My son reminded me that the last bit on the 4th season of ‘That Mitchell and Webb Look’ imagined Sherlock Holmes with Alzheimer’s. A depressing thought for Holmes fans. There were laughs, but overall it captured the tragedy of such a prospect with Holmes, at the end, whispering to a tearful John Watson, “I know…I know.”
In ‘Mr. Holmes,’ the movie, there is the hope that Holmes will overcome his forgetfulness. He fights the forgetfulness and that is the story. A story of Holmes doomed to totally lose his mind would be a movie about the people around Holmes and how they deal with it. Nothing could be learned from Holmes, except those ‘I know’ moments showing his acceptance of his fate. Would Holmes accept that fate? Would he consider suicide? In the book, Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons, Holmes considers throwing himself into the Seine River at the very moment and place that Henry James is considering the same. Holmes is not losing his mind, just convinced he’s a fictional character. It’s a long story and I’ve just begun.
I think Holmes would be capable of suicide if he knew he was losing his mental facilities and there was no hope of stopping it or holding it at bay. Mental gymnastics are his whole reason to be. Would he do it right away. Would he push the envelope and risk missing the last moment of awareness in which he could kill himself? Would he try to enlist Watson to be his back-up plan? Would Watson be able to do it? I can’t see Watson agreeing to do it.
Fortunately, Mr. Holmes is a fictional character, so we don’t have worry about him.