Jonny Lee Miller is underrated. I understand that the Cumberbatch shadow is nearly as large as that of a 40 story sky scraper, but the man is killing it week after week and No Lack of Void was a shining example of how he is evolving this character into something so much more than a consulting detective.
There’s definitely a crime to be solved this week, but the real point of interest for me is the death of Sherlock’s friend and dialect coach, Alistair. The character is so promising and one from canon, so I was hoping for a longer run. Plus, the idea of Holmes having a lifelong friend is so charming that it’s a real disappointment he’s dead and gone before we even had a chance to get to know him. Not only are we missing out on the chance to hear Holmes interpret a wide range of global accents, but we are deprived the privilege of seeing how Holmes would interact with someone teaching him. Role reversals aren’t just promising for characters, they’re wildly fun for viewers. But, I won’t complain about this too long, because the writers chose to go a different route and it’s not one I’m entirely unhappy with.
But before we get to that critical moment, let’s quickly recap the point of this episode. An every day pick pocket dies of anthrax poisoning, sending Holmes and Watson searching for a small operation cooking up enough Anthrax to kill thousands. To be honest, it’s a strange chemical weapon to bring back to life, but the writers don’t seem to be shying away from the strange. Remember helium a few weeks back? The resolution is one that can be seen in crime procedurals over and over again – so this entire scenario isn’t that exciting.
And that’s why I’m so focused on Jonny Lee Miller’s performance. Because it’s so clear to me and I’m sure many other viewers that we keep coming back for Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller.
The graveside scene in the closing moments of the episode were truly affecting. Holmes declares his grief and his love for his friend, while also implying that he feels a void for other people in his life that he has lost. This is where Jonny Lee Miller’s unique ability to vacillate so seamlessly between asshole and open-hearted soul is so captivating. It’s an addicts journey to be true, but it’s one that any of us can relate to. Loss is a multi-facated experience and can embody so many scenarios. RIP, Alistair.
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