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Saturday, January 9, 2016

f(x) where x = "reflection John"

So we're inside Sherlock's mind palace, not just watching him watch himself, but watching him watching himself ignore his own reflection in a mind palace mirror. I could go deeper, but I'm not sure you're ready for that.



But who cares, here we go, I'm diving in and you'd better close your eyes if you don't want spoilers.

One of the complexities is the symbolism of Moriarty not having a hole in his head in the mirror reflection that Sherlock is ignoring in his mind palace, yet obviously having one later, which he shows to Sherlock once they've moved away from the mirror. Why is this deception necessary? What is Sherlock trying not to see, and then later trying to tell himself?

Let's dive into metaphors. Sherlock wants to see how Moriarty did it, so he works on solving an older similar case, but in his mind palace, he can't see the obvious because, as Moriarty points out, it's not real. Remember how Sherlock told John it wasn't real on the rooftop, just a magic trick? Except now Sherlock is telling himself in his head through a character that it isn't real because it's in his head...

But let's back up for a few seconds. Metaphor and symbolism are both as real to the brain (and to both the writer and the viewing audience) as 'reality', whatever that is- a definable actuality, let's call it. We still don't have a definable moratorium on Moriarty (god, I love words) as far as definable actuality is concerned, but we do have a grasp on Sherlock's reflection of John in his mind palace, with Sherlock recognizing that John is a reflection and fondly embracing that John's reflection is the core conversationalist he needs in order to let go of his house of mirrors and leap out of his mind palace back into definable actuality.

A mind thinking thoughts is definable actuality, if we want to get technical (thought is a form of reality, if you're lost already), and a stream of consciousness, no matter how twisted, is part of all our paths. Consciousness inside one's mind is just as viable as consciousness outside one's mind while one is experiencing it, is it not? We vaguely define what is 'real' or not, but what was very real to Sherlock was that his own perception of the outside of him (definable actuality) was deeply layered in his own perception of the inside of him (in his mind), and his approach to problem solving depended on layering his perceptions to reveal truths. Some of the truths turn out to be things he doesn't want to know about himself or admit to himself, but I'm jumping the gun.

Just as Sherlock and Moriarty moved away from the mirror in the mind palace, Moriarty said the truth was boring, just wonderfully done symbolism, in Sherlock's mind palace. He's playing out his own symbolism of hiding truth from himself. Since Moriarty is a character in Sherlock's mind, Sherlock is the author of what Moriarty is saying, basically Sherlock telling himself that truth is boring and that's not why he's in his mind palace. We know Moriarty was bored before he shot himself in definable actuality and used Sherlock as part of his morbid mind game, and we know Sherlock was bored, too, because he said so. Two very bored souls found each other on a rooftop, made a pact, and Sherlock psychologically internalized what was essentially a marriage vow in hell. "You want me to shake hands with you in hell? I shall not disappoint you." And then Moriarty shot himself, and you could go into the whole blood brother suicide pact (and even Romeo and Juliette) thing. Don't fear the reaper, per se.

pic clicks to a pretty good, albeit very lengthy recap and analysis
"The Reichenbach Explanation"
It's not much of a leap to realize Sherlock's mind IS hell, and that the leap in his mind off the painting of the Reichenbach Falls away from both hell and reflection John was an emotional reset after the way he left definable actuality John the first time with a real leap.

MY question is- Was Sherlock high when he met Moriarty on the rooftop? The question is starting to come up between Mycroft and John in The Abominable Bride whether Sherlock uses every time he goes deep into his mind palace, since Sherlock hinted that's how he problem-solves. Sherlock is quite used to morgues and corpses and body parts, but was Moriarty right? Was Sherlock a suicide witness virgin? Was it Sherlock's first time to witness the transition from life to death right in front of him? To go from the gripping handshake to witnessing violent death while still holding hands? Because that is quite the pact. And if that's what it was, Moriarty stole Sherlock's innocence, consummating their deal.

No wonder Sherlock is still so obsessed with Moriarty. It's not just about how Moriarty did it, whether the body really disappeared, or even whether he's still alive. It's about how Sherlock made this 'marriage' with Moriarty minutes before he broke John's heart, and then abandoned John to two years of the blackest grief imaginable, straight from a pact in hell to abandoning his best friend to go root out the last of Moriarty's network. For Sherlock to succeed, of course he had to cut his feelings off, but we all saw the tear fall down his cheek on the rooftop as he said goodbye over the phone, we all know he knew the pain he'd be causing, and we can imagine reflection John showing up in his mind palace during those two years working for MI6. Who knows how many countless convos Sherlock had with reflection John all that time. Poor definable actuality John has no idea how strong this bond is for Sherlock when they are saying goodbye before Sherlock gets on the jet, because most of their friendship has gone on in Sherlock's head.

Sherlock chooses to become so cut off from his emotions to focus on crime solving that it takes getting high to process and feel them. To come full circle, Sherlock allows himself to address his own issues through John while he's in his mind palace, including allowing reflection John to express concern for him as a friend not expressing his own natural humanness. Reflection John is the closest Sherlock comes to admitting to himself that he cares that someone else cares about him enough to ask about his sex life, even if he still can't bring himself to let his own walls down in his own head talking to a reflection of someone.


Sherlock might be able to think quickly and efficiently, but even in his own mind, reflection Mary calls him the slower brother while she leads the way to solve the problem, and along the way he makes mental notes alluding to Mary being an excellent choice of wife for John. We must remember that Mary is by extension the bestie of his bestie, and that Sherlock made a vow to protect Mary (and through that vow, to also protect both John and Mycroft from Magnussen), and it is ultimately that vow, expressed back through reflection John, that overrides his suicide pact with Moriarty in his mind. I thought the imagery in the "desanctified" church was very telling of how Sherlock sees Mary as 'his', framed together through one window while John is framed alone in the next window. Before Sherlock gets onto the jet, he asks Mary to look after John (essentially asking Mary to step up and take on his role in John's life), Mary says she'll keep him in trouble, and Sherlock says, "That's my girl." Sherlock seems to openly accept Mary in his life without reservation, which is a subtle emotional bond that maybe even he doesn't realize has happened. I think the Mary bond, both in definable actuality and in his mind palace, is an unrealized reflection of wish fulfillment. Mary is the closest thing Sherlock has to intellectual competency without either being his brother or a bad guy, working with Sherlock as opposed to gaming against him like Irene Adler had.

Going into his mind palace is about beating the game. What is the game? Solving the ultimate riddle, finding all the pieces to the ultimate puzzle, alleviating boredom. What is the solution? An emotional commitment to real people in definable actuality. With Sherlock's own mind in the way, never the twain shall meet, it would seem. One could argue that Sherlock is emotionally impotent, and that keeping his relationships controlled in a mind palace is what keeps him the 'virgin', any way you want to define that, although Moriarty showing up in the lacy wedding dress pretty much disclaims that Sherlock's innocence is over now.

Despite Sherlock's careful withdrawal from emotional entanglement, Moriarty shattered Sherlock emotionally with a real event Sherlock couldn't control that psychologically ushered him over a threshold and made him capable of murder himself, as we see happen with Magnussen. Sherlock becoming Moriarty's counterpart and unraveling his network was only a tiny part of winning the game after that happened. The game never ends. If Sherlock is capable of murder now, and if he's going into himself and talking to reflections to confront his emotional problems while he solves riddles, he can't help running into himself playing Moriarty. (One can only wonder how psychotic Moriarty's own mind palace must have been.) If not for John's narrative continually interrupting his thoughts, where would Sherlock be? Trapped behind his own mirrors, perhaps.


I'm loving the hints coming up in Mycroft's book. Their mom is a Vernet...

Yeah, gonna leave it hanging there. I especially loved the hellish orange glow that came up between Sherlock and Moriarty in that wedding dress in the desanctified church.

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