January 26, 2014

Episode Review: SHERLOCK, "The Sign of Three"

Longtime readers probably already know that I have one criticism of Sherlock and that’s the running time of each episode. While I understand and respect the fact that Moffat and Gatiss have to cram as much story into only three episodes a series, they can sometimes end up bloated and unfocused. Ultimately, “The Sign of Three” suffered from this ailment but it was zippy enough to keep things rolling and avoided too many dull periods. Plus, it was just fun to watch.

The majority of the episode took place at the wedding of John and Mary, and a lot of the focus was fixed on Sherlock since he was the best man. Of course he had some issues with his big toast, but he ultimately nailed the big moments while sharing anecdotes about some cases he and Watson worked on, which were coincidentally connected to an attempted murder that was going to take place at during the nuptials.

The first case, “The Bloody Guardsman” revolved around a member of the Queen’s Guard who was somehow stabbed with an invisible knife by an invisible person. As it turned out, the second case (“The Mayfly Man”) also dealt with a man who would woe women and then disappear without a trace. Since Sherlock’s such a clever show, everything culminated when our favorite detective deduced that Watson’s old commanding officer was going to be killed by another inconspicuous man (i.e. the photographer who felt the CO was to blame for his brother’s death and was responsible for the wounded soldier and the heartbroken women). Thankfully, everything ended on a high note: the would-be murderer was arrested and Sherlock was able to give his best friends the gift of music and the knowledge that Mary was pregnant.

Now, I’ll be honest and admit that I really did not care too much about the three cases that were all interconnected despite the fact that they would usually be right up my alley. Sure, they were somewhat interesting, and the twists were fun in spite of the fact that they were pretty obvious from the get go, but the highlights all had to do with Sherlock coming to grips with being John’s best man and best friend. Not only did we get some hilarious scenes that led up to the wedding, but Holmes really stuck the landing with his speech about how much John and Mary meant to him. Great stuff from not only Benedict Cumberbatch but the entire cast.

But “The Sign of Three” was not immune from being overly long and meandering. Yes, it was neat to have all three cases be related to one another, but the set up took too much time and the episode would’ve benefited from being trimmed down by thirty minutes or so. That said, it wasn’t as much of a slog as previous installments so there’s at least that.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • I was actually more intrigued by the case that Lestrade and Donovan were working on at the start of the episode. Maybe we'll revisit it someday.
  • I really like Janine.
  • The Sherlock/Mary relationship might be able to rival the one he has with Watson.
  • Sherlock's puzzlement over the wedding party's tear was his most endearing moment yet.
  • It's Dean Thomas!
  • Sit down, Tom.
  • The stag night should've been an entire episode.
  • The Woman is back!
  • I'm a sucker for a bittersweet ending, so Sherlock leaving the party by himself was perfect.
  • "Oh Sherlock, neither of us were the first you know."

Would “The Sign of Three” been better if it had adhered to a more traditional run-time? Definitely, but it was still an entertaining hour-and-a-half of television that had the right amount of laughs, character moments, and heart. I guess I really cannot complain when it’s all said and done.


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