I absolutely adore this show and I love that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss keep surprising me. Just when I think that their show can't possibly get any better they prove me wrong. Series three is my favourite of the show's run so far. In some respects series three is quite different to the previous two series of the show though. Series three of Sherlock is far more focused on character development rather than the crimes (although the crimes are still very good). Sherlock's character development in this series is especially wonderful. He'll clearly never pass for an ordinary human being and there were still be moments when he'll be unintentionally rude and insensitive I'm sure. However he's still quite clearly becoming a warmer person due to the influence of his friends. Sherlock has always been likeable in spite of his faults but in this series he's even more so. He's changing for the better and it makes sense. Sherlock hasn't seen his friends for the two years in-between series two and three so it makes perfect sense that he'd have a new-found appreciation for Lestrade, Molly, Mrs Hudson and John in particular. Even Sherlock's relationship with Mycroft appears to have greatly improved. Although I think I'd like series four to be more crime-focused I loved the heavy focus on the character development for series three. Just because Sherlock has a detective as its main character does that mean that the crimes always have to be the main focus of a series? Yes, the Arthur Conan Doyle stories are more crime-focused than these series three episodes are but there was still a very heavy focus on Holmes and Watson's friendship in them. I really respect Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss for wanting to explore this in a lot of depth for this series. Also, let's not forget that TV shows that aren't willing to mix things up a bit with each series/season become boring and predictable and inevitably get cancelled.
I try not to go into too much depth when I talk about the individual episodes of Sherlock because I want to save that for a future post some day. I'll try to give some brief opinions on the episodes though.
The Empty Hearse
The Empty Hearse is based on The Adventure of the Empty House and was written by Mark Gatiss. It's a thrilling and hilariously entertaining episode! It made me laugh hard!
His Last Vow
(my favourite of the Sherlock Holmes short stories) and was written by Steven Moffat. This episode is easily my least favourite out of series three but that's not really a bad thing considering how much I loved the previous two episodes. And I still really enjoyed His Last Vow for the most part. The reason why the episode is my least favourite is due to its non-linear storytelling. The Sign of Three uses non-linear storytelling as well but in that episode it works far better because it adds to the humour and makes sense for the wedding speech context. But in this episode the non-linear storytelling isn't at all necessary and I think it breaks up the flow of the episode. But as I say I still really enjoyed the episode for the most part and it has many great moments. I especially love John's reaction to Sherlock's girlfriend, the Mind Palace scenes, and John and Mary's truly moving reconciliation (beautifully acted by Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington). Louis Moffat (Steven Moffat's son) does an excellent job as Young Sherlock. I also got what I'd been desperately hoping for: a Smaug reference! :D I thought Lars Mikkelsen did a brilliant job as Charles Augustus Magnussen in this episode too. Lars Mikkelsen is a Danish actor and the older brother of Hannibal actor Mads Mikkelsen. *Off-topic: Hannibal is so popular on Tumblr that I think the website would have blown up if they'd cast Mads in Sherlock!* Magnussen is a very different sort of villain to Moriarty. He's much quieter and so odious and repulsive that he made my skin crawl. I actually wanted him to die. Lars Mikkelsen is brilliant in the role but I'm very glad that we won't be seeing Magnussen again! This leads me very nicely to reflect on what series four might have in store...
Series Four Speculation
- So judging by His Last Vow's cliffhanger ending it looks like we might be seeing the return of Moriarty in series four! To be honest I'm feeling very conflicted about this. On the one hand I love Moriarty. He's such an entertaining villain and I have so much fun watching him. I love Andrew Scott's acting in the role. But on the other hand, having both Sherlock and Moriarty surviving The Reichenbach Fall would lessen that episode's power and impact. Also the fact that Moriarty actually finds the idea of death peaceful and comforting is quite a fascinating end for a villain. So I've decided that I want Moriarty to be genuinely dead and that he simply arranged for a number of elaborate crimes for Sherlock to solve in the wild chance that he survived his fall.
- Was I the only one who was ridiculously excited at the Sherrinford Holmes hint in His Last Vow?! To anyone who's not familiar with Sherrinford Holmes I'll explain. He's a non-canonical character who was first suggested by a man called William S. Baring Gould, a notable Sherlock Holmes scholar. Baring Gould pointed out that since Sherlock comes from a family of country squires that that would mean that Sherlock had another older brother. This brother would have inherited the family estate and would have stayed at home to manage it. Mycroft couldn't be the oldest brother in the Holmes family because he's living in London and is working as a civil servant (which was a common profession for younger sons in Arthur Conan Doyle's time). Baring-Gould named his oldest Holmes brother "Sherrinford" which was a name that Arthur Conan Doyle considered giving to Sherlock. Now I know I shouldn't be getting excited at the thought of Sherrinford Holmes eventually showing up in Sherlock. More than likely this is simply nothing more than a throwaway hint to tease us. But when I think of the possibilities! If Sherrinford Holmes does eventually show up in Sherlock I'd prefer it if he was actually the youngest Holmes brother rather than the oldest. Mark Gatiss plays Mycroft as a bossy older brother so brilliantly that I think it would be weird if he then turned out to be a middle child. I also have a few Sherrinford Holmes casting suggestions :D
- I'd love for Sherlock to adapt The Adventure of the Red-Headed League, not necessarily in series four but at some point I'd love to see it! That story is definitely one of my favourites and it could be so much fun to see in the modern-day. The villain is a bank robber! I also want a completely original story where Sherlock's parents get kidnapped and he and Mycroft then have to team up in order to rescue them. I absolutely loved Mycroft and Sherlock's back-and-forth deducting in The Empty Hearse and I think I could quite happily watch an entire episode of this!
- I want The Empty Hearse fanclub to return. That could be lots of fun!
- I want Mary to get more backstory and to see more of her special skills.
- I want Sherlock's boxing and fencing skills to be showcased at some point. This would be hot stuff!
- I want more involvement for Lestrade and Anderson in series four and for Molstrade/Lestrolly to eventually happen.
- I want Tobias Gregson to be introduced.
Film Certificate: 12