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In case you wondered why Sherlock, a lover of classical music, has chosen "A Town Called Malice" by The Jam to practice his conducting, there is a simple explanation for that.
It has to do with the lyrics of the song. Together with the motive for the murders and the background story they deliver a very strong message.

This will probably be my shortest review but it will also be my most political one.

A few weeks ago a user on Twitter complaint to Elementary that the writers should stop using the show for their leftist propaganda. I guess the guy must be fuming now.
If you are the same opinion I advise you not to read on. It will only fuel your anger.
For me the depth of the story lines are one reason why I love the show.


"Better stop dreaming of the quiet life
'Cos it's the one we'll never know
And quit running for that runaway bus
'Cos those rosy days are few
And...stop apologising for the things you've never done
'Cos time is short and life is cruel
But it's up to us to change
This town called Malice"1

Three people got killed to be able to sell a book full of nonsense to a super rich albeit credulous man for an immense sum of money. In addition to that the culprits took advantage of the mental illness of a close relative, who was very easy to manipulate not to speak of the fact that they maybe murdered him as well.

David Horowitz and his wife had a good life. They had all they needed. But that wasn't enough, they wanted more.

John Maynard Keynes a British economist of the 19th century believed that people had a finite quantity of needs which at one point would be fully satisfied. Obviously he was wrong. The mistake he made was not to distinguish between "needs" and "wants" as Robert Sidelsky explained in his book "How much is Enough"

"Needs - The objective requirements of a good and comfortable life- are finite in quantity, but wants, being purely psychic, are infinitely expandable, as to both quantity and quality."2

The problem is that the amount of money circulating is finite what means that the more one group of people owns the less is left for the rest and it also means that to obtain more you have to screw others.
That's how Morland Holmes assembled his wealth that Sherlock once probably accurately called plunder.

Sherlock told his father lately that all he needed was to have enough to eat and a roof above his head.
Imagine if we all decided that the fulfilment of our needs (in the definition of Sidelsky) really was enough.
What a world this could be.

In the end Sherlock decides to give the whole lot of his inheritance to charities.

" My estate. You'll be inheriting a lot less of it. You'll still get the house, of course, and my brain.

"Mmm. There's always that."

"Hope you're not offended."

"It's your money. You can do what you want with it."

"Well, that's just it, you see. I never wanted any part of it. Everything my father had seemed ill-gotten, dirty, so I turned my back on it. But then, yesterday, seeing all that gold, I realized how untenable that position is. It would just sit in an account, waiting to be transferred to you when I died, and then again sitting there waiting for you to die. Gave it all away."

"To who?"

" Charities. I borrowed quite liberally from your holiday giving list."

"I'm proud of you."

"I think you'll be pleased with a new venture we're funding for the NYPD.
Gun buy-back programs have reduced the number of firearms fatalities everywhere they've been attempted. I thought it fitting to make that donation in your name."

"We're buying a few thousand guns?"

"With any luck, enough New Yorkers will decide to sell back their weapons that we'll be a little less busy in years to come. Perhaps you'll be able to relax in your dotage.
There's your inheritance, Watson."


"I could go on for hours and I probably will
But I'd sooner put some joy back
In this town called Malice."1





Sources:
1 The Jam "A Town Called Malice"
2 Robert and Edward Sidelsky "How Much Is Enough", Penguin Books 2013, page 25f.

Links:
Simulation Hypothesis
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Sep 05, 2018
I'm not really sure how political your review or the episode was. I tend to stand in the middle and for some things lean left and for others lean right and while I can easily spot that the writers often lean left, as happens on a great many shows anyway, I do not let all these things bother me all that much unless it goes to extremes and tv shows tend to not go so far too often. And as a 2nd amendment defender, I not only understand and accept things like background checks and have no issue with gun buy backs, as these tend to be for the illegally obtained guns, not those owned by law abiding citizens. The only thing that bothers me, knowing people of many different religions and political views, is when someone generalizes a group be it by race, sex, politics, religion or any other defining (often this is because or was started by governments) characteristic, because that is just as prejudice as any other "ism". But enough of that.

The drug Sherlock mentions was in some other tv shows once and for the life of me I cannot recall the name but it was a Canadian show about a Emergency Response Team, a kind of SWAT. At least I think that was the show.

The difference between needs and wants is always an interesting discussion. Children will often grow up and go into adulthood feeling they need something which is really just something they want. Greed comes in many forms and while power and money are the most common, it does exist in other ways. Money sadly drives the rich and the poor alike and you can see it very much in this episode, as money is used to buy something and drives people to murder.

Another good review. Until the next.
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Sep 02, 2018
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