In Which Sherlock is No Longer Undercover

First, an apology for how long it has been.  Trying to find time to fit everything in is not easy, actually reading the books that sit on my shelves (in case anyone is interested, I have finished the first book in both the Outlander series and the Game of Thrones series), writing stories and essays, and work picking up and hunting down gifts.  At the moment, I cannot guarentee when the next post will be, but fear not, I have not wholly abandoning this.  Life, just gets in the way occassionally.  Anyways, onward!

Sherlock – Season Three

The Empty Hearse opens with a review of the end of Season Two and a possible explanation for how Sherlock survived (which fans were debating for months between the seasons). Perhaps there was a team of people who made the now dead Moriarty look like Sherlock and that’s the body that John saw. Sherlock is on a bungee cord and comes back up to smash through a window – action movie style, and kiss Molly Hooper. Anderson is relating this theory to Lestrade; two years have passed and Moriarty was found out; Sherlock is posthumously vindicated. (There was a short prequel video made that you can find on YouTube entitled “Many Happy Returns,” Anderson shares a few other theories with Lestrade and Lestrade gives John a belated birthday message from Sherlock that fits the mood perfectly).

Next, we see a figure running through foreign woods. He’s caught, beaten, and questioned. Turns out, it’s Mycroft retrieving Sherlock; there is a massive terrorist threat imminent in London. Sherlock has spent the past two years dismantling Moriarty’s network. But he feels he can just pick right back up with John. Mycroft reveals that John no longer lives at 221B Baker Street. Nevertheless, Sherlock plans a reunion. Unfortunately…he interrupts John proposing to his new girlfriend (Season Three is a family affair in casting, Mary Morstan is played by Amanda Abbington, who at that time was Martin Freeman’s real-life partner). On several levels John is not pleased. He attacks Sherlock, twice. Sherlock claims he needs John’s help. John punches him again. Finally, Mary tells Sherlock she’ll talk John around; she likes Sherlock.

Sherlock goes through a few more reunions, to Molly, then Lestrade, who hugs him. He scares Mrs. Hudson. We catch part of another theory on Sherlock’s survival, that Morairty and Sherlock were in on it together and a couple. Apparently, Anderson has gathered a group together who all believe that Sherlock is not dead; he calls the group the Empty Hearse. Meanwhile, Sherlock and Mycroft banter (over a game of Operation) and Sherlock tries to work with Molly on a case about a disappearing man on the Tube. John stops by Baker Street, but never makes it in the door; he’s abducted. Mary goes to Sherlock with a mysterious text and follows him to save John. John has been knocked out and put in a bonfire about to be lit for Guy Fawkes Day (it’s a British holiday that I don’t wholly understand though I believe it is the subject matter of the movie V for Vendetta, which I have not watched. On November 5th, 1605, Guy Fawkes was a member of a group of Catholics who intended to blow up Parliament and were foiled: Remember, remember the fifth of November of gunpowder treason and plot). Sherlock rushes in after John.

John visits Sherlock again, just missing his parents (again, they went the family route this season, those are Benedict Cumberbatch’s actual parents). He agrees to help Sherlock. Eventually, the detective puts together the missing train car with the fifth of November and realizes there is a train car parked in an abandoned station below Parliament with a bomb. He and John race to the scene. Sherlock doesn’t know how to disarm the bomb. John, figuring they are going to die, confesses that of course he forgives Sherlock. We see a video of Sherlock admitting how he faked his death, with an airbag and fake blood. Seems he filmed the video in front of Anderson. But Anderson works out that he would be the last person Sherlock would tell the truth too (I feel the jury is still out on whether this is actually how Sherlock faked his death, though it is well thought-out). Then Sherlock starts laughing on the train car. There was an off switch. Oh, by no means is the bomb rendered inert, but it won’t blow up for now. And of course he called the police, he’s not completely stupid.

As Sherlock wraps up at Baker Street, he admits he doesn’t know who was behind everything; they’ve caught their man for the moment. But he puts on his hat again and steps out to the media swarm. We see someone watch a video of Sherlock rescuing John from the fire.

The Sign of Three is John and Mary’s wedding day. It’s full of flashbacks, like when Sherlock texts Lestrade for help writing his best man speech, interrupting a big gang bust that Lestrade has been working for a while (though, adorable how Lestrade rushes to Sherlock’s aid). As Sherlock dresses in his tux, his battle armor, a solider puts on his dress uniform.. During the receiving line we witness Sherlock question one of Mary’s ex-boyfriends. He’s protecting John and the guy accuses Sherlock of being a psychopath. Sherlock corrects him: a high-functioning sociopath, with your number (love that line!). Sherlock also has a talk with the ring bearer, he doesn’t know why the boy has to wear the suit, he should ask an adult. But if he does, Sherlock will show him murder pictures. Mycroft pops up with Sherlock, warning his brother to not get involved and this is the end of an era. Oh, and something about “Redbeard.” And Sherlock even helps Mary and John plan the wedding, including looking up napkin folds on the Internet.

sign of three wedding

Interwoven are two cases that Sherlock and John are working on; the “Mayfly Man,” and the “Bloody Guardsman.” They pop up in Sherlock’s best man speech, after he unfreezes. Sherlock was shocked when John asked him to be best man; he never expected to be anyone’s best friend, let alone the bravest, kindest, and wisest human being he has ever had the good fortune to meet. Sherlock is a rude person and he is only redeemed by John. On either side of John that day are the two people who love him most in the world and will do everything in their power to never let him down. That comment puts everyone in tears and John hugs Sherlock. Sherlock carries on with the cases. In the “Bloody Guardsman,” a Buckingham guard (Dean from Harry Potter) writes to them that he has a stalker. They arrive to investigate and stumble on to him being stabbed, but the shower door is locked from the inside and there is no visible weapon. John saves the young man’s life, but the case is unsolved. Sherlock comments that John has saved Sherlock’s life several times.

The “Mayfly Man” comes in to play on John’s Stag Night, when Sherlock takes John out drinking. They don’t last long and a woman comes to them with a case. They can’t solve it that night, due to being drunk, but Sherlock ultimately puts together that many of these women are connected, by a mysterious employer. Who can you only kill at a wedding? A recluse. John’s old commander who was disgraced several years ago and receives death threats. He keeps out of society, but came for John’s wedding. The Mayfly man was going up the pecking order and saw the invitation (their client knew John’s middle name [Irene Adler pops up in Sherlock’s head, naked] and the wedding date). And who is the one person always at a wedding, but never pictured? The camera guy. And he did it through the tight belt military uniforms require: the guard was a rehearsal, delayed stabbing once they take off the belt. Sherlock insists the commander not let himself die on John’s wedding day.

Tis a sweet ending, Sherlock composing John and Mary’s first waltz, then accidentally revealing to them that Mary is pregnant. “Whatever it takes, whatever happens, I swear I will always be there.” They’ll be excellent parents, they’ve already had practice with Sherlock. The couple dances happily and Sherlock goes to spend time with Janine the bridesmaid that he’s befriended, but she’s found someone else. Molly notices Sherlock leaving the party early.

The true villain of the third season, Magnuson appears in His Last Vow. We meet him in an inquiry, then he blackmails one of the government officials. His home has an underground vault full of damning information on everyone. She goes to Baker Street afterwards. Jump to John and Mary venturing in to a drug den to retrieve a neighbor’s son. And finding Sherlock. Apparently it’s for a case. His friends don’t entirely believe him, Molly even slaps him. Mycroft is worried his younger brother is back sliding, then warns him to stay away from Magnuson; he’s a businessman.

Janine, the bridesmaid from the wedding, in the midst of all this, has hooked up with Sherlock. John’s surprised and doesn’t really listen to Sherlock explaining the Magnuson case, but he agrees to help. That evening, they meet at Magnuson’s newspaper office. Janine is his PA. And Sherlock proposes to her to gain access. But she’s been knocked out by the time they get upstairs and Sherlock reasons there is someone else in the office. He investigates and finds a woman all in black pointing a gun at Magnuson. First he reasons it is Lady Smallwood, who approached Sherlock for help, she wears Claire-de-la-lune perfume. When the woman turns around, it’s Mary. He’s startled. She shoots him.

He handles the shot with his Mind Palace, Anderson and Molly helping with ballistics and Mycroft berating a young Sherlock (played by Steven Moffat’s son). Honestly, this is one of my favorite scenes. We see John come to Sherlock’s aid, but the detective flatlines in surgery. In his head, Sherlock is in a padded room with Moriarty now. When Moriarty comments that John will be left with Mary, Sherlock fights back. A recovering Sherlock is fine with Janine selling their story to the papers. She feels a little bad that he didn’t say anything; they could have been friends, she knew what kind of man he was. When Lestrade comes to visit, he and John find that Sherlock has left. They all start searching, but it’s Mary who tracks him down. She thinks she’s talking to Sherlock until he comes up behind her. John was seated at the end of the shadowed hall. Sherlock takes them back to Baker Street to sort it out. John is confused and angry, but Sherlock explains that he is the kind of man that is attracted to danger; look at who the most important people in his life are; is it any wonder that he married a former assassin? Mary is now their client and they need to get whatever information Magnuson has on her. (Sherlock also has a relapse from the gunshot wound).

They spend Christmas at his parents’ house and John and Mary finally finish their conversation. Mary’s name is not Mary; she gave John a flashdrive with all her information, but if he reads it, he won’t love her anymore. At Christmas, he throws it in the fire. Is she fine with the name Mary Watson? That’s all that matters to him. Then she falls asleep, as does everyone else in the house so Sherlock and John can meet Magnuson. Sherlock plans to trap him with Mycroft’s government laptop. But there is no vault of information at the house. Magnuson too has a Mind Palace where he stores all his information. Mycroft and agents come to arrest Sherlock and John, but Sherlock cannot let Magnuson be a threat to Mary and thus John. Perhaps taking a leaf out of the Watsons’ book, Sherlock shoots Magnuson.

Mycroft arranges for Sherlock to continue to be useful to the British government. Turns out he will be accepting that undercover MI6 work, that Mycroft figures will end in his death within six months. Mycroft originally passed for Sherlock; they are brothers after all. But the situation has changed and there is no prison that will hold Sherlock. Sherlock doesn’t let that on to John when they say goodbye at the airport. The plan takes off and the credits start, but are interrupted. Moriarty has taken over the televisions and asks “Did you miss me?” England needs Sherlock. Mycroft calls his brother back. The East Wind is coming.

I thought this was a great follow-up to the second season. I adore the trio of Mary, John, and Sherlock and how Mary likes Sherlock, approves of him and John. The wedding was lovely, Sherlock’s speech at times is hilarious. We witness Sherlock showing more emotion this season. He braves fire to rescue John, he heartily congratulates the couple at their wedding because Mary makes John happy. Magnuson, however much I hate him; he’s slimy and condescending, is correct that John is Sherlock’s weak spot. And Sherlock is Mycroft’s. The familial casting is a hilarious bit as well.  I love this season.  Magnuson is not my favorite villain, I thought Moriarty was more intriguing.

Next Time: The Abominable Bride