"The Adventure of the Resident Patient" (from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes) is a story with some macabre elements and a rather unsatisfying conclusion. It's yet another tale in which Doyle couldn't seem to think of a satisfactory manner of the murderers being brought to justice, and settled for a shipwreck bringing justice instead. (See "The Greek Interpreter" for more evidence of this technique.) The Granada adaptation, despite a little bit of acting that borders on melodrama, is fairly successful, I think. The main story is bookended by a couple scenes that are not in the source material: an opening at a barber shop, in which Watson attempts to use Holmes's own methods against him, and a humorous conclusion in which Holmes suggests a different title for Watson's story relating the events of the case. Sherlockian readers may be disappointed to see the barber shop scene replace the opening of the original story, which featured Holmes making some deductions about Watson's ruminations on the American Civil War.
One definite highlight of the episode for me was the scene following Blessington's suicide (spoiler alert!). Jeremy Brett excels in the somewhat lengthy (but immensely entertaining) sequence, wherein Sherlock Holmes prowls about the room, finding details missed by the police, allowing him to reconstruct the events of the previous night. Brett is fabulous, and the reactions of the other character watching him work are priceless.
There are a few other details that elicited a smile from me, such as the little whistle Jeremy Brett gives when he is told of Blessington's death, or the moment in which he tells Watson that he has sometimes feigned catalepsy to deceive someone. I think it's those kinds of little details that often make Brett's performance so enjoyable to behold. He inhabits the character of the great detective to an extent that very few actors have rivaled.
The performances of the actors who played Percy Trevelyan and Mr. Blessington (Nicholas Clay and Patrick Newell, respectively) I found just a bit too intense at times. As I mentioned above, they sometimes border on melodrama, but Brett and Burke serve to balance the overall tone of the episode.
I should probably also mention the exceedingly creepy scene that immediately follows the credits. Most of the Granada episodes I've seen thus far seem to insert a scene introducing the case, before bringing Holmes and Watson into the story. Some of these scenes work well, while others are simply confusing or bewildering. The opening of this episode falls into the latter category, in my opinion. Blessington's dream of seeing himself in a coffin does little to set up the story, and could easily be cut from the episode with no impact on the plot whatsoever.
Still, overall, despite a bit of confusion towards the beginning, the strong performance by Jeremy Brett makes the adventure pretty engaging. Maybe not one of my favorite episodes, but a worthy entry in the series, I think.
To my readers: I suspect the morbid nature of Mr. Blessington's suicide has (quite rightly) led to YouTube's age restriction on the video. Please proceed accordingly.
I'm a stay-at-home dad, and Director of Music Ministries at a United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, TN, and a longtime fan of Mr. Sherlock Holmes.