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October 15, 2017 10:45 pm  #1


The recurring theme of suicide

I think somewhere somebody already mentioned that there is somehow this recurring theme of suicide in the series. Has it been done on purpose? Did it just happen in the process of finding and writing new stories? It could have been a forum member or even someone participating in the series, who mentioned the show is a lot about suicide.
However, I thought, this seems to be quite true, but I don't think there is a list here to objectify that. I always wanted to write down all mentions of suicide since then. The best would be of course to rewatch everything, but I don't have time at the moment, so I will start writing down all I can recall from memory. Things can be added later. Here we go:

A Study in Pink
1. The first point already could be controversial. The very irst minutes, the opening shots in John's chamber, with his flashbacks to Afghanistan, his joyless life and somehow the camera shot to his gun in his drawer... it could imply that John is suicidal or could get suicidal very soon.
2. Of course the main case of this episode is about apparent suicides and all about Sherlock slowly uncovering that it is not.
3. In the end we see how close Sherlock is to almost committing suicide himself... everything for the game.

The Blind Banker
1. Here it is Van Coon. Suicide is what the police and John think first about. It is an easy explanation to some of the facts presented

The Great Game
1. In the swimming pool Sherlock threatends to blow them all off. He and John are willing to die. They are somehow forced into tha decision, yet they would choose to activeley do something that would result in their deaths.

A Scandal in Belgravia
Here, I cannot find any hint a suicide. At least not from my memory. Interesting.

The Hounds of Baskerville
1. Here it is Henry, driven completely out of his mind and desperate and who almost shoots himself in the forest.
2. Dr. Frankland, in the end, instead of waiting and hoping maybe for the possibility of being saved from standing on the mine, chooses his own death and steps forward. (I don't know how those things work, but that's the impression I got.) Of course he would have had to face the consequences otherwise and been sent to jail for a long time... but still, suicide nontheless.

The Reichenbach Fall
1. Ok very clear, of course this episode is all about suicide. Sherlock's suicide. And one of the episode where this theme is addressed in a very noticable way.
2. Not only Sherlock's, but also of course Moriarty's suicide. And the only "real" suicide of the two.

The Empty Hearse
Not very clear or new mentions of suicide here. One could mention these
1. Sherlock's fake suicide is widely addressed again of course.
2. John and Sherlock in the tube tunnels at the end. It's almost like the are sacrificing their lives. Theirs acts almost lead to their deaths.

The Sign of Three
1. Major Sholto. He threatends to end his own life by opening his belt, knowing he would bleed to death if he did. The scene where he is arguing with John and Sherlock, that he shouldn't do it takes quite some time and a lot of persuasive work.
2. Molly's boyfriend Tom and some of the military guys guess at first, that the young soldier killed himself in the shower.

His Last Vow
(1.) In the end Sherlock chooses knowingly to go away on a deadly mission.

The Abominable Bride
1. The case of the bride is (at the beginning) presened as another case of suicide (Shot herself into the mouth).
(2.) Moriarty's suicide is addressed again. We see the back of his head. Of course it is not necessarily another point as it is linked so heavily with the case of the bride.
3. Sherlock's almost deadly self destruction via drugs is addressed rather heavily. It is explicitly stated that he could die from what he took.

The Six Thatchers
Hm, suicide isn't really a thing in here, I think. Maybe you can count in what Ajay does or what Mary is doing in the end (flinging herself in front of a bullet)... but no, not really...

The Lying Detective
here we go full stuff again...
1. Fake "Faith" is portrayed as suicidal here.
2. Sherlock's speech about taking one's own life deserves o be another point. In fact he mentions is twice, doesnt he? When Faith/Euros is about to leave Baker street alone and later at the Thames.
3. Again, his drug use that is about to cost his life, according to Molly.
4. We hear that John is still hurt by Sherlock's pretended suicide. "You pretended to be dead for two years!!!"
(5.) He is asking Culverton to do it (kill), but before we know it is all part of his plan and even after we know, the extremes Sherlock took is almost the same as suicide.

The Final Problem
1. The governor kills himself
2. There has been a female doctor/psychiatrist who killed herself after her contact with Euros.
3. Sherlock is remembering the governor and is pointing the gun under his chin. Thus threatening Euros with his suicide.



As you can see, there really is quite a lot throughout the show. Exeption is ASiB...
I don't really know, WHY I wrote it down or if there is something you could discuss about this recurring theme... i is up to you at the moment. It is late now, I think I will share and add more thoughts soon. When I know what to do with this information myself. OMG. ;)

Last edited by Rache (October 17, 2017 11:48 am)


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October 16, 2017 8:12 am  #2


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

That is an interesting observation. My very first thought was that suicide usually works well for drama and effect, and that is the main reason it plays such a big role.


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October 16, 2017 9:19 am  #3


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Rache wrote:

....

His Last Vow
(1.) In the end Sherlock chooses knowingly to go away on a deadly mission.

....

The Six Thatchers
Hm, suicide isn't really a thing in here, I think. Maybe you can count in what Ajay does or what Mary is doing in the end (flinging herself in front of a bullet)... but no, not really...



The Final Problem
...
2. There has been a female doctor/psychiatrist who killed herself after her contact with Euros.
.....

Interesting list, and I have a few more:

His Last Vow

In Magnussen's office Sherlock refuses to freeze as demanded by Mary and gets shot by her.

In Appledore he shoots Magnussen in front of armed police (and fully expects them to shoot him, which is why he asks John to stay away from him)

The Six Thatchers

Once again Sherlock refuses to take seriously a woman with a gun, instead he taunts her until she fires


And a remark concerning The Final Problem: The doctor who killed himself was a man

GOVERNOR (as Eurus’ voice continues to be heard quietly in the background): She kept
suggesting to Doctor Taylor that he should kill his family.


(Which leaves open the possibility that women might be immune to Eurus's charms - something to explore in fanfic?)

(As ever, all direct quotes from the show are from Ariane de Vere's transcripts.)

 

October 16, 2017 12:16 pm  #4


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Not exactly suicide, but it's kind of hinted at in ASIB when Irene gives Sherlock her phone, something which we've been told will get her killed. 

 

October 16, 2017 4:25 pm  #5


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Very interesting list, Rache. Suicide is indeed a central theme in the whole show. Just some spontaneous thoughts: Sherlock is presented as not cherishing his own life for a very long time. He does not value it, he thinks he is not important to other people so he risks his life over and over again. Sometimes it is connected with the idea of sacrifice (TRF/HLV) the more emotional he becomes. 

Since Sholto and Henry Knight are mirroring Sherlock, it is not surprising that they show suicidal tendencies as well. 

In a deleted scene from ASiP Sherlock was shown standing at the edge of a roof, talking to Lestrade who was asking how he felt these days. Could be read as another hint at suicidal tendencies. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

October 16, 2017 4:43 pm  #6


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Obviously for personal reasons, a difficult one for me to deal with...I can't really say I'd noticed, until it was pointed out!


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October 16, 2017 4:50 pm  #7


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

I imagine so, bb. Please decide if you are okay with discussing this. But the fact that suicide is an ongoing theme in the show has been discussed on Tumblr for quite some time and I think it is quite an important one. The fact alone that they changed Sherlock's "death" from dying in a fight with an enemy to suicide is quite telling. 
 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

October 16, 2017 4:52 pm  #8


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Oh yes sorry, I completely agree and am actually glad the issue was raised.


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October 16, 2017 9:06 pm  #9


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Thanks for your input, all of you.
And sorry besleybean, I hope it's ok if we keep discussing.

Ok, I forgot that it was a man not a woman who spoke to Eurus... I have see TFP only 2-3 times^^

@Kittyhawk: Interesting, how you see this scene:

In Appledore he shoots Magnussen in front of armed police (and fully expects them to shoot him, which is why he asks John to stay away from him)

I must admit, I have never interpreted it that way. Sherlock surrenderes immediately and visibly dropped the gun. I don't think he expected to be shot by police on the spot. To be on the safe side however, he demanded John to stay back. Possibly he said it to prevent escalaion of the situation. If Sherlock and John keep a visible distance, it is less likely for the police to suspect any lingering danger or unclear situation where they might have to shoot.

But it is good to know you see it like that. This means, we all see some different hints for suicide.

Just like I believe a lot of people wouldn't see a hint at suicide in A Study in Pink with the camera shot on Johns gun in the drawer a the beginning, but which I have mentioned.

@Susi: Wow, where can I find this scene, it is not a scene in the pilot is it? Would love to see it.

Very interesting list, Rache. Suicide is indeed a central theme in the whole show. Just some spontaneous thoughts: Sherlock is presented as not cherishing his own life for a very long time. He does not value it, he thinks he is not important to other people so he risks his life over and over again. Sometimes it is connected with the idea of sacrifice (TRF/HLV) the more emotional he becomes.

And very well put. You are right, Sherlock doesn't cherish his life very much, which is sad.

@Vhanja: True, suicide makes for good drama. And it is good for the mysteries of a crime show as well. You can always explore if it was murder, suicide or an accident.
 

Last edited by Rache (October 16, 2017 9:50 pm)


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October 17, 2017 6:30 am  #10


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Me, neither!
For me that scene, HLV, Sherlock executes CAM: was always about Sherlock trying to make it entirely clear that he alone was responsible for CAM's killing and so getting John off the hook.


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October 17, 2017 7:14 am  #11


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Rache, here is the deleted scene from ASiP:

http://up.picr.de/30668615xx.jpg

 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

October 17, 2017 9:43 am  #12


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Rache wrote:

....

@Kittyhawk: Interesting, how you see this scene:

In Appledore he shoots Magnussen in front of armed police (and fully expects them to shoot him, which is why he asks John to stay away from him)

I must admit, I have never interpreted it that way. Sherlock surrenderes immediately and visibly dropped the gun. I don't think he expected to be shot by police on the spot. To be on the safe side however, he demanded John to stay back. Possibly he said it to prevent escalaion of the situation. If Sherlock and John keep a visible distance, it is less likely for the police to suspect any lingering danger or unclear situation where they might have to shoot.

....
 

Actually I don't think Sherlock actively tries to commit suicide here (just like he didn't try to kill himself jumping off Bart's, or when scratching his head with a gun without a safety lever in TGG - another one to add under "not valueing his own life"). But I do think that he was aware of the risk. But for the grace of the writers Sherlock should have been shot while he was raising his arm with the pistol, before he got to kill CAM (that's the point of employing snipers in these situations, isn't it? But maybe they weren't in place yet...)

(And what a waste of a great villain...)

 

October 17, 2017 11:45 am  #13


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

@SusiGo: Oh god. This cut scene IS quite telling indeed. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/worried.png


Here is another mention of suicide: In The Sign of Three Molly's boyfriend Tom and some   guys from the military academy think that the young soldier killed himself in the shower. Added it in the list above.


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October 17, 2017 6:17 pm  #14


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

The Sherlock team are obsessed!


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October 22, 2017 12:13 am  #15


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Something struck me, when I wrote that down

Rache wrote:

[b]The Final Problem
.
.
.
.
3. Sherlock is remembering the governor and is pointing the gun under his chin. Thus threatening Euros with his suicide.[/b]

and when I had read your answer

SusiGo wrote:

Sherlock is presented as not cherishing his own life for a very long time. He does not value it, he thinks he is not important to other people so he risks his life over and over again. Sometimes it is connected with the idea of sacrifice (TRF/HLV) the more emotional he becomes.

Ohhhhh, ok, stop!
Do you all realise, what Sherlock did?? Well yeah of course...!?, you will most certainly say. He threatened to kill himself. Eurus prevented it, because that's not where she wanted her "game" to be going. Sherlock has become more human than ever since S1. He has done those things before, I'm not really surprised. Ohhh, of course he has a heart, he would rather kill himself than John or Mycroft. 
Yep. But do you understand what it was about? (I underline this in a way and mysterious voice like I imagine Wanda Ventham, Benedict's mum has said in a conversation with some fans, when they talked about, what season four/TFP was about and the fans got very confused. :D What I found out, is reminding me of this "what it was about", although I'm convinced it hasn' to do with each other.

Could it be that this is a huge part of Sherlock's character development? In TFP he has learned that he/his life IS worth something? In all these situations he was on the edge of suicide before, it was either because he was "bored" or because he himself was the one loving and caring so much (about John, Mrs. Hudson, John and Mary etc.), but now in this situation in TFP, he realises that he can actually turn the tables!!! That HE is loved or needed by OTHERS, that the solution is again to commit suicide, but this time out of a very different reason. The opposite reason if you could say so. Not because he is the caring one, but because others care. (because he has come to realise, Eurus wouldn't let that happen). Yeah, of course it is not really the opposite, in fact it is quite similar. But isn't that the one small thing (or one of he small things), that makes it so special in Sherlock's case, and isn't it the small piece of understanding and humanization that Sherlock was missing and which now completed him?


I am excited and quite baffled now, if you believe it or not. Of course I "saw" back then, when TFP aired, that Sherlock has threatened Eurus with his suicide in order to stop her at that point. I "saw" everything he did in the other seasons, I "saw" that he didn't value his life very much, especially in ASiP. But writing all this down in my first post and reading what you all and SusiGo wrote, which, of course, in fact I knew before, but somehow condensed down, listed, organised, made me see it so so much clearer. It is hard to describe, I'm confused myself, but do you understand what I mean? It is amazing how writing down things can help you so much discovering new things. Discovering them for real. This really gives you an "Aha moment".

I'm not saying, that his is he only truth, that it has to be like this, that is has been planned this way, that writers meant it that way. But what I've discovered now, makes me very happy. I'm sure you can find arguments against it, but what matters to me at the moment, is, that it CAN be seen like I saw it. Which makes the series even more precious, because I think it is a very beautiful conclusion in itself.

Thoughts? Are you at the same point where I am? Did you see it (or similar things) weeks and months before and am I just very slow? Careful, I would have said for myself, that of course I realised what it was about! But only now I would say that I was merely scratching the surface.

Last edited by Rache (October 22, 2017 12:20 am)


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October 22, 2017 7:54 am  #16


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Interesting thoughts.
Just a couple of gut reactions:
1.  I think Sherlock accepts that his death may be a consequence of his work, but I don't generally think he is suicidal.
2. I do think he was prepared to shoot himself in TFP, simply as he was not prepared to shoot either Mycroft or John.


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October 22, 2017 9:44 am  #17


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Good thoughts besley.
I like the idea as well that it was a result of his work, but can you further explain why? If anything, it was Mycroft who messed up, who let it come to that point.

For the second point: Yes, could be, and when I watched that scene for the first time, I was quite convinced that Sherlock was indeed prepared to shoot himself.
But then, why the countdown? If he really wanted to end it, he would have shot himself on the spot. Just like the governor. Or breathed in and out 2-3 times heavily while backing up against the wall and pulling the trigger. Or, if he wasn't prepared to shoot either John or Mycroft, why doing anything at all? He wasn't forced to do anything at that point.
No, in hindsight, I think he wasn't prepared to die. Although there is the smallest doubt remaining, because I wonder what would have happened if he had reached zero in the countdown.

Last edited by Rache (October 22, 2017 9:58 am)


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October 22, 2017 10:01 am  #18


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

As for the work aspect: I beg to differ because in ASiP for example Sherlock threatening to take the pill is not necessary. He has won. He knows how the cabbie did it, there is no physical threat to Sherlock, and yet he is about to take the pill - for the fun of it? Out of curiosity? He does not seem to be sure if he chose the right pill. So, funny enough, John's shot does indeed save him from losing his life but without any interaction from the cabbie. So I would say that while Sherlock may not be strictly suicidal, he does not value his own life at all. A fact which is much later confirmed in TLD. 

"In saving my life, she conferred a value on it. It is a currency I do not know how to spend.! 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

October 22, 2017 10:10 am  #19


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

Sherlock was mimicking Eurus and her obsession with countdowns.


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October 22, 2017 10:40 am  #20


Re: The recurring theme of suicide

I also wonder how much Sherlock had "deduced" that Eurus wanted him alive. 

 

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