For us here in the U.S., the premiere of Sherlock Season 3 is this weekend. I’m absolutely on pins and needles, like I have never been about a series on T.V. And, being the reflective sort (and it being Sherlock Holmes), I wanted to share my thoughts on why I love it so much.
For me, it comes down to the characters.
Sherlock is one of the most delightful characters I’ve encountered in fiction (whether books or TV or film). He’s brilliant…and yet incredibly, hopelessly, impossibly stupid. Really. He’s keen and notices everything — except realities that are right in front of his eyes. It’s the classic case of missing the forest for the trees.
One of my favorite lines is from the Baskerville episode, when Sherlock tells Watson, in desperation, that he has always been able to trust his senses…but now they are betraying him. He’s afraid…and he wants to know why. He wants a rational explanation, something that can be figured from evidence, something logical (which is why it makes so much sense for him to quote Spock in this context). But human emotion — especially love and friendship — seems to continually elude his detection. The mystery of the human heart is Sherlock’s unsolved case.
There’s something pitiable about Sherlock — his brilliance and lack of tact often leave him isolated and misunderstood. I think he often misses friendship and love because, at bottom, he doesn’t feel himself worthy of it. He doesn’t see himself as lovable…or as a good friend. And this is why the final episode of Season 2 is so incredibly poignant: he shows himself to be capable of so much more than just analyzing facts and events. We know for a certainty that he loves…and loves incredibly deeply.
And then there’s big-hearted, solid, common-sensical John Watson. They’re a perfect team because Watson usually misses the trees for the forest. They balance each other out in a beautiful way. And Watson sees what’s lovable in Sherlock…he looks past the prickles and the annoying bad habit of overanalyzing details, and he is loyal to what he finds there.
Incidentally, I think it’s a fairly sad commentary on our society that everyone in the show mistakes the friendship between Holmes and Watson for a romantic attachment. We’ve lost something in our understanding of friendship, I think — of the love that binds friends together and has nothing to do with romantic love. Remember Frodo and Sam from the Lord of the Rings? Or think about the bond between soldiers — for film portrayals, think Lone Survivor or Black Hawk Down. In many ways, true friendship is a deeper love…it has nothing to do with physical attraction and everything to do with the bond between souls: the esteem and appreciation of who another human being is on the inside, and being willing to lay down your own life for that person. It’s incredibly beautiful.
So, for you other Sherlock fans out there, I hope you enjoy the premiere! And if you aren’t a Sherlock fan yet…you should be! I’d love to hear your thoughts about the series! What do you love best, and what are you most looking forward to in Season 3? Leave me a comment and tell me!