Spoilers to follow. First one: he’s alive.
Only the BBC could produce something like Sherlock. After two seasons of amazing deduction and loveable sociopathic character traits, Sherlock met his end at Reichenbach Falls – just like his classic literally counterpart… Ok, actually completely different to the way that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem presents the confrontation and the apparent demise of the legendary detective but still giving a nod to the original version. The show has a way to deter from the source but respecting the spirit of each character thus paying an amazing homage to the original works. It has done so by enticing fans with a mixture of insolence, immaturity and anti-establishment that make following the series feel like an act of rebellion. Holmes, as well as Watson, have this brash in-your-face attitude of solving crimes because the alternative – boredom – is completely unacceptable.
The third season starts with Sherlock’s return. In The Empty Hearse, John Watson (Martin Freeman) is about to propose to his fiancée Mary Morsten (Amanda Abbington). Sherlock, who’s alive and just escaped imprisonment in a foreign country, thinks John will be thrilled to see him. What he doesn’t anticipate is that John is going to be pissed. The confrontation is nothing short of hilarious. All throughout the episode we are given several possible scenarios of how Holmes managed to fake his death.
With John not wanting to speak to him, Sherlock calls upon Molly Hooper, the mortician. However the fun and games are quickly over. We’re reminded quickly that there’s danger out there when John gets kidnapped and almost burned in a fire. Rescued by Sherlock and Mary, John is shaken but curious as to why he was targeted.
Sherlock has a real reason to come back. Mycroft has asked his help locating and dismantling a terrorist cell. The case is big and small at the same time, with the only clue being a man disappearing from a tube car between one station and another. Eventually this leads them both to a missing car and a bomb. In the end the day will be saved, but we still are left wondering who tried to get Watson killed.
The second episode of the season, The Sign Of The Three, is John and Mary’s wedding. For a moment I thought she would be gone after all the events transpired in the first episode. She’s obviously smarter and more resilient that most people, to the point that she’s a match to both John and Sherlock. It becomes even more evident in this episode that she probably outmatch the two. Mary Morstan is actually the name of the character that plays John Watson’s wife in the original books. The actress, Amanda Abbington, is Martin Freeman’s real life partner.
This one is a fun episode as everyone dreads (and we all yearn) for Sherlock to make a speech as the best man. It’s not all fun and games as there’s a murder about to be committed. I loved John’s battlestations warning to Mary, “someone’s about to die”. Sherlock does show his humanity as he does praise John, a moment in which his Spock-like persona (the Vulcan, not the doctor) shows the endearing cracks in his armor. Of course it doesn’t take long until he announces, “let’s play murder”. One of the seemingly random cases that he uses as an anecdote will end up getting some closure before the last toast is made.
His Last Vow is the last episode of the season. Meet Charles Augustus Magnussen, a character that you will love to hate. He’s a publishing tycoon who blackmails half the world and owns everyone’s dark secrets hidden in a mysterious vault. Sherlock has been getting ready for him, planting himself as a drug addict and seducing Janine, who happens to work for him.
It takes a while for John to believe Sherlock has not fallen off the wagon. The dynamic duo will try to get the mystery location of Magnussen’s vault of secrets, but will run into a snag as someone will beat them to the punch. That someone is none other that the newlywed Mary Watson, who’s yet another blackmail victim. She’s also the reason why Sherlock ends up with a bullet on his chest. As his mind tries to come up with the right decisions to save his life, we get to see a most revealing inner dialog with Mycroft. Rest assured that not only the detective makes it, but he gets his chance to reveal his killer to John.
Here’s the part where this episode shines. Sherlock wants John and Mary to make up. It’s a shocking realization not only to John but to the audience that after Mary has lied to John and has shot Sherlock that we’re still going to be expected to accept her. Sherlock addresses the fact that deep inside John likes Mary because of the kind of person she really was – another functioning sociopath. He’s also revealing to the audience that despite her apparent betrayal we still like her character because of the kind of person she is as well. It’s a subtle but powerful moment of the entire season. John, and hopefully the audience as well, will eventually accept Mary in their lives.
Meanwhile, it’s Christmas at the Holmes’ and we get to know a little about Sherlock’s and Mycroft’s parents. The shenanigans end abruptly as Sherlock has had Billy (a drug addict he’s kind of adopted who seems to have some talent for deduction as well) drug out everyone except himself and John. It’s then that Sherlock reveals to John that he’s made a deal with the devil as a chopper lands in the yard. Taking Mycroft’s laptop with him, Sherlock and John are off to meet Magnussen. It’s a small detail, but after Sherlock has repeatedly asked John not to bring a gun to his parents, he confirms that John actually has one in his coat before they board the helicopter. This was the moment I knew.
When they arrive, Magnussen is quick to giveaway that he was behind the attempt on John’s life. He’s not really interested in the laptop. He has seen through Sherlock’s scheme and knows that the GPS of the device will lead Mycroft back to them. He’s also convinced that even if Mycroft’s force searches the house they will find no incriminating evidence. Why? Because the secret vault doesn’t exist. It’s all an intricate mind palace that he’s built in his mind and where he can mentally bring out the records on everyone. Magnussen doesn’t need proof as he can just publish whatever he wants. As Mycroft and British Intelligence forces converge on Magnussen’s home, the outcome becomes even more evident. Sherlock once again confirms the vault is on Magnussen’s mind and then takes the gun from John’s coat and shoots the master blackmailer in the head.
Guilty of a crime that nobody wants to convict him for, Sherlock is sent to an extended and possibly suicidal mission for MI5 thanks to Mycroft’s influence. As John, Mary and Mycroft say their goodbyes we’re almost fooled as the theme song starts playing – but the episode is not over yet. A familiar face is appearing on everyone’s TV sets and computer screens. Mycroft has the plane turn around. A GIF of Moriarty is appearing everywhere with the legend “Miss me?”. England needs Sherlock Holmes again.
Easy recommendation for the best series to watch.
(Sources: BBC One)