As often with Sherlock, I enjoyed the experience of watching the episode but have mixed feelings about it, both in my cranky-cradle-Sherlockian mode ("but in the stories it went like blahBLAHblah not blahblahBLAH!!") and other modes.


Charles Augustus Milverton Magnussen was appropriately chilling and revolting, and making him a news or "news" man was a clever move. When he approached Lady Blackwood Smallwood, and even more so when Sherlock and John discovered that he didn't actually have any evidence, I thought of the Tenth Doctor and Harriet Jones and "Don't you think she looks tired." While in the original story the highlighted victims were young people whose indiscretions might imperil profitable marriages, it works well to translate that to older, more powerful and thus more desirable (and differently vulnerable) victims.

The main thing people tend to remember about the original story is that Holmes gets engaged to CAM's maid in order to gain information about the house, so I quickly pegged Janine for CAM's PA and foresaw the ring ploy with both embarrassment-squick and appreciation.

I have been absofricklutely loving Mary and I'm pretty disappointed that she had to be an ex-assassin and couldn't just be smart. Obviously she couldn't have learned about skip codes the way I did (from "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott") but they must have Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew in-universe. And I sure hope the CIA uses somewhat more sophisticated codes than that. And I had assumed that she'd gone to the hotel desk to get Major Sholto's room number. Like a sensible person. But no, she's an assassin and sociopath who John loves because of his adrenaline needs... which were so unfulfilled in a month of living with her without seeing Sherlock that he went barreling out to look for a neighbor's kid just for bringing in an allusion to "The Man with the Twisted Lip" something to do.

The "Mary is dangerous and that's why it's good" thing works on the level that John's need for adrenaline is an established part of his character, but it doesn't work in that we haven't seen her fulfilling that need.

I wish we'd gotten a more time/detail on "Mary wasn't conning John, she left her old assassin-life and happened to fall in love after that, what she lied about was her past not her present" in exchange for a less-lengthy acid trip through Sherlock's dying mind. The nonlinear structure of the last half-hour or so just frustrated me and it felt like a stalling tactic, a way to raise emotion by raising suspense rather than raising the payoff. The acting was brilliant throughout as always (well,Hashtytag Tumblrbunch may have a liiiittle scenery in his teeth after that clamber up the Staircase of Death), the dialogue was excellent, it was the story and the story structure that I felt was jerking us around.
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