BBC’s Sherlock Series 3: Recap and Review

Sadly, I must confess that I thought Series 3 was the weakest of all the series. And it is not because of the introduction of Mary Morstan, John’s girlfriend/wife. It is merely because the series has become significantly more comedic that the previous series. Whilst the other series had their own funny little moments that were reduced to the odd funny line or quip due to the show’s eccentric nature, the episodes were relatively straight laced. Not so much with this series. So lets dive in.

The Empty Hearse

Once again, it has been two years since Sherlock apparently killed himself and a lot has happened. Anderson has become a recluse and nutjob who is totally convinced that Sherlock is alive and is operating under the radar. He continues to present his ridiculous theories as to how Sherlock fakes his death to Lestrade who refuses to give him any credence. John has also been busy. He has a beautiful girlfriend called Mary Morstan who is played Amanda Abbington who is also Martin Freeman’s wife which is a nice little touch.

John returns to Baker Street and is met with the disapproving gaze of Mrs Hudson. Yes, in the last two years John hasn’t visited Mrs Hudson. He finds the experience really difficult after Sherlock’s death and has only returned because he has some news. He is going to ask Mary to marry him.

In terms of Sherlock, he is rescued by Mycroft in Serbia which was the final thread in unravelling Moriarty’s vast network of criminals which was ultimately why Sherlock had to fake his own death and disappear. Here is where the first attempt at humour comes into play, Sherlock’s reunion with John. Sherlock receives Intel from Mycroft that John has booked a table at a fancy restaurant. Sherlock infiltrates the restaurant disguised as a waiter with a funny accent and reveals himself to John just as he is about to propose to Mary. Needless to say, he is in complete shock. All it takes is one quip about his new moustache for John to attack him.

The trio go to a late night cafe where Sherlock begins to tell John and Mary how he faked his death. When John learns of just how many people were involved and above all, knew he was going to fake his death including Mycroft, Molly Hooper and a number of his homeless network, John goes for him again.

At a takeaway, Sherlock nurses a busted lip, courtesy of John. John maintains his position that he just needed one word to know that Sherlock was alive but Sherlock wasn’t willing to do that because he didn’t want John to tell everyone that he was still alive. Sherlock changes the subject by saying that there is an imminent terrorist attack due in London and he needs John’s help. In response, John nuts him. Whilst tending to his bloody face, Mary tells him that she will talk John into helping.

In the passing time, John is still angry with Sherlock so Sherlock enlists the help of Molly with some of his cases. This is short-lived because Molly is engaged to be married to a bloke called Tom and it’s probably best not to be around the man she may or may not still be in love with.

And now, some plot development. John is captured by someone who puts him inside a Guy Fawkes effigy and is set on fire. Thankfully, Sherlock and Mary arrive just in time to save him. This brings John back to 221B, to figure out who tried to kill him. Eventually, John and Sherlock figure out that terrorists have planted a bomb on an underground train that is stationary right underneath the Houses of Parliament. John and Sherlock find the bomb but Sherlock doesn’t know how to turn it off. Facing certain death, Sherlock apologises to John for faking his death and for getting his best friend into this situation. He begs John for his forgiveness. Then a cut.

As you will recall, I mentioned at the end of the last ‘Sherlock’ article that if the results of Sherlock faking his death were that he ended up jumping into a big cushion then it would upset me. Well, I waited two years to be proved absolutely right. The scene cuts to Sherlock sitting in front of a camera in front of Anderson’s flat and he begins his story. It should also be pointed out that I was right about the body double. When Sherlock through himself off the roof, there was a massive airbag waiting for him. The bag was blocked by an ambulance bay so John couldn’t see it. Molly Hooper recovered the corpse of Sherlock’s double and threw it on the ground so there would be a body for John to see before he was hit by the cyclist. The cyclist delayed John long enough so Sherlock could swap places the corpse and have blood poured all over him. This was a big enough deception for John to believe.

Back to the train. Believing that he is going to die, John forgives Sherlock in a really heartfelt way only to be met with giggling. Sherlock did indeed turn off the bomb because there was an off switch. Because that makes sense. Whatever. Everything is back to copacetic now. John and Mary are engaged and Sherlock reveals that he is alive to a swarm of press that are waiting outside Baker Street.

I don’t know. I just think that Sherlock could have been a bit less of a dick when he revealed to John that he was alive. I don’t know if he thought that being funny and making jokes about John’s porno-stache would lighten the mood and make him feel better. I think that the Sherlock and John reunion was a bit of a missed opportunity and they could have made it a really nice and emotional scene but apparently I’m just in my dreamy little world again.

The Signs of Three

A middle episode again but this one is more relevant to the over-arching plot. There doesn’t seem to be a plot now that Moriarty is dead (Maybe). This episode is also plagued with ‘funny’ bits. To name some; Mycroft jogging on a treadmill in tight lycra, Sherlock YouTubing how to fold serviettes for John and Mary’s wedding, John trying to conceal his middle name and Sherlock puking on a clients rug whilst pissed off his tits.

This episode jumps around a bit but the majority of the episode is Sherlock’s best man’s speech at John’s wedding. I am right in that Sherlock does seem to be growing as a character. Starting out as an insufferable smart-arse and now he has grown to be the
exact same insufferable smart-arse except now he can sometimes express feelings. Like at one point during his speech, he exclaims that he and Mary are the two people who love John in all of the world and they will never let him down and they have a life-
time ahead to prove that. Although it is spoiled when he tries to go on but realises that everyone else is crying and he doesn’t know why. He also can’t contemplate that he was asked to be John’s best man because despite all they have been through together, he doesn’t think that he is John’s best friend. Ludicrous, I know.

The two main cases is in this episode are as follows. The Bloody Guardsman in which a patrol guard was almost stabbed to death in a locked shower cubicle which is connected to the appearance of John’s old commanding officer, Major James Sholto. Major Sholto has sealed himself away from the public after an exercise that he was running went wrong and some soldiers under his command were killed. He was the only survivor and was left with serious burns down the left hand side of his body. He also gets a lot of death threats, more than Sherlock apparently.

The second is The Mayfly Man which is one that Sherlock and John encounter while they were on John’s stag night. It’s interesting that Sherlock wanted the exact amount of alcohol that would get them buzzed rigorously calculated and yet they both ended up completely trashed after two hours. Possible plot hole, Sherlock is or was a hardcore drug user so wouldn’y his resistance to substances including alcohol be a lot higher? Maybe, maybe not. Anyway their client insists that she had dated a ghost and so had several other women. However, the other women have different jobs and don’t seem to be connected in any way, other than the wedding. Due to the fact that the client used John’s middle name that very few people know, it is printed on the invitations. The other women have also worked for Sholto at some point so the Mayfly dated the women to get close to Sholto and the wedding would be the perfect opportunity to kill him. He has stayed under the radar by using dead men’s identities and living in unoccupied homes. Now the cases are linked and Sherlock solves the bloody guardsman by deducing that the private must have been stabbed through his belt and the wound didn’t open until he took his belt off to take a shower. The same thing has happened to Sholto and he gets medical attention from John.

The rest of the evening goes without a hitch and Sherlock performs the music for John and Mary’s first dance. He also reveals another little something for the happy couple. He has watched Mary and noticed that she has an increased appetite, a change in taste perception and she was sick that morning. All of this is the sign of three. So Mary and John are going to have a baby. As the newly weds dance the night away, Sherlock leaves alone.

It should also be noted that in this episode, Sherlock makes a vow. One and only vow. His vow is that he will always protect John and Mary. Keep this in mind for the next episode and Series 4.

His Last Vow

John and Mary have been living in wedded bliss in suburbia for an undisclosed amount of time but we do know that it has been at least a month since either of them have heard from Sherlock. A neighbour of John’s is worried that her son might be in a crack den so John goes to investigate. Upon spraining the arm of a junkie who threatens him and finding the neighbour’s son, John also finds Sherlock who is high as a kite. Sherlock insists he was working on a case but John is so pissed off that he calls in Mycroft as back up. Mycroft calls in Anderson and his ‘Sherlock Fan Club’ to raid Sherlock’s flat in search of any narcotics. When Mycroft notes that Sherlock’s bedroom door is closed and he has never closed a door in his life, Sherlock stops him from doing so. But Sherlock isn’t hiding drugs in his room… just a woman. The woman that he is hiding is not THE woman but Janine who was a bridesmaid at John and Mary’s wedding. Since the wedding, the two have been an item much to the surprise and delight of John.

Going out with Janine is just a ruse however as she works for a man called Charles Augustus Magnussen who owns a newspaper and gets by on blackmailing prominent figures of society. Sherlock’s drug habit was just another ruse in order to tempt Magnussen in his direction. This episode is full of ruses. Another one is when Sherlock and John arrive at Magnussen’s workplace and Sherlock proposes marriage to Janine in order to gain access to the Magnussen’s office. John is disgusted in Sherlock that he would play with someones feelings like that for his own gain. However when they arrive on the upper floor, they find Janine unconscious. John stays with Janine and Sherlock goes to investigate.

Inside Magnussen’s office, Sherlock finds him on his knees with a figure in black pointing a gun at him. When the figure turns around… it’s MARY! Sherlock realises he’s been played again. Not having much luck with women are you, Sherlock? You should have stuck with Janine. When Sherlock tries to reason with her, she shoots him in the chest.

The next sequence is very interesting as Sherlock must travel through his mind palace in order to stop himself from dying. He goes through many childhood memories and even Moriarty shows up but he only tried to convince Sherlock to die. John finds Sherlock and calls an ambulance. When they get him to the hospital and on the operating table, his heart stops. Sherlock knows that he can’t die and so begins the arduous task of climbing up the stairs and back out of his mind palace. With each slam on the banister, another blip appears on the heart monitor, essentially he is restarting his own heart. When he reaches the top, Sherlock wakes up on the table and says ‘Mary’. As Sherlock is resting on his
hospital bed, Mary visits him and tells him not to say a word to John about who really shot him.

Lestrade comes to visit Sherlock but only to take some pictures of his injured friend which I thought was a little insensitive. It’s pointless anyway because when they get into his room, Sherlock is gone. John, Mary, Mycroft and Lestrade all search around Sherlock’s bolt-holes to find him but to no avail. Sherlock has something else on his mind. As Mary searches the streets, the junkie that John beat up gives Mary a Bluetooth earpiece and she receives a call from Sherlock. He projects a huge image of her face onto the side of a building, telling her to go inside. This was another ruse to get her to confess in front of John. The scene then cuts to Christmas.

Sherlock and Mycroft have returned home for Christmas with their parents (played by Timothy Carleton and Wanda Ventham who are Benedict Cumberbatch’s parents). John and Mary have also been invited along with Sherlock’s junkie friend. John arrives to see Mary and he has something with him. A memory stick with A.G.R.A.

The scene then cuts back to Baker street. John, Mary and a really poorly Sherlock arrive and they start to hash this whole thing out. John expresses his frustration that the woman he loves has lied to him over and over again but Sherlock begs to differ. He thinks that John is attracted to dangerous situations and dangerous people so it really isn’t surprising that John’s wife is that kind of person. All she is now, is a client. Sherlock agrees to help her partly because she is John’s wife but also because he needs to get to Magnussen. Mary produces the memory stick and says that A.G.R.A. is her real name. She gives the stick to John but tells him not to read it in front of her because he won’t love her when he’s finished. Sherlock goes on to say that Mary saved his life because she could have killed him but sentiment got the better of her so she simply put him out of action and she called an ambulance straight away. Just then, two paramedics show up in Baker Street. Turns out, Sherlock called them. He knows that he is bleeding internally and needs to go back to the hospital. Just before he collapses, Sherlock tells John that he can trust Mary and all that matters is Magnussen.

Back to Christmas. John says that he didn’t read what was on the memory stick because whatever happened before they met is none of his business, he just wants to spend the rest of his life with her. They make up with a hug only for Mary to pass out in his arms. John sits her down in a chair and Sherlock bursts in telling him not to drink her tea. Sherlock has drugged everyone at the Christmas dinner in order to get Mycroft’s laptop which contain super secret British secrets. Sherlock steals it and takes John with him on a chopper that’s waiting for them outside.

They arrive at Magnussen’s home and they attempt to bargain with Magnussen. If he gives up all the files that he has on Mary, then he will hand over the super secret British secrets. But Magnussen has been paying attention to all of the ruses going on in this episode and says that there are no files. All of the blackmail files are kept in Magnussen’s very own massive mind palace. This means that there is no proof that Magnussen is a blackmailer and when the coppers show up as they are following because of the tracking device in Mycroft’s laptop, Sherlock and John will be arrested for attempting to sell super secret British secrets. The coppers show up outside and when the trio get outside, in full view of everyone, Sherlock shoots Magnussen in the head. He tells John that Mary is safe now and to send her his love.

Mycroft convinces the government that there is no prison in the world that can contain Sherlock Holmes as there would be a riot every other day. Instead, he proposes that they send him away on a mission to Eastern Europe that will prove fatal for Sherlock in around six months.

On the tarmac as Sherlock is about to leave, John and Mary say their goodbyes. John is grateful for everything that Sherlock has done and they part with a shake of the hand. As Sherlock’s plane takes off, on every screen across England is a still image of Moriarty’s face with the tagline ‘Miss Me?’ Sherlock’s plane does a U-Turn on Mycroft’s orders and he’s coming back. John also says a great line about how Moriarty should wrap up warm because there an ‘East Wind’ coming.

The big question that was on my mind was… Is Moriarty Alive? The image that was shown on the TVs was a still image and the mouth was jiggling about a bit. The was a small cameo from Andrew Scott in a post credits sequence as Moriarty asking ‘Miss Me?’. However, at the end of ‘The Abominable Bride’, Sherlock says that there is no doubt in his mind that Moriarty is dead. If the writer of Sherlock can come up with a good enough explanation for how Moriarty survived a bullet to the brain then I would love to see it. We still don’t now what happened to Moriarty’s body after he shot himself but I swear, if it turns out that it was Moriarty’s twin brother then I am going to freak out.

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