TV Review: “Sherlock” Season 3, “The Sign of Three”

Written by Jesse Gelinas January 06, 2014

The Watson wedding in "The Sign of Three"I know it seems like just yesterday that Season 3 of “Sherlock” began, but in a week it will be over. Yes, three brief glimpses into this high-functioning sociopath’s life is all we get before he disappears for another indeterminate amount of time. That said, it’s already been a noticeably lighter, humour driven series, and that’s not really a bad thing. After the emotional turmoil of Season 2, we’re owed some levity, and “The Sign of Three” delivers in spades. Besides, who doesn’t love a wedding?

“The Sign of Three” pertains entirely to the wedding of John Watson and Mary. Specifically, much of the episode is taken up by Sherlock’s eloquent, awkward, and never-ending best man speech. Most of the ‘action’ is flashback as he recounts his “funny stories about John”, particularly two recent unsolved cases of theirs. First, a murdered Royal Guard with no killer and no murder weapon (The Bloody Guardsman). Second, a mysterious womanizer who seemingly disappears every night (The Mayfly Man). Of course, as he tells the tales, the entire congregation is sucked in, and soon it seems he may have the chance to solve both cases right there at the reception. It’s a clever device, very in keeping with Conan Doyle’s actual works (the retelling of the case at an unrelated event).

“I never expected to be anybody’s best friend.”

“The Sign of Three” is not as quick-paced as the premiere. There are long scenes of pure dialogue, and an extensive monologue from Sherlock as he attempts public speaking for the first time. In his speech we get to see every great iteration of the detective. The narcissist, the neurotic sleuth, the unsettling sociopath, the oblivious friend, and the hidden romantic. It’s entertaining watching one man attempt to inhabit several characters at once, and Benedict Cumberbatch pulls it off terrifically. We also get a lot more John and Mary interaction which is great; she’s really growing on me as a character, and is quickly becoming a very interesting addition to the cast. Any character that can play both Sherlock and Watson without their knowledge has to be intriguing.

Some funny stories about John in "The Sign of Three"

If I had one gripe with “The Sign of Three”, it is the lessened pace. Some of the wedding scenes do seem a little overly long (more so than they’re supposed to), and the long breaks between pieces of the mystery puzzle get a little tiresome. That said, there is some great writing, amazingly funny bits, and some awesome music toward the end that caps off the show nicely. Also, an extensive scene with drunk Sherlock is almost worth the entire 85-minute run time. Some fans may find the humour becoming gratuitous, but I see it as a necessary aspect of the character and an inevitable byproduct of the awesome chemistry between Cumberbatch and Freeman. But, whether the heavier reliance on jokes is a sign of the show’s new direction, or just a passing trend is yet to be seen.

“What do we say about coincidences?”

“The universe would never be so lazy.”

Overall, “The Sign of Three” is a light, funny, and perfectly enjoyable episode. It could’ve been improved with a nod to the new arch-nemesis, but I suppose we’ll need to wait for the finale for more of him (however, look for a possible hint to the villain during the telegram scene,CAM). While it still may not live up to Season 2, we must wait for the finale to fully pass judgment, and this show does have a tendency to save the best bits for last. So, enjoy one more week of “Sherlock” before he disappears again for God knows how long.

My Rating: 8/10

Sherlock's trademark smile and wink.

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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