memory-killing drug was sinister as hell, but it never paid-off in any meaningful way.

I took this scene as Moffat taking a swipe at the British establishment who turned a blind eye to Savile. So many people claimed not to have known anything about what he was like. Choosing amnesia indeed.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 9:01 AM on January 9, 2017 [11 favorites]


It's a bit puzzling though in that (to my eye at least) she looks several years younger than Sherlock. Too young to be a twin, too young to be sent off when Sherlock was truly too young to remember

I was just looking up the ages of the actors, and Sian Brooke is apparently 36 or 37 according to wikipedia, which makes her a few years younger than Cumberbatch. Of course, that doesn't necessarily tell us anything. Mycroft is 7 years older than Sherlock, but Gatiss is actually 10 years older than Cumberbatch.

Although if we assume that Euros is a couple years younger than Sherlock, it's still possible that they could have last seen each other when Sherlock was quite young, and maybe Sherlock was lead to believe that Euros had died?

Also, in the final scene, Euros mentions a mutual friend putting her in touch with Faith. Given the black light reveal of "Miss me" on the note, are they implying that the mutual friend is Moriarty?
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:02 AM on January 9, 2017


I found it distracting that Jones used the same accent he used for Hitchcock in The Girl. Instead of seeing a creepy billionaire serial killer, I kept seeing a creepy director. I don't know if this is Jones's "real" accent, but I've definitely heard him use others.
posted by ubiquity at 9:30 AM on January 9, 2017


Given the black light reveal of "Miss me" on the note, are they implying that the mutual friend is Moriarty?

I assume so. Putting criminals together is totally Moriarty's MO.
posted by praemunire at 9:34 AM on January 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I can't take credit for this idea, but...

I was reading some comments on one of the preview clips of series 4, and someone brought up the ACD story, "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire," which I reread just now. And as the commentor pointed out, when E/Euros was texting with John, she responded his "Night owl?" text with "Vampire."

(Spoilers for Sussex Vampire story below.)

So in that story, this husband goes to Holmes because his wife is apparently suspected of being a vampire and sucking the blood out of their baby. Ultimately it turns out that the teenage son of the husband, who is the step son of the supposed vampire wife, attempted to poison the baby out of jealousy, and the wife was sucking out the poison to save the baby. (The wife didn't reveal this to the husband because the husband so adored his son that she didn't think she would be believed.) One of the clues in the story is the family's dog, who the son had poisoned as a test before using it on the baby.

(end spoilers)

It is true in that flashback of the kids on the beach, we see Redbeard the Irish setter spliced in as well (in Six Thatchers). So is the whole vampire thing a clue? Maybe Euros poisoned Redbeard, and then tried to poison Sherlock? And maybe Sherlock blocked this out in some way?
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:05 AM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also, although the BBC site says The Final Problem is 90 minutes long, PBS has it blocked off for a full two hours when I looked at the TV schedule for next Sunday. (I checked because someone somewhere mentioned the episode being 110 minutes long, probably another comment I read.) Is this possibly going to be an extra long episode? Or maybe they just plan to have 30 minutes of some sort of interview or discussion or recap or whatever. Has anyone heard anything definitive about this?
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:09 AM on January 9, 2017


I doubt it's anything but random thanks to donors and such.

I have a strong aversion to cruelty to animals, especially to dogs, and I'm honestly wondering if I should get someone to screen this episode for me ahead of time, because I doubt Redbeard died a natural death.
posted by praemunire at 11:01 AM on January 9, 2017


I... kind of viscerally disliked most of this episode. Double unreliable narrators! Toby Jones' weird Roy Chubby Brown impersonation! Sherlock all messed up! John's hallucinating his dead wife, and somehow by the end of the episode this is supposed to be okay instead of deeply troubling!

On the plus side: Mrs. Hudson has agency! And I liked the cliffhanger reveal.

(There's a hint that all is not well at the therapist's office in the set dressing: the uneven, dark red calfskin rug on the floor that looks like a puddle of blood.)

Confused, though: how do the Euros and Culverton stories intertwine? Unmasking Culverton is the "go to hell" mystery that Sherlock needs to "save John", but he's put onto it by Euros as fake-Culverton's-daughter. Is this just coincidence?

Also also: the boardroom scene, with the memory-inhibitor drips, exists for us only in Euros' telling. Was it real? We did see a similar room at the hospital which suggests that it was; so Euros knows a lot about Culverton's methods.

Smith was terrifying because Smith was Savile.

Oh damn. I didn't realize this until I read that comment but yes, of course: the monster hiding in plain sight, the children's charities, the unlimited access to hospitals, the unpleasant happenings in the mortuary.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:34 AM on January 9, 2017 [4 favorites]


I've been trying to analyze why I had such an...aggravated...response to this episode, which I thought was even worse than the series premiere. Part of it was the plotting, which I thought dragged as usual; part of it was the Euros subplot, which I thought was melodramatic and kind of silly (you know a detective series has derailed itself when it fixates on villains obsessed with the protagonists, instead of non-regulars); part of it was the idea that Irene Adler is a good romantic match for Sherlock, because, no. I've decided it's because I don't think the central relationship between Sherlock and John has any psychological verisimilitude, and so episodes that have little in the way of detecting (there was almost none here--the pursuit of Culverton Smith makes almost no sense) but lots in the way of relationship angst annoy me.

That being said, the episode was a kind of fix-fic for "The Dying Detective," in which canon Holmes really is a jerk to Watson.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:59 AM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Holy fucking shit was that good. It's an entirely non-canon plot too which makes it all the more surprising. I've been a huge Holmes fan all my life & in general I really dislike people meddling with the canon of well established fictional worlds but I thought this was an excellent exception. But I'm not entirely thrilled about the idea of a third sibling (we'll see how it develops, I know it was proposed quite early on in Holmes fandom's history) & I'm still not happy at all about Mary being turned into a member of a wetwork team instead of a simple governess. I entirely approve of cheeky Mrs Hudson though; I understand the value of Bechdel but it's really hard to meet the standard with a famously cold & openly misogynistic main character without creating huge turmoil.
posted by scalefree at 4:30 PM on January 9, 2017


Watson: Who's car is that?
Mrs. Hudson: That's my car.
W: How can that be your car?
MH: Oh for god's sake, I'm the widow of a drug dealer, I own property in central London, and for the last bloody time, John, I'm not your housekeeper!


...? When was that established?
posted by porpoise at 4:31 PM on January 9, 2017


I'm pretty sure she says in S1 and/or S2 that she's their landlady, not their housekeeper. It may even have been a running gag, because Ignoring Mrs. Hudson Was Funny.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 5:06 PM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


...? When was that established?

Very first episode, A Study in Pink. Holmes explains that's why they're getting such a good deal on the apartment, because he helped put her husband away. She gives more details about his history in S03E02, The Sign of Three. He was executed by lethal injection for a double murder. She had no idea about any of it when he was running drugs, but she does like the doobie.
posted by scalefree at 5:08 PM on January 9, 2017 [6 favorites]


If the season were six or eight episodes long, it could handle one which is basically a long Sherlockian bender induced to draw Watson out of his funk. Except he'd already been full hot for days? weeks? when the "client" appeared.

The Culverton Smith character didn't work for me. I thought he was some combination of Trump and Saville but the hospital scene with the kids dragged on pointlessly, I mean, didn't adults and kids find Saville charming and funny? which is why he got away with it for so long? He was more Trump-like there, overbearing and oblivious. The Mycroft/Mrs. Hudson scene was over the top as well for the reasons mentioned above.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:08 PM on January 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


Then in HLV we get additional clarification about it not just being murder, but drug-related stuff:

SHERLOCK: Even the landlady used to run a drug cartel.
MRS HUDSON: It was my husband’s cartel. I was just typing.

posted by dorque at 5:09 PM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Confused, though: how do the Euros and Culverton stories intertwine?

This was puzzling me as well. But I think Euros used Smith to draw Sherlock out. She figured out what Smith was doing and created a trail of breadcrumbs for Sherlock. What's not clear to me is why she needed to mess with Jon while Mary was still alive. Was it to foster guilt and shame in him so he'd seek out a therapist? If so, that would mean that she also influenced Mary to lead her to choose to sacrifice herself.

It was good to see Jon get to do some deduction, both with Sherlock and Mycroft.

Pity Sherlock barely does any any more, at least in ways that lead to cases being solved. He's now been played by both of the last nemeses he's encountered. I hate the way we are never allowed to learn things at the same pace that Sherlock does.
posted by dry white toast at 8:00 PM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


Overall, a better-ish episode than Six Thatchers, but still too manic and exhausting for my tastes. For me, Sherlock is more effective in a brooding mode, than bouncing around the scenery like David Tennant's Who on speed.

I agree with this. My local PBS station showed "The Six Thatchers" and this episode back-to-back, and by the end I was feeling wrung-out and frazzled.
posted by MrBadExample at 10:58 PM on January 9, 2017 [2 favorites]


Does the removal of the contact lens at the end mean that Eurus is in fact heterochromic? And she added one lens to look normal?

Would Sherlock have made the connection between this odd characteristic and the sister he had not seen for so many years?

I pegged the bus-girl as wearing a wig in TST- it just looked fake. But her costuming, hair and make-up as the therapist were excellently misdirecting. And then again as the false Faith... she really transformed herself well and the reveal was kind of amazing.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:21 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


But I think Eurus used Smith to draw Sherlock out. She figured out what Smith was doing and created a trail of breadcrumbs for Sherlock.

This gets to the point of what leaves me with a sour taste for Sherlock anymore. There's just so much of the story that we are left to fill-in somehow. Just how did Euros come to know what Smith was up to? Was that Eurus posing as Smith's daughter in the first boardroom scene? If so, what did she do with Smith's daughter? Also, Smith takes the notes away from her as she's succumbing to the memory drug, so how did Eurus have it to give to Sherlock?

And, how did she come to know what Smith was up to? Again, we aren't given even a glimpse that he's actually killing people. He only says he'd like to. We're left to imagine far too much that may, or may not, have occurred. He's never established as a monster that must be stopped. He's just depicted as a loud-mouthed boor. Annoying, but not deadly.

I keep getting the feeling this season is being used as an interstitial to set-up next season. As if the whole season could probably have been boiled-down to a two-hour Christmas special.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:35 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Does the removal of the contact lens at the end mean that Eurus is in fact heterochromic? And she added one lens to look normal?

I'd say it's more just that there's no need to show her removing both lenses for the viewer to infer that she's wearing contacts as part of her disguise. Efficiency in the editing.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:43 AM on January 10, 2017


It's incredibly vague as to whether the first boardroom scene (the subsequent scene) of her writing out what she could remember actually happened. I think the implication is that, being a Holmes child, Euros is smart enough to have figured out what Smith was up to. And she also apparently specializes in disguise so maybe she did try to pass as Smith's daughter.

But I agree that it's not particularly strong story telling to set things up this way.
posted by dry white toast at 4:44 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yes, the more you think about it, the more you realize that the plot only works if you assume all bad guys are obsessed with Sherlock and arbitrarily organize (and coordinate!) all their plans around him. "Moriarty" is a standard and ACD-canonical handwave for "how two criminals get together," so really it's just a question of your patience for that. I admit mine is not infinite, as I am only willing to allot each TV detective one personal enemy.

It's a bit like the change from older to New Who, in that as a child watching Dr. Who, I always thought of the Gallifreyans as very powerful and dangerous, but also plunked down in the middle of a universe of powerful and dangerous creatures, and the Doctor himself was more of a random rogue than the linchpin of history. Whereas in New Who the Gallifreyans are basically gods and the Doctor the most impressive of said gods. Less fun for me.
posted by praemunire at 8:51 AM on January 10, 2017 [8 favorites]


I found this episode unenjoyable. There's the problem of Euros passing as Smith's daughter to Smith himself (perhaps he was THAT high on killing someone?). I also find it hard to believe she would be able to fool Sherlock, although that can be handwaved away with his on drugs not thinking straight issues. I don't think Sherlock would recognize her as his sister, but it's hard believe he wouldn't spot colored contacts and potentially other signs of her being an imposter so close up.

Smith did definitely remind me of Trump so it's interesting to see the Saville connection. Even so, one murder doesn't a serial killer make. All the confessions seem to indicate he murdered multiple people, but there's really no indication of that except for the one introductory scene.

Honestly this episode seemed like a huge mess to me. There were some moments. I did like John finally admitting he's not the man Sherlock and Mary thought he was and it's interesting that in this case John was pretending to be something he wasn't. I'm also glad that the woman on the bus wasn't going to be a seamless new romantic interest. But overall I really didn't enjoy this episode.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:15 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


Was that Eurus posing as Smith's daughter in the first boardroom scene?
There's the problem of Euros passing as Smith's daughter to Smith himself
In the boardroom scene it's the actual daughter (played by Gina Bramhill), not Euros (Sian Brooke). It's quite obvious when watching the scene again, since there's a couple of shots where her face can be seen clearly. The real Faith writes the note, which is retrieved by Smith and later given to Euros (for reasons undisclosed).
posted by elgilito at 9:43 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


That's slightly less problematic, as Sherlock then first (as an adult) encounters Euros as an imposter. It's still problematic for his later encounter as a therapist.

Euros also adds the "Miss me?" to the note. Now Mary's DVD also has "Miss me?" on it. Now this leads to a lot of questions. Is the original source of the miss me image with moriarty Euros? Why would Mary's video have that if she had an "in case of death sent this" trigger?
posted by miss-lapin at 10:54 AM on January 10, 2017


This doesn't help resolve any theories about Euros the character... but I'd just like to point out that Euros Lyn directed season 1's "The Blind Banker" and that the name can also be denoted as €s.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 11:11 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Euros also adds the "Miss me?" to the note. Now Mary's DVD also has "Miss me?" on it. Now this leads to a lot of questions.

I think Mary just put it on the DVD guarantee Sherlock would watch it right away; (I'm hoping) there won't turn out to be a connection with Moriarty.

Is the original source of the miss me image with moriarty Euros?

I think so, and I'm also beginning to think that Moftiss are going to retcon Euros as a master criminal who was actually manipulating Moriarty. As the most brilliant and lethal of the Holmes children, Euros was playing everyone the whole time. So Euros is responsible for Moriarty's reappearance in HLV, and the "Miss me?" turns out to be a veiled message to her brothers. If she was playing Moriarty from S1, she could have gotten wind of Smith's killings and her hands on Faith's note through his network of criminals.

I admit this sounds farfetched, but only insofar as The Master vs. The Doctor plots were farfetched, and maybe all logic is Who logic now?
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 12:08 PM on January 10, 2017 [5 favorites]


Oh christ I was hoping not.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:19 PM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


I very strongly prefer to believe that Moriarty somehow became aware of her existence and arranged for her escape in the event of his death as his posthumous game. If she was hospitalized/imprisoned from childhood, it's possible she's already gotten out at least once, because if she was simply shut away forever at the age she'd have to be for Sherlock not to remember her, I doubt Sir Edwin and Lady Smallwood would be particularly conscious of her (or that Mycroft would mention her "going rogue"). She could have met him then.

If it proves to be "all four seasons come down to Euros," that's going to be immensely off-putting. The show's already overcome some pretty stinky episodes, simply because they were one-offs and could ultimately just be forgotten, but that kind of rewrite cheeses up everything.
posted by praemunire at 12:49 PM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]


re Sherrinford and extreme Doctor Who nerdery - he was the third Holmes brother in the marvelous 90s Who/Holmes/Lovecraft mash up novel All Consuming Fire which I'd bet is where Moffat + Gatiss picked it up from.
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:33 PM on January 10, 2017


My initial gut-reaction, which I'm going to stick with, is that Euros will turn out to be Moriarty (and always was).
posted by coriolisdave at 5:56 PM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


In the captioning, it was spelled "Eurus," but I don't know that that means much of anything.
posted by lauranesson at 6:23 PM on January 10, 2017


Wikipedia seems to believe that "Eurus" is the more common spelling, dating to roman times, but that "Euros" is a more standardized transliteration and is also in use sometimes.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 6:49 PM on January 10, 2017


"Euros" is the proper transliteration of the Greek Ευροσ (excuse the lack of breathing marks, accents, and a proper terminal sigma). Even if you don't know the Greek alphabet, you can see the -os there at the end. Eurus is, I think, the way the Romans spelled it, but you don't get to say it's Greek and then spell it the Latin way, especially since it's not a familiar name which people would otherwise be puzzled by. So say I. Even though I will probably give in if it becomes the convention.
posted by praemunire at 9:01 PM on January 10, 2017


However spelled, I'm still more fond of another author's version of the 3rd Holmes sibling story, that of Enola Eudoria Hadassah Holmes.
posted by bartleby at 10:46 PM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


(The reason I mention that Euros isn't a girl's name is that there's a director who's worked on both Sherlock and Dr Who called Euros Lyn, which I immediately thought was where they got the name from. I assume it's just that they don't understand gender-appropriate naming in the Holmes family.)
posted by Grangousier at 11:52 AM on January 11, 2017


The Nerdwriter goes over some of the brilliant editing in this episode: How to Film Thought.
posted by moons in june at 12:00 AM on January 12, 2017 [3 favorites]


re Sherrinford and extreme Doctor Who nerdery - he was the third Holmes brother in the marvelous 90s Who/Holmes/Lovecraft mash up novel All Consuming Fire which I'd bet is where Moffat + Gatiss picked it up from.

The origin of Sherrinford as the third (oldest actually) Holmes sibling is a "biography" of Holmes by Holmes scholar William S. Baring-Gould titled Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A Life of the World's First Consulting Detective written in 1962. He theorized that since Holmes' parents were country squires & neither Sherlock nor Mycroft stayed to look after the estate there had to be a third brother who did; custom dictated that was a task for the eldest brother. He knew about the early name Conan Doyle considered & borrowed it for his hypothetical third Holmes sibling. Sometimes he gets carried away & extrapolates a bit too far trying to emulate the abilities of his subject. But all in all it's very good.

Lord knows the guy knew his Holmes - he took all of ACD's writings & rearranged them chronologically in an edition called The Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Four Novels and the Fifty-Six Short Stories Complete, adding all sorts of notes, maps, diagrams, everything he could find. It's somewhere between a compendium & an encyclopedia - two volumes! He also wrote an earlier version in 1955, The Chronological Holmes: A complete dating of the adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. He self published it with a very small run, it's super expensive & rare now. I think the later one is on Kindle now though.

Yes I subscribed to a Sherlock Holmes fan zine as a kid with all the usual stuff you'd expect to find in one; fanfic, letters, analyses & speculation, mystery challenges to solve; & I pored over each one with great fervor.
posted by scalefree at 12:53 AM on January 12, 2017 [7 favorites]


Eurus's name has a lot of significance in Holmes canon because of its meaning, "East Wind". In His Last Bow Watson visits Holmes in his retirement raising bees at the Sussex estate & they have an exchange meant to prefigure WWI that starts with the phrase "There's an East wind coming, Watson." I seem to recall they used that phrase in the series too, presumably in the episode named after it, His Last Vow (S03E03) but I might be wrong about that. Aha, found it: "The East Wind takes us all in the end. It's a story my brother told me when we were kids. The East Wind – this terrifying force that lays waste to all in its path." So yeah, she's gonna be trouble.
posted by scalefree at 1:27 AM on January 12, 2017 [8 favorites]


Whoa!! Moons in June, that Nerdwriter video blew my mind!! Thanks so much for posting.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:52 AM on January 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


Lord knows the guy knew his Holmes - he took all of ACD's writings & rearranged them chronologically in an edition called The Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Four Novels and the Fifty-Six Short Stories Complete, adding all sorts of notes, maps, diagrams, everything he could find. It's somewhere between a compendium & an encyclopedia - two volumes!

Half that stuff is made up/extremely speculative, though; it's like Pale Fire. I long for an annotated edition that's based in reality.

The East Wind in "His Last Bow" is WWI. We know how "cleansing" that turned out to be. An ill omen.
posted by praemunire at 8:45 AM on January 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


Half that stuff is made up/extremely speculative, though; it's like Pale Fire. I long for an annotated edition that's based in reality.

You're thinking of his other book, the "biography" Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. The Annotated Sherlock Holmes is just the actual canon as written by ACD but ordered chronologically with footnotes (tons & tons & tons of them), illustrations & photos (again lots; some taken from various editions of the stories over the years & some just added for context) plus a few chapters of background & context written by Baring-Gould. There's a fair amount of speculation in the footnotes, there's open issues & he tackles them head on. But there's nothing at all made up out of whole cloth, promise. I got my own copy out to make sure my memory was accurate. It was. It's exactly what you're looking for, you should check it out.
posted by scalefree at 10:32 PM on January 12, 2017


There's a fair amount of speculation in the footnotes, there's open issues & he tackles them head on.

I have them. I recognized enough badly-marked wild speculation that I don't really trust anything that's in there.
posted by praemunire at 7:49 AM on January 13, 2017


To each his own.
posted by scalefree at 8:20 AM on January 13, 2017


> I understand the value of Bechdel but it's really hard to meet the standard with a famously cold & openly misogynistic main character without creating huge turmoil.

Gender-swapping Joan for John Watson in Elementary works for me. While conversations with other women are often dominated by talk of Sherlock, her relationship with her sister is pleasantly human (vs. Jonny Miller's robotic manner). Her relationship with Kitty Winter was good too. It probably helped that she began as Sherlock's sober companion so despite the fact that they're both straight, romance wasn't in the cards. Also, I know a Joan Watson, so it's always fun when I hear her name.
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 12:16 PM on January 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'd say it's more just that there's no need to show her removing both lenses for the viewer to infer that she's wearing contacts as part of her disguise. Efficiency in the editing.

There's definitely a full on scene of her face where she has eyes with two different colors after taking one of the lenses out so I think you're supposed to gather that she's heterochromic.

I found the ghost Mary to be a bit tiring over time, though since John's not super chatty it might be hard to get more out of his internal monologue ("I'm not the man you think I am"). Did not get the Savile connection but of course it makes perfect sense now. Toby Jones was wearing prosthetic teeth to further that effect which, again, makes sense in hindsight.

I do find some of the handwavey "Because drugs!" stuff a little tiresome. I sort of appreciated Watson hitting Holmes in the face. After all of his "I'll save her. I'll save her." stuff with Mary, that's certainly what i would have wanted to do.
posted by jessamyn at 3:10 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


litera scripta manet: Anyway, my one quibble is that I actually didn't find Toby Jones's Culverton Smith to be that frightening.

That's the point. Slightly off-putting at worse, and mostly a convivial type of person, after all he's a celebrity.

Sherlock: Additionally, serial killers are easily profiled. They tend to be social outcasts, educationally subnormal.
Culverton: No, no, no, no, no, no. You're just talking about the ones you know. The ones you've caught. But hello, dummy, you only catch the dumb ones.


Thorzdad: Unless I blinked and missed it, there wasn't ever any actual depiction of any killing he may have perpetrated. Nor was there any reason given as to why Sherlock publicly denounced him as a killer.

I thought that was the point - like Savile, who
At the time of his death he was widely praised for his personal qualities and as a fund-raiser. After his death, hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse were made against him, leading the police to believe that Savile had been a predatory sex offender—possibly one of Britain's most prolific.
He's supposed to be smart enough (and rich enough) to get away with it. Eurus-as-Faith was the one who clued Sherlock in:
Culverton gave me Faith's original note. A mutual friend* put us in touch. Did Sherlock ever tell you about the note? I added some deductions for Sherlock. He was quite good. But... he didn't get the big one.
* Who we are to believe is Moriarty.

Then there's the odd comments by Smith and others:

Chemistry company friend: I didn't exactly know who you were going to be using [TD 12] on.
Faith: You mean you didn't ask? (Chemistry guy felt something was up, but didn't ask because it's Culverton, and he's a good guy and/or good investor.)

Culverton: Saheed... this time, knock. (Which implied to me that he had been in the morgue before and Saheed walked in and saw ... something, but said nothing.)

Nurse Cornish: Oh, has that door locked itself again? Yeah, it's always doing that. (Again, somehow no one notices that this room "locks itself" when someone happens to die inside.)

None of those things on their own might be enough to push an investigation, but once you start patching these instances together, it creates an image of a serial killer who has enough intelligence and connections to get away with his own murder house, er, hospital.

As to the "why this case, and why now?" I think it was supposed to be something of chance - Sherlock was going to go on a bender regardless, and then throw himself into the first big, dangerous case that came along. This was that case. At least, that's what I believe at this point.


Rufous-headed Towhee heehee: Smith reminded me in a few instances of Trump. That bit about the Queen could open an abattoir and we'd all buy tickets because she's so rich and powerful she could get away with anything reminded me of what he said during the campaign about being able to shoot someone and everyone would still love him.

A bit of pedantry: we wouldn't all love him -- "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump said at a campaign rally in Sioux Center, Iowa (January 2016, via CNN; more prophetic than the new Teflon Don probably realized).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:02 PM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


Sherlock season 4 episode 1: Did you catch the Easter egg teasing episode 2’s Toby Jones villain? It looks as though he'll be a well-known figure (I rewatched that scene, and the poster caption isn't completely uncovered to tell us what it's murder in).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:10 PM on January 17, 2017


Now that I've seen the episode after this one, it's clear that the eye thing was a red herring since she clearly has matching eyes in episode 3.
posted by jessamyn at 7:29 AM on January 18, 2017


Was I the only one who immediately recognized Eurus-as-Faith in the new therapist? It sort of interfered with my enjoyment of the episode, because I kept thinking, wait, Sherlock is not going to address that Faith and the therapist look basically the same?
posted by peacheater at 12:32 PM on January 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


peacheater, I know it's July and you'll probably never read this, but this just aired in Japan and I just saw it. I could tell that Faith and the therapist were the same actress and it took me away from the story, too! I kept wondering why the actress who was playing Smith's daughter in the meeting room scene and the actress who came to see Sherlock were different and it really bugged me throughout the episode.
posted by misozaki at 5:51 AM on July 17, 2017


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