16 Times Sherlock Drove Us All Crazy

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Lars Mikkelsen as Charles Augustus Magnussen. (Photo: BBC)

When They Made Sherlock Holmes a Straight Up Murderer

Sherlock Holmes, as a character, is many things. He is a great detective. He’s the smartest man in the room. He solves the mysteries that seem impossible. What he has never been, however, is a murderer. Until now.  In Season 3 finale “His Last Vow”, Sherlock faces off with his current nemesis, the vile blackmailer Charles Augustus Magnussen. Unfortunately, during this scene, Sherlock realizes that Magnussen’s fabled vaults of information exist only in his head. And instead of coming up with another way to solve the problem of him destroying everyone’s lives, Sherlock just shoots him. Yes, Sherlock Holmes straight up murders a man, and it’s every kind of problematic and gross.

You can make the argument that Sherlock’s decision to shoot Magnussen is just another in a long line of decisions that prove he’ll do anything to protect John. He’ll sacrifice his own life and well-being, if he has to. But “His Last Vow” is basically of the “Man of Steel” of Sherlock episodes. In order to achieve a desired story outcome, the show had to force its lead to do something wildly out of character. At the end of the day, Sherlock Holmes isn’t an action hero. He isn’t the guy who rushes out of the shadows, weapons drawn, to save the day. Sherlock solves the mystery. He uses his brain, not his brawn. Sherlock doesn’t kill people. 

In short, Sherlock apparently got so outplayed by the seasons’ Big Bad that the only way out of it for him wasn’t to outsmart him, but to shoot an unarmed man in cold blood. This isn’t meant as a defense of Magnussen, by the way. That guy’s clearly a vile piece of trash. But he also wasn’t an imminent physical threat. Sure, he was planning on blackmailing Mary, John and Mycroft. And that’s terrible. But, honestly, just shooting him to solve the problem? Aren’t we supposed to expect more from Sherlock Holmes?

Number of eyerolls: 10