With a few days away from the airing of the last episode in the US, I think it’s safe for me to do a review of Series 3. We finally, finally, finally get to see how Sherlock survived the fall at the end of Series 2. We pick up two years after Sherlock’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) “death” to find John (Martin Freeman) has somewhat moved on. He is now dating Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington) and has plans to marry her. That is, until Sherlock turns his world upside down.
This season, rather than sticking closely to the Sherlock canons, the producers really created episodes that catered to the Sherlock fans. They start off with high-octane “The Empty Hearse” with the question everybody is waiting to be answered.
Then we don’t have to wait for too long before we see Sherlock reunite with all of our favorite characters. But we’re also introduced to new characters that don’t disappoint.
David Arnold & Michael Price – The Game Is On (from Sherlock Original Television Soundtrack, Music From Season One)
This series certainly decided to keep it all in the family with the appearance of Benedict Cumberbatch’s real parents playing Sherlock’s parents. One of the major new characters this season was John Watson’s girlfriend who becomes his wife, Mary Morstan, played by Amanda Abbington who is Martin Freeman’s common law wife.
I have to admit never being a huge fan of Mary Morstan in the stories. She was easily a forgettable character and I wasn’t looking forward to her addition in the show as well fearing that she’d be boring. However, she is a great addition to the show because she acts as an intermediary between John and Sherlock as they iron out their rough patch. She also brings out an entirely different, shall we say personable, side of Sherlock.
I especially love her in the 2nd episode which is about the events surrounding John and Mary’s wedding is called “The Sign of Three”. Sherlock helps Mary with the wedding planning and Mary tries to keep the bromance alive between Sherlock and John. There’s a lot of love going around in the episode. What you see is that the duo has grown to become a trio.
Then at the wedding, Sherlock lets slip that Mary might actually be expecting. As he tells Mary, they have to stop taking of Sherlock but they have a real baby on the way. A different trio forms and Sherlock once again finds himself alone. Sherlock doesn’t mean to push human connections away but it’s the warmhearted people like John and Mary who show him that Sherlock doesn’t have to be alone.
This season was more about the friends and family surrounding Sherlock rather than about the cases. I was initially excited to see that the big, bad villain this season, Charles Augustus Magnussen, was played by Lars Mikkelsen for the simple fact that he’s related to Mads Mikkelsen who plays Hannibal.
His character doesn’t leave much of an impression when I’m thinking about Series 3 as a whole. He is essential in humanizing Sherlock but other than being a catalyst that propels us into Series 4 he doesn’t make a huge impression on me as a Sherlock villain. Perhaps that feeling extends from the way we feel about Moriarty (Andrew Scott) because he is such a great bad guy. I just get a sneaking suspicion that Magnussen was a plotpoint that was placed in the story to help bring back Moriarty.
While “The Empty Hearse” does address the question of how did Sherlock do it, I have my doubts that we really got the answer. My personal favorite is the suggested theory by the goth Sherlock fangirl. However, I don’t need to have the answer because the show fully satisfies the viewer and it’s up to the viewer to make their own conclusions.
In the first episode, the show constantly acknowledges the viewer and that’s enough to make it highly entertaining. This season feels very different from the two preceding it. I found myself laughing a lot because of all the inside jokes but it was the emotional character development that moved me. That’s really important because it will set the stage for next season and how our duo handles whatever challenges they may face.