Saturday, January 28, 2017

BBC Sherlock S4E3 "The Final Problem" - Recap and Review

sherlock the final problem poster image picture wallpaper screensaver

There will be spoilers throughout and the readers who are yet to watch the episode are recommended to skip this post.

As seen at the end of The Lying Detective”, there is one more Holmes lurking around and that is Eurus (Sian Brooke). Eurus is seen taking a shot at John Watson (Martin Freeman) and this is supposedly meant to indicate that either John is dead or at least injured.


The season finale starts off with Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss) watching classic movie at his palatial home. Suddenly, horror movie cliches (creepy girl and creepy clown running around randomly) abound and Mycroft is scared out of his wits. Turns out that his brother dear Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is behind this charade.

Sherlock wanted to get even with Mycroft for not revealing the existence of Eurus. And as an added bonus, John is still alive. What about getting shot by the scheming sister, you ask. Well, it was just a tranquilizer shot. No worries.

Mycroft then gives a quick rundown about Eurus (an era defining genius beyond Newton). If only she had not gone bad, the world would have benefited from her genius intellect or at the least Sherlock would not have had so much trouble from that pesky criminal mastermind, Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott).

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But as thing stand, Eurus has gone bonkers. As if she had predicted the exact time and day of this conversation, Eurus arranges a nice explosion at 221 B Baker Street by sending a remote controlled drone. Man, that Eurus is so smart.

Like any respectable action heroes would do in such a situation, Sherlock and John escape completely unscathed and decide to take the war right back to sister dear.

The next scene shifts to Sherlock, John and Mycroft arriving at Sherrinford and right at this moment, the show divorced itself from Arthur Conan Doyle's works (on which it is supposed to be based on).

The rest of the episode is busy doing an ill-advised and completely out of place imitation of the Saw horror movies rather than be a show about a bohemian detective. And yes, the resolution. The resolution comes and goes like the Miss Hudson cameo in the other equally inept adaptation that also claims to be based on one Mr Sherlock Holmes: the CBS show known as Elementary.

Coming back to this show,  Eurus has taken complete control of Sherrinford and subjects her dearest brothers and the ex army veteran to a series of psychological tests including making a phone call to Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), one character choosing between shooting one of the other two etc. Yes, the episode is that bad.

A special mention must be made of the closing montage. With the departed Mary Morstan still making her presence felt through DVDs (come to think of it, so many characters make their appearances through clips after dying..), the show ends with a tribute to Basil Rathbone with the lead actors continuing the time honored tradition of Batman and Robin running towards the camera.


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Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs), who stole the show in the previous episode, has the best line in this one too: her exchange with Mycroft about a cup of tea.

Surprisingly, the best performance is not given by either the Holmes brothers or their new found sister or even the cute as a button and always teary eyed John. It is Andrew Scott as the late Jim Moriarty with his very brief but very catchy and enjoyable contributions by imitating the sounds of time ticking away and train sounds.

I know this makes no sense when you read it, but it really translates well to screen. I have never been a fan of Andrew's over the top version of Moriarty, but this was just pure fun. Scott's performance remains the only redeeming feature of this shipwreck of what was once a widely acclaimed show. Here is an article that captures the unbelievable plot holes and gaps in the script.

Going forward, I can only hope for two things: that the BBC show never returns, and that Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr. learn from this mistake and continue their great work with the third Sherlock Holmes movie.


mycroft sherlock holmes brothers poster image picture wallpaper screensaver


Click here to read the list of Canonical References in the episode. Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.


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Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece theater

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

BBC Sherlock S4E2 "The Lying Detective" - Review and Recap

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There will be spoilers throughout and the readers who are yet to watch the episode are recommended to skip this post.

This episode begins with John Watson (Martin Freeman) speaking with a new psychiatrist, someone who is not as understanding and friendly as Ella was. Their session is interrupted by a speeding car that comes to a grinding halt outside. Readers expecting to see Sherlock's grand entrance are in for a huge surprise: instead it is good old Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs).



Mrs Hudson forces John to talk to Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is lying in the trunk. Sherlock has seemingly gone completely off the rails after he publicly accuses Culverton Smith (Toby Jones) of being a serial killer.

In the meantime, Sherlock receives a client who claims to be Faith (Culverton's daughter). She claims that her father is planning to murder someone. Sherlock realizes that Faith might be suicidal and Sherlock tries to talk her out of it by going for a walk together and having chips.

Culverton invites Sherlock and John to his charity hospital. Sherlock borrows Culverton's cellphone and texts Faith asking her to come to the hospital. When Faith arrives, Sherlock is shocked to discover that the lady who posed as Faith at 221 B Baker Street is not the one standing in front of him.

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At this juncture, Sherlock loses it completely and is about to attack Culverton with a scalpel. John intervenes and roughs up Sherlock badly enough that he bleeds.

Sherlock is admitted to the hospital and Culverton promises publicly that he will take good care of his illustrious patient.

John Watson (Martin Freeman) watches the DVD sent by Mary and realizes that Sherlock is putting his life at risk to pull John out of his depression. John races to the hospital in time and stops Culverton from killing Sherlock by suffocation.

This episode was a distinct improvement over The Six Thatchers. Sherlock returns to catching criminals even if he does not do much of deductions. Cumberbatch regains some of the verve and enthusiasm that he has shown in Seasons 1 to 3. He was effective in the monologue scene and especially his closing conversation with Mrs Hudson.

Speaking of Mrs Hudson, Una Stubbs owned this episode. Her dialogue delivery has never been better in my humble opinion. From her dramatic entrance to her forcing Sherlock to hand over handcuffs to displaying her insights into Sherlock's habits, it is Una's show all the way. Her exchange with John about owning the sports car and her response to his request was hilarious.


sherlock molly hooper lying detective image picture screensaver wallpaper poster

While Freeman is good as John Watson, there were some anomalies in the episode. Mary's statement about John never accepting help from anyone was quite out of character. To the best of my knowledge, the canonical Dr Watson is never above accepting help. If anything, it is Sherlock Holmes who works alone and does not share his plans with others till the last moment. This was a jarring piece of writing from the two writers, who have always claimed to be huge fans of Arthur Conan Doyle.

But the most cringeworthy scene was seeing John beat up Sherlock viciously. While Gatiss and Moffat can justify this as John's pent up anger over Mary's death, this was something that ACD's Watson would never do. At this point, Freeman's Watson is as distant from the Canonical Watson as Nigel Bruce's bumbling version is.

The other good performances were given by Toby Jones as Culverton and Sian Brooke as Eurus Holmes. Toby is equal parts creepy and equal parts funny. He nails the part of the serial killer who almost openly confesses to being one.


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Sian oozes menace as the third Holmes sibling. She does not display any of the over the top antics of Andrew Scott's Moriarty. Her disguises were pulled off successfully and credit to the make up department for a job well done. It is a pity that all this good work will be undone in the next episode...

Click here to read the list of Canonical References in the episode. Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

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Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece theater

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

Monday, January 23, 2017

"The Final Problem" - Canonical References and Nods

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There might be spoilers and the readers who are yet to watch the episode are recommended to skip this post.

1. The episode title The Final Problem is a reference to Arthur Conan Doyle's story of the same name. This is the one where Holmes comes face to face with his archenemy, Professor Moriarty and ends with both of them being presumed dead. Public outcry (and possibly the publisher's monetary offers) forced Doyle to bring the detective back to life in The Adventure of the Empty House.

2. After John Watson (Martin Freeman) asks him to come to 221 B Baker Street on the next day to discuss about Eurus Holmes (Sian Brooke), Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss) angrily respondsFor God's sake, this is not one of your idiot cases - In The Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans, Mycroft scolds Sherlock Holmes to appreciate the urgency of the case: You must drop everything, Sherlock. Never mind your usual petty puzzles of the police-court. It's a vital international problem that you have to solve.

3. John tells Mycroft: There is an East wind coming..” - 

In His Last Bow, Holmes tells Dr Watson: There's an east wind coming, Watson.
Watson: I think not, Holmes. It is very warm.
Holmes: Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.

Interestingly, at the climax of His Last Vow, Sherlock tells John: The East Wind takes us all in the end ... It’s a story my brother told me when we were kids. The East Wind - this terrifying force that lays waste to all in its path ... It seeks out the unworthy and plucks them from the Earth. That was generally me.

4. Mycroft asks Sherlock as to who said this line: The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Sherlock replies: I don't know and I don't care.” - In A Study in Scarlet, Dr Watson writes that Sherlock Holmes' knowledge of literature is Nil. (Later in the episode, John clarifies that Oscar Wilde wrote this line in The Importance of Being Earnest)

5. Musgrave, the Holmes ancestral home. Later, Eurus makes the statement: At long last, Sherlock Holmes, it's time to solve the Musgrave ritual. Your very first case and the final problem - Reference to The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual. In the story, Holmes solves the mystery behind the disappearance of Brunton, the family butler and Rachel Howells, the maid.

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6. Eurus tells Sherlock: You try and try, but you just can't see, you can't look.” - Holmes makes a very similar statement to Watson in A Scandal in Bohemia: “You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.”

7. Eurus asks Sherlock to figure which of the three Garrideb brothers (Nathan, Alex and Howard) murdered Evans - This is a reference to The Adventure of the Three Garridebs. In the story, Killer Evans assumes the false identity of John Garrideb in order to get Nathan Garrideb out of his house. To achieve this, Evan concocts a story of how he can split the property of the late Alexander Hamilton Garrideb, a rich real estate business tycoon, if he can two more Garridebs.

8. Eurus mentions that Sherlock and Victor Trevor were inseparable - Holmes explains about Victor Trevor to Dr Watson in The Adventure of the Gloria ScottHe was the only friend I made during the two years I was at college...Trevor was the only man I knew, and that only through the accident of his bull terrier freezing on to my ankle one morning as I went down to chapel. It was a prosaic way of forming a friendship, but it was effective. I was laid by the heels for ten days, but Trevor used to come in to inquire after me. At first it was only a minute's chat, but soon his visits lengthened, and before the end of the term we were close friends.



9. Mary says in her DVD: There is a final court of appeal for everyone -
Holmes states in The Sign of the Four: I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection. When Gregson or Lestrade or Athelney Jones are out of their depths -which, by the way, is their normal state - the matter is laid before me. I examine the data, as an expert, and pronounce a specialist's opinion.

In The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual, Holmes tells Dr Watson: You see me now when my name has become known far and wide, and when I am generally recognized both by the public and by the official force as being a final court of appeal in doubtful cases.


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10. In the final montage scene, we see a reference to The Adventure of the Dancing Men. There is a picture of stick figures on the whiteboard at 221 B Baker Street.

11. Mary (Amanda Abbington) says in her DVD: The best and wisest men I have ever known. My Baker Street boys. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.” -

Dr John Watson refers to Sherlock Holmes as the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known” in The Adventure of the Final Problem. 

Trivia:

1. Eurus Holmes is placed in Sherrinford, a maximum security prison - The character of Sherrinford Holmes was not created by Arthur Conan Doyle. William S. Baring-Gould created this character in his fictional biography “Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street”. Sherrinford is presumed to be the eldest of the three brothers.


2. The final scene in the episode has Sherlock and John running towards the camera. The building in the background is named Rathbone Place” - A tribute to Basil Rathbone, an obvious inspiration for Moffat and Gatiss to create the show.

3. Inside Sherrinford, Eurus forces Sherlock, Mycroft and John to a series of tests while she watches them and taunts them - I found this setup to be similar to the Saw movies.

Readers are welcome to point out any other nods I might have missed out.

Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.


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Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece Theatre, Wikipedia

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

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Canonical References in "The Empty Hearse"
Canonical Nods in "The Empty Hearse"
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Saturday, January 14, 2017

BBC Sherlock Canonical References - "The Lying Detective"

sad face sherlock holmes bbc the lying detective image picture screensaver wallpaper poster

There will be spoilers throughout and the readers who are yet to watch the episode are recommended to skip this post. Here are the nods to Arthur Conan Doyle's works:

1. The episode's title “The Lying Detective” - Reference to the short story The Adventure of the Dying Detective, on which the episode is based on. The original had Holmes faking a deadly affliction to fool Culverton Smith into confessing to the murder of his nephew (Victor Savage) and also of the attempted murder of Holmes himself. 

2. Faith's desperate pleas to Sherlock: Please.. I have no else to turn to....You are my last hope.” - Holmes states in The Sign of the Four: I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection. When Gregson or Lestrade or Athelney Jones are out of their depths -which, by the way, is their normal state - the matter is laid before me. I examine the data, as an expert, and pronounce a specialist's opinion.

3. Sherlock is convinced that Faith is about to commit suicide and yells at her: Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it.” - In The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger, Holmes and Watson listen to Eugenia Ronder's tragic story as to how she lost her beauty. Then Holmes tells her strongly:  Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it.

4. Sherlock's deductions about Faith sitting in the passenger seat based on the marks on her skirt. Faith confirms that she came in a taxi. - In The Adventure of the Speckled Band, Holmes deduces that his client (Helen Stoner) came in a dog-cart: “The left arm of your jacket is spattered with mud in no less than seven places. The marks are perfectly fresh. There is no vehicle save a dog-cart which throws up mud in that way, and then only when you sit on the left-hand side of the driver.”

5. Sherlock guessing the self-inflicted scars on Faith's left forearm that she deliberately hides under her sleeve. Faith confirms that Sherlock is correct. - In The Adventure of the Speckled BandHolmes observes five little livid spots, the marks of four fingers and a thumb that were printed upon the white wrist of his client (Helen Stoner). In this case, it is Helen's stepfather Dr Grimesby Roylott who inflicts these wounds out of spite.

6. When another character interrupts Mycroft's call with the Prime Minister to inform him that Sherlock has left the flat, Mycroft retorts: “Was it on fire?” - Possible reference to The Final Problem. In the story, Moriarty's agents set the Baker Street rooms on fire.

7. Sherlock's line: The game's afoot.” - Sherlock Holmes awakens Dr John Watson in The Adventure of the Abbey Grange and implores him: “Come, Watson, come! ... The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!”

8. Sherlock's remark about Culverton Smith: That creature, that rotting thing, is a living breathing coagulation of human evil, and if the only thing I ever do in this world is drive him out of it, then my life will not have been wasted.” - In The Final Problem, Holmes states about Professor Moriarty: I tell you, Watson, in all seriousness, that if I could beat that man, if I could free society of him, I should feel that my own career had reached its summit, and I should be prepared to turn to some more placid line in life.

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9. Sherlock angrily tells John: I have been many things, John, but when I ever been a malingerer? - In The Adventure of the Dying Detective, Holmes tells Dr Watson: Malingering is a subject upon which I have sometimes thought of writing a monograph.

10. Sherlock tells the children at the hospital: The main feature of interest in the field of criminal investigation is not the sensational aspects of the crime itself, but rather ... the iron chain of reason from cause to effect that reveals step by step the solution. That is the only truly remarkable aspect of the entire affair.” -

In The Sign of the Four, Holmes criticizes Dr Watson's previous write up (A Study in Scarlet): I glanced over it ... Honestly, I cannot congratulate you upon it. Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science, and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid ... The only point in the case which deserved mention was the curious analytical reasoning from effects to causes by which I succeeded in unraveling it.

11. At the hospital, Sherlock refers to the case of Blessington the poisoner that involved 5 suspects - Possible reference to The Adventure of the Resident Patient, which involved the Worthingdon bank gang. The gang had 5 members: Blessington/Sutton, Biddle, Hayward, Cartwright and Moffat. Yes, Steven could have very well scripted a meta reference to himself!

12. Culverton Smith asks John: You really a doctor? ...  Not a medical doctor, you know. Not just feet, or media studies or something....Are you?” and sarcastically refers to him as Doctor Watson.

AND

After John rescues Sherlock from Culverton, John asks him if he is ok. Sherlock replies: No of course I’m not ok. Malnourished, double kidney failure, and frankly I’ve been off my tits for weeks. What kind of a doctor are you?” -

In The Adventure of the Dying Detective, it is Holmes who tells Dr Watson: “If I am to have a doctor whether I will or not, let me at least have someone in whom I have confidence... after all, you are only a general practitioner with very limited experience and mediocre qualifications. It is painful to have to say these things, but you leave me no choice.”

13. Nurse Cornish's comment about Sherlock's physical strength: And yeah, he’s made a terrible mess of himself, but he’s awfully strong, so must look on the bright side.” - 

Dr Watson writes about his first meeting with Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet - “How are you?” he said cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I should hardly have given him credit. “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.” 

Holmes displays his strength (after Dr Grimesby Roylott's departure) in The Adventure of the Speckled Band - “He seems a very amiable person,” said Holmes, laughing. “I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own.” As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and, with a sudden effort, straightened it out again.


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14. There is an old envelope with address S. Holmes 156 Montague St on the mantelpiece at 221 B Baker Street.

Holmes tells Dr Watson in The Adventure of the Musgrave RitualWhen I first came up to London I had rooms in Montague Street, just round the corner from the British Museum, and there I waited, filling in my too abundant leisure time by studying all those branches of science which might make me more efficient.

15. Mrs Hudson explains about Sherlock's actions: Unsolved case - shoot the wall.... Unmade breakfast - karate the fridge ... Unanswered question. Well, what does he do with anything he can’t answer John, every time?” John answers: He stabs it.” - 

Dr Watson writes in The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual:  

“..... when I find a man who keeps ... his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs. I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime; and when Holmes, in one of his queer humors, would sit in an arm-chair with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges, and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V. R. done in bullet-pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved by it.

16. After hearing Irene's customized ringtone, John asks Sherlock and The Woman have a night of passion in High Wycombe?”. Sherlock replies: I once caught a triple poisoner in High Wycombe.” - 

In The Sign of the Four, Holmes states: I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money, and the most repellent man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor.

This is one of the best Canonical references in the series so far, as Moffat has referred to both Irene Adler and Culverton Smith. Hats off to Moffat!


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17. Sherlock expresses his lack of interest in getting involved with Irene Adler: 
As I have explained to you many times before, romantic entanglement, while fulfilling for other people...
John interrupts: ... would complete you as a human being
Sherlock responds: That does not even mean anything.

- Dr Watson writes about Holmes' feelings towards The Woman in A Scandal in BohemiaTo Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman ... It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind ... He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer.

18. John's therapist reveals her true identity as Eurus, the sister of the Holmes brothers. She also explains that the name means East Wind. -

In His Last Bow, Holmes tells Dr Watson: There's an east wind coming, Watson.
Watson: I think not, Holmes. It is very warm.
Holmes: Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.

Interestingly, at the climax of His Last Vow, Sherlock tells John: The East Wind takes us all in the end ... It’s a story my brother told me when we were kids. The East Wind - this terrifying force that lays waste to all in its path ... It seeks out the unworthy and plucks them from the Earth. That was generally me.

Other References


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1. Sherlock mentions a case of the Drearcliffe House with one murder and ten suspects in which all of them were guilty - This is a reference to the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movie: Sherlock Holmes and the House of Fear. There are seven single men living together in Drearcliffe House, a Scottish castle. One by one, they start dying till only one is left. Holmes however figures out that the remaining six had conspired to have the seventh arrested on murder charges for insurance money.

2. Culverton refers to H H Holmes as his favorite serial killer. He further says that H H Holmes loved the dead and that he mass produced them. Later, Smith explains to a hospitalized Sherlock: I built this whole wing... kept firing the architects and builders, so no one knew quite how it all fitted together.”.Murder Castle, done right.” - This is a reference to Dr Henry Howard Holmes (H H Holmes)the character from the novel The Devil in the White City”. H H Holmes was a real life serial killer and took his victims to his World's Fair Hotel and killed them there. He also fired the construction workers so that he was the only one with complete knowledge of the building.

3. Sherlock's seemingly drug-induced crazy monologue (at 221 B Baker Street) that starts with the following words: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...” is taken from William Shakespeare's play Henry V and is spoken by King Henry.

4. The Zoo case/Case of the killer Orangutan brought up by Sherlock - Reference to the short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allan Poe. An orangutan is the killer in this story. 


sherlock killer orangutan case reference the lying detective edgar allan poe murders in rue morgue

This story is considered to be the first modern detective story and introduces the character of C. Auguste Dupin. Poe was a significant influence on Arthur Conan Doyle for creating Sherlock Holmes. Doyle mentions Poe in A Study in Scarlet - Dr Watson:  “You remind me of Edgar Allen Poe’s Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.” Holmes responds: “No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin.... Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow.... He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine.” 

Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to this blog by clicking here.

Special thanks to Ariane DeVere for pointing out Reference # 14.

Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece theater, Wikipedia

© 2017 - www.buddy2blogger.blogspot.com. All rights reserved. No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.

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