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August 5, 2015 10:59 pm  #1


Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

I have been thinking about this for a while.  We see that Moriarty appears in Sherlock's mind palace chained in a cell and wearing a straight jacket.  It's quite an image, and while it may surprising, I think it has to do with how Sherlock believes he had gotten rid of Moriarty.  Evne though Moriarty shot himself, he is still gone, he's no longer commiting crimes, so he's locked up, unable to escape or move much.  Dealth with.  This made me wonder what other criminals are locked up in that way, or whether it was special for Moriarty because he's on another level of criminal.  If that's the case, would Magnussen be locked up in a similar way now that Sherlock has gotten rid of him as well? He also is different from other criminals that Sherlock has faced.
If Moriarty is back, then is he metaphorically breaking out of the cell? It would be cool if we got a short scene of him wiggling out of the straight jacket, perhaps superhumanly breaking the chain off.  But I'd probably imagine something like that anyway even if it's not shown.

And then there's also the question, which may not be entirely related to what I already wrote about above, is why did Sherlock go there of all places? I think the entire mind palace sequence is him going through a thought process, and people he knows who represent those parts of his mind talking him through it.  In that case, I think Moirarty might represent the lengths that Sherlock goes to to protect the public and his friends.  In this scene, after all, Moriarty reminds him of who would be sad if Sherlock dies, and "John Watson is certainly in danger." And then there's the taunting rhyme "Sherlock is boring," "Sherlock is dying." Boring, he's dying from such a simple act. He's better than that.  Moriarty always challenged him to be better, accused him of being like others, boring, which Sherlock can't see himself being because he sees other people as boring.
I also think there's something circular about it and the series 2 finale.  Then, he was "dying" to save others, now he has to live to do that.  In series 2 it was to save their lives, in series 3 it's their hearts, which he hurt by doing the previous act.  And Moriarty is present for both.
Moriarty represents both psobbilities, dying and living, because he is like Sherlock, but more on the evil side that Sherlock.  He could die, as Moriarty reminds him, because nobody will bother him.  But if he dies everyone will be sad, perhaps in danger too.  In series 2, Sherlock could kill himself to save others, or not.  He could be more lik Moriarty.  He could choose a different way to act, with perhaps less than favourable results.  He's on the side of the angels, but perhaps not one of them.  He solves crimes, but he's also become a murderer in a situation where it felt like that was the only option.  Moriarty represents what Sherlock could do if he was a little different, what a brilliant mind gone wrong is.  And while surrendering himself to death could be easy, he is not acting totally as himself, as someone who isn't on the bad side of society, like Moriarty.  He could let himself go, but he can't not think of the consequences on others, even if Moriarty could.  At least, not anymore.  Instead he has to fight, and live.

Last edited by Yitzock (August 5, 2015 11:05 pm)


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August 6, 2015 1:27 am  #2


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

I have to admit I had seen this scene in an entirely different way, Moriarty representing the part of himself that Sherlock thought was bad (that is to say, feelings and especially caring because caring brings forth pain), the one he'd locked away -for self preservation/protection.
When he says to MP!Moriarty "you never felt pain, did you?", I understand that Sherlock is berating himself for that, for locking himself away, because he is starting to understand how feelings can be important ("you don't have to fear it!" because, even if it is represented by Moriarty (still a symbol of danger in Sherlock's mind), what happens is really Sherlock telling himself that it's all fine.

As for "why did he go there of all places", I think that, this place being the deepest place in his mind (where else would he have controlled -notice how he says "Control! Control! Control." upon entering the room- and suppressed his feelings?) is the only way he could try and ...well, be "not dead".

I tend to agree with you, however, on the meaning of "Sherlock is boring". Dying from something so...simple? It's not neat, it's not elegant, it's...yes, boring. common.
If you would, let me propose a different meaning: what if, instead of "Sherlock is boring" equates "Sherlock is dying because of something soterribly common and dull" it were yet another taunt from Sherlock's subconscious to remind him how dull he's become so John doesn't want to live with him anymore -John is "addicted to a certain lifestyle" which because of specific circumstances (aftermath of his 2 years undercover?), Sherlock cannot provide him with anymore?

I agree very strongly with how you close your post : Sherlock is, indeed, unable not to care for the consequences of his actions on others -he cannot do this, be that controlled and repressed person he was, not after he has witnessed what befell them after his act. He has to fight, and live, to become a better man -until he eventually becomes the "great man" that Lestrade foresaw from the beginning.

Last edited by Lilythiell (August 6, 2015 3:11 am)


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August 6, 2015 9:57 am  #3


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

I have a third interpretation of that - Moriartiy is Sherlock's "evil side". Sherlock could be just like Moriarty if he wanted to. I can't remember where I read it, but I think in an interview Moffat (I think?) said that Sherlock had chosen "the side of the angels" because it would be more of a challenge.

So in his Mind Palace, Moriartiy is his dark side. He knows he could be just like him, and he keeps that side of him locked away far, far down in his mind. 


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August 6, 2015 10:00 am  #4


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

That's an interesting interpretation, Vhanja! It does make sense -and echoes Sherlock's "I am you" in TRF.
As for the interview, I couldn't help out. Sorry...


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August 6, 2015 3:58 pm  #5


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

Vhanja wrote:

I have a third interpretation of that - Moriartiy is Sherlock's "evil side". Sherlock could be just like Moriarty if he wanted to. I can't remember where I read it, but I think in an interview Moffat (I think?) said that Sherlock had chosen "the side of the angels" because it would be more of a challenge.

So in his Mind Palace, Moriartiy is his dark side. He knows he could be just like him, and he keeps that side of him locked away far, far down in his mind. 

That's the way I understand this mini scene, too. Sherlock and Moriarty are very similar, but Moriarty chose the criminal, "bad" side whereas Sherlock decided to work fo the "good" side; BUT it also could be the other way round! Moriarty embodies/symbolizes the dangerous part of Sherlock's genius, the one that has to be put under control all of the time.


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August 6, 2015 4:01 pm  #6


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

kornmuhme wrote:

That's the way I understand this mini scene, too. Sherlock and Moriarty are very similar, but Moriarty chose the criminal, "bad" side whereas Sherlock decided to work fo the "good" side; BUT it also could be the other way round! Moriarty embodies/symbolizes the dangerous part of Sherlock's genius, the one that has to be put under control all of the time.

I might have misunderstood what you meant, but I don't see that the last part you wrote is the other way around/different from what you wrote first (and what I wrote in my post). I think Moriarty symbolizes the "bad", cold and egotistical side of Sherlock, the abilities he has to become like Moriarty. And they have to be, as you said, under strict control.


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August 6, 2015 4:16 pm  #7


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

I just wanted to say, that in the show Sherlock is the good guy and Moriarty the bad one, but it could also be possible, that Sherlock turns bad (which doesn't mean Moriarty plays the good part). Just as Donovon said in the very first episode that once Shelock might be the person who "put the body there" (or so). So there seems to be a certain danger of Sherlock getting in touch with the evil, also in himself.


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August 6, 2015 4:27 pm  #8


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

Hm, I've never seen Sherlock getting in touch with the Moriarity side of himself. But he does from time to time slide over to the cold and "psycopath" side, with his use of Janine, for instance. I think he hits very close to mark when he says that John is the one who "keeps him right". John is his moral compass, and Sherlock has evolved tremendously after they became friends. But that side will always be there, I think. And every now and then it will come out.


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August 6, 2015 4:48 pm  #9


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

That's canon, too, actually.  I'm 'fairly' positive Sherlock comments to John on Moriarty at some point in the stories, that Sherlock could have been like him, with their similar minds, but chose not to.  Think Moffat mentioned that in an interview once.
But I agree with the rest… Sherlock is trying to physically save himself and not die/go into shock by metaphorically pulling himself down into the deepest recess of his mind… just absolutely fascinating how they chose to portray that deepest part… the metaphorical 'locked away' room, with the locked away part of himself that is like Moriarty that he has to keep under control (and amazingly also kicks him back into wanting to fight and live for who he is now).


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August 6, 2015 7:01 pm  #10


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

Moriarty being the "bad" side of Sherlock is kind of what I was getting at, or at least one of the things I was trying to get at.  How Sherlock could have been if he made some different choices.  But I don't know whether that's the onlly thing that he represents, and the posts here so far indicate that more than one meaning can be found in this scene.  The ones I mentioned arecjust what I saw in it.  There is probably more than one layer.

I can see why Moriarty might be locked away because of the fact that he represents something deep inside Sherlock that he doesn't necessarily want to have out, or choices sthat he could have made but didn't, but I think the fact that he mentions about being dead, that being dead has something to do with it, too.  Obviously we have nothing to prove one way or the other for sure, but it's possible that's not how Moriarty would have appeared inside Sherlock's head earlier on in the story.

What Lily said about why Sherlock might have ended up there in this scene is interesting.  Maybe it's a place in his mind that he had control of his feelings.  But I think the strength and the control comes from acknowledging his feelings, instead of suppressing them.  It's when he remembers John and everyone else he cares about that he knows he has to live.


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August 6, 2015 7:17 pm  #11


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

What I find interesting in that scene, is the dialouge.

"Why do you never feel pain?" Is Sherlock addressing himself or Moriarty? Is he bitter about his choice to be "good" leaves him more vulnerable to pain?

And even more interesting is Moriarty's reply: "You always feel it".

I've never seen Sherlock as a man who constantly walks around in emotional pain. What is that line supposed to mean?


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August 6, 2015 7:26 pm  #12


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

And to paraphrase The Moff, Sherlock is boiling with emotions.

Repressed for so long, that's not really a surprise, is it? Can we suppose his feelings have given him the strength he needed to "break free" when he entered this room? Because he was acknowledging his feelings at that moment -and not repressing anything. He might have realised that it was something extremely exhausting and only tried to control the pain -because he doesn't have a death wish (contrary to Moriarty).

Now, for Sherlock's "dark side". I think that the fact he was able to escape from that room can be seen as his accepting of his darker personality. Echoing, once again, his speech on the roof "But don't believe for one second that I am one of them".
I think that, at that moment, he knew that he had it in him to be as bad as Moriarty, but it took him dying to acknowledge it.
However, the fact that he accepts his darker side doesn't mean he won't ever behave badly -let's just take a look at his final action against Magnussen...while it has been done out of love, one can only wonder how that can be seen as a good action...but he accepts it and seems to board the aeroplane on the tarmac without resentment, but resignation.


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August 6, 2015 7:42 pm  #13


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

As the scene takes place in Sherlock's Mind Palace, it seems obvious it's him who's talking.
That line does sound a bit like a child saying "it's unfair!"...
I think that we can safely suppose that Sherlock is bitter at not being able to control pain, yes ("You don't have to fear it!"). It seems to me that the second line implies that Sherlock tells himself that he ought not to suppress his emotions for any reason, and become stronger. (let fear go, you'll stop being burdened/you'll be less burdened?).
I think that the fact dark!Sherlock is represented by Moriarty can be seen from two (fundamentally opposite) POV:
-a death wish (it could be soooo easy to just let go. I've said that Sherlock doesn't have one, but maybe he does at that specific moment?)
-no matter what happens, there needs to be a captain onboard the ship. So, whatever it takes, dark!Sherlock needs to give some incentive (and advice?) to NotAnAngel!Sherlock.
In these two completely different POV, I only see a human being.

 

Last edited by Lilythiell (August 6, 2015 7:42 pm)


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August 6, 2015 7:43 pm  #14


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

I saw Sherlock's remark of Moriarty never feeling pain as a kind of jab against him (kind of like in Harry Potter when Harry says he feels sorry for Voldemort for never feeling love, though not quite the same), if I'm remembering correctly.  Ultimately, Sherlock succeeds and Moriarty doesn't, and Sherlock is the one who feels.

The ordeal that Sherlock does through includes him acknowledging his emotions to pull through.  Is he not feeling many feelings over the course of the entire sequence, let alone the scene with Moriarty? Pain, fear, shock.

I don't really think that it was not until the scene in his mind palace that Sherlock realizes that he could have been like Moriarty, or shares similarity.  I think that was already there, but perhaps he is acknowledging it more fully?  

But I would agree that even if he does not always act on the bad side, he obviously does, even though those action are motivated by better intentions than Moriarty.


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August 6, 2015 7:45 pm  #15


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

Yitzock wrote:

I don't really think that it was not until the scene in his mind palace that Sherlock realizes that he could have been like Moriarty, or shares similarity.  I think that was already there, but perhaps he is acknowledging it more fully?  

 Yes!


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August 6, 2015 7:45 pm  #16


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

I'm not sure I can see something in that scene that says he accepts his "dark side" - or that he has ever NOT accepted it.

I can see that Sherlock is boiling with emotions, but emotions doesn't have to be just a lot of pain. I am wondering where that is coming from. 


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August 6, 2015 7:47 pm  #17


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

Love is supposedly a good emotion but he'll have to suffer (echo to TSoT)?
Maybe "accepting" is not the right term? He resigned himself to having a "dark side"?

Last edited by Lilythiell (August 6, 2015 7:59 pm)


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August 9, 2015 8:36 pm  #18


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

I don't know whether he's not always accepted the "dark side," but I think in the scene he is making a decision where his dark side is active in his decision, or could be until he pushes it aside in favour of the option of living.  Based on what Moriarty (or perhaps the vision of Moriarty) says, he does consider letting himself go, but then he thinks of the consequences and realizes that even if in a way it is in his interest to simply slip away, he does not want to make that decision for other reasons, which include the fact that others that he cares about will be hurt or in danger.


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August 9, 2015 10:23 pm  #19


Re: Moriarty in Sherlock's Mind Palace

Yes, this… well put.   (and also loving that scene again for it's intensity of showing all that, and that his "dark side", as it is, is the voice both encouraging letting go, and reminding him of a reason not to).


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I'm working my way up the greasy pole.  It's… very greasy.  And…  pole-shaped.
 

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