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His shoulders are rounded from much study, and his face protrudes forward, and is forever slowly oscillating from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion.
psychopathic head tilts - moriarty & mary
You can only applaud the transformation from adorable Mary sitting on the bed watching John shave his moustache off in TEH (didn’t you just want to hug her?) to this. Adorable and huggable to absolutely terrifying within three episodes. Thumbs up.
That’s it. That’s the show.
You’re probably think I’m being facetious and silly, but nope. I’m not one to talk about cinematography and lighting, but I like talking about stories, so I’m going to tell you one.
Series 3 of Sherlock is based pretty heavily on Through the Looking Glass—there are an inordinate number of parallels and references, and in a lot of ways, it’s the story that they were telling this series. While writing about that, one quote in particular jumped out at me. It’s about the Red Queen’s Race.
"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing."
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. “If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
From the moment Sherlock returns, he finds himself fighting to maintain his place. He fell through the looking glass, and expected to find that his world was the same, but it isn’t. Everything is different. He spends most of The Empty Hearse fighting to return his friendship with John to anything resembling what it was before he faked his death. He spends most of The Sign of Three doing everything can do for John. He helps plan the rehearsal, the wedding, and the reception. He plans a stag night and gives a a speech, and all of it is clearly about as far from his comfort zone as it possible for him to be. Before the fall, all of that effort probably would have deepened his relationship with John (however you view it), but here, it barely helps him maintain his place in John’s life.
"I’ve never made a vow in my life, and after tonight I never will again. So, here in front of you all, my first and last vow. Mary and John: whatever it takes, whatever happens, from now on I swear I will always be there, always, for all three of you."
In the end, it’s not even enough to do that. It’s not enough for any of them.
Think about Sherlock, John, and Mary in His Last Vow. They’re not getting anywhere—they’re all trying desperately to maintain the place that they’re in, so they don’t send their whole house of cards tumbling down. Sherlock tries to push John and Mary back together even though Mary shot him. Mary doesn’t face up to her culpability and refuses to acknowledge that her past isn’t really behind her at all. John takes her back, though he refuses to know anything about her past. They’re all absurd decisions in our world—but we’re through the looking glass. It’s all they can do.
Here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.
How do you show us that visually? How do you tell us it’s the story you’re telling? You put the Red Queen of the story on a treadmill.
(shameless plug: I’m starting at tumblr dedicated to story references in Sherlock.)
Disclaimer: I don’t intend this to upset anybody or bash anybody else’s headcanon. This is pretty anti-Mary, so if you want to avoid that, this won’t be up your alley. I’m not a medical professional and can’t give any sort of professional diagnosis. I can, however, give my opinions on what the writers and actors, who aren’t medical professionals either, could be going for.
I’ve had Mary on my mind lately, and I went back and re-watched HLV for any clues in her micro expressions as to what she’s really feeling (given that Amanda didn’t know about her background before, I didn’t think it’d be very useful to watch for clues in the other episodes. I will use bits of the dialogue from the earlier episodes though, since the writers knew). And the more I watched, the more questions started popping up. She’s by far the most enigmatic and divisive part of the show right now. But the one consistency that I saw was that her behavior is quite psychopathic.