Sherlock: The Lying Detective

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    Craig @craig

    The Lying Detective

    After last week’s traumatic events Sherlock faces perhaps the most chilling enemy of his long career, the powerful and seemingly unassailable Culverton Smith. Smith is a man with a very dark secret indeed, and could be the most evil man Sherlock has ever met.

    Written by Steven Moffat, this is directed by Nick Hurran, who directed the Sherlock episode “His Last Vow” and also directed the Doctor Who episodes “The Girl Who Waited”, “The God Complex”, “Asylum of the Daleks”, “The Angels Take Manhattan” and the 50th Anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor”. Needless to say, this could be very good.

    winston @winston

    @craig  I get to watch tonight. It sure looks good.




    Craig @craig

    The arc is strong with this one.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    OK, I know that rule #1 with Moffat is: Moffat lies. But this took lying to a whole different level. Everyone is lying. About everything. All the time. I think.

    And what’s going on with Lady Smallwood?

    The ubiquity of the ecliptic seemed simple in comparison to tonight. Cannot wait for next week!


    Just put this on the Graun in response to some lackwit who moaned about the absence of “small scale detective stuff”

    Last week I thought there was something a bit odd about the woman on the bus. Couldn’t pin it down to and it was played with such a straight bat that I dismissed it is an eccentric make-up department choice, rather than the rather delicious clue it turned out to be.

    That would be the small-scale detective stuff you say is missing. No Deus Ex Machina, just a series of small clues for the attentive viewer to spot.

    (The double “rathers” lets it down a bit!)

    I felt the same about faux-Faith and, again, dismissed it….

    Craft is such an underrated talent in writers.


    winston @winston

    This was so very good. Like @pedant my head was spinning. It is wonderful what can be done with excellent writers, director and of course the actors. Culverton was a truly creepy bad guy with an equally creepy laugh and toupee.  There were also sad but beautiful scenes where John comes to terms with Mary’s death with help from Mary herself. There were lies within lies to keep me guessing and a whole new bunch of secrets and revelations to keep me watching.

    ichabod @ichabod

    I have to admit, I was put off by the crazy-house kaleidoscope of “6 Thatchers”, and Mary as done til “Lying Detective” didn’t make a lick of sense to me — but here, IMO, she finally comes across as a woman John Watson might fall in love with, and marry, and miss.  Of course, she can be a much-softened Mary as John, and John alone, sees her . . . that would work, too.

    @pedant  Craft is such an underrated talent in writers.

    Sometimes I think this is just because people, particularly self-identified clever people, like to think of themselves as brilliant *potential* writers, who have just never had the time — you know, 1o minutes robbed from the morning shave — to sit down and scribble out a story.  The way good writers do.

    To which I reply, when *I* have the time: No, children: that’s *Mozart* you’re thinking of, and probably rarely even him.

    Most people never have a clue how much work effective writing is, and they avoid finding out to preserve what they think of as their natural right to hold writers in contempt.  That, at any rate, is an attitude I’ve commonly found in the US, for anything other than “hysterical realism” (Tom Wolfe et al), which is, of course, part of “mainstream fiction”.  They don’t even realize that “mainstream” is meaningless, just as “Best Seller Blockbuster Breakout Success etc.” is itself a sub-genre.  Like Westerns or Science Fiction, but better paid.  Well-written TV scripts make them even crazier with envy, because that pays well and gets a lot of attention, and look at all that blank space on the pages!  It’s not even lots of words!


    Craig @craig

    I thought you might like this. I sometimes check out this guy’s stuff on YouTube – The Nerdwriter – I suppose the name is no worse than ‘Den of Geek’. He does videos on all sorts of things and they’re generally of high quality, researched and well made. He’s produced, really quickly, a video about how interestingly one aspect of this week’s Sherlock was made.

    Anonymous @


    I’m so obsessed with being able to watch Sherlock that I’m reading the comments. I think as Miss_ said it’s on Stan (or someone else did) but I think I can order it from either Amazon or my ‘local’ DVD one-stop.

    That was an amazing piece of writing. I was watching The Passion of the Nerd -the guy who does Buffy -and, yeah, it’s OK, but this (Nerdwriter) dude takes a piece and shifts it and analyses it without talking down to anyone!

    I’m so excited to see it again. It feels like years.

    I guess it has been!  (I’ll forget any crucial bits when we get it so I haven’t been spoiled  🙂

    Thank you,




    AlexWho @alexwho

    Sorry to be negative guys but I’m not feeling it with this Sherlock season.  Maybe because the first 3 seasons were so strong that its hard to keep it up.

    The Six Thatchers didn’t do it for me b/c I’m not a fan at all of the whole Mary is a former assassin idea.

    With The Lying Dectective I expecting something more than Culverton Smith is a serial killer. I think that idea is old hat at this point.

    The high point for me so far is Toby Jones’ performance, he is really creepy and gross looking.

    I’m hoping that last episode can offer some redemption.


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @alexwho I sort of understand your point, even though I think what they have done in the two episodes so far has been brilliant. The video that @craig posted today on the storytelling through editing captures perfectly, I think, what is stunning (and still stunning) about the show. But on the other hand, I agree that there is a sense in which setting us up for big reveals seems to have assumed a greater priority than the story being told in the two recent episodes. Neither episode has reached the Olympian heights of The Abominable Bride (and I know that my assessment is not the same as everyone else’s) but, if anything Gatiss and Moffat have set the bar so damn high that it is perhaps impossible to maintain it at that level indefinitely.

    Still, in the spirit of our purpose to come up with theories more insane than what is actually going on, here is a theory about next week: Sherrinford is a code-name used by Mycroft to refer to Moriarty, who is alive and being kept in maximum security by Mycroft. I am probably wrong of course, but coming up with theories only to be proved wrong is part of the fun.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @ichabod Well said. I just groan inwardly when I hear people say they are going to write a novel as though it is just something one does like popping down to the supermarket to buy some jam. They clearly have no idea of what is involved. And then having written a novel doesn’t mean that the writing is any good. (I have written a couple of complete duds) then there is the challenge of getting published, which is by no means an endorsement of having written something good and neither is financial success. (ER James comes to mind though I have not read and never intend to read her work.) I’d rather drown that be stuck on the continent of Jeffrey Archer on the library planet. So one line jibs at successful and talented writers like Moffat and Gattis really annoy me. Yes sometimes their writing is no so good, sometimes there are obvious flaws. Dickens, Austen, Bronte, etc were not without their failings too. But the one criticism that annoys me above all others is the accusation of “lazy writing” that is so popular below the line. It is meaningless. Writing is inherently not lazy. It can’t be lazy. It might be derivative or unimaginative or logically flawed but it cannot be lazy.

    Grr. Now I will gripe at our, “take from the poor, give to the rich” government whose “kill off public broadcasting because they sometimes dare to tell the truth” policy means no free to air Sherlock in Aus”.




    ichabod @ichabod

    @craig  how interestingly one aspect of this week’s Sherlock was made.

    Thanks, that’s very, very smart stuff; I’ll have to check out more of Nerdwriter, on the strength of this.

    @alexwho  With you 100% on this version of Mary Watson.  I think the idea was to offer us a female version of the Holmes brothers — very bright, easily bored, with that “reptilian” aspect Mrs. Hudson names outright in TLD, and it’s a interesting idea.  There was a pretty good thriller based on this idea a few years ago — nice househomey wife experiences traumatic attack and suddenly remembers that she was once a super-spy action hero, and behaves according.  And I have a fondness for stories of outwardly ordinary people who, under unusual circumstances, must reveal and re-inhabit the former, darker, lethal selves they thought they’d safely buried for good.

    But in this case — John Watson.  Unless he turns out to be a secret super spy too (which would be a major betrayal of the character as presented so far), would this John Watson — Homes’s all too warm and human foil and stalwart companion in adventure — fall in love with a Jane Bond?  You know, in real life, such a man might.  But in terms of these stories, either ACD’s originals or this new version — no.  He’s warm, but he’s not insensitive, and he’s had Sherlock right in front of him all this time as an example of (sort of) the real thing.  Or let me it more fairly: I couldn’t make her being revealed as Jane Bond work.  Nor the amazingly simple resolution of Watson’s “haunting”, because when someone you love — like, the mother of you new daughter — dies, I don’t think you just wind that all up in a couple of weeks and put it away with a tidy bow tied round it.  Nice, neat story-telling, but minus a heart — John Watson’s heart, to be precise.

    Too easily mended, IMO.  Too neat altogether to be satisfying: John forgives Sherlock for “causing” Mary’s death, and and John forgives Mary for throwing herself in front of a bullet meant for Sherlock, leaving him, John, a widower with an infant daughter to raise?  Huh?  And why does that work, exactly?  Wish I could remember.  You know, I could believe Mary (still a pretty new mother) taking a bullet to save her child’s father; but to save *Sherlock*?  Her greatest rival for John’s attention and affection?

    Sure, it’s fiction; in fiction, you can do whatever you want (that’s why it’s so difficult — all those *decisions* that rest with you as author, and you’re to blame for the bad ones, too).  But if I remain unconvinced, then for me, you have failed.  Which annoys me, because I *want* you (Moffat and Gatiss, in this case) to succeed.  Don’t give up the audacious idea — just do it *better*, and convince me.

    @janetteb   Writing is inherently not lazy. It can’t be lazy. It might be derivative or unimaginative or logically flawed but it cannot be lazy.

    Apparently it takes a writer to know this.  I’ve got a couple of duds in the drawer myself, stories I can’t make work, but not for want to trying.  The only “lazy writing” I know is going out for coffee or to a movie *instead* of writing.  And sometimes even that is more a way of trying to preserve your own sanity and self-respect than anything else.


    janetteB @janetteb


    In fact the only time the accusation is applicable is to those posting snarky comments BTL on the Guardian. Writers need time off too.





    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    OK. Reflections on a second viewing in light of the truly bonkers theories of @juniperfish and @theconsultingdoctor.

    The beginning. I had somehow not really registered the gun on first viewing, but it definitely plays to the bonkers theory. First the gun, then John lying in bed. Is the tale told in John’s mind at the point of imminent death? Hmmm. But if so, how do I explain the end?

    Well, you can reconcile the opening and closing if you see the whole episode as what led to the end of the episode, or the beginning of the episode, if you see what I mean. It seems to me that the key phrase in the episode is “hiding in plain sight”. On the surface, it refers to Culverton Smith, but it also refers to Eurus. Well, it might not be bonkers, that sort of works for me.

    So, after second viewings of the first two episodes, I am tending to go back to a reading of both wherein they are telling the story we see are seeing, rather than hiding “in plain sight”(?) an even more complicated interpretation that will turn everything on its head in a hidden fourth episode.

    But the bonkers theory of @juniperfish and @theconsultingdoctor is so damn compelling, I am tempted to keep it there at the back of my mind as I go on to a second viewing of The Final Problem.

    Missy @missy

    Well!  I can understand the ratings dropping – in a way.  Unless you knew the actual story you would be lost.

    However, the clue was in Sherlock saying to John *it’s a plan.* What a roller coaster this film was.

    As for the scene with John and his therapist – again my jaw dropped. A sister!

    Apologies, I can’t write reviews. I either enjoyed it or I didn’t – and I did.

    I must watch it again soon.


    Missy @missy

    PS I shall watchevideo later – thank you Craig, *thumbs up*

    Anonymous @


    ratings dropping?

    Confirms my opinion. Some people really are stupid, aren’t they? And, according to Professor Brian Cox, “things will only get worse.”  Opposite to one of his boy band songs. But glad you liked it! 🙂

    I loved it. Scribbled 17 pages of notes just for eps 1 and 2.

    On balance, there wasn’t enough immoderate drug taking. 😀

    @pedant be that a word? “immoderate”  ?

    Mum  said “how did” I “not notice that the sister was the woman in the bus AND was the woman therapist?” She kept speaking about “Faith.” I’m thinking “god/faith” ? No! She meant Faith in Buffy. Some interconnections which she decided to mention 🙂

    Also she has ‘theories.’ The music alone provided lots of clues…. (apparently) and TAB made SO much more sense preceding this series (for me, anyway). Proper telly that was.



    Anonymous @


    I thought I heard, at one point: “it didn’t the last time and it won’t be the first.”

    Usually that sentence would be the other way around? @ichabod this might work for you too -if you thought that John was able to somehow “tie his grief up with a little bow.” We might be seeing things from a different perspective -not necessarily John’s?

    When John admits “You didn’t kill Mary, Sherlock” he’s admitting it but not necessarily fully coming to terms with it? It’s the words said as one begins to climb the hill of grief. It’s a first step. It takes time.

    On another level with “…it won’t be the first” suggests things are presented out of ‘time’.

    So, the episode/s is working “backwards.” Or it appears to be.

    But in TAB it’s explained that “two persons can be in one place but at two different times.”

    In physics we have x2 T2 = Z2

    So the ‘2’ is to the power of ‘2’ and T = time. Normally the ‘t’ would be a ‘y’ which is distance. But here we have Time instead.

    The minus protects the past from us/or John and Sherlock so we can’t go back but only forward. This protects the cause and effect of the show.  We might be seeing the effect but not always the specific cause (we hear ‘specific’ three times across TAB and Eps 1 and 2 of this season).

    Hmm. Not explaining myself very well. Too much cream for the Cat 🙂

    ichabod @ichabod

    @thane15   The minus protects the past from us/or John and Sherlock so we can’t go back but only forward. This protects the cause and effect of the show.

    Hmm.  So — do similar terms work for “real life”, too?  Something prevents me from actually going back in time, even in my memories (which are distorted by the passage of time and my frame of mined etc. so every time I re-member, what I remember is further from the reality of what — if anything! — actually happened).  I can only go forward, which protects my past from me meddling in it (or anybody else, for that matter.  Even the Doctor is forbidden to do that).

    John was able to somehow “tie his grief up with a little bow.” We might be seeing things from a different perspective -not necessarily John’s?

    Well, with Gatiss and Moffat, you never know, do you?  They are capable of anything, so we can get as bonkers as we please with explanations.  Which is why the internet is happily going nuts with theories about their show.  I’m thinking the original idea was to give John a “Sherlock” to love and marry, a female Sherlock, in Mary, since some fans are so invested in a John/Sherlock sexual relationship: “ha, okay, here it is, but we’ve doubled Sherlock with a character that’s Sherlock as a *girl*, a woman of action superspy, Jane Bond!  Howya like *them* apples?”  That would make Sherlock and Mary direct competitors for John, and Mary taking a bullet to save Sherlock rather than the mere dad of her daughter.

    And Sherlock, the silly doodlesack, never twigs to any of it — what?  Bonkers!

    Anonymous @


    Thank you, yes.

    I wonder. I just wonder. The is now a red page (LOL) saying “this will affect your computer and may contain viruses” @juniperfish you might like that too! (I mean the idea, not the viruses on your computer!).

    So we keep going back to “the virus in the data” (TAB) and it being a double-edged sword. The sword is possibly a drug induced Culverton thing and Faith (who exists) must be the one who shoots John.

    Why? Because Faith is the daughter of Culverton and is also a therapist. Her mind is confused. She remembers little. She’s being manipulated by Culverton.

    The concept of cause and effect – and time is exactly what I was trying to explain. The causes and effects are separated by Time. We can’t go back and change what happened but we can change how we think about what happened!

    So John is really shot and Sherlock is still high. And in that place we know who Redbeard really is.

    In other words, as @phaseshift said on TFP page, GatMoff (must find a better handle!) are moving between texts. It’s not theft (they wrote it) it’s “there’s nothing new under the sun” or “nothing knew under the sun!”

    The Doctor is basically forbidden to go back to certain places in time. AND Sherlock and John can’t either. They try but fail.


    I’m still very confused.

    Missy @missy


    Yes the word immoderate is correct. Unlike “issues” when they mean “problems!” *screams at the moon* I can’t wasit to see it again.

    Later this week, The Final Problem.


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