The Young Sherlock Holmes: A Unilock Meta
I’ve left these gifs large so you can clearly see the Acting that is happening in The Blind Banker. We’re in the washroom with Sherlock, John and Sebastian Wilkes. Sherlock and John have just interrupted Wilkes’s dinner to tell him that one of the traders in his firm has been murdered. Sherlock knows this intrusion will embarrass Wilkes and that’s clearly one of his motives.
Through the Looking Glass
There is a lapse of time between when Sherlock and John barge in on Wilkes’s dinner and when the trio has relocated to the washroom. It’s clear that we’ve missed something WIlkes has said to Sherlock. Look at the top three gifs. This is Unilock— Sherlock pushed back in time to his awkward university days. How young he looks! How incredibly sad. He’s doubled here— his actual self totally obscured while his mirror image is in focus, while his younger self is in focus- the camera eye is gazing through the looking glass into the past.
Sherlock isn’t deducing or thinking here. He’s feeling. (Wilkes isn’t telling him anything he doesn’t know about the trader.) Notice what Sherlock says in this scene and does not say:
SEBASTIAN: Harrow; Oxford. Very bright guy. Worked in Asia for a while, so …
JOHN: … you gave him the Hong Kong accounts.
SEBASTIAN (drying his hands on a towel): Lost five mill in a single morning; made it all back a week later. Nerves of steel, Eddie had.
JOHN: Who’d wanna kill him?
SEBASTIAN: We all make enemies.
JOHN: You don’t all end up with a bullet through your temple.
(Sebastian’s phone beeps a text alert.)
SEBASTIAN: Not usually. ’Scuse me.
(He gets his phone out and looks at the message.)
SEBASTIAN: It’s my Chairman. The police have been on to him. Apparently they’re telling him it was a suicide.
SHERLOCK: Well, they’ve got it wrong, Sebastian. He was murdered.
SEBASTIAN: Well, I’m afraid they don’t see it like that.
SHERLOCK (sternly): Seb.
SEBASTIAN: … and neither does my boss. I hired you to do a job. Don’t get side-tracked.
(He walks away. John waits until he has left the room, then turns to Sherlock.)
JOHN: I thought bankers were all supposed to be heartless bastards(!) (x)
John thinks Sherlock’s Work and his skill at it is amazing, brilliant and all other effusive words of awe and admiration. DI Dimmock, unlike Lestrade, doesn’t see it. Wilkes does see it insofar as he turned to Sherlock in his hour of need while still always and forever trying to put Sherlock in his “proper” place. Oh Wilkes would know precisely how big of a slight, how annoying, how hurtful it would be to Sherlock to intimate that the police know more than he does. Does Sherlock have a snappy reply to slice Wilkes down to size? No. All he can do is contradict. He actually wants Wilkes to believe him, to acknowledge him. It’s utterly debasing. We’re watching Sherlock’s younger self here, the self that Wilkes tells John earlier that “they” all hated. And we’re watching Wilkes humiliate Sherlock yet again. We’re watching Wilkes win. Why does Sherlock care what Wilkes thinks or says? There’s not an answer/ head canon that isn’t at least a little heartbreaking.
I have to disagree with the wonderful Ariane Devere who did this fantastic transcript. Sherlock isn’t being stern with Wilkes, he’s pleading. He calls Wilkes “Seb” as he tries to appeal to their younger selves and to some kind of long lost familiarity between them. To Sherlock Sebastian Wilkes is Seb. To Sebastian Wilkes Sherlock is “Buddy” (like a good dog, a pet) and The Help. The trader went to Harrow and Oxford. Is that where Sherlock and Wilkes were educated also? I think so. Wilkes’s domination of Sherlock definitely has to do with class.
Recall how Sherlock refused to take the check from Wilkes earlier but allowed John to pursue the payment. Wilkes knows Sherlock’s for hire— a consultant. That’s a position well below the station that Wilkes and Sherlock were raised in. Wilkes not only refuses to acknowledge the familiarity and common class origins they share, he dismisses Sherlock ruthlessly: “I hired you to do a job.”
(You could argue that perhaps Sherlock is of a lower class than Wilkes but I don’t buy it. Everything about him and Mycroft screams posh. Maybe they aren’t, though, which would be interesting…)
Look at the last gif. How our watery-eyed hero looks himself in the mirror, comes back to the present, sets his jaw as he must have so many times as a boy, a teen, a younger man at uni, and resolves to head out the the streets of London to pursue the case.
Don’t look to Babybatch for unilock inspiration. It’s right here! Devastating.