Sherlock The Sign of Three

After a shaky start to this series of Sherlock, the Sign of Three takes us right back into the heart of the action at 221b Baker Street, and we're still not 100% sure how he did but Sherlock has risen, Lazarusesque, and it’s like he never went away.

Yet, there is a subtle shift in the tone of the episode, the Sign of Three is everywhere, from the co-writing partnership of Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Stephen Thompson, to the team of Sherlock, John and now Mary, not to mention three different, seemingly unconnected strands pulled together via one of TV’s greatest Best Mans speeches, where the narrative use of flashbacks, anecdotes, and Sherlocks own mania at being Johns Best Man, unites the disparate cases involving a closed room mystery, a Phantom dating puzzle, and the biggest adventure John Watson has ever embarked on, his wedding to Mary, into a satisfying climax that left this viewer pleased with the resultion.

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With Sherlocks awkward speech turning into one of his greatest deductions, a fantastic bit of Rabbit in the headlights acting from Cumberbatch, as well as the obvious chemistry between John and Mary (Amanda Abbington is superb throughout, particularly in the scene where she manipulates both John & Sherlock into taking a case) and the taut script, this was a massive improvement, narrative wise from last week.

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At points it seems that ideas from Moffats other show sneak through, and the bit where Sherlock vaults the table in the wedding reception, the serviette origami, and the stag do, which ends, inevitably, in a prison cell, wouldn’t have been out of place for Matt Smiths Doctor, but by and large the show stays well within the established universe, and for every comedic turn by Sherlock, there is plenty of reflection (the touching scene between John and Sherlock on the park bench for instance), plenty of action, the verbal sparring between Mycroft and Sherlock is sibling rivalry turned up to 11, to downright pathos, the homage to the Third Doctor, in the closing scenes where Sherlock leaves the reception reminiscent of the end of the Green Death where Pertwees Doctor says goodbye to Jo Grant.

Wisely the writing team decided not to have Sherlock dancing at the reception, seeing Sherlock do the drunken giraffe would have been a leap of faith too far. This was a well-written, fast moving story with a heart as big as a city, and reminds us all of why we fell in love with this brilliant, witty and clever show in the first place.

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