***** SPOILER ALERT *****
This review will be discussing plot points which may be considered spoilers. Consider yourselves warned.
This is not a review of the first episode of Sherlock season three, “The Empty Hearse.” No, the season premier has left me with the warm glow of satisfaction that usually accompanies post-coital cuddling. I’m reduced to a mere reaction, rather than review.
So… Sherlock Holmes isn’t dead. We already knew that, since British television apparently has not fallen into the silly trap of creating a season’s end cliffhanger for no reason other than to frustrate fans. It was still better to have the mini webisode that appeared several weeks ago, “Many Happy Returns,” which showed us Anderson—now fired as coroner and obsessed with clues of Sherlock’s whereabouts—Lestrade, and Watson all receiving premonitions and oracles that seemed to tell them that Sherlock was indeed alive.
It is well known among my friends that I dislike most female characters. I usually find them weak, catty, and foolish. As a reader of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I knew that Watson would eventually find his future wife and I fully expected to hate her. Instead, Sherlock’s creators have given us Mary, played by Amanda Abbington (Martin Freeman’s wife IRL). I enjoyed her performance and I already adore her depiction of Watson’s significant other.
As for Sherlock… I cried when he met Watson. I cried when he met Lestrade. I laughed when he met Mrs. Hudson. I can be incredibly critical of television shows that have poorly developed characters and inconsistent plotlines, but these characters get to me in a way that I have rarely felt. I could feel the pain that both Watson and Mrs. Hudson went through, and I could feel how it simultaneously pulled them together and pushed them apart.
Molly is now engaged to someone who looks just like Sherlock. I don’t want to like her character or be sympathetic to her plight, but I cannot help but feel sorry for her. The look on her face when she tells Lestrade that she has moved on from Sherlock pleads for someone to believe her words so that she can believe them herself.
I appreciate the use of romantic tropes as metaphors for the relationship between Sherlock and John. Again I am surprised at how much this amuses me, since I would normally find this humor pedantic and trite.
I loved the pat exchange between Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes regarding the Icelandic hat and the profile of its owner. It really highlighted for the first time in this show how much alike they are in thought process and intellect. They are very much brothers. At the same time, their parents… what to say about their parents? I honestly did not think we would ever see the elder Mr. and Mrs. Holmes. To have them appear and seem so normal was rather disconcerting.
I must say that the situation in which John Watson is thrown into on Guy Fawkes day was confusing. The motorcycle sequence as Sherlock and Mary rush to his rescue was wildly unbelievable and that entire section of plot left me confused. However, I am learning to have faith in the show’s creators that all of this will make sense in time. Instead of a pathetic device to move the plot forward, it will most likely turn out to be incredibly important to the rest of the season’s storyline.
Finally, the beautiful and convincing act that Sherlock uses to finally get John to admit to missing him and forgiving him was disturbingly realistic. I honestly did believe Sherlock (foolish I know) when he said that he had no idea how to disarm the bomb. My feeble brain thought that John would come up with a way to save Parliament in a shocking plot twist. Apparently John Watson and I are equally gullible.
This has been a recounting of my reactions to the fantastic first episode of Sherlock just as I felt them. Post your own reactions in the comments! (Please avoid spoiling episodes two and three if you’ve already seen them.) Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to rewatch it and make sure there isn’t anything I missed!