Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sherlock Series 3 - The Empty Hearse

(Spoiler warning!)

The game is on!

"How did Sherlock survive the fall?" Finally, the burning question has been put to rest. Not, beyond-a-shadow-of-doubt answered, mind you, but disposed of nonetheless. It appears there was simply too much pressure for the perfect, astonishing solution that was, in all honesty, impossible to find. And that is why we ever-loyal fans -- "the fans who waited" -- were treated to every one of our tiniest desires for the return of the world's greatest detective, save one.

Here are some of the delicious and brilliantly executed "how's" we do get answers to.

How does John cope for the long two years?
Very much like we have; with difficulty. And we find him on the verge of taking the leap that proves he's moving on -- marriage (and visiting Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) for the first time in two years). Even though we and the rest of the universe may hate the mustache, Martin Freeman is as loveable and as endearing as ever in the role of Watson, and we are completely on his side with the whole Sherlock-not-being-dead debacle. His fiance, Mary Morstan (played my Freeman's real-life long-term live-in girlfriend Amanda Abbington) is not only a welcome addition, but she suddenly seems a necessary member of the show. How did they manage the first two seasons so well without her? Can't answer that one.

Look at them. They so know they're part of one of the greatest television shows ever...

How has Sherlock been staying busy?
By hunting down the rest of Moriarty's gang around the world. (And he was so busy he didn't even have time to get a haircut.) Obviously (as he himself would say) Benedict Cumberbatch continues to instill awe through every miniscule detail of his performance as Holmes, and in the episode, comedy is his feature. Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) is his most consistent companion throughout the episode, they have some amusing (if hard to follow) scenes, and their being related is increasingly believable, as they have a serious discussion over a game of Operation, and then practically confide in each other under the guise of an argument, all the while trying to prove themselves to be the smarter one.

How does Sherlock break the good news to John, and how does John take it?
Short version: not dead. And, very simply, hilariously. This is probably the best sequence of the show -- Sherlock finally uses a disguise, and it's all fun and games until John notices what going on. We've all known we want John to just deck the offending sleuth ever since we knew this scene would exist, but who would have thought the result would be so thoroughly and hilariously satisfying? You want a punch? How about a headbutt? Above and beyond. We're going to get spoiled with these levels of awesome!

"It is, you might say, like a face from the past." "Great, I'll have that one please." "It is familiar, but with a quality of surprise." "Well surprise me." "Certainly endeavouring to sir."

How does the band get back together?
Well, the game is on, and there's a case to solve, my dear Watson! But while Watson is coming 'round, Molly (Louise Brealey) assists Sherlock, and it's unexpectedly cool. (DI Lestrade (Rupert Graves) makes an appearance, but is mostly insignificant in this episode, hopefully they'll make up for that later.) Eventually though the two man team is back, almost as if nothing had ever happened... for a while. As far as Sherlock mysteries go, this plot isn't at the top of the mind-blowing scale, but it was certainly acceptable, even for the high standards of the show, and within, held some aptly intense and impressive moments.

And I have never laughed more during a Sherlock episode. The restaurant... and the other restaurants, and in fact the whole episode was littered with successful laugh lines. Moriarty and Sherlock giggling together while tricking John in the Scottish girl's theory nearly had me in stitches from the ridiculousness, (before they took it too far). But the best, most outrageously brilliant moment has to be in Anderson's theory -- Sherlock swings though a pane of glass, ruffles the shards from his hair, and plants a kiss on Molly with proportions of cheesy suave that would make Agent 007 jealous.

"You have missed this, admit it. The thrill of the chase. The blood pumping through you veins. Just the two of us against the rest of the world!" Well, I know I have...

And what about that fall?
Three possibilities were shown, and only one was plausible (and not ridiculous) but apparently even that one isn't definitive. Not if you don't want it to be. Personally, I haven't spent the last two years in elaborate theorizing, so I'll accept it happily. It makes sense. It's simple and effective. It uses all the clues from The Reichenbach Fall. Still, no version will be without-a-doubt accepted by every obsessive Anderson without some serious convincing. If John believes it, that would be a good start.

So who knows, maybe eventually, John will be the last person on earth to wonder and suddenly say, "Hey, Sherlock, how did you do it anyway?" And Sherlock will smile and take a telling deep breath....


  1. I adore this episode! There were many, many fantastic moments but the theory from the Empty Hearse fangirl and the Operation scene had me crying with laughter :D Mycroft is especially awesome in this episode as well! I love Mark Gatiss. Not only is he a wonderful Mycroft but I think he's probably my favourite 'Sherlock' writer.

    1. Me too! Isn't it wonderful when you have huge expectations for something, wait forever for it and then are not disappointed even slightly? :D I'm sure I'm forgetting some amazing moments, there were so many it was almost overwhelming! Yeah, Gatiss did a great job with the episode and Mycroft, I enjoyed his and Sherlock's dynamic very much.

  2. "The Empty Hearse" had so much hilarity and fan-service that I nearly died of laughter! Even though the mystery was a little lacking, everything else was everything that I wanted to see after such a LONG wait. Both Freeman and Cumberbatch were fantastic and better than ever. It was so much fun! So, from how you wrote the post, it sounds like you enjoyed the episode a lot as well.

    Now that the episode has officially been released in America, I need to post my review of it!


    1. Yeah, it was really nice of them, wasn't it? It was so awesome, I almost didn't notice that the mystery wasn't at par. It's so nice to have then back, and obviously having such a blast. I loved it. Glad you did too!