So you guys, just as we finally got accustomed to having it back, BBC’s SHERLOCK ended its third season run on PBS’s Materpiece Mystery last night. You maybe didn’t even notice it happening on account of being buried under a giant nacho cheese pile at some Super Bowl party somewhere but lets face it: you probably should have given up in the middle of that awful RHCP performance and just watched this instead. (btw, kudos to PBS for just keeping all their mystery show trains running on time despite FOOTBALL, since HBO decided to put True Detective on a week’s break due to it).
In any case, season 3 is over. Long live season 3. I mentioned in my previous recaps that while I loved the past two episodes, I was having a teeny bit of a problem with all the feelings vs. dastardly crimes that seemed to have overtaken all the plotlines. Steven Moffat may say that this isn’t a detective show but a show ABOUT detectives, but I don’t care-I wanted some murder, mayhem and criminal mastermindery and I wanted it now.
Blessedly, episode 3 delivered. HEADS UP-IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT and CARE ABOUT SPOILERS – STOP READING NOW BECAUSE OMG – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.
First off, the episode started with a really terrific face-off between this Scandinavian mastermind Magnussen and some very nice, very powerful British lady which involved sweaty hands, something about some letters no one wanted found, Clair De La Lune fantasy perfume placement (sorry guys, it is not real) and a good, old fashioned face lick. Oh, and in a touch of absolutely magical casting – Magnussen is played by Lars Mikkelsen the older brother of Mads (aka Chiffre and Hannibal), a man with cheekbones that could cut Sherlock’s in half. All was good and sinister with the world.
The lady in question asks Sherlock to help and before you know it there is a junkie interlude and OMG WE FIND OUT THAT SHERLOCK HAS A GIRLFRIEND (it is Mary’s maid of honor from Episode 2) and Watson is gobsmacked and they are going to double date and while it was all very cute, I did start lightly rolling my eyes again.
BUT, turns out, I had no reason to worry.
At this point, I’d like to just give a quick round of applause to Moffat and team for just setting this whole season up so perfectly. The rom-com vibes, the feelings, the relationships these characters have been forging and that we’ve all been buying into-IT WAS ALL A RUSE. A ruse to make us feel a little too comfortable with our Sherlock surroundings, a ruse to make us THINK this show have maybe lost its edge. Well, silly us.
It transpires that no one’s motivations are what we thought they were (one of my favorite exchanges from last night was Watson: “Did you just get engaged so you could break into this office?” Sherlock: “Yes”)
and everyone is way more conniving and psychopathic that they’ve been letting on and guess what-maybe this Magnussen guy is actually probably the least dangerous character on screen and SURPRISE! the very pregnant Mary Watson may be THE MOST DANGEROUS person on the screen. AND, naturally, they decided that all of this is happening during Christmas. Because, when it is a ball, it may as well be a Christmas one.
In the middle of it all poor Watson is naturally, losing his mind, not knowing anymore who to believe or trust or be afraid of. But, being who they are, the writers and creators of Sherlock won’t even let HIM go easy (even if Martin Freeman’s eyes are quickly becoming the saddest, twinkliest thing to show up on any television set ever). When he looks at his best friend and his wife that he now knows he doesn’t really know at all and says “What have I done to deserve this?”, Sherlock doesn’t miss a beat when he responds “Everything”. And the match between Mary and Watson becomes that much more clear in this new light: he can’t help missing danger and excitement, and she, try as she might, will always be full of both. So when he looks at her a few scenes later and says “Your past is your problem and your future is my privilege” you know that is anyone in this world could love a cold blooded professional liar and killer, it is Watson. After all, his best friend (and up until now the true love of his life) is simply a high functioning sociopath, no and, ifs, or butts about it.
The rest of the episode is a fun, classic-Sherlock ride of treachery, mind-games, Mycroft being Mycroft and some additional tidbits about Sherlock’s parents (it IS Christmas after all) and it ends as well as any fan could hope: Sherlock is on a plane, about to be sent off in exile after killing Magnussen (rather unceremoniously, if I say so myself, but perfectly in line with the whole “everyone here is a psycho” theme of the week) and then, in a perfect bit of criminal mastermind timing – all the TVs in all of England utter an awful, little, whiny voice we’d recognize ANYWHERE utters “Did you miss me?”. And, Moriarty is back, planes are turned around and the game is ON. And it WILL BE DELICIOUS.
I’ll give the Sherlock producers and writers one thing – they DO know how to close out a season. Just don’t make us wait 2 years to see what the game will be all about, ok team? Please? Pretty please with sugar on top? (If I didn’t love you so much I’d think you were taunting us for your own amusement)
and now, tell me: HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?