At The Guardian, critic Ralph Jones has taken exception with what he perceives as Sherlock‘s slow transformation of its protagonist from brainy to brawny—starting in season 3 but also exemplified in the season 4 premiere “The Six Thatchers,” which had Holmes involved in a major fistfight in a pool. Sherlock started out as an Everyman, albeit one with incredible mental faculties, Jones argues; now, he is moving out of the natural realm and into the campier sphere of 007—making the Great Detective more resemble an international man of mystery, or as Jones puts it, “a mutation named Sherlock Bond.”
“Because the most scintillating thing about Holmes is his mind, his displays of physical prowess ought to be rationed,” Jones writes. “Conan Doyle wanted his protagonist to rise above the cheap thrills of the penny dreadful. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss should be aware that their protagonist is at risk of suffering the fate Conan Doyle swerved.”
Mark Gatiss does not agree, and he’s got the canon to prove it.
One day after publishing Jones’ piece, The Guardian shared a letter from Gatiss—a pithy, cheeky response “to an undiscerning critic” written in rhyming verse, that cites the many instances of fisticuffs occurring in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories:
Here is a critic who says with low blow
Sherlock’s no brain-box but become double-O.
Says the Baker St boy is no man of action –
whilst ignoring the stories that could have put him in traction.
The Solitary Cyclist sees boxing on show,
The Gloria Scott and The Sign of the Fo’
The Empty House too sees a mention, in time, of Mathews,
who knocked out poor Sherlock’s canine.
Read the entire response at The Guardian… which also published a short article contextualizing the poem’s various tributes to Doyle, from the title to the style. Mycroft would be proud.