Until now Sherlock has existed as a tremendously unique update of the classic Conan Doyle stories. Part of the fun has been watching their twists on well-known Sherlock motifs. It never existed as anything outside of the stories.
With The Sign of Three, Sherlock has come into its own. This episode was earned. The past two years have been build up to the moment when Moffat and his team said, “These are OUR characters. They were born in the image of Doyle, but have evolved into Sherlock.”
I absolutely adored this episode.
From the intro’s hilarious fake-out, to the final image, I drank up this episode. Not only was it hysterical, but genuinely suspenseful. The mystery was a little weak again, but the story was about Sherlock trying to balance his emotional side (as represented by John Watson) with his focused intellect (Mycroft). He wants to be a good man and friend, and be a detached solver of puzzles. (Sherlock Holmes will solve your murder. John Watson will save your life.)
Much of the episode was laugh out loud funny (even warranting a few rewinds) and a lot of it was truly touching. The drunken guessing game between John and Sherlock went on for so long, and was so funny, that I almost got the impression I was in the room with them, laughing along. Without a doubt that scene is destined to catch shit from purists who despise an inebriated and emotional Sherlock Holmes, completely missing the honesty of their friendship and appreciating their affection.
What this episode does is broaden the world of Sherlock, by showing other cases, strengthen the characters’ bonds, and bring in a new challenge beyond the typical bad guy. Sherlock has to cope with who he is versus who it is he wants to be. The possibility of a sex life (this struggle doesn’t last long). An unsolved murder (he doesn’t like not knowing). A missing person. And an impending murder. All of this conflict is represented through character interactions, visual constructs of Sherlock’s “mind palace”, and the best man speech to end all best man speeches.
I haven’t looked into it, but I imagine this is going to be a very divisive episode. Either you loved it (as I did) or really hated it (did you?).
Good to see the show now back on track and even better than ever.