Sherlock gets engaged – just like in the original Sherlock Holmes story

The detective's dalliance with Mary's bridesmaid Janine may have seemed a step too far for some but it's firmly rooted in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work, says Paul Jones


Eek! Sherlock got engaged! But don’t panic, it wasn’t quite what it seemed…


As it turned out, the detective’s decision to woo Mary’s bridesmaid Janine was a deliberate ploy to gain access to the office of her boss, uber-villain Charles Augustus Magnussen (while she in turn was preparing a kiss-and-tell story for the tabloids).

The scenes in which “Sherl” was seen locking lips with Janine; telling his friend John that, yes, he did indeed have a girlfriend; and finally proposing to her (albeit through the medium of a security camera) will have elicited shrieks of shock and delight/dismay from a certain contingent of Sherlock fans.

Meanwhile, others will be complaining that this is more gratuitous pandering to those very fans, and another example of Sherlock jumping the shark. But it’s not.

Tonight’s finale is based as firmly as any so far on an original Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the tale of society blackmailer Charles Augustus Milverton. And in that adventure, Holmes does indeed get engaged, disguising himself as a plumber and gaining the affections of Milverton’s housemaid in order to get closer to his quarry. 

And if tonight’s episode seemed to paint Sherlock as rather Machiavellian, so did the original – at least in the 21st-century version, Sherlock’s female “victim” gives as good as she gets…

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