Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SHERLOCK JUMPS THE SHARK


Back when Happy Days was drawing to a close, the writers started running out of good ideas for stories. Consequently, they wrote an episode where Fonzie got on a pair of water skis and went over a ski jump ramp. The catch was that to make things interesting, a shark had been placed under the top of the ramp. If Fonzie’s jump failed, he would be eaten by the shark. Naturally, the jump was successful, but his feat became a catchword for when series writers run out of ideas and start writing incredibly bad and/or preposterous stories. When this occurs, the series has “jumped the shark.”

I contend that Sherlock, in the episode “His Last Vow,” jumped the shark. If you haven’t seen the episode and want to be surprised by what happens, stop reading now.

Mary Morstan a CIA assassin? Give me a break. If Sherlock was half as perceptive as he’s supposed to be, he would have come up with more than an assessment of “liar” when he first met Mary in “The Empty Hearse.” And I don’t see anyone with Sherlock’s personality being so forgiving after Mary shot and almost killed him. I’m not saying that Sherlock was above killing Magnusson. That was really the only solution for such a man. I am saying that Sherlock should have been sharp enough to figure out that murder was the only solution and find a safer way to kill the man than to shoot him in the head in front of a fully armed SWAT team.

I’ve noted earlier that the writers had written themselves into a corner with “The Reichenbach Fall,” by having Sherlock commit suicide under such circumstances as to make it impossible to come up with a rational explanation for how he faked it. Now, at the end of the third series they raise Moriarty from the dead. If we get to a Season Four, there is no way that they can come up with even a bonehead explanation for how Moriarty survived placing the muzzle of a pistol in his mouth, directing the muzzle toward his brain case, and pulling the trigger. And don’t try to say that the gun was firing blanks. You might want to ask John Eric Hexum what happens when you place the muzzle of a pistol loaded with blanks to your head and pull the trigger, but of course you can’t because he didn’t survive doing that. The violently expanding gas escaping the muzzle will kill quite handily even without a bullet. Arthur Conan Doyle had the good sense to leave Moriarty dead after he went over the Reichenbach Falls. The writers of Sherlock should have emulated him on this point.

Do these complaints mean I do not plan to watch Season Four if and when it comes out? Absolutely not. As flawed as Season Three was, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I just hope that they come up with more logical scripts for Season Four.