Sherlock episode 3.2 review

sherlock4The second episode of season 3 is perhaps even better than the last.  There is comedy.  There is drama.  There is Sherlock going way over the top.  It has it all if you like the Cumberbatch Sherlock interpretation.  It isn’t perfect, but has enough good things for me to like it.  Marginally.

The wedding of John and Mary is the backdrop to this episode, and it finally gives us some crime-solving to boot.  Mary Morstan is a very interesting character and a bold move for the television show to actually use, as she is inserted into the show about a dynamic duo, making it an episode about a trio.  And although she has no part in the mystery solving, she brings John and Sherlock together because she sees how much they respect one another, need each other, and do things together.  She is not an obstruction, but not simply a background figure either.

The show gives us Sherlock Holmes who is the best man at a wedding and one who gives the worst best-man speech I’ve ever heard.  As he gives the speech, he deduces and solves a mystery at the same time.  The show’s pace never slows down and the mystery itself is really intriguing.  The reveal is clever and the show finally gives us Sherlock Holmes the detective.  After the last episode, I was beginning to wonder if they were going to do any real crime solving.  The season 3 opener was so full of itself that any mystery, any crime, any situation where Sherlock is solving anything, was a welcome.

This episode, “The Sign of Tree”, is a rather obvious allusion to the Conan Doyle story, “Sign of Four”.  The pace of this episode is really jarring.  It moves around in strange way to connect things and the transitions are just either comical or silly.  They show Sherlock hosting an online chat with several people, but they are all in a room with him, and they all only “pretend”.  Or something like that.  It was a bit stupid, really.  But when the show connects up two mysteries by the end, I was relieved that the episode tied everything up so nicely, but for a while there, I was a bit confused.  I know a few of my friends couldn’t even watch the previous episode because of the pace and the self-aggrandizing.

sherlock5The episode doesn’t take itself very seriously and that is VERY obvious here.  In fact, I think they’re using a bit too much comedy now, such as when Sherlock and John go around drunk for 20 mins of the episode.  It might be nice to see a serious Sherlock episode just once, without silly situational jokes, like the Mrs. Hudson backstory they give the character in this episode.  This is a great character that doesn’t deserve a silly backstory about romancing a drug dealer husband, but they have treated her with important previously, so I guess it’s just not in this episode that the writers feel that way.

The best part of this episode is the best-man speech, of course.  The worst part is the Mrs. Hudson backstory, the over-the-top tales of her drug dealer husband, and her youthful romances, which are not very believable.  I would have to say that the mystery more than makes up for this minor moment of the show trying too hard to be funny, as it is the most brilliant deduction of the show so far.  All in all, the “show about a detective” finally became a “detective show” for a short time and I was grateful.