Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

How BBC's Sherlock subverts the "loner genius" archetype

Illustration for article titled How BBCs emSherlockem/em/em subverts the loner genius archetype
Screenshot: ScreenPrism (YouTube)

Sherlock Holmes is an asshole. That’s part of the fun. In all his many iterations, the impossibly brilliant detective lacks either the capacity or patience for social niceties and, as such, typifies the loner genius archetype. But, in a new video from ScreenPrism, we see that, over the course of BBC’s Sherlock, our troubled Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) slowly learns that empathy and compassion maybe aren’t the worst things to have in your arsenal.

Thanks to the friendship of John Watson (Martin Freeman), the stony Holmes begins to accept that emotions aren’t always a weakness. This not only makes him a slightly more enjoyable character to watch, but it makes him a better detective, as well. In the fourth series finale, Holmes is unable to outsmart his brilliant, psychotic sister Eurus—not to be confused with the precocious detective soon to be played by Millie Bobbie Brown—though he is able to connect with her on an emotional level, saving her from self-destruction. This character development undermines the “loner genius myth,” which is perhaps too often lauded in our society.


The future of Sherlock is still up in the air, so, alas, we may never get to see the detective’s heart truly grow three sizes.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Pay me to write for you, you coward.

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