Two years have passed since Sherlock Holmes took a nose-dive from a hospital roof. Most people have moved on but a group of conspiracy nuts believe that Sherlock faked his own death. And while their theories as to how Sherlock pulled off the impossible may be rather far-fetched, it doesn’t mean that their belief in Holmes is unfounded. An underground network of terrorists are planning something big in London – and Mycroft Holmes knows exactly one person who can get to the bottom of things. So it’s time for Mycroft’s brother to come home… but to what sort of welcome?
The first two series of Sherlock were almost universally applauded – but with such a cliffhanger at the end of The Reichenbach Fall, could the writing team possibly come up with a satisfying explanation?
The opening few minutes… that took some nerve on the part of the writer, Mark Gatiss. Practically everyone watching would have been contemplating a bungee cord that definitely wasn’t there before being distracted by Derren Brown’s appearance… had they lost the plot? Was this the ultimate cheat? And then the punchline. At that point, I had absolutely no concerns about the episode. It was going to be wonderful. And it was.
Basically, nothing has changed apart from John’s moustache and his rather more explainable anger at Sherlock’s return – not just the manner of his return (and I love that Sherlock actually thought it was funny) but the number of people who knew he was still alive. As with every magic trick, the explanation would never live up to the trick – some people seem to think that we still haven’t seen the true explanation, but I’m pretty sure the last explanation was the real one.
Anyway, back to Sherlock. Amanda Abbington makes a wonderful debut as Mary, John’s sort-of fiancée. It would have been so easy to make her anti-Sherlock, so making her instrumental in getting the bromance going again was a masterstroke. The rest of the regulars are on form as well, and it was nice to see a (slightly) expanded role for Louise Brealey as Molly.
Plotwise, the story had nothing in common with the short storyThe Empty House, but that’s probably a good thing, as the plot of that one is pretty weak. Unfortunately, the actual threat was very much the B-plot here, and James Moran was wasted. It’s clear from the final scene that the story isn’t over – although it remains to see if the man in glasses was behind the whole thing or just the incredibly tense bonfire scene…
So one of the finest TV shows ever made is back and it’s as wonderful as ever. Roll on The Sign of Three!