Sherlock on Marriage
“All emotions – in particular, love – stand opposed to the pure, cold reason I hold above all things. A wedding is, in my considered opinion, nothing short of a celebration of all that is false and specious and irrational and sentimental in this ailing morally compromised world.” – Sherlock
This week’s Sherlock was the long-awaited marriage of John and Mary. In the original stories penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the marriage occurs between stories, a rather benign and uneventful celebration, in stark contrast to Sherlock’s usual adventures with Dr. Watson in tow. Sherlock writer Steven Moffat states in a recent interview with Vulture that since the age of twelve, he has always wanted to correct Doyle’s “storytelling decision”. Moffat grasped his chance to rectify this literary anomaly when he wrote the latest Sherlock episode, not only making Sherlock the best man, but portraying a nervous, detail-obsessed detective sweating over the perfect Best Man speech. In true Sherlock fashion, he turns the beloved toast into a diatribe filled with anti-emotional sentiment (the wedding was “the death-watch beetle that is the doom of our society and, in time, one feels certain, our entire species”) and enigmatic case files, all while harboring a nagging suspicion that someone in the room was plotting to kill a wedding guest.
What we love and loathe about Sherlock is his supposed emotional bankruptcy. He’s like a modern-day Spock, eschewing emotion while occasionally revealing it (*cough*The Wrath of Khan anyone?). This week’s episode reveals that Sherlock truly does possess emotions, contrary to popular belief. Steven Moffat describes the internal conflict with which Sherlock wrestles: “The wonderful drama of Sherlock Holmes is that he’s aspiring to this extraordinary standard. He is at root an absolutely ordinary man with a very, very big brain. He’s repressed his emotions, his passions, his desires, in order to make his brain work better – in itself, a very emotional decision, and it does suggest that he must be very emotional if he thinks emotions get in the way. I just think Sherlock Holmes must be bursting.”
Although we are entertained by a speech ironically peppered with criticisms about marriage, Sherlock ends his address with a rousing devotion for John Watson and affirmation on his choice of wife:
“The point I’m trying to make is that I am the most unpleasant rude, ignorant, and all around obnoxious arsehole that anyone could possibly have the misfortune to meet. I am dismissive of the virtuous, unaware of the beautiful, and uncomprehending in the face of the happy. So if I didn’t understand I was being asked to be the best man, it is because I never expected to be anybody’s best friend of the bravest and kindest and wisest human being I have ever had the good fortune of knowing. John, I am a ridiculous man, redeemed only by the warmth and constancy of your friendship. But as I am apparently your best friend, I cannot congratulate you on your choice of companion.
Actually, now I can. Mary, when I say you deserve this man, it is the highest compliment of which I am capable. John, you have endured war, and injury, and tragic loss – so sorry again about that last one. So know this: Today, you sit between the woman you have made your wife and the man you have saved. In short, the two people who love you most in all this world. And I know I speak for Mary as well when I say we will never let you down, and we have a lifetime ahead to prove that.”
Notice that Sherlock, among all of the accolades, plants a sincere apology for John for creating such grief after his “death” at the end of season two. Understandably, John was upset after “losing” Sherlock and also of discovering that this inconsolable grief was all in vain. But perhaps Sherlock can be forgiven. Don’t we always forgive him?
You see, there is something brilliant and yet surprisingly ordinary about Sherlock. Although he attempts to drown out his emotion with science and mystery and deduction, he still requires the companionship of dear friends to survive, like us, members of the Sherlock audience. In the final scene of the episode, we see Sherlock walking out alone, but only after he has publically admitted that his “best friend” John and his new bride are now a staple in his life of crime-solving. Perhaps that is why this episode is entitled, “The Sign of Three” (besides the surprise ending, of course!). Sherlock is no longer a solo act; he has assembled a team composed of caring, intelligent people to which he is inextricably linked.
And he seems quite happy about that.
About the author: Dr. Crystal Hurd
Crystal is a writer, poet, reader, and public school educator from Virginia. She is happily married with three beautiful Terriers (adopted from local shelters). Her dissertation explored the leadership of C.S Lewis with postdoctoral work focusing on the leadership roles of artists. An unapologetic book nerd, Crystal loves to read and research works involving faith, literature, art, and leadership. She also possesses a deep, unrelenting interest in all things European, especially Doctor Who. You can read her weekly thoughts on her webpage/blog www.crystalhurd.com, friend her on Facebook, (Crystal Sullivan Hurd) and follow her on Twitter: @DoctorHurd and @hurdofficial.