Sherlock Season 3

Sherlock Season 3 (DVD Cover)

Recurring character(s): Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman), Detective Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves), Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss), Mary Morsten (Amanda Abbington)

Director: Various

Original air date(s): 01/01/2014 to 01/12/2014 (UK), 01/19/2014 to 02/02/2014 (US)
DVD Date: 02/11/2014

Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 262 minutes

Note(s): Based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Sherlock Season 3

Review: I am a big fan of the first two seasons of Sherlock, and was eagerly looking forward to the third season, especially — like so many others — to see how Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) managed to defy death in the Season 2 cliffhanger. But I have to say I was disappointed in this third season, not so much from the storylines (which, indeed, were rather weak) but from the odd way in which the episodes were produced, directed, and edited.

The season opens with "The Empty Hearse" and takes place two years after the Holmes "died". Mycroft (played by series co-creator Mark Gatiss, who also wrote the episode screenplay) enlists the help of Holmes to stop a potential terrorist attack on London. Most of the episode, however, is focused on the reunion of Holmes and John Watson (played by Martin Freeman) and the introduction of Watson's fiancée, Mary Morsten (played by Amanda Abbington). Watson is later kidnapped, rescued, and, oh yes, the terrorist plot is foiled but that is more of an afterthought. It almost seems like the producers were so thrilled with their own cleverness at bringing Holmes back to life that they completely overlooked telling a Holmes-like story. There are a lot of flashbacks, scene cut-ins and cut-outs, and quick jumps here and there that it was really quite difficult to watch. This episode was inspired by the original short story "The Adventure of the Empty House", with which it shares little other than the return of Holmes.

The second episode, "The Sign of Three", is really quite silly in both style and content. It is John and Mary's wedding day, and Sherlock is tasked with giving a best man's speech at the post-ceremony dinner. Except an assassin is also in attendance, and it is up to Holmes to identify the culprit as well as the target. An interesting premise and all should be well and good, except the whole episode is acted out as if in parody. The storyline is increasingly hard to follow due to its non-linearity and the editing is even more frenetic. Written by co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss with Stephen Thompson, and inspired by one of only four novels written by Arthur Conan Doyle to feature the characters, The Sign of Four, this is easily the worst episode of the three.

The third and final episode of the season, "His Last Vow", written by Steven Moffat, comes the closest to matching the look and feel of the episodes of the first two seasons. There actually is a case for Holmes to solve, one that will remind viewers of the stories from the canon though the one that this was supposed inspired by, "His Last Bow", seems to lend little more than its title. The editing, while still erratic, is much tamer here, and Holmes and Watson seem to be much more "in character" … though it comes as a bit of a surprise that Mary is most decidedly not.

The first two seasons of Sherlock were so good that I'm willing to give this third season a pass. A fourth season is not guaranteed, though everyone involved says it will happen at some point. I'd like to see a return to stronger storylines, a more straight-forward approach to directing the episodes, and probably most importantly from a viewing perspective, the scaling back of the frantic editing.


Purchase and/or Rental Options:
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Watch a trailer for the series below:

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