Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sherlock: "I don't have Friends".




Holmes you amaze me.

 There has been a plethora of "Sherlock" teaser filling the internet "airwaves" of late ratcheting up the excitement for the second series of the famed detective.

I found the above video to be a little disconcerting especially because the way it finishes.  Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes delivers the last line, "I don't have friends" with such venomous disdain you actually feel the hurt in his voice on a personal level yourself!

What is Cumberbatch's Holmes trying to tell us?  That his contempt for his fellow man runs so deeply that even those supposedly closest to him are regarded as barely worthy of his derision?  The word "friends" itself when uttered by Sherlock seems so distasteful that he can barely  spit it out.  Has his arrogance reached a level where the aversion for his contemporaries (or, rather, those beneath him) can scarcely be tolerated?

Or is there something else at work here?  This particular iteration of Holmes parrots most of the sociopathic tendencies of other Holmes interpretations.  Clumsy in public settings, an alarming caustic impatience, a total disregard for social norms.   But Cumberbatch's Holmes, at least in this instance, has the temerity to savagely disregard the feelings, of what even Holmes should realize, is his closest confident in John Watson.

Earlier in the video when Watson say's "He's back" is no doubt referring to Professor Moriarty.  This is enough to grab Sherlock's attention.  I think, later, when Watson offers his advice as a "friend" Sherlock acts reflexively, as his his norm, to any help by rejecting it.  But by saying he doesn't have any friends, and saying it so pointedly in front of Watson, could be a defense mechanism.

Sherlock is threatened by Moriarty to the extent that Moriarty has shaken Holmes' renowned confidence.  Sherlock realizes he can barely protect himself from this threat let alone those closest to him.  Hence, when Watson proffers his friendship, Sherlock reacts angrily because he knows he can't protect Watson nor anyone else close to him from Mrs. Hudson to Inspector Lestrade and even his brother Mycroft. 

His rejection of "friends" could also be a way of insulating Watson and the rest from harm.  By pushing away those closest to him, Holmes may be buying them some time as he endeavors to deal with the threat from Moriarty.  Perhaps this is a bit desperate.  A gamble, no doubt, Moriarty could easily see through.  But worth it in Sherlock's estimation if it evens buys a few moments of time.

Of course I can't totally disregard that when met with having the prospect of friends, Sherlock would then have to admit to himself that in some way these people are his equals.  Sherlock has spent so much distancing himself from people that he can't admit he needs them for his very work and his very existence.  (Remember, this Sherlock is so distant he can't even bring himself to admitting the Earth revolves around the Sun.)  I have no doubt that Sherlock is totally unpracticed in the fine art of empathy.

Hopefully, I am wrong.  I do have the feeling that Sherlock, while acting in a vile manner, is acting instinctively to protect his friends.  Yes, he is a bit callow and these outbursts are unwarranted but at some level Sherlock wants to defend Watson and the rest.  I think once we see the episode in its entirety we'll find Holmes has calculated the effect of his statement and will reveal to Watson the need to act in such a way.  I also think Watson will remind Sherlock that there are were other avenues that could have been explored.

The master detective will deduce he has hurt his friend and will endeavor to make things right in his own inimitable way.  Cumberbatch has perfected the talent of speaking a thousand words with just a slight facial expression.  I want to see this expression when he realizes there is a cost beyond his calculations.

The results should be, well, "Elementary".

3 comments:

  1. Goodness. So much deduction from such a tiny snippet of video. The "I don't have friends" comment is from the "Hounds" episode.
    I don't want to spoil anything for you so feel free not to read on but the entire scene is quite an amazing one thanks to Gatiss' writing and is handled brilliantly by both Cumberbatch and Freeman.
    I don't think the resolution will disappoint in regards to both Sherlock's character and personality nor the original Baskervilles story.

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  2. Inter-dimensional DaveJanuary 11, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    Thanks for the feedback. I thought this snippet might be from the "Reichenbach Fall" episode. I appreciate your insight. Apparently you've seen the second series. I envy you!

    Despite the context of the quote I will let the post stand.

    I blame my "deduction" for the snippet on my psychology background. You sound like a true Sherlock fan and I look forward to further responses from you.

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  3. Absolutely let the post stand. Prior to seeing the quote in the context of the episode, I too had similar thoughts on seeing this teaser. The venom behind those words just didn't sit right with Sherlock's relationship with John.
    While we haven't yet seen a true "Three Garridebs" moment... yet, (the closest being the obvious emotion in Sherlock at John's bomb-vest predicament at the pool) we're still seeing the development of one of the greatest literary friendships. "Hounds" will not disappoint in terms of Holmesian facial expressions from Cumberbatch. The scene of this quote is unbearably tense and acted sublimely.
    Sorry, it's very tricky not to give anything away. I'll go right ahead and shut up now.
    Am waiting with bated breath for "The Reichenbach Fall", black armband at the ready.

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