For me, a very solid episode, and to shake things up, covering the awesome of Watson first, and also because this was very much a Watson-centered ep.
Watson as Investigator
Watson's presence at the first murder scene starts being awesome before she gets there, when she's about to leave and Sherlock gets a call to check a crime, which literally brings her to a dead stop on the sidewalk, her newly developed detective intuition going off like whoa. As Sherlock wanders around being--well, Sherlock and leaping letters of the alphabet without entirely explaining how they connect, Watson proves the art of dramatic timing is a personality trait by confirming Sherlock's conclusion about a missing armoire. Again, with a picture, which I can't tell if that's significant in some very specific way or just a really cool coincidence or possibly just to link it back to the first ep immediately to show Watson is getting into this investigating thing.
One of the neat things about this ep among many neat things was the utilization of Watson's medical skills; instead of stabbing a coma patient in the softest part of the thigh, Watson does a less criminally assault-like manual test and explains the purpose of it.
Also, and this ep confirmed it for me; Watson is brilliant. I'm going to say that while she and Sherlock are different types of brilliant, it's fairly obvious she's able to follow along more and more easily as she gets familiar with Sherlock and even more tellingly, knows how to frame questions correctly so she can get answers she can use. That's not something I'm used to seeing demonstrated like this.
While it makes sense that Sherlock would find it hard to break down why he comes to the conclusions he does because that probably is very dependent on the very different way he thinks, it's a lot less common for there to be a character acting as audience who, due to the role they're playing, doesn't eventually come across as the less bright. Watson, on the other hand, obviously can see the shape of what he's doing--and again, she's dealing with someone who thinks very differently than she does--so she's not asking because she doesn't get it and it's not that she's taking it on faith because omg genius; she's asking because she wants to know how he got there and since she knows how to frame her questions, she gets the answers she needs.
Watson and Sherlock
Full disclosure: I ship them like I haven't shipped a het couple since Tom and B'Elanna on Voyagee, so with that in mind.
I am deeply, deeply attracted in all ways to partnerships that are based on both mild mutual antagonism combined with a sense of resigned connection. Watson's is slightly less obvious than Holmes', but hilarious to watch in that she knows, knows that Sherlock is the kind of person dollar store ceramics were invented for (so you can buy many and break them against the wall without breaking your checking account), and yet, here she is.
Relationship negotiation continues, and on several levels, as a professional companion and client being the titular position being fought out combined with the fact that they are almost painfully similar and they are really aware of that.
Let's talk about Watson and limits. I love, and I do mean this, love mildly competitive/antagonistic friendships. I also love that Watson, being familiar with Sherlock, is dropping the hammer on him immediately every time he treads over the line from acceptable to dick, and I love beyond words the text is supporting her when she does it. Honest to God, if the show keeps this up, I could have found my OTP of snarky relationships without the cringe factor. Not only are they a work in progress, Watson is damn well progressing them at speed, and I like both how she does it, and how Sherlock responds to her blunt drawing of lines.
They aren't friends yet, and Sherlock throwing that out makes that clear; what's also clear is that generally, you don't need to state what your relationship isn't unless you're uncomfortably aware that you may be forgetting that and need the reminder even more than you need to remind them. Which was kind of adorable, as they quickly began negotiations to work on their trust skills while experiencing mutual appalled horror that friendship might be sneaking up on them--as friendship does, all shadowy and deceitful like that.
Watson As Watson
The meeting with former boyfriend Tai, who is ridic tall btw, gives us two interesting bits of information; it seems to imply that Watson gave up medicine willingly rather than being ripped away from it, and that her current job is a conscious choice that allows her the opportunity to combine punishing herself with helping people. I'm kind of impressed that she managed to find a job that she can be good at while hating it passionately, and therefore avoid any danger of taking any kind of pleasure in being instrumental in helping people rebuild their lives.
And I really want to know so much more.
Sherlock the Recovering Addict
I honestly wasn't sure how the show planned to deal with Sherlock the recovering junkie, whether they'd stunt it when needed for plot purposes, token it in and forget it entirely, or well, make it part of the storyline, the character development, and the daily life of Sherlock. My biggest worry--and I will continue to worry--is that it would be minimized quickly as Sherlock Is Over That Phase and Bootstraps Willpower, but second ep, interesting.
Sherlock hating group sessions, yes. Watson, being a professional, requires his attendance, yes. Sherlock mentally if not physically completely blowing it off, yes. The implication that Sherlock is Over This Phase? No. The show is supporting the premise that Sherlock is a junkie and hey, he's just out of rehab, and he's still not over it and may never be over it. And that he knows this is obvious--that it pisses him off like a lot? Also really obvious. And that he resents Watson as a visible reminder of what he perceives as his own failure and weakness? Yes, and yes, and yes.
Sherlock and personal do not do well together right now. His panicked response to the idea that Gregson might find out about his drug use was both extremely personal as well as professional; he wants access to crime scenes, to continue to help, but God above, he can't stand the thought of Gregson thinking less of him. His reaction to Watson and the violin is gorgeously consistent with poor impulse control (which might either be a factor that caused his original problems with addiction or was exacerbated during his period of addiction) and his insta!reaction to anything personal.
Two of the most interesting moments:
1.) while speaking to Gregon's friend who he calls on his meth addiction, after getting his agreement to help them, he pauses, then adds a sincere recommendation of where he went to rehab if the guy wants to get help. It was funny, yes, but it was funny because Sherlock was being genuinely helpful post-threat.
2.) Refusing to go out for drinks with Gregson and Bell not only because Sherlock is still avoiding non-professional social contact, but because he's a recovering addict.
Sherlock Being...Well, Sherlock
I really like this different take more and more, and like I said in my earlier review of Sherlock, what's really working for me most is they aren't going either with coldly!analytical!genius (to avoid any sign of emotion) or crazy!genius (to excuse emotion). He's volatile, yes, but not at psuedo-bipolar levels, and he can be coolly analytical, but not hitting chillingly serial killer vibes. It's also fairly clear that when he's focused, he kind of tunes out how to get along well with others, he's not oblivious to it, or unable to correct himself. I'm not sure if the show is going for this on purpose or I am just in a state of breathless hope, but I'm seriously wondering if his abrasiveness is something he is both aware of and maybe does actually want to correct it, he just is not sure how to go about it.
Granted, a lot of this I'm reading through Watson, but still. There's something attractive about a character whose a dick, knows it, and just maybe wants to be less of one.
Sherlock and Watson
The ep covered a lot of both professional and personal development, but it also showed that despite Sherlock's denial of BFF with Watson, he can and does compromise with her and it's not entirely motivated by their professional relationship. This is possibly because practically speaking, giving Watson what she needs to do her job, that being personal information about himself, is creating a situation that is probably incredibly dissonant; the more he tells her about himself and the more time he has to spend with her, the more he likes her, and the more he likes her, the less he wants her to know about his less than sterling behavior. I'm hoping that this is addressed in the show, mostly because I'm not sure he's even aware of it yet.
My Affection For This Show Has No Words
The show continues to prioritize Sherlock and Watson's relationship as well as developing Watson both in relation to the mystery of the week, and my favorite part, the mystery of the week is the vehicle they progress with.
Note: this may be corrected and better organized later when I am less squeeful. It's just, the squee is so very strong right now.
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