Oct. 9, 2020

Can't Stop Extra: Unrequited Love, Sherlock Style

Can't Stop Extra: Unrequited Love, Sherlock Style

In this extra episode, I talk about one of my favorite tiny romantic moments in the clever detective drama Sherlock.


The Christmas Scene (tag says "dearest Sherlock" not "Merry Christmas, Sherlock," even better): https://youtu.be/ulYsQ7-w4PU

A fun video compilation of some of the best Sherlock moments: https://youtu.be/OJ8eQZLcfXA


Can’t Stop extra: Unrequited Love, Sherlock style

Right after high school graduation I fell head over heels for a guy who hung out in our neighborhood.

He was an older man –21 or 22 –so obviously busy with an super adult life but he’d come with our group of friends whenever we went camping or hiking, all that outdoorsy stuff that guys do so just so they can to show off to the girls.  A bunch of cute guys trying to impress us was pretty great . 

He was blonde, tan, fit, worked at some hot blue-collar job — I think it involved a toolbelt.

He drove around the city with us girls piled into back of his Jeep, blasting John Denver, dreaming of the day he was going to move to Colorado and become a mountain man. 

He was in the Coast Guard—picture that tan, blond towhead in that crisp white uniform mmmm

He could put up a tent with one strong forearm, fix his car on the side of a busy road—he didn't have to call a guy.  He was the guy. 

I felt a bit torn because I'd started dating another guy in our group, but I adored him. all of the guys looked up to him too. I lived for the moments when he came on one of our road trips. 

It reminds me of one of my favorite tiny moments in the BBC Sherlock series between Sherlock and Molly the hospital assistant, who carries a tiny torch for him. 

 I’ve seen Sherlock before but looking at it through romantic goggles, I’m loving it even more.

I’ve gone into the confessional about my crush on Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Sherlock, but oh, can't stop won't stop admiring him.

Sherlock is overall a detective series of course, but there are some off-kilter romantic tropes so cleverly done, so in keeping with the integrity of the characters that once you've finished the series you see how well-constructed they were.

This torch trope develops throuout the series, but especially in one great early scene. It’s between Sherlock and Molly, played by Louise Brealey.

 It’s a tiny but highly emotional moment that shows how far these characters are going to have to come if this trope will ever be resolved, because the way the characters are written they’re both locked in their own stubborn dysfunctions.

Oh clever script!

The scene happens on Christmas, the time of year when most people show their best behavior. But not Sherlock. He's grumpy and cranky and self-pitying.

 We know for a good part of the series— but Sherlock doesn't —that Molly, a smart and kind  woman has a huge tender spot for the awkward, rude Sherlock, who uses and abuses her terribly.

It's that well-used unrequited love trope but the writers give  it a major twist—it’s a crush on a character who doesn't recognize normal healthy human emotions when they're in front of his face. How in the world will this play out? 

You know feelings are going to be hurt and the misunderstandings are going to be quirky and maybe even darkly funny. It’s compelling.

So we’re at Sherlock’s flat on Christmas night. It looks like a typical cozy British Christmas.  Sherlock, Mrs. Hudson, John Watson are gathered around the fire.

Molly enters this little party all glammed up, sexy holiday dress, sparkly earrings, hair piled up. And she has a bag of gifts.

Sherlock goes full-on smartass, and deduces from her fancy dress that she's going on to another party, where she's trying to impress a man. It's almost like he's jealous — if he recognized any emotions like that.

The brilliant thing in this scene is every time it cuts back to Molly, there's another expression on her face: humiliated, sad, disappointed. 

Blind to this, Sherlock grabs the top gift and reads the tag to prove his theory correct—on screen you can see that it says “Merry Christmas Sherlock, Love Molly.” 

 The expression on Molly's face when he finally stops talking is indescribable. Every single emotion that you’d feel in that situation is on her face. It was probably look on my face when I heard that my John-Denver-loving crush was getting married. And not to me.

Then, there's Sherlock response, which is so unusual that Watson does a double-take. Sherlock actually makes the emotional connection in the moment, kisses Molly on the cheek as he says I’m sorry, Merry Christmas.

This scene only lasts a few minutes but it’s huge. Each character gets fraction of an inch of personal growth and it's perfect for the arc of the story, which will resolve this trope in an even bigger and better way later on.

I love how the writers have the confidence in these characters to make these moments small and scattered, because they know we want to see these awkward characters thrash around trying to express love and affection, just like we do. Well, speaking for myself…