(Pssssst, there’s gonna be spoilers).
Growing up, I was always a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes; despite being a kid and never actually having read any of ACD’s work. I once won a brown bear from one of those claw machines and named him Watson, only to win again a few months later and receive a white, but otherwise identical, version of the same bear. I named him Sherlock, obviously, and together they solved crimes and foiled super villains, a role usually played by the PG Tips Monkey. It was like an eight year old version of writing fanfiction. But despite my love of the great Mr Holmes, I’d always just presumed that he was a real person and I guess my parents never thought to tell me differently. So when I found out he was just a fictional character, I felt like I had been lied to. My love never wavered though, and when BBC’s Sherlock started I was hooked from Sherlock and John’s first meeting, even if they weren’t anything like my bears. Through the years Sherlock has remained a glorious reminder of what BBC dramas can be. A glimmer of hope in the Moffat shroud of misery that is post-2011 Doctor Who. So I thought that I’d always love Sherlock, that it would continue to be a great example of British television. But then season three started.
Within the first five minutes of the first episode of season three, I was angry. ‘This is exactly like I said it happened,’ I exclaimed, ‘Sherlock Holmes can’t be so great if this is the big reveal I’ve waited two years for!’ But obviously my mind was very quickly changed, and I went back to thinking that this really was the show I’ve been waiting so long for. And although the opening episode was unarguably very different from its predecessors, I liked it. As soon as it was over I tweeted my praise and was left eagerly anticipating the next episode. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised I didn’t like. It didn’t give me the big reveal that I’d been waiting for and the episode’s mystery felt rushed, unimportant, and ultimately hugely underwhelming. So I thought about it some more, and came to the conclusion that the episode was bound to be different because it had more important things to do than establish some big mystery for the boys to solve. In 90 minutes they had to show John dealing with Sherlock’s return, introduce Mary in a way that wouldn’t make the viewers hate her (obsessive fourteen year old girls who watch the show for #JohnLock)*, and introduce the season’s “main villain”. And once again I was back to liking the episode, and filled with excitement for the ones to come.
Episode two wasn’t really memorable for me. Once again the big case had to come secondary to character development, in this instance the wedding of Mary and John, and yet again I was more than happy with this. Like the first episode, it had more comedic moments than the previous seasons, but none of them really felt forced so I went along with it. It’s nice to have some laughs to make up for the tears that came with season two’s finale. I really liked the narrative of this episode, with all the cutaways and flashbacks, and I love how integrated it all seemed with John’s blog. Again, it wasn’t like the previous seasons but it was still better than a lot of what I watch on TV nowadays so I was pleased, and I still had one more episode that I was sure was going to tear me apart emotionally. My main disappointment with this episode was that I guessed the murderer before Sherlock did. Usually when I watch crime dramas, I’m racing the protagonist to get to the answer first, but when I watch Sherlock I don’t want to know. I want the big reveal. Sherlock is supposed to be a genius, I’m just someone who watches a lot of television and is really good at Cluedo. I’m also unsure of how you wouldn’t notice you are being stabbed? But I guess that’s just me not understanding their explanation, so I’ll let it slide.
And then came episode three. The one they warned us about. I was absolutely sure that Mary and/or her unborn baby was going to die. I definitely did not see Mary’s storyline going the way it did. I knew there was something off about her because of Sherlock’s deductions when he first met her and how fine she seemed with John running off into dangerous situations all the time. But still, this I did not see coming. This episode definitely felt a lot more like old Sherlock, with less sitcom-esque moments and a genuinely creepy villain. When he licks that woman’s face, I cringed a little. Or a lot. It was definitely more like a lot. Moriarty was great and everything, but he was definitely a bit Man Behind The Curtain-ey for me. He may of been a criminal mastermind and master blackmailer, but he never really seemed to get his hands dirty himself. I bet Moriarty would never lick someone’s face. Speaking of Moriarty, I was definitely a fan of this season’s cliffhanger. At first I thought it was gonna be Sherlock being obnoxious and then I thought it would somehow be Magnussen. I was not expecting Moriarty, but that doesn’t mean I believe he’s coming back. I’m calling it now that it’s gonna be a total red herring. If he can steal the Crown Jewels, I’m sure Moriarty could have set up some TV hack thing before he died that would be triggered if Sherlock didn’t kill himself. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t have been set off as soon as he came back to London, but this is television and then they would have had to think of another cliffhanger to end the season with. Dramatic effect and all that good stuff.
Overall, I enjoyed this season of Sherlock and I think it was worth the two year wait. Maybe if I didn’t like The Hobbit so much I’d have different feelings on the matter, but I am appeased by what has been given to me, even if I still feel cheated about Sherlock staging his own death. It’s not a patch on the previous seasons, but compared to the other trash I watch on TV (Pretty Little Liars, I’m looking at you), it still shines far above the rest. Hopefully we’ve now had enough character development for the time being, and we can just get on with the crimes and murders. Which is something I never thought I would say about a TV show.
(TL;DR: This season of Sherlock wasn’t as good as the previous two, but it’s still better than most things I watch on TV)
*On a side note, JohnLock? John Locke? DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN’T DO!