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5-14 "A Controlled Descent" Review

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar NoirAlice 5 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #886
    Le Chat Noir
    Le Chat Noir
    Moderator
  • #888
    ScarletSherlock
    ScarletSherlock
    Moderator

    Fruit bats are quite adorable! Maybe not as cute as mice…

    I’m a little sad they chose to go back to the addiction route, but maaaaan if Alfredo had been killed off I would be very angry.

    I wonder who will play Papa Holmes? I honestly really hope he doesn’t drag Mycroft along with him, unless they stock up on Febreeze first!

    "My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don't know." BLUE

    • #891
      Le Chat Noir
      Le Chat Noir
      Moderator

      Oh, what a precious little gay fruit bat! I shall hug him and call him Darling Heart!

      Sorry, to the point.
      “I wonder who will play Papa Holmes? I honestly really hope he doesn’t drag Mycroft along with him, unless they stock up on Febreeze first!”

      This would be a great opportunity to have some fun old Brit come sauntering over to NYC! Like, I dunno … Tom Baker!

      “I honestly really hope he doesn’t drag Mycroft along with him, unless they stock up on Febreeze first! “

      You know I agree. But, I guess it would be interesting to see Bros. Holmes deal with Pater, two on one? Or one on two? And how does Watson figure into this unholy triangle? Will Father!Holmes try to salsa with her too? I mean, I wouldn’t blame him, but y’know, NO.

      “Oh, you can't help that," said the cat. "We're all mad here.”

  • #890
    Avatar
    NoirAlice
    Participant

    Hello! NoirAlice from twitter speaking (hi!). Just joining right in the discussion, because I am traumatized and need to talk about it. 😉

    ” Admittedly, I have not spent a great deal of time studying the psychology of people with substance abuse concerns, and so this might be an absolutely legitimate portrayal of the interconnectedness and gross codependency that comes with that horrible downward spiral.”

    I’ll start off by saying that this is a good point, about us not understanding the psychology of people with substance abuse. I feel like there is a key missing here, as I try to make sense of what happened last night. I understand Oscar, for the most part, and why he feels like he needs to bring Sherlock Holmes down, that he needed to see Holmes fall. I love Oscar’s character and who he represents for Holmes. Even though he is “the Baddie. The Baddiest of Bad Baddies ” (haha), and you really don’t care that Holmes beat him into a lump; he really adds this layer of complexity to Holmes. And I agree with you about his prose, I love the way he speaks, how it is something that just seeps into your skin, so dark and awful, but then how it is juxtaposed against his erratic even ridiculous and extremely stupid behavior. You are unnerved by how this guy has this two-faced quality about him, and all the while his every intention is to BRING. HOLMES. DOWN. I was seriously on edge the whole episode. I knew this was going to be Oscar’s endgame (after that threat he gave Holmes in the last episode he was in!), *especially* when he brought Holmes to the den of drugs. Oh, Holmes! <crycrycry>

    Okay, must stay coherent! Anyway, back to the beginning, as I was saying, I feel like there is a key missing for me. Always I can follow Holmes’ train of thought. All his actions always seem logical to me, even if they aren’t necessarily reasonable. Haha. However, his picking up the drugs in the end and then relapsing, I just don’t get it. At least he shouldn’t have relapsed right away. I feel like it would have been more believable for me if he relapsed later on, like a couple weeks after this incident. Like, he takes the drugs, but stashes it away somewhere. Then he isolates himself, becomes reclusive and withdrawn, and *then* relapses, after Oscar’s actions and words really sink in and twist his perceptions. I wasn’t getting any temptation vibes from Holmes at all from the entire episode. There were so many subltlies of emotion just brewing and simmering beneath the surface of Holmes’ calm (as you pointed out! Jonny Lee Miller is AMAZING!), but he didn’t seem tempted. At all. He looked deeply disgusted, extremely skeptical and wary, taut with anger and fear for Alfredo, and full of extreme unadultered hate (his face full of bloody murder! Haha!), but no temptation. At the end of Season 2, I felt Holmes’ temptation, after Watson leaves and he takes out that little drug packet. If he would have relapsed then, it would have made so much sense. But now? Why, Sherlock?! Why?!

    I read the interview with Doherty about the finale and here is an interesting bit he mentioned: “As we get into Season 4, I don’t know that it’s a matter of giving Oscar all of the credit. At the end of the day, the hard, ugly truth is that Sherlock is an addict. Oscar is an addict. They couldn’t be more different in virtually every other respect, but that’s something they share. Sherlock has been in recovery. He’s done so much hard work. He has surrounded himself with only the best kinds of people, and sometimes that’s not enough. So what you see at the end of the finale is more about who Sherlock is and not what Oscar managed to do to him.”

    So, I get that, I get that Holmes is an addict, that even if you have all the right people, do all the right work, that sometimes that isn’t enough, but I feel like there is actual more influence from Oscar then Doherty is allowing for here. I feel Holmes allowed Oscar to triumph over him, and I don’t know why he did! Holmes isn’t stupid, and Oscar pretty much laid his entire evil scheme brutally before Holmes. So the way I see it, Holmes fell with his eyes wide open. But why? I want to know! I want to understand!

    What are your guys’ thoughts on it? Are you closer to an understanding? Again, maybe I just don’t understand addicts, and that is the key that is missing. Hmm.

    "I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?"

    • #892
      Le Chat Noir
      Le Chat Noir
      Moderator

      Hello! This is the place to deal with post-ep trauma! That’s why we made it. Sometimes, you just need a place to lay it all out on the line with folks who get it. 😀

      “However, his picking up the drugs in the end and then relapsing, I just don’t get it. At least he shouldn’t have relapsed right away.”

      I think I agree with you on this. Maybe if there would have been a little gap, a little bit of contemplation, it would have felt more … organic? Organic is the wrong word. It did seem to come out of nowhere, especially as he did seem to be in a relative amount of control for the whole of the ep.

      I haven’t read the Doherty interview, but I think you picked out a very provocative quote from him. I’m not terribly in love with that characterization at all. I’m like 65% disgruntled.

      “So the way I see it, Holmes fell with his eyes wide open. But why? I want to know! I want to understand!”

      I like the way you’ve articulated this. This doesn’t seem to be a blind “stepping off the cliff” moment. And I would definitely like some kind of explanation. Or not. Maybe I don’t. Maybe that is the nature of addiction — maybe there isn’t a one-to-one causation. Maybe it just happened because it happened. I just don’t know that such an explanation would be “televisually” satisfying (yep, I’m cribbing from Kermode again, sue me). I don’t need Holmes to be a swooning Victorian poet succumbing to the succubus, with a dramatic, tearful explanation of the nature of temptation. I’d just like something I can sink my teeth into that makes sense within the framework of the show.

      But mostly, I’m just done to death with the drugs and I want to mooooooove ooooooon to new troubles.

      “Oh, you can't help that," said the cat. "We're all mad here.”

  • #904
    Avatar
    NoirAlice
    Participant

    I am so glad I am amongst kindred spirits here. Haha. 😉

    I’m like 65% disgruntled.

    Haha! I know what you mean! I, too, am unsure about that definition of who Sherlock is, which I am assuming is why what happened in the season finale happened. However, I am still undecided about the whole thing as I’ve been trying to unpack it and make sense of it. There may not be a one-to-one causation, as you mentioned, but speaking for myself I cannot accept that. Haha! To me it must make sense. In disagreement with Doherty, (as it seems from his interview), Sherlock Holmes is a logical man, first and foremost, not an addict. I know Elementary has been excellently delving into the vulnerability and weaknesses of Sherlock, showing that he is not an island unto himself. They’ve really shown the beauty of friendship, of comradery and the need for others in this journey we call life. I’ve really loved that about Elementary, especially in relation to Holmes and Watson, but I also know Elementary has been faithful to the character of Sherlock Holmes as he is in canon as well. Even though we see a broken Holmes, he is still the one and only, Sherlock Holmes. So, to me, his character must be shown to behave in a logical manner. I understand Sherlock’s weakness as an addict, that this internal struggle of addiction is something that will be life long for him, however, for him to choose to succumb at that precise moment, knowing FULL WELL that he was allowing Oscar to control and manipulate him, doesn’t make sense. As you mentioned, it seemed to come out of nowhere. And it did. Unless the writers can convince me otherwise in Season 4.

    I don’t need Holmes to be a swooning Victorian poet succumbing to the succubus, with a dramatic, tearful explanation of the nature of temptation. I’d just like something I can sink my teeth into that makes sense within the framework of the show.

    Haha, I love how you put this, but this here are my thoughts exactly! We don’t need a complex and angsty reason, just something that brings the decision down to earth and makes sense for Sherlock Holmes as he has been portrayed in this series. From my musings, I’ve concluded that the writers, that Doherty, are trying to convey that Sherlock Holmes is A. An addict B. This struggle with his addiction is his ultimate achilles heel C. That even though he seemed in relative control the entire episode, it was actually too much for him to handle. The title is “A Controlled Descent” which the writers mentioned was from a quote that says “A controlled descent is still falling.” So, with that bit of information, I conclude that Sherlock Holmes was “falling” the entire episode, but he believed himself (falsely) in control the entire time. Of this, I can completely understand, but it still does not explain why he chose that particular moment to relapse and I also didn’t really get that feeling from Sherlock that he was deceived by his own sense of control. Again, it should have happened after considerable time has passed. It plays out false to me to have Sherlock Holmes willingly fall into Oscar’s trap, especially after all he has gone through up until that point. I remember that one episode where he didn’t want to accept his sobriety chip because he, technically, hadn’t been drug free for a year (or whatever it was), because after he made the decision to go to rehab, the very next day he succumbed to his addiction. That bothered him considerably, that he had decided upon that course of action for himself, but failed. So, I see this uncontrolable lure that his addiction holds over him, it makes him act in a way contrary to his own nature. It is something that sneaks up upon him, something that he ignores and underestimates within himself. If the season finale had played that angle more, had the temptation creep upon him, be a stronger, subtler, alluring force (since Holmes pre-rehab has gained SO MUCH since then and so I believe the tempation should be stronger!), I would have totally bought his descent, but as it stands, as I mentioned before, Sherlock Holmes fell with his eyes open. The causality and consequences were absolutely clear for Sherlock, staring at him right in the face, ie “Oscar’s intention is to make me take drugs. Oscar is doing this out of envious and malicious spite. If I take drugs right now, he will have won. He will be right about me. I will be letting him manipulate me.” So his conclusion is…take drugs????? Did no thoughts of Watson come into his mind? It did in previous episodes when he thought about relapsing! Did nothing of those passed years come to his mind as he was shooting himself up? Like, at all? There is aboslutely no way Sherlock would allow himself to be manipulated and made a puppet like that soberminded. I just don’t believe it.

    So, I too am very disgruntled, haha. Whereas I love the writing of the episode, the portrayal of Oscar and who he is as a character in Sherlock’s life, the themes of Sherlock’s addiction and self control, and just the all around heartbreaking portrayal of Jonny Lee Miller (sob!), I am still not buying it completely. I demand explainations in Season 4! 😡

    But mostly, I’m just done to death with the drugs and I want to mooooooove ooooooon to new troubles.

    Haha, I know what you mean, but I think the essential plot of Elementary is going to be centered around Sherlock’s addiction, especially now if Doherty believes that Sherlock Holmes is, essentially, an addict. This show weaves within and around sobriety, meetings, and needing help from others. I think the drugs are going to be here to stay till the very end, I am sorry to say. Haha. Not that there won’t be other obstacles. Sherlock’s Dad is coming, so there’s that whole dynamic that I am really excited to see! It is totally a non-canon idea, but I’ve loved the addition, so I can’t wait to see how Father Holmes plays in Sherlock Holmes’ life. Then of course, Moriarty lingers on the edges, biding her time. Haha. So, we’ll see!

    "I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?"

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