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Sherlock, Season Three (2013)

Waiting for what seemed like an endless, never-ending amount of time – three years to be exact, fans patiently (or maybe not-so-patiently) anticipated the return of our favorite, bossy, opinionated (in a he’s-right-everyone-else-is-wrong kind of way) high-functioning sociopath (do your research!) British detective to answer the much theorized question: How was the trick done?

Two years have gone by since the death of the famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and the police – including Detective Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) are baffled with their cases now they no longer have Sherlock to call on. Conspiracy theorists frantically try to one up one another as to how Sherlock managed to pull off his death-defying act. Then there are those who have an emotional interest vested in the death of Sherlock – like his best friend John Watson (Martin Freeman) who has struggled to heal and accept that his friend is really gone. Finally he is about to move on and is getting up the nerve to propose to his girlfriend, Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington) when he gets the greatest shock of his life – the Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) appears as their waiter.

Following the death of his enemy Moriarty, Sherlock used his own apparent death to his advantage and with the underground contacts of his brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss), he managed to expose Moriarty’s network. Now, his brother has returned him to London where Sherlock again expects things to return to normal including rooming in Mrs. Hudson’s 221 B Baker home and solving crimes with his pal, John Watson. What Sherlock doesn’t realize is that in his absence - no one can function without him… right? - everyone he knew has moved on with their life… and Sherlock struggles to again fit into a world he once treated like his personal playground.

In the week leading up to this premiering in the states – and even the night of, my Twitter timeline lit up with a flurry of Sherlock lives hashtags which created more buzz for my copy to finally arrive in the mailbox. When that day finally came, it took me far too long to actually watch it – shame on me! – because of the Olympics and another TV show. The lingering question that begged an answer was an explanation of how Sherlock was still alive and in many respects writer’s answered that with satisfaction. Forgive me not remembering where or from who I heard this as I’ve had conversations with friends and read oodles of articles in regards to Sherlock, but I think it’s true (or a reasonable presumption) that because of what quintessential Sherlock is and its intellectual scripts, creators weren’t even sure how they would logically explain the “how” behind Sherlock’s death-defying act. Pardon the gushing but… the opening is really textbook Sherlock and because of that, it’s impeccable. It offers an explanation of how he pulled it off – and really it’s the most logical of the three scenarios, the other two being more for comedy than anything, plus the filming, music and invaluable assistance of Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) – hello, unexpected kiss! – allows this opening sequence to quite possibly be the coolest premiere yet.

 How each character is reacquainted with Sherlock was magnificent, representing their respective relationships though one thing that disappointed fans in the premiere was that it wasn’t as “together” as prior installments and while I understand that opinion, to me, ‘The Empty Hearse’ was classic Sherlock Holmes (a statement I’m making referring to the BBC series). I adored all of the mini mysteries, the bigger picture crime and the lead-in to the finale (an ending by the way, that’s brilliant). Everything had its place and fit well. Furthermore one of the effects most wonderful of these installments (aside from Sherlock being alive) is how “different” series three is. It’s the kind of different fans can get behind too with all the same elements but most important is the change in Sherlock himself as well as the ingenious humor that “lightens” all the darkness of the series; this theory was further proven when I went back and watched ‘A Study in Pink.’ I’m not entirely sure how I “survive” this show because honestly I laugh so hard while watching it. It’s the sort of humor that viewers can take delight in because it’s more than just “cheap gimmicks” and I actually like Sherlock so while his barbs may hurt sometimes (poor Molly has taken too much of this), I still adore him.

Without taking a whole paragraph to discuss the actors and their respective characters, I will just say that again everyone is in top form. From the leads to the supporting and newbies, it’s grand fun. Mary is delightful, Molly is a peach (cue the laughs meeting her boyfriend!) and Sherlock is definitely a better person for having been gone two years. Also playing a significant role is Sherlock and Mycroft’s relationship. All of their scenes together are brilliant – and oh! Before I forget, we meet Mr. and Mrs. Holmes this season. How epic is this? We may have waited two years for a mere three episodes and are being asked to wait until 2016 for a season four, but let me tell you, don’t assume these are insignificant – they were worth the wait and then some. If this is the result of a long wait, I'm happy to await this kind of greatness. Everything from beginning to end is sensational. Writers make the transition of Sherlock believable yet retain his typical attitude – from his reappearance to John, to a pseudo proposal, frantic “emergency” call to Lestrade and botched best man speech, he’s still the Sherlock we’ve come to love yet in many ways, he’s no longer detached from the world.

 How about all of you! If you’re not tired of gushing about Sherlock (note to self: why are you so late to this party!?), leave your thoughts or impressions of season three.
I’d love to read them.
(Parental review: there is one near same-sex kiss and perhaps a minor innuendo or two [Mrs. Hudson still assumes Watson and Sherlock were in a homosexual relationship]. There's a nude shot of man's backside. A woman has been living with Sherlock and is seen walking around in nothing but a shirt, and later we hear she and Sherlock giggling behind a closed door. There is briefly an instance of torture. Men are poisoned, another is shot and nearly dies [during this time, he hallucinates, remembering significant events of his past], another is almost burned to death. There is a blackmail scheme and Sherlock supposedly gets high again though we learn its to help his recent case.)
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  1. I absolutely loved this third season! I agree that Sherlock has definitely changed. He's more likable. Still, he's the same...if that makes sense. :) I can go from wanting to strangle him (the end of The Empty Hearse) to wanting to hug him (the wedding). No matter how many times I watch the episodes of this show, I'm amazed at how good it is. And while I cringe at the thought of having to wait until 2016 for new episodes, like you really is worth it. I'm glad the creators are so invested in making this show as incredibly good as it is.

    1. So did I, Kristin. I'm convinced it's the best yet - and though the wait IS hard, if this is the results that wait produces, I'm happy to wait it out. Really, I am. :D

      That makes perfect sense. He's changed, become more in tune with the people around him yet he IS still that same Sherlock we've come to know and love. (That ending line with his brother was great - "what do you want? I've only been gone four minutes!" So Sherlock.) I was AMAZED too. Season three was just... just... brilliant, which actually undercuts it. ;)

  2. I LOVED the third season! The third episode was especially good. I thought the explanation for the second episode mystery was a little thin, but the whole wedding thing made up for it. It was over far too quickly and 2016 is far to far away.

    1. Hi, Kate! Great to have you stop by. :)

      I 100% agree with you, season three was this shows best yet. Episode two probably went for a thinner mystery because the wedding was the focal point, which was awesome! :) It would be great if there were more than three episodes yet if the result is the same as season three... I can take it.

  3. It's such a great season, so humorous and conscious! Love how the chemistry between Sherlock and John increases all the time and how well Mary fits in there!

    1. Indeed it is, Mette! Something to remember and rewatch many times. :) The chemistry between everyone is fabulous. It makes a show much more entertaining!

  4. ... who cares about the Olympics when there is "Sherlock" to be watched?!

    Loved this season. I had various problems with it here and there (did he really just defuse a bomb with an off-switch?) but overall it was comedic gold. Moffat claims "THE" explanation is the one he told Anderson. I suspect, considering Sherlock didn't tell John how it was done, that none of them are the truth.

    1. Right!? What was I thinking!? ;)

      Me too, Charity. I adored everything about this season (even the defusing a bomb with an "off" button ;D) from the characters to the humor and how Sherlock met with everyone again. Remind me again... which explanation did he tell Anderson? Clearly I need a rewatch already. ;)

      Glad you stopped by! :)

    2. Anderson's explanation was the one where Sherlock hitting the pavement is blocked by the building; he hits an inflatable thing instead and they run one direction with it while John approaches around the building on the other side and Sherlock plays dead on the street. Too many ways it could have gone wrong for it to be a legitimate explanation.

    3. Ah, yes! I remember now. Really?! That's THE one they're saying is real...? Aside from the conspiracy theorists, I thought that one seemed "too" elaborate - plus just how Sherlock told it made me think he was faking the story. Oh, well. It's fun to guess. ;)

  5. This was definitely my FAVORITE series yet. The addition of Mary and the gradual "humanizing" of Sherlock is amazing. This Sherlolly shipper was THRILLED with the hospital kiss (my sister and I literally screamed) and The Sign of Three, while not the strongest episode, was definitely my favorite...I always loved the character, but I fell in love with him in that episode. ;) Absolutely stellar acting by everyone. And the bit at the end...I was SO thrilled, even if I totally saw it coming. ;)

    1. *the character of Sherlock, I should say. ;)

    2. Ditto! I am SO with everyone on this thread - best series yet. If we must wait this long, it's worth it when they produce this kind of programming. Brilliance.

      Mary was a perfect addition as was the change in Sherlock (love how you put it) and another Sherolly fan!? Day. Made.

      That ending was genius. I figured it wouldn't end like that (or it'd just end with us in agony over Sherlock's fate), and that line with his brother calling was fabulous. You know, it sounds silly but honestly, I do not know how I get through these - I laugh myself silly through all three episodes - they are what REAL comedy looks like.

      Really happy to "see" you over here, Alexandra. Hope things are well with you. :)

  6. Oh my goodness, Sherlock!!! One of my favorite topics...

    I thought the third series was absolutely brilliant. I really did. I feel like the second episode outdid itself humor-wise and the third episode was above-and-beyond genius. Loved it. Love the changes we've seen in Sherlock--they feel natural and fitting for this particular version of Sherlock. I've heard some people say they think he gets almost "too human" in the second and third episodes. I disagree. What I love most about a good story is watching a character undergo change...and if this version of Sherlock shows us anything, it's the kind of good changes an amazing friendship can produce in a person. As much as this show is about solving mysteries, sweet plots and AWESOME humor, it's at its core about friendship...about Sherlock and John.

    And really...I could gush forever... :)

    1. Ditto. One of my VERY favorite topics, too, Melissa. Love it. ;)

      Oh, I don't think Sherlock veered "too far" into being "human" either - I'm with you. I thought there was a wonderful balance, yet he was still the "same" character we'd come to love. In fact, I found it amusing that in episode 1 (I think), he was fighting (in her mind) against coming across as his usual I-know-everything, what-must-it-be-like-in-you-tiny-minds mindset. It was a small detail that showed how far he'd come - "old Sherlock" wouldn't have hesitated to put on a show. ;) The humor in episode two was golden - I LOVED every second of that episode (my mom and I could not stop laughing) and of course, I fell a little more in love with Mary and John as a couple. Friendship is definitely one of my favorite things about this series. The writer's have set up one to last "forever" and despite this wait, if this is the result of a two-year gap, I'm willing to practice patience. ;)

      Me, too! I think when I started out, I didn't realize this review got SO long. Then I couldn't cut the length. Glad you gushed. :)

  7. First of all, it makes me happy that you posted this on my birthday.

    Secondly, the scene that that first picture is from just about killed me. And I may or may not have re-watched it about twenty times.

    I can go on, but...yeah...I'll save you from a long, gushy comment about how amazing and brilliant and incredible I think this show is.

    1. Aw, how fun! Happy (belated) birthday, Raquel. Hope you spent it doing something you enjoy - and with friends and family. :)

      LOVE the photo scene - it was EPIC and though it's not supposed to be THE explanation of how Sherlock pulled off his death-defying act, it's my favorite. Gushy comments are totally welcome though I know what you mean - we have to limit ourselves somewhere, right!? ;)

  8. Ohmygosh, Sherlock. *le sigh* I swear Benedict Cumberbatch is my spirit animal. know, such things existed. Love the writing in this series, love the acting, love all of it. Great review, Rissi!!

    1. Hi, Mary! I agree - *le sigh* Is there more to be said. ;) Love this series. It's got great everything - humor, writing, characters and acting. Not sure anything the BBC does in this genre that follows this this will match it. :)

      Thanks for reading!


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