Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sherlock: The Sign of Three

"Who leaves a wedding early? So sad."

Series Three continues to play with the format by not only giving us a wedding comedy episode but playing gloriously Moffaty games with structure, basing the bulk of the episode around Sherlock's alternately hilarious and deeply moving best man's speech and it's associated flashbacks, doing brilliant things with the characters, and giving us a splendidly watertight whodunit element to boot, albeit one that I, for once, substantially guessed in advance. I hope my own forthcoming wedding is as exciting as this, although I assure you that our reception will have much better music.

Interestingly, this is credited to Moffat, Gatiss and Thompson, meaning that Stephen Thompson is the only one of the troika not to get an episode of his own this series, and the episode feels very much in the style of Steven Moffat.

There are far too many brilliant things to mention, from the opening with Lestrade (bank robbers in scary clown masks- my coulrophobic fiancĂ©e had to look away!) to the nod to The Sign of Four with the character of Sholto (perhaps too obviously hinted at early on as a potential victim), with an apparently incidental and involved "locked room mystery" proving key to the whole thing. This episode is as elegant as it is fun.

I particularly enjoyed the wedding planning scenes, again showing us the great dynamic between Mary, John and Sherlock. The stag night scenes, while splendidly performed, do not quite work, but the centrepiece of Sherlock's extraordinary speech means this episode has to be considered a triumph. The deduction at the end, and the resolution to the mystery, are pacey and satisfying.

The bittersweet ending is perfect too. Having detected the "signs of three", Sherlock, ever the loner, leaves the wedding early, as foreshadowed...

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