Finally Sherlock is back to old’s self. This episode was exactly what I was hoping it would be and more. No longer is the jumbled up tiresome best of format that the wedding episode half heartedly tried to present but instead back to the ambitious movie style episodes that for the most part actually run chronologically and keep the audience from falling asleep. Yeah I didn’t like the wedding episode.
From the start a word that I would describe this episode as is funny. There are some great moments including the hilarious introduction of Sherlock in this episode. The comedy in this series always works really well probably because Martin Freeman was always a comedy actor, and has only recently branched into these more serious roles, and the chemistry between him and Benedict Cumberbatch is back at it’s best.
One of my main criticisms of the first two episodes of this series is the distinct lack of a villain. Both antagonists were un-established with little motivation and no distinguishing features at all. It is ironic then perhaps that my biggest praise for this episode is the spectacularly creepy and threatening Charles Augustus Magnussen. This villain is possibly even better than Jim Moriarty, played by Andrew Scott, and it’s because he added another layer to the antagonist role, he was a believable genius who completely disrespects other people and claims that he owns them. This was a very disturbing claim and it really felt like nobody other than Sherlock was brave enough to take him on. I wish that he hadn’t been so immediately killed off (although with a show like this it’s incredibly possible that he’s not actually dead) and that instead we’re going back to Moriarty who as brilliant as he is we have already seen a great deal and I think it would have been maybe a bit more interesting to explore more of the motives of Magnussen.
I didn’t particularly care for the whole Mary Morstan twist as it was so quickly resolved it might as well have not have happened. However in a show that has a run time of an hour and a half these sub plots are going to have to be included and it was at least fairly interesting to watch.
The best moment perhaps was the mind palace scene where Sherlock has been shot and he has to try to survive by consulting his friends within his head who give him advice and manages to prevent himself from dying. It was on the verge of being over the top but managed to stay on the edge and instead created a visual masterpiece that was thrilling to watch.
Looking back on this series as a whole I have to admit I was disappointed. The first two series were some of my favourite television episodes ever and were the best written, shot and acted detective drama’s I had ever seen so going into this series with the 2 year wait and the huge anticipation for the reveal of how Sherlock survived the fall I was trying to be as optimistic and possible that this series would maintain the same quality. So to begin with I was a little bit disappointed by the reveal which was quite anti climatic but then there was all these weird arrangement issues.
The first two episodes felt a bit like the writers wrote a tonne of different scenes then sort of threw them at a wall and then tried to link them all together. Some scenes were dynamic and brought something new to the table, some scenes were hilarious like the stag night but then some scenes were almost out place heart warming confessions between John and Sherlock and smaller undeveloped cases. Especially episode 2, A Sign of Three, which was basically Sherlock hosting This is your life and showing small funny VT’s to his live audience at the wedding. I would go as far to say that I hardly count episode 2 as a Sherlock episode. It is the definition of a filler episode. It had good moments but they were all disjointed and left me almost falling asleep.
Luckily as I have described in this blog I was fairly pleased with episode 3 and it got back to focussing on the case again rather than the large focus on the characters which was present in the first two episodes. It got the balance right and created a brilliant new villain. As far as where the series goes from here though I am much less enthusiastic for the next series as I am worried about where they are taking the story.
I wish they had perhaps kept of bringing back Moriarty for another series and instead had a bit more fun with Magnussen and kept him alive. Also I’m not to sure where they are going with Mary being pregnant, this is a major break away from the Conan Doyle canon and makes me worried as it seems like the child will possibly be just another distraction from the story being about Sherlock and John solving cases with Lestrade (who is strangely absent throughout this series).
I suppose in 2 to 3 years when they release the next series I might have been worrying about nothing, but if this series was anything to go by it looks like the show is starting to dip in quality.