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October 1, 2014 12:33 am  #1

After a certain number of viewings…

I’ve made my peace with HLV and now accept that it is a pretty good episode even if it problematic at the same time. When I first saw it major developments came very so quickly to the point that I really didn’t get a chance to sink it all in. The developments left me uneasy (in fact in some ways they still do) but now I’ve come accept most of what it did. I now consider two-thirds or at least 70% of it to be really good.
The beginning of it with the drug house is a hoot. I also really like Billy Wiggins as I thought he was good for a minor character. The whole fake romance and engagement with Janine was well played as it showed that the “sociopath” side of Sherlock was still with us. I also love the entire mind palace sequence in which Sherlock has to desperately deduce how to survive after being shot as it so intense and surreal.
As for Mary, the revelation that she was an ex-assassin did strike me as over the top originally. Yet, it does now make her into more complicated character and that I do like. Mind you it will be difficult to look at her the same way that I did before but I can live with the change. I do think that the anger that fans have with her is understandable since she did shoot Sherlock. Although for what its worth, I do not believe she enjoyed being a government assassin and feel that she had abandoned it so that she could have a normal life. Magnussen exposing her stood in the way of that so she decided kill him and was willing to shoot anyone that stood in her way of doing it even if it was her husband’s closet friend. I can’t say I approved of her shooting (and almost killing) Sherlock but I did understand the dilemma she was in. Many are also rightly upset that John had forgiven her but the fact that she is pregnant is probably the main reason that he chose not to break up with her. I know many cases where husbands had bad relationships with their wives but when they became pregnant they decided to give them a second chance. It is possible that is what happened here.
Finally, we come to Magnussen. At first I was underwhelmed because I felt he was taken out quickly. In fact, I still wish we had seen more of him. However, upon rewatching I’ve come to admiring and understanding the character more. While Moriarty had his charm, Magnussen was just plain dislikable. He was slimy and arrogant doing things such as urinating in Sherlock’s fireplace or flicking John’s face. The final twist of him knowing everything because of his “excellent memory” struck me as dumb at first but now I see it as something inventive because it goes along with the hyper-realistic nature that the series can sometimes have (which means bordering on being plausible and implausible at the same time). There has been much debate over whether Sherlock was justified in killing Magnussen. On first viewing it had shocked me and I felt it morally downgraded Sherlock. However, after watching it a few more times I now feel it was the only option he had. Since Magnussen knew everybody’s dirty secrets all in his head and that he was considered untouchable by the authorities, the only way to stop him was to take him out.
The final scene suggesting that Moriarty could return leaves me on the fence. As much as I loved Moriarty, I’m sure if I really want him to come back especially this soon. However, like “The Reichenbach Fall” it leaves you with much to discuss and ponder. For better or for worse this episode is controversial and I mean that in a good way. While it might not be among my favorite episodes per se (it could be in future if I continue to watch again and again), it is very good when put into perspective, and I do now feel embarrassed by the negative review that I had given it before on other websites when I first saw it.


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