Oh Thanksgiving — it’s the day that has lots of food and lots of friends and family. Football, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, turkey, mac & cheese, stuffing are all traditional American staples for today. Those are all wonderful things, but today I’m thankful for something that is not so all-American. That’s right, today I’m giving thanks to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s BBC Sherlock. I read my first Sherlock Holmes story when I was in fourth grade, and was immediately hooked. The first hardcover book that I bought was The Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Fast forward a few years (or decades), and I heard that the BBC was going to be doing a modern version of Sherlock Holmes. Ok BBC, you have my attention. I knew who Benedict Cumberbatch was before I watched it, but every one else was new to me. Ten minutes into the first episode I was hooked and have rewatched it a few times over since then.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock
I’m thankful for Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock. He sets the perfect tone with his cold and dismissive attitude, but every one in a while he slips and we see the true man underneath. He is a genius and has no tolerance for the stupidity of mere humans. He tells us in the very beginning of the show that he isn’t a psychopath, but he is a high functioning sociopath. Do you research Anderson! But as the series goes on, we can see that maybe it’s not that he doesn’t have emotions, just that they run deeper and for fewer people. He is all about his work, not because it makes the world a better place but because he is bored. Yet at the same time, we see glimmers of his emotions for those he cares about, namely Mrs. Hudson, John Watson, Greg Lestrade, Molly Hooper and even his brother Mycroft Holmes.
Martin Freeman as Captain John Watson
Martin Freeman played John Watson and balanced out Sherlock perfectly. Now, that’s not to say that John Watson is a pushover. He may look cuddly in his jumpers and button downs, but under all that fluff is a core of steel and a heart of gold. John is the file that smooths out Sherlock’s rougher edges. He takes Sherlock’s moods in stride, going out for a walk or to visit a girlfriend when he reaches his breaking point. He shows Sherlock that emotions and relationships aren’t a sign of weakness, rather they help to make us stronger. He stands by Sherlock’s side and believes in him and is also ready to tell him off when he becomes too much. We should all have a John Watson by our side.
Sherlock and Mycroft’s Sibling Rivalry
The sibling relationship between Mycroft and Sherlock reminds me so much of my relationship with my sister. I always felt the need to call her up and needle her after watching an episode. Mycroft is Sherlock’s genius older brother. He feels responsible for Sherlock, however he goes about showing it in the worst way possible. While Sherlock doesn’t care of society’s ideas of normal, Mycroft goes out of his way to blend in and be unassuming. After all, he occupies a minor position in the British Government, and you don’t get that by being a blunt hammer.
A Blanket instead of a Cloak
Orange shock blankets may seem like an odd thing to be thankful for, but those blankets brought about one of my favorite lines from the show. “I’m in shock, look I’ve got a blanket!” The medical team on site keep trying to put a shock blanket on the Sherlock because he was almost shot when the unknown gunman shot Jefferson Hope through the window. However, Sherlock isn’t in shock nor is he scared — he is just very curious about who pulled the trigger and saved him. Once he starts deducing out loud and looking around, Sherlock spots John and then uses the blanket to deflect attention away from him when he realizes that Captain John Watson of the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers was exactly who he was describing.
Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade
Last but definitely not least is Greg Lestrade. The Detective Inspector is Sherlock’s contact at New Scotland Yard, but they are much more than that. Lestrade calls Sherlock in on cases to help NSY, but also to protect Sherlock from himself. Just like John, Lestrade accepts Sherlock and all his shortcomings, including the fact that Sherlock never learned his first name! When everyone starts to turn against Sherlock, Lestrade goes to his flat to warn him and John, knowing that he will be arresting Sherlock before the night is through. He is almost a father figure or older brother to Sherlock and believes Sherlock to be a great man, on his way to becoming a good one.
Actually, Sherlock really does encompass all that I associate with Thanksgiving and being thankful: friends, family and the angst that goes along with it, laughs and tears. Thank you, Sherlock!