Femme Friday: Molly Hooper by BSB Amy
Long, straight hair, lipstick that comes and goes, and an ironically macabre career—exploring unassuming but totally awesome Molly Hooper is a journey that starts with specific stories framed by the creators of the BBC’s Sherlock, finds its anchor in the Sherlock Holmes canon as a whole, and winds up the wider genre of procedural mysteries.
At the beginning of A Study in Pink, Molly Hooper is first introduced as a contrast to and amplifier of Sherlock’s character. His abrupt, almost alien behavior as he flogs a corpse and fails to notice any normal social signals is contrasted sharply with Molly’s slight attempt at humor and shy flirtation. She immediately gives the viewer a window into the detective’s differences from the rest of the world—a world where a woman’s attempt to impress a man with lipstick would be appreciated at best and ignored at worst. In Sherlock’s world, however, facts come first, no matter what, even when it comes to the size of a woman’s mouth. At the same time, Molly shows herself to be more persevering than one might expect, since she doesn’t give up on Sherlock.
In The Blind Banker, Molly again amplifies Sherlock’s character, this time helping to show that he is not always quite as socially oblivious as one might expect and not above cashing in on relationships to get what he wants. His blatant flirting with her in the cafeteria line not only works on a general level by capturing her attention and flattering her (a certain amount of investment in the relationship for the future), but it also leads to an immediate look at a body that he needs to see in order to complete his investigation. Though Molly appears to be completely under Sherlock’s spell in this instance, readers of her blog, which is produced by the BBC and considered to be part of Sherlock canon, will have encountered the following quote:
“Oh, and Sherlock came in again tonight. And he was his usual arrogant self! And he was blatantly flirting with me and I know he’s doing it and I should tell him to stop but I don’t! And, of course, he was only doing it so I’d help him with something. As soon as he got what he wanted, he was off.”
Molly may intermittently act as Sherlock’s dupe, but she’s not an entirely oblivious victim.
Along with other major arcs of the series, Molly’s story comes to a head first in The Great Game, when she is shown to be the unwitting pawn of two extremely clever men, neither of whom is terribly scrupulous about using her for his own ends. Sherlock once again hurts her by abruptly pointing out that her boyfriend is gay, though his offensiveness is apparently unintentional in this case. Jim’s use of her is far colder and more sinister, as she becomes a part of his deadly game.
The cliffhanger at the end of the series leaves Molly hanging as much as the other characters—a woman with a preference for two men who use her, but at the same time a competent career woman who isn’t as gullible as she seems.
Through the next two series, her character grows enormously. The revelation of Molly’s true importance in Sherlock’s second series, particularly throughout The Reichenbach Fall, certainly met and then exceeded fans’ wildest hopes. Previously, Molly’s humiliation at the Christmas party in A Scandal in Belgravia had revealed an unexpectedly contrite, even sweet, side of Holmes. Later on, her perceptiveness regarding his true mental state (“You look sad when you think he can’t see you”) helped him to understand her value. Finally, in the end, when even Watson had to be kept in the dark, Holmes looked to her for help.
By series three, Molly has become a formidable ally for Sherlock and a woman who realizes her own strength to the point that she’s willing to take him to task for his substance abuse. Also, through windows into Sherlock’s mind palace, she’s shown to be a permanent part of his mental processes, his respect of her so great that she represents all medical knowledge to him.
In the first series of Sherlock, Molly was a humorous character with a great deal of potential. In the subsequent series, she revealed her true nature as a multi-faceted, faithful, and intelligent woman. Her future in the show is certainly something to anticipate.
Molly and the Holmes Canon
Virtually every incarnation of Sherlock Holmes shares the common characteristic of willingness to use innocent people to accomplish his own ends, and the BBC version expresses this quality no more ruthlessly than his original predecessor. Most of Sherlock’s flaws—such as pipe smoking, drug use, and some aspects of his sociopathy—have been portrayed as glamorous and attractive in various books and films, to the point that in many cases, they have become like backhanded strengths. His selfish, borderline-exploitation of other people, as exemplified in his treatment of Molly, however, is impossible to glamorize.
In simple terms, at the beginning of the series, Molly showed the viewer an ugly side of Sherlock, one that is absolutely necessary to the character. Without true flaws, Sherlock Holmes is a caricature—an impossibly heroic genius who is good at everything and even successfully controls his vices. Molly’s frequent presence on the show is a reminder that the world’s only consulting detective can be selfish, thoughtless, and occasionally cruel. He may be a hero, but he is also an anti-hero, a duality that makes him one of the most intriguing characters in the world.
As the series progresses, however, Molly’s growth takes her from a dupe to a queen, a woman whose ability to stand up for herself and for what is best for her friends ultimately affects Sherlock’s own character. He becomes a better person as a result of trusting and knowing her.
Molly and the Mystery Genre
The concept of flawed heroes runs through all of literature, film, and television, but mystery novels and shows have made the concept of the heroic antihero an art form. Larger-than-life detectives bring larger-than-life vices to the cases they solve. Dr. House has his Vicodin, Flavia de Luce her vindictiveness, Adrian Monk his obsessive compulsions. Arguably, most of these characters are the descendents of Sherlock Holmes, attempts by authors to capture the complex interplay of light and dark that makes up Conan Doyle’s hero. The creators of the BBC’s Sherlock have seen fit to soften their hero’s smoking habit and take away his drug use almost entirely. Molly is essential to the show because she highlights what makes Sherlock so very imperfect—his frequent lack of understanding of people or concern for them. The things she amplifies in him make him a reflection not only of Conan Doyle’s original source, but also of the mystery genre as a whole, a gray-shaded world of flawed heroes. And yet, there’s something a little bit different about Molly Hooper, a little bit independent, a little bit unwilling to give up, something in her that ends up surprising even Sherlock Holmes.
Hi-Res ! 2014 09 01 - London - Gala Screening of ‘ The Guest ’ at Soho Hotel by Stuart C Wilson
Refer to the links below for the 3000 pixels’ versions !
Caption : LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Dan Stevens and Benedict Cumberbatch attend a Gala Screening of “The Guest”at Soho Hotel on September 1, 2014 in London, England. (Photos by Stuart C. Wilson for Icon Film Distribution)
“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
― Pablo Picasso
You never know who might change the world, even if it’s someone cannot imagine. There’s nothing like that feeling of euphoria after sitting through an outstanding film, one that surpasses expectations and provides so much more on top of any/everything one could imagine. That’s how I felt at the end of The Imitation Game, a film by Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) about British mathematician Alan Turing, who helped crack the uncrackable Engima code during World War II. The film tells his life story jumping between his youth, his work during WWII, and time after when he was prosecuted for “indecency” because he was “a homosexual”. It’s an exceptionally compelling film lead by remarkable performances.
The title The Imitation Game refers to a paper that Turing wrote which, as far as I could tell, was a direct inspiration for the Voight-Kampff machine from Blade Runner (questions are asked to determine whether something is man or machine). Turing was a extraordinary mathematician, perhaps one of the greatest in history, and helped design/invent the machines (or “Turing machines”) that would later become computers. He was the grandfather of the algorithm, and this all came about because he was drafted by the British Royal Navy to crack the Enigma code the Nazis used during WWII. He was arrogant, brash and unliked by most, but such a genius that at the end we have to recognize even oddballs have their place in this world.
In the film, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing with all of his quirks and speech impediments and nuances. Watching him take over this character completely is enchanting, he is absolutely sensational, delivering one of the finest performances all year. While completely unrelated in content, Cumberbatch has the kind of moments in this that Chiwetel Ejiofor had in 12 Years a Slave - where just one shot on his face while he talk or yells or thinks evokes such a touching reaction. I’ve admired Cumberbatch for years, but this is one of his best performances he’ll ever give, and he deserves all the accolades soon coming his way.
In addition to Cumberbatch’s legendary performance (and impressive turns by Mark Strong, Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode) the film itself is meticulously crafted, and is actually funnier than expected. Turing is a bit of a goofball, and sometimes his witty, snappy, arrogant remarks make for great comedy. Not in a disrespectful “let’s laugh at him” kind of way, but instead in the “he really is smarter than everyone else and it’s fun to see him react to others”. It balances the levity and seriousness of Turing’s story perfectly, with a great score to boot that enhances the experience even more. This is the kind of the film that makes your heart race as you’re watching, not because of any intensity but because it’s so perfect from start to finish.
Above all, the film speaks volumes about how our differences should not be made fun of, but embraced. Turing had trouble connecting with others and yet was still the man who had the genius to crack the code and save millions of lives. There’s even a line that is repeated three times for emphasis regarding how it might be the ones we didn’t imagine making a difference who then go on to imagine something incredible. Sure it may be screenwriter faux pas to repeat a cliche line like that over and over, but you know - it worked. It had an impact, and by the end when I heard it again, it gave me chills. We finally get to understand the depth of that line, and how it can inspire and change the world, which is a stellar compliment to the film.
Lastly, I must mention the score. I’ve loved composer Alexandre Desplat for a long time (interviewed him a few years ago), and nothing has ever topped Lust, Caution (one of his earlier scores from 2007). His score for The Imitation Game finally rivals that one, evoking an emotion that I only feel when I hear a score thattremendous. Everything about this film really hit the mark, with director Morten Tyldum going above and beyond simple storytelling, delivering a stunning film with performances that will have a lasting effect and could improve the way entire world (and history) thinks of Alan Turing. An astonishing achievement. Bravo.
Alex’s Telluride Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Obama on gay adoption
yeah totally ruining this country what a horrible guy
Fun fact: Obama has attempted to fix almost everything that he promised to fix, but the republicans have voted almost all of his bills out of congress. He’s not the problem.
That fact isn’t very fun