BBC’s SHERLOCK is now two episodes into season three of its PBS’s Materpiece Mystery run, and while I am still enjoying every second of it, it is also becoming painfully obvious that this is a season not of legitimate brain teasers and villains, but of humanizing Sherlock, even if it is playing a dart game of guessing just exactly where he lands on the Asperger spectrum. Which is fine, and all, but also saddens me a little because it is not what this show used to be about when I fell deeply in love with it back in the first-and-second-season-day. But things change, and mystery TV shows are things, and therefore mystery TV shows change too, I guess. Feel free to discuss your emotions on this topic in the comments but in the meantime, lets see what The Sign of Three brought us.
Obviously, it is The Wedding episode. John Hamish Watson and Mary Marsden are about to tie the knot and all of a sudden, the Sherlock world is in color. Literally. Gone are the greys and moody blues of Baker street and we are put into a bright yellow reception hall, the kind of place where your eyes seem bluer, your hair shinier and everything is just a little less sinister than usual. Sherlock, having ruined one of Lestarde’s cases with his growing best man speech anxiety and establishing a sort-of partnership with the maid of honor (in lilac, not violet), is doing his best to not be a social disaster.
And the thing here is: HE REALLY IS TRYING. He seems to have forged a truly caring set of semi-feelings for Mary, to go along with truly caring set of FULL-ON feelings for Watson, and his speech, after an obligatory OFF start, lands perfectly eloquently yet mumblingly into the hearts and souls of everyone present, including poor Dr. Molly Hooper with a giant yellow bow in her hair and that boyfriend who just won’t go away. Still.
And that speech is what sets in motion the storyline, if we are to call it that. Told through a series of anecdotal flashbacks, it takes our hero(es) on a sort of a best-of case sequence, ranging from macabre to charmingly eccentric and always blogworthy (ah, THAT elephant in the room!) and mentions two cases: one with a bleeding guard and one with a ghost boyfriend, both of whom seem to have captured Holmes’ attention a little more than any of the other ones. I wonder if they would turn out to SOMEHOW BE RELATED? And, I wonder, if in the great manner of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, these well dressed humans, held at captive attention in a gorgeous countryside B&B are somehow going to find themselves at the heart of a (potential) murder mystery? The case involves Watson’s former superior, some fun online research and knowing “who the one man who can go anywhere during a wedding but is NOT in any of the photos” is.
This is Sherlock going quaint on us and while it is adorable (there really is no other word for it), it does feel a little contrived. I mean, by the time it is all over, the man has done an honest-to-God pirouette and is looking like someone who actually could develop feelings for another human being (Watson not withstanding).
The whole episode is, in general, about humans walking around telling Watson and Sherlock that EVERYTHING is about to change because marriage changes everything and the two of them laughing it off, but the thing is-everything HAS ALREADY changed. Mary, who I have to admit is a clever, taciturn addition to their dynamic, is now definitely part of the equation and with setting up not one, not two but THREE potential romantic interests for Sherlock in one single episode the time has come for some crime solving….with feelings.
And charming and British and well suited as it all is and was, now that we got all that out of our system, can we please, please, please make it Sherlock’s special, truly macabre day next week? There is only one episode left in the season, and with what essentially amounted to two PERFECTLY LOVELY Christmas Special episodes, I, for one, am ready for some legitimate criminal masterminding (vs. Sherlock-the-adventures-in-babysitting hi-jinx) to take place.