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Awesome / Sherlock Holmes

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Sherlock Holmes
  • The very first scene where Arthur Conan Doyle shows what this hero is capable of:
    [After the investigation of the crime scene, which included "Rache" on the wall, assumed by Lestrade, a police detective, to be an unfinished "Rachel"]
    "I'll tell you one thing which may help you in the case," [Holmes] continued turning to the two detectives. "There has been murder done, and the murderer was a man. He was more than six feet high, was in the prime of life, had small feet for his height, wore coarse, square-toed boots and smoked a Trichinopoly cigar. He came here with his victim in a four-wheeled cab, which was drawn by a horse with three old shoes and one new one on his off fore-leg. In all probability the murderer had a florid face, and the finger-nails of his right hand were remarkably long. These are only a few of the indications, but they may assist you."
    Lestrade and Gregson glanced at each other with an incredulous smile.
    "If this man was murdered, how was it done?" asked the former.
    "Poison," said Sherlock Holmes curtly, and strode off. "One other thing, Lestrade," he added, turning round at the door: "'Rache' is the German for 'revenge'; so don't lose your time looking for Miss Rachel."
    With which Parthian shot he walked away, leaving the two rivals open-mouthed behind him.
    A Study in Scarlet (Chapter 3), by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • A Study In Scarlet is just one big CMOA all the way through.
  • The Speckled Band: The villain, Dr. Roylott, visits Holmes at 221B Baker Street to threaten him, and demonstrates his strength by bending a fireplace poker into a curve. As soon as he leaves, Holmes takes the poker and casually straightens it back out, forever cementing his Badass Bookworm status. Even better is that all throughout Roylott's various threats and insults, Holmes' only reaction to them is an ever widening smirk. The insults and the sight of Roylott bending a poker inspires in Holmes not anger or surprise but sheer amusement. It should be noted that straightening a bent poker would require more strength than bending it.
  • Holmes' duel to the death with Evil Counterpart Professor Moriarty, as described in The Final Problem and The Empty House. Bonus points for occurring entirely offscreen and still being one of the most memorable moments in the series.
    • And then he gets one simply by being too awesome to be put down, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is forced to bring him back to life. Truly, he is the first fictional character (before the advent of comic books anyway) to have such power over his creator. The only other hero to do so would be James Bond to Ian Fleming.
    • Holmes and Moriarty's exchange when Moriarty drops by Baker Street for a friendly chat.
    Moriarty: All that I have to say has already crossed your mind.
    Holmes: Then possibly my answer has crossed yours.
  • The bar fight in The Solitary Cyclist where Holmes effortlessly wipes the floor with the local bully boy.
    I emerged as you see me [with a minor scrape]. Mr. Woodley was taken home in a cart.
  • Switching places with his own wax effigy to get back the stolen Mineral MacGuffin in The Mazarin Stone.
  • This quintessential Holmes exchange from "Silver Blaze":
    Gregory: "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
    Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
    Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
    Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
  • In "The Adventure of the Empty House," Holmes disguises himself as an old book collector and visits Watson, then takes off his disguise when Watson has his back turned, causing Watson to faint for the only time in his life. This can also be seen as an example of Holmes' Socially Awkward Hero tendencies, as most would agree that that's not a very considerate way to let your closest friend know you hadn't died three years previously.
  • The ending of The Dying Detective, where the murderer Culverton Smith has come to see the "dying" Holmes to gloat, and Holmes gets him to boast about his crimes. When Smith has made a full confession, Holmes reveals that he isn't ill at all, but simply acted the part to trap Smith.
    • Better yet, in His Last Bow he plays a part for two years in order to trap a German spy. His victim's reaction when he learns of the deception is priceless.
  • The ending of A Case of Identity when Holmes confronts Windibank over the breaking of his marriage engagement to Holmes' client:
    “The law cannot, as you say, touch you,” said Holmes, unlocking and throwing open the door, “yet there never was a man who deserved punishment more. If the young lady has a brother or a friend, he ought to lay a whip across your shoulders. By Jove!” he continued, flushing up at the sight of the bitter sneer upon the man’s face, “it is not part of my duties to my client, but here’s a hunting crop handy, and I think I shall just treat myself to—” He took two swift steps to the whip, but before he could grasp it there was a wild clatter of steps upon the stairs, the heavy hall door banged, and from the window we could see [Mr. James Windibank running at the top of his speed down the road.
  • In "The Noble Bachelor", Holmes' latest client is part of the titled gentry, and rather condescendingly remarks to Holmes that he must rarely see clients of such a station. Holmes' response is to casually reply that the client is in fact correct; Holmes is currently slumming it. He then proceeds to inform the outraged and surprised client that his last client was the King of Scandinavia, thus preventing any more of that kind of talk.
  • This Badass Boast in "The Devil's Foot":
    Holmes: I followed you.
    Sterndale: I saw no-one.
    Holmes: That is what you may expect to see when I follow you.
  • Setting a fire to flush out the Faking the Dead sinister mastermind in The Adventure of the Norwood Builder.
  • The Five Orange Pips. Basic summary: Holmes' latest client believes he's being hunted, as he has received a letter with five orange pips, just as his father and uncle did before their deaths. When he leaves, Holmes tells Watson that this is the calling card of the Ku Klux Klan, who send these pips as a warning to their next target. Before he can help the man, however, a Klansmen orchestrates the death of Holmes' latest client, mere minutes after he had just gone to Holmes for help. Angered by this, Holmes leaves his apartment, returning a good while later hungry. Watson asks where he's been, so he reveals that he tracked down the name and current location of the Klansmen responsible and finds that he and his crew, who are all likely in on it or helped, have just left England to return to America. Instead of trailing after them, he sent them a letter with five orange pips, resulting in them believing that another member has ordered their death and causing them to refuse to return to land, dying at sea along with his crew. In summary, Do. Not. Fuck. With. Sherlock. Holmes.

Dr. Watson

  • He saves Holmes in The Adventure of the Devil's Foot when Holmes lights the poisonous ash, and Watson drags the stricken Holmes and himself out of the room.
    The turmoil within my brain was such that something must surely snap. I tried to scream and was vaguely aware of some hoarse croak which was my own voice, but distant and detached from myself. At the same moment, in some effort of escape, I broke through that cloud of despair and had a glimpse of Holmes's face, white, rigid, and drawn with horror—the very look which I had seen upon the features of the dead. It was that vision which gave me an instant of sanity and of strength. I dashed from my chair, threw my arms round Holmes, and together we lurched through the door, and an instant afterwards had thrown ourselves down upon the grass plot and were lying side by side, conscious only of the glorious sunshine which was bursting its way through the hellish cloud of terror which had girt us in.
  • "Charles Augustus Milverton":
    • Insisting on accompanying Holmes on his risky mission of breaking into Charles Augustus Milverton's home to get back the letters he's using to blackmail a client. When Holmes refuses, Watson backs up his suit by threatening to report him to the police if he doesn't include him... and Holmes knows he's not kidding!
    • One of Watson's moments at the end of the meeting with Milverton. When Holmes and Watson attempt to relieve good ol' Chuck of his blackmailing materials, Milverton brandishes a gun and starts to walk out. Watson reflexively grabs a chair and is seconds away from bashing him over the head, and only when Holmes directs him to stop does the doctor stand down. Because dammit, there's a woman being unfairly persecuted, and John H. Watson, M.D. doesn't stand for that sort of thing.
    • To quote:
    He [Charles] stepped forward, took up his coat, laid his hand on his revolver, and turned to the door. I picked up a chair, but Holmes shook his head and I laid it down again.
    • For both of them: When Milverton is killed by a woman whose life he had ruined, rather than get out of Dodge before they were discovered, they instead proceed, as quickly as they can, to throw all of Milverton's documents into the fire in the fireplace so that they can never be used to harm anyone else. Then they make their escape, with Watson barely managing to extricate himself from being caught.
  • The Adventure of the Three Gables: Watson's response to a street thug storming in and threatening Holmes if he doesn't mind his own business from now on is to casually pick up the fire poker, causing the visitor's manner to become obviously "less flamboyant."
  • He also knocks out Sir Gervase, a boxer, with a single punch, and then proceeds to smoothly order some breakfast in The Adventure of The Wax Gamblers (a non-canon story by John Dickson Carr). It's particularly enjoyable to see Watson being ice cool and Holmes going into full fanboy mode over him for a change.
  • The Hound of Baskervilles where the good doctor does a pretty good job of investigating the mystery himself?
    • This is especially so as it's he who discovers a key link in Holmes' theory through interviewing Laura Lyons.
    • Not to mention Holmes himself outright praises Watson's efforts in the case thus far.
    • And whereas majority of his conclusions on Dr. Mortimer's identity were wrong, he still deducted rather correctly that he was a country doctor - which is more than an average man would have guessed in his place.
    • At the end of the novel, he explained how quickly he was able to determine who was behind the murder, and their true identity. Even before Watson left for Devonshire, Holmes had deduced much.
  • In "The Norwood Builder", Holmes Sherlock Scans the client, to said man's usual surprise. Watson quickly locates all the clues Holmes used to make his deduction, showing off how much he'd learned from working with Holmes.
  • In "The Bruce-Partington Plans", Watson has to keep watch while Holmes robs a house. He's highly doubtful about doing this until Holmes reminds him that the country is relying on them and they have no choice, prompting him to stand up and declare, "You are right, Holmes. We are bound to go." Holmes immediately jumps up, shakes his hand and says, "I knew you would not shrink at the last."
  • Watson manages to figure out what's going on in The Greek Interpreter (that a Greek immigrant is being forced to write over properties to the bad guy) after said interpreter's description of the happening with absolutely zero prompting from Holmes.
  • And from The Valley of Fear, Watson finally gets the best of Holmes in an exchange of wit:
    Holmes: "You have heard me speak of Professor Moriarty?"
    Watson: "The famous scientific criminal, as famous among crooks as—"
    "My blushes, Watson!" Holmes murmured in a deprecating voice.
    "I was about to say, as he is unknown to the public."
    "A touch! A distinct touch!" cried Holmes. "You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour, Watson, against which I must learn to guard myself."
  • An offscreen one, but Watson getting Holmes off his cocaine habit, especially considering Holmes' masterful personality.

Holmes & Watson


  • A Study in Scarlet: Jefferson Hope revealing, after being caught, his Gambit Roulette of a vengeance against Stangerson and Drebber for what they did 20 years ago.
  • The villain of Hound of the Baskervilles, Rodger Baskerville Jr. aka Jack Vandeleur aka John Stapleton, outsmarts Holmes by telling the carriage driver that he was Holmes. Even Holmes admits his "loss." A villain so awesome that Doyle gave him an entirely off-screen death, eminently retconnable should he ever have wished to use him again later. As it turned out, he didn't, but still...
  • How about Irene Adler? Think for a minute about Irene Adler as a character from the context of the time of the story's release: Holmes is a master detective (and in this story a kind of Punch-Clock Hero working for a self-interested monarch who just wants to make sure he doesn't lose out on a sweet deal), while she's just an ordinary opera singer. Not only does she end up fooling him despite his best efforts but also completely gets away with it, fleeing the country with a man she married out of love and admitting in her last note that she wasn't going to ruin the king and just wanted to move on with her life. No other character in the Sherlock Holmes canon ever did that. No wonder Holmes held her in high regard. Holmes, one of the greatest Rated M for Manly Guile Heroes in history, lost to a woman in a story written in 1891 and had to learn a lesson from it. There's a good reason why Irene Adler appears in pretty much every adaptation of Sherlock Holmes despite only being in one of the original stories.
  • The Valley of Fear: If we're talking about Gambit Roulette, how can we not mention that singular quote: "Birdy Edwards is here. I am Birdy Edwards!" Best denouement ever.
  • Mr. Carruthers in The Solitary Cyclist.
    You're too late. She's my wife.
  • The anonymous woman who shoots and kills the Diabolical Mastermind Charles Augustus Milverton, when the most Holmes aspired to was robbing his house.
  • Miss Kitty Winter getting her revenge on the villain of The Illustrious Client by throwing vitriol (aka the highly corrosive sulfuric acid) in his face!
  • In "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" (the same story in which the example directly below this one took place), the last paragraph mentions, in a completely off-hand way, how Sophy Kratides, up until that point something of a Damsel in Distress (though less so than the male client, granted), stabbed to death the two men responsible for killing her brother.
  • Mycroft's introduction:
    • After Sherlock first introduces Watson (and the reader) to his brother Mycroft, the Holmes brothers sit in front of a large observation window and perform an epic Sherlock Scan volley on some random guy in the street.
    • While canonically, Mycroft cleanly outperformed Sherlock, this is also yet another moment for Sherlock. Let me explain: Sherlock deduces that the subject has a child because he is carrying a rattle home from the shop; Mycroft corrects this to "children" on observing that the subject has a picture book as well. The fact that Doyle could think of no way for Mycroft to one-up Sherlock without having Sherlock commit a totally uncharacteristic oversight demonstrates the skill of Sherlock to a degree that no solved mystery ever could.
  • In The Yellow Face: Grant Munro, faced with the revelation that his wife had been married to a black man (now dead) and had a young biracial daughter whom she'd been hiding from Grant since she married him, takes all this in in silence for ten minutes. At length he picks the girl up, kisses her, holds out his hand to his wife, and says, "We can talk it over more comfortably at home. I am not a very good man, Effie, but I think that I am a better one than you have given me credit for being." Bear in mind that this happened in the period when interracial marriages were publicly condemned throughout the West.
    • Also a Heartwarming Moment.
    • Furthermore, the wife insisted he have control over all the assets (even the money that was hers pre-marriage); if not for her insistence, he would have been just fine with her controlling her own, also a remarkably liberal attitude for the time.
    • Holmes came to several false conclusions during this case, and his final lines are a CMOA for him, as he demonstrates his rarely-seen humility: "Watson, if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper 'Norbury' in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you."
  • Colonel Sebastian Moran. You only have to read how Holmes speaks of him in "The Final Problem" and "The Adventure of the Empty House". He calls Moran "the second most dangerous man in London", with only Moriarty posing more of a threat. This guy had Sherlock Holmes scared. The detective ran because that was the only option; he knew that if Moran got within rifle distance just once, it was all over. He hunted Holmes for years and across several countries, stopping only when his money ran out and rendered him unable to continue. This is clearly NOT a man you want coming after you.
    • "He was always a man of iron nerve, and the story is still told in India how he crawled down a drain after a wounded man-eating tiger."
    • But at the story's climax, of course, Holmes and Watson get their own CMOA when they get the jump on Moran (a master assassin, mind you) by rigging up a flawless decoy dummy in Baker Street, then ambushing him at his sniping position at the precise moment that he thinks he's finally killed Holmes. The amusing bit is that the ambush wasn't planned; it was just that Moran and Holmes had unwittingly selected the same observation post, and Holmes was there first. Had this not happened, Holmes had Inspector Lestrade waiting outside anyway.
  • And then, of course, there's Moran's boss. There's a good reason Holmes holds Professor Moriarty in such high esteem. This is a guy who ran a massively successful criminal organization while maintaining a near-flawless facade of respectability, to the point that Holmes spent years looking for tangible proof of his criminal activities. When Sherlock Holmes can't find any evidence against a man, you know that he is very, very good at his job. Bonus points for charming the socks off of Scotland Yard.
    Inspector MacDonald: He seems a very respectable, learned, and talented sort of man... when he put his hand on my shoulder as we were parting, it was like a father's blessing before you go out into the cold, cruel world.
    • Even after managing to finally bring down his criminal empire, Moriarty alone remains threatening enough to keep Holmes on guard all throughout his and Watson's journey outside London. A journey they're only taking because Holmes has decided that Moriarty is so dangerous that being anywhere in London is a risk so long as he's free. Professor Moriarty remains the only villain in all the stories for whom such measures were determined to be necessary.
  • Inspector Baynes in "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge" has several. He's the one detective who manages to keep up with Holmes at all in the original novels, showing a thoroughness to his method from his very introduction (showing a clue of exactly the sort that Holmes would have found—a note that someone had tried to burn in a fireplace, but was still intact). Partway through the case, he pulls a Batman Gambitnote  that leads to the case's solution—and when Baynes reveals the gambit, Holmes immediately gives him the highest praise possible:
    "You will rise high in your profession. You have instinct and intuition."
    • The same story also has a kidnapping victim rescued while being dragged along with the villains on their escape (after which they may have killed her) by a minor character, a fired gardener Holmes had asked to keep an eye on them.
  • While we learn very little of the only other private detective featured in the series, Barker (The Adventure of the Retired Colourman), the impression is that Holmes is of rather high opinion of him despite them being rivals, which is indeed a great compliment. In fact, it is Holmes who refers to him as a "rival", a term he's never used for anyone else, putting him on near equal footing to Holmes, himself. They arrive to make a key discovery separately but almost at the same time.
  • "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott" features ann immaculately planned and executed Great Escape revolt aboard the titular convict ship in the backstory as well. And then there's the efforts of the Red Shirt soldiers and ships officers to fight back (managing to kill one of the leaders of the conspiracy in a an ambush, one gut-shot soldier managing to swim after the moving ship for several minutes after being thrown overboard, and the cornered first mate pulling off a Taking You with Me gambit that killed the worst of the prisoners and mutineers).
  • Small's description of his prison escape in The Sign of the Four.
    • Also from that book, Small mentioning how while in India, his life was saved by one of his men who swam into the river to rescue Small while he was being attacked by an alligator.

    Granada TV series 
  • Granada's adaptation of "The Dying Detective" has Sherlock Holmes give a sterling tirade against Culverton Smith, helped immensely by the ominous music accompanying it:
    "Smith! SMITH! (spots him in a window) Ah! It is a singular coincidence, is it not, that you should inherit so much from the man who died of a disease upon which you are the sole expert? Well?! (eyebrow raise) Coincidence bordering upon the unbelievable! Let me tell you: The doors of your profession, which have been closed to you, will now be locked and bolted against you! It is my mission."
  • The Granada TV adaptation of "The Illustrious Client" had one for Shinwell "Porky" Jones, the man Holmes assigned to protect Kitty. Holmes had been beat up by two thugs hired by the villain, and the same pair of thugs go after Kitty. Jones hands their asses to them on a plate.
    • The writers who wrote the adaptation should get a CMOA also. The original story never specifies how Kitty was ruined by the villain. In the Granada adaptation, Kitty was scarred by vitriol being thrown on her, and she could never work as an artist's model again. Her method of revenge is thus explained and justified.
  • This delicious scene of Holmes effortlessly wiping the floor with the local ruffian.
  • Although a major deviation from the original story, the ending of The Greek Interpreter has Holmes and co. catch up to the villains and undoing their Karma Houdini status in an awesome train-based sequence.

     Basil Rathbone Film Series 

  • "The House of Fear" actually gives us a moment of awesome for Dr. Watson. Yes, the Nigel Bruce Watson, who embodies the notion of Watson as an inept bungler, has an awesome moment. Guarding a suspect, Watson realizes that an empty container of tobacco belonging to a "murder victim" is a very important and revealing clue, forcing the conspirators to jump him as he rushes to tell Holmes.


  • In the Neil Gaiman short story, "A Study in Emerald", Holmes lures a Humanoid Abomination to a deserted house so that Watson can dispatch it with his surgeon's knives. They then escape Professor Moriarty, seeing right through his trap.
  • Gaiman also wrote The Case Of Death And Honey, wherein Holmes learns how to make a honey that serves as a Fountain of Youth, and it's implied that Holmes and Watson are out there still, solving cases and working for the betterment of mankind.
  • "The Seven-Percent Solution":
    • Holmes outdoes himself in The Seven-Per-Cent Solution when he upstages a Viennese police official with little more than sheer presence, just after he hijacks a train at gunpoint. It's not quite as out of character as it sounds, and is all in the name of justice, of course.
    • The first half is a CMOA for Watson, who tricks Holmes (albeit a deranged Holmes, with the aid of Mycroft) and recruits Sigmund Freud to help with Holmes' detox, and the second half is a CMOA for Holmes, who averts a war, culminating in the above moment.
  • "The Doctor's Case" by Stephen King. Holmes' observational finesse is impaired by an allergy outbreak and Watson winds up solving the case all by himself. Granted, Holmes figures out the solution about thirty seconds into The Summation, but he lets Watson do all the explaining in order to let him have his moment of triumph.


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