Sherlock Series 3 Gets A Surprise – And Very, Very Spoilery – Guest Star

The paparazzi stalking the set of Sherlock have come up with a real oddity this time. In the images below – which qualify as pretty big spoilers – you’ll see a special guest star. A bit of casting that comes out of left field somewhat.

It’s not somebody best known as an actor – though, actually, there’s every chance he’s playing himself, or at least a character with some of his own skills.

If the pictures weren’t splashed all over The Sun today, making them very visible and really blowing the doors off of the big surprise, I might have been a bit more cautious about running the following photo.

As it is, this will be widespread public knowledge by lunchtime, and I think there’s a lot to discuss.

derren brown john watsonThat’s the illusionist and mentallist Derren Brown, or at least his character, putting Martin Freeman‘s John Watson into a trance.

The whole scene seemed to involve Watson going under and then being laid down on the road, face down – just as happened when he got hit by a bike in the last episode. The implication seems to be that everything changes while he’s down there. Watson thinks it was just for an instant, but it wasn’t…

Now, this kind of suggestion and confusion is real, and Brown practices it very well. It does seem, however, a lot more fanciful and fantastical than it is.

This surprise seems to have the dual effect of making Sherlock’s plan more banal and more fantastical at once.

On the one hand, with a dash of hypnosis, anything could happen, and the puzzle pieces don’t have to fit together. It means that most of the clues could be nothing more than red herrings. Nothing has to dovetail neatly when a whole new series of events can be written in and played out while Watson lies face down in the road. Essentially, it feels like we’ve been lied to.

At the same time, this twist is going to require an audience to actually believe in hypnosis – and from the cries of “Fake! Stooge!” that great many of Brown’s own stunts, I know that a lot of them won’t.

Hypnosis is real. Or, perhaps more accurately, people are very suggestible. I have no doubt that Derren Brown could convince somebody to lay face down in the road for a while and completely disregard, pretty much completely forget everything that happens while they’re down there. But does that feel like a satisfying solution to a Holmesian mystery?

Brown is currently on tour with his new show, Infamous. I’ll be seeing it next week – and perhaps finding out what the shaved head is about.

 

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