Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Holmes-House Connection - New Revelations

Now I will freely admit that I can be fairly dense at times. By the time I figured out that a particular girl in high school had been hitting on me fairly consistently for several months she was already two boyfriends beyond me by which time I figured it was too late to do anything about it. Like I said, dense. So it's really no surprise that I didn't pick up on something about House MD and its relationship to the stories of Sherlock Holmes.

Oh sure, I got the link between Gregory House and Sherlock Holmes. That was so obvious even a blind man could see it so it only took someone who is as dense as I am a few minutes longer to pick up on it. It wasn't until an incident last night that I picked up on something else. It was a scene at the very beginning of the episode where House and his friend James Wilson are emerging from a building which I assume is House's townhouse or apartment building (sorry, I missed the first 30 seconds of the episode - sue me) where they encounter the man House refers to as his stalker, but that's not important. The number on the building, that's important. 221B. I mean seriously, all that it needed is for the street to have been named after a Mr. Baker for it to be absolutely perfect and for all we know it is. Ah, but I'm dense you know, so it took until this morning for the pieces to really fall into place for me.

Wilson is Watson! James Wilson=John Watson

Yes I know that traditionally Watson has been the old fuddy duddy to Holmes's brilliant young man but in fact the books made it clear that Watson was Holmes's contemporary, a military doctor who had been shot at least once in an unfortunate encounter with Afghan tribesmen. Watson's weaknesses are that he sees rather than observes and he tends to think down rather conventional lines. Wilson is an oncologist and (with all due respect to my friend Orac) like many doctors he tends to think down conventional lines - that is to say not crossing boundaries to look for answers outside his specialty. That of course was what sets Holmes apart from other detectives and House apart from other doctors - they're universalists who consider all possibilities rather than specialists. Even Wilson's several marriages link him with Watson. Although we know that Watson married Mary Marston at the end of Sign Of The Four, Watson's periods of residence at Baker Street have suggested to many enthusiasts (including William S. Baring-Gould who wrote the Annotated Sherlock Holmes - a massive two volume work which I happen to own) that Watson was married more than once.

Ah, so now I'm on a roll. It seemed obvious to me that Cuddy was Mrs. Hudson, Holmes's devoted housekeeper and the actual owner of 221B. No, on reflection, that's not right. Cuddy is Lestrade and all of the other cops that Holmes confounded, dumbfounded and infuriated over the years. As for Stacy, House's lost love, well she is so clearly Irene Adler the only female adversary Holmes had and the only person who got the better of him who according to Watson was always referred to by Holmes as "The Woman".

Which leaves us with House's little acolytes; Foreman, Chase and Cameron. Foreman and Chase are easy - they're the Baker Street Irregulars, the little street urchins who were always out gathering bits of information for the great man in return for sixpence and a kind word - but Cameron is a problem. More than Foreman and Chase she has injected herself into House's life even though he doesn't want it and she's reluctant about it. Is she Mrs. Hudson? Well the assumption is that Hudson was a widow (Cameron is), and given that the relationship between Holmes and Mrs. Hudson lasted from 1871 when he took the rooms at her home to perhaps as late as 1914 (the elderly housekeeper in His Final Bow is only known by her first name so it could have been Hudson), Hudson can't have been that old when they first met. It is also not impossible that there was some sort of romantic attraction on her part at least. On the other hand Hudson never got high and had wild animal sex with a Baker Street Irregular the way Cameron did last night, so for now let's make her a sort of hybrid of Hudson and an Irregular.

As for Professor Moriarity, I give you Chi McBride's character Edward Vogler.

It really is elementary... if you aren't dense.


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