Notes After a Second Viewing of “His Last Vow”

So I had missed Sherlock’s seeming pleasure at his drug habit turning up in the papers after John started a row with him at the drug den, which maybe explains this point from a previous post. Maybe. Since unless Sherlock was the one to drag Isaac into the den to begin with, he can’t have known John would be coming along . . . But perhaps John was just useful at the time in Sherlock getting what he wanted: his name in the papers. So that he could have a line on Magnuson.

Except. If he was already dating Janine, why did he need his name in the papers? Not quite seeing how being tabloid fodder was going to help his case, especially if his goal was to get Smallwood’s letters. How would Magnuson having something on Sherlock help in that? (And then again, Magnuson wouldn’t have anything on Sherlock if it was already common knowledge that Sherlock was an addict . . . so perhaps that was the goal? Not to give Magnuson any leverage?) Rather convoluted no matter which way one turns it.

I’m also not sure why Sherlock falls for the idea that the papers Magnuson gives him a glimpse of are the actual Smallwood letters. I like to think Sherlock is smarter than to assume. But perhaps his failing—human error—is that shared by so many: When one’s eye is on the prize, one leaps ahead without looking down. (Most accidents happen close to home for a reason, after all. One lets one’s guard down.)

I was wondering how Mary got into the office building. Seems unlikely she proposed to Janine too. I guess we’re supposed to assume her skills are just that good.

And I also didn’t quite understand how Mary killing Magnuson after shooting Sherlock would have implicated John (which is the reason given for why she didn’t just kill Magnuson there and then) . . . Aside from his simply being there . . . Sherlock would have been able to vouch for John (okay, yes, that would be suspect, and one supposes everyone would assume John had also shot Sherlock to cover up?), and ballistics would have borne out that John had not fired a gun, plus no gloves on the scene . . . In fact, no gun either, assuming Mary would have taken it with her . . . And there was nowhere for John to dispose of both a gun and gloves. Anyway, I’m not sure what Mary is worried about, exactly, since all Magnuson’s power comes from keeping his mouth shut. He wouldn’t give that away. Not unless there were a bigger prize, and if the goal was to “own” Mycroft, then keeping his mouth shut would be how he’d achieve that.

Let’s look. Magnuson has goods on Mary, who wants to keep these things (a) quiet from John, and (b) quiet from anyone else who might come looking for her. Since John is the one Sherlock cares most about (and since John cares for Mary, Sherlock does as well because he wants to see John happy), and Sherlock is the one Mycroft cares most about . . . It does Magnuson no good to reveal Mary. To do so means he loses [his power over] her, John, Sherlock, and Mycroft. So why is she worried? Aside from the general discomfort of being under someone’s thumb, of course. Was Magnuson going to ask her to kill people for him as part of his price for silence? Did Magnuson work for Moriarty? Isn’t Magnuson just another Irene Adler, only instead of an iPhone full of secrets, he just carries them in his brain?

Oh, and speaking of that. Appledore, it turns out, has no vaults. No storage of secrets. (And I have to say, the episode was a bit of a cheat with the false glasses thing, but that’s a bone to pick over another time.) So . . . We’re supposed to believe Magnuson just prints whatever in his papers, without substantiation. Okay, yeah, chalk it up to the nature of tabloids anyway. But then what? If an inquiry begins in earnest . . . I mean, does this mean Magnuson never even owned the Smallwood letters? He mentions as a throw away line that he “might send out for something” which suggests there is a repository of some kind, somewhere. But then just before shooting him, Sherlock confirms with Magnuson that there is no hard copy of the information, that it is all in Magnuson’s head. So which is it? (He must have read or seen the information somewhere, at some point, in order to photographically remember it, right? So where did Magnuson get all this intelligence?)

Whatever. Littler things: the mention of the cottage on Sussex Downs, John as the “dummy” (better than a waxwork at least). And why does Sherlock think that will be the last conversation he’ll ever have with John? If he has six months in Easter Europe, can’t he phone? (Well, okay, maybe not if he’s going to be undercover. Maybe he wouldn’t want to put John, Mary and the baby in potential jeopardy.)

And I sure hope they don’t name this baby Shirley.

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2 thoughts on “Notes After a Second Viewing of “His Last Vow””

  1. You know, I just finally watched this episode, and got totally frustrated by it. I remembered that you’d posted something about it (which I didn’t read at the time, because I didn’t want spoilers), and came back and found this entry.

    Well, yes. This wasn’t one of their better episodes. I did like the Mary reveal, and the seeds they’d planted on it, but honestly, so much of it didn’t make sense, when it usually does. Not my favorite season…but I’m still hooked and can’t wait for the next one, of course.

    1. Series 3 was weak. In fact, each series is getting weaker. But I’ve said it before: This is the risk you run when you start out so strongly. It’s difficult to maintain that level of excellence. Still, while I would expect some episodes to be weaker than others, the steady decline has been disappointing. They haven’t recaptured the original quality of the first series. (IMHO, of course.) I’ll continue to watch, but if they’d just take some of my notes . . . Maybe that could boost it a bit? 😛

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