It was two years ago that we saw Sherlock Holmes fall to his death and somehow survive. Two years of constant waiting, constant theories and fanficiton. Hours have been spent anticipating the return of Sherlock Holmes. And now another Series is over.
There were three episodes in the third series of Sherlock, all of which can each be summed up in a word. The Return, the Wedding and the Mastermind. The first episode ‘The Empty Hearse’ showed Sherlock’s return to London having been out of town for the last two years after his shocking death at the end of Series Two. Not only did the episode give us the solution to how Sherlock survived the fall (and what a great solution it was) but also presented the audience with two spoof-solutions, obviously born of the wide speculation concerning that pivotal point in the last series. These were both hilarious. Not only did Derren Brown pop up but we also got a bit of Mollock and Sheriarty, two fangirl dreams coming true in one episode.
Although mainly featured on Sherlock’s return and the impact it had on the other characters, the episode also has an interesting case, terrorism no less. There’s a nice scene with Sherlock thinking about the Underground (nice direction by the way) and a heart wrenching moment when Sherlock and John become trapped in the terrorist’s bomb and think they are going to die.
There’s been much criticism that the solution to this case was too simple, Sherlock merely having to flick an off switch however I liked the almost entirely character-driven episode and though it was good to end on an uncomplicated note.
If I thought the whole series was to continue to the same high standards as Episode 1, I was sorely disappointed when it came to ‘The Sign of Three’. The episode, which is centred around John and mary’s wedding, was full of missed opportunities. Some great characters, an interesting case and even getting to see Sherlock and John drunk were all thrown away when the production team decided to hire some god-awful director to lead the episode.
In fact the the directing of this episode was so poor that it seems even the acting and music suffered and in my opinion the whole episode was very sub-standard. The transitions were to quick and jaggardy, the flashbacks to hectic and the solution to the case being given away without much thought. Although Sherlock’s best man speech did have a very emotional 20 seconds half way through.
And finally we come to ‘His Last Vow’. Exactly why it’s called that I don’t know however what I can say is that it was one of the most beautiful, emotional and thrilling things I have ever had the pleasure to watch. I’m not going to bore you with the plot, I’ll just say that it was centres around Charles Augustus Magnussen, a criminal mastermind and blackmailer. Lars Mikkelsen gives a fantastic performance, creating a character who is not only terrifying but who I would go so far as to say beats the performance of Mr Scott himself. How do the Sherlock creators managed to create such perfect villains?
Additionally this episode gave us two of the best scenes in Sherlock history, one of which had me clutching my seat, the other of which had me in tears. Of course the first was the beautifully shot trip we took into Sherlock’s mind palace as he worked out how to not die (again!). Here we saw Molly, Mycroft and even Sherlock’s arch nemesis Moriarty turn up with Andrew Scott giving yet another wonderfully insane performance. The second scene was when John discovered his wife Mary’s secret and the fact that she had been lying to him since they had met. This was the one where I was crying.
Apart from creating amazing villains the Sherlock creators like to end the series with a final confrontation between Sherlock and his enemy. ‘His Last Vow’ did not disappoint as Sherlock and John go head to head with Magnussen who turns out to have thousands of pages of information stored not in underground vaults but in his own Mind Palace. It’s amazing to see Sherlock beaten and even better to see him shoot his rival in the head. Let’s hope he really is dead unlike Moriarty whom it turns out, faked it as well. I really didn’t like the ending.