One of the things Rachel talked about in her transitions was the challenge of retroactively rebuilding the show once they decided to structure it chronologically. Many things didn’t get covered because they would have been addressed in the fancy transitions, but once those were removed, they were already deep into post and couldn’t reshoot to correct for what ended up missing. Such as a wide establishing shot for the scene where Mycroft is wikipedia-ing Agra.
This is an affected shot from the original transition: Sherlock walks from the hotel room in Morocco into Mycroft’s office, with Mycroft reflected in a mirror that Sherlock walks past. This is the reflection, doubled to fill the screen.
Apparently they didn’t shoot coverage otherwise of Mycroft beginning his expo on Agra, so Rachel had the idea to create this mirror image. She felt that it would fit within the language of the show and still work as an establishing shot.
I always thought that while it works, it was a bit extra to make an establishing shot so visually complicated. Why turn a simple shot into such a funky showpiece? But it’s not unmotivated – it’s solving a problem the audience doesn’t know about. This is a great illustration at the creativity demanded when you restructure a work so extensively. It’s a clever solution, and luckily Sherlock already has a vocabulary of complicated visuals to allow it to feel a natural part of the show.
On the other hand, knowing that the entirety of the narrative structure changed so extensively explains a lot about the pacing and feel of some of the scenes in TST. Because some scenes feel abrupt, some feel a little clumsy, and now I wonder how much of that was out of Rachel’s power and is actually damage control, because the episode was created to be told one way and then drastically changed to another. It’s easy to think that shows (movies, novels, artworks, fics) spring fully formed but it’s always a process. And when you have a reduced pallet from which to work it requires even more creativity, and sometimes it just doesn’t quite work the way you want it to.
There’s so much that goes into the creation of this show that we just don’t know about.