First impressions can always be deceiving, so sometimes you have to go back and give things a second look.
When I first watched Series One of BBC’s “Sherlock,” I thought that Molly Hooper was kind of sad, someone who had no spine and who let others walk all over her. But really, there’s more to Molly Hooper, the pathology lab assistant at Bart’s, than meets the eye.
Watching it a second time, I realized it: Molly, like all of the characters in “Sherlock,” isn’t supposed to be perfect. Yes, she’s smart, and she’s clearly worked long and hard to get to where she is professionally. But Molly, while successful in her professional life, doesn’t always have the same luck in her personal life. There’s her unrequited attraction for Sherlock and her sham of a relationship with Jim, not to mention her awkward appearance at the Christmas gathering John and Sherlock hold during Series Two’s first episode, “A Scandal in Belgravia.”
But here’s where Molly really stands out. Molly serves as a foil for the beautiful yet cunning femme fatale Irene Adler. While Irene might play Sherlock’s game, Molly doesn’t want to play. Even regardless of the countless times Sherlock has used Molly’s regard for him to get what he needs from the mortuary, and regardless of the times Sherlock has been unkind to her, this isn’t who Molly is. She is honest and kind, and somehow she understands that while Sherlock doesn’t always do the right things, the things he does are for the right reasons and somehow for the greater good.
I suppose the greatest reason why I identify with, and adore, Molly Hooper is because she knows she isn’t perfect, and she isn’t going to be successful in all of her endeavors. She may feel confident in some situations, like her job, and awkward in others. She’s just an average woman finding her way through a muddled world, trying to figure out what she wants. And that’s reassuring to the rest of us who are still trying to figure it all out.