Hey there Patrons! It’s the episode I’ve been concerned about ever since we decided to cover this show, but I have some great news: RoShawn loved it! And I have to admit that on the rewatch, I did too. I think that my tastes have matured a little bit since seeing this for the first time, but the tonal shift in this season and this episode in particular kind of threw me, and I wasn’t getting the comfy show I had come to crave. It’s kind of like someone making you mac and cheese, and throwing in some truffle oil. Like sure, it’s normally delicious, but I wasn’t expecting it and I just really wanted my favorite old mac and cheese, you get me?
Why do all my analogies involve food?
Anyway, this episode reveals one of the most despicable characters yet, Mr. Charles Augustus Magnussen. He’s a man who gets off on dominating people, and not even in a public way where he can win a pissing contest by proving to some third party what kind of power he has. No, this man is very personal about it, delighting in the one-on-one humiliations and opportunities to degrade. He’s a person very difficult to fight, because his overall motivation isn’t really that clear; he just likes knowing he controls people. He has no master plan to thwart.
And the one thing that Sherlock has been relying on, the single place that he thought Magnussen was vulnerable, turned out to not even be real. He had planned on getting to Appledore, this labyrinthine network of vaults under Magnussen’s house, and somehow destroying the leverage he holds on so many. But Appledore isn’t even real, it’s a mental state. There is no evidence to destroy, no concrete moves to be made against him. Except one. And Sherlock makes it.
I hope you enjoy the episode, and I will see you later today with Penny Dreadful!