I mentioned in my review of the last episode of Sherlock that there were some gaping plot holes in the storyline. For those of you who have seen the series and are as puzzled as I am about some of the decisions made by the writers, at the suggestion of Eric Riley, I decided to open up the discussion because sometimes there are subtle and fleeting references that address some of the issues that one misses on the first go-round. I picked up some of them when I watched some of the episodes the second time. I hope that those who have not seen the show yet will come back here later and join the discussion.
It used to be the case that when Sherlock made some deep inferences, they would become at least somewhat plausible when he explained his deductive reasoning. But as Marshall said, as the series went on even after he explained, you would realize that it was highly improbable. One specific example was the way that Sherlock knew that Watson would be having a counseling session at that location two weeks before it happened, and had told Mrs. Hudson and Molly Hooper and Culverton Smith to go there at that specific time.
Here are some of the things that I thought made little sense.
- It is true that our childhood memories can be unreliable but is it likely that Sherlock would not recall that he had a sister or confuse a childhood friend with a dog?
- If the story his parents were told was that their daughter had died in a fire, surely they would have had photos of her and talked wistfully of her from time to time, even if she were psychotic? Why would they obliterate all traces of her?
- If Mycroft was the one behind her incarceration in a secret prison and the fake story of her death, that would have had to have occurred after he was a big shot in the government, which would mean that he, and thus Sherlock, would have been quite old when it happened.
- How was Eurus able to get in and out from her isolated maximum security prison for extended periods seemingly with no one noticing?
- If she had taken control of the prison because of her enormous mind-control powers (itself a highly absurd plot device), why did she remain there?
- What was the point of spending so much time setting up a flirtation with Watson starting on the bus?
- What was the point of setting up a fake counseling practice on the remote chance that Watson would choose her? Eurus seems to have used the home of a stranger to set up her fake practice. How could she know that the homeowner would not come back? And if her schedule was available for Sherlock to find out when Watson would be there, that would mean that she had planned it a long time in advance. What was the point if all she wanted to do was shoot Watson with a tranquilizer?
- Why did Sherlock, Mycroft, and Watson hatch up that elaborate scheme with the fishing boat to get into Sherrinford? We are told that Mycroft outranked pretty much everyone in the British government. He could have just walked into the place and taken charge without the disguise, like he did after revealing himself to the prison warden.
- Wasn’t Watson’s feet chained at the bottom of the well? How come throwing down a rope enabled him to escape?
- What was Eurus’s motivation for everything she did? Just to get Sherlock to pay attention to her? Was that why she killed his friend Redbeard and then tried to kill Watson, out of jealousy?
- What was Eurus’s connection with Culverton Smith? She says that he gave her the note that his daughter had written to set up the meeting with Sherlock. Was Smith using her to entice Sherlock to investigate him? Why would he need her to achieve that end? And wouldn’t it mean that the elaborate series of deductions Sherlock made in the street about her life based on that note were all wrong?
On the plus side, Moriarty is well and truly dead, despite the scene with his reappearance that suggested that his earlier death too was a massive hoax.
So many questions! These are the items that came to my mind without any effort at all. I am sure that more questions will come to mind later and I am looking forward to hearing what others have to say. Surely these shows have script doctors who would have noticed these things also and pointed them out to the writers? Marcus Ranum says that after a while these show runners tend to not write for the audience but to impress others in the business with their pizzazz by putting on something spectacularly new and different. He may well be right.
If the show does return, I hope it gets back to bread-and-butter detective work without adopting the James Bond tropes of super-villains and action heroics. As Sherlock says to the children in the hospital scene in the second episode, it is the deductive reasoning, the drawing of inferences from the data, that is fascinating in crime stories. We can do without all the glitz.