If you’re like me, and you might be, you’ve been waiting VERY patiently for Season 3 of Sherlock to begin. If you’re also like me, you might have myriad tea strewn about your apartment. So, in the vein of Shelley’s beer/wine pairings, I present the most British of drinks…tea. Tea review to follow the episode review. Some more good news – Sherlock is free to stream on PBS’ website. Click here.
Now, in case you have never seen this show before, you might not know that the last season ended with Sherlock dying, by which I mean being a clever idiot and pretending to die. The original Holmes fan in me was like, “Holy crap, they stayed canon!” (by which I mean the original Sherlock Holmes falls off a cliff and dies). Then I knew there would be a third season and I rejoiced.
Let’s be clear about a few things – I love this show. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is really genius. His chemistry with Martin Freeman’s Watson is undeniable. Moriarty rubs me the wrong way in the best way possible. Irene Adler is perfection. The modern interpretation is just, perfect, down to the minor characters and case re-imaginings. I was personally disappointed by the Robert Downey Jr. portrayal because it was a caricature and not an homage. This is an homage. All of this aside, I hate Freeman’s mustache.
After a quick recap by way of exaggerated believe that Sherlock is alive, we see someone running and quickly kidnapped by Serbians. We are not shown his face, and led to believe that it is Sherlock. He gets the snot beaten out of him. It is, and in fact one of the Russian operatives ends up being Mycroft. They keep the timeline, having Sherlock missing for two years, as the show was on hiatus for as long. Dismantling Moriarty’s network, apparently. Watson returns to Baker Street, about to be engaged. Sherlock, in his typical self-centered fashion, assumes that Watson has been waiting on him, while Watson dissuades gay rumors imparted by Mrs. Hudson. Part of the bromantic-ness of Sherlock and Watson is that in no way did Sherlock change – he just assimilated Watson into the persona. He tries to surprise Watson, but Watson is too flustered with his proposal plans to be surprised. Or even notice him. And when he does – well, the moment is perfectly executed. It’s unthinkable to let someone believe you are dead for two years and then sneak up on them like it’s a joke. Sherlock tries to explain during a recurring gag of Watson trying to choke him and everyone making fun of his mustache. As an aside, I like Mary. I hope they keep her.
We next discover that ‘The Empty Hearse’ is an organization started for Sherlock believers. It begins with a none too-subtle jab at the Sherlock fandom, in this case any that might have shipped Moriarty and Sherlock. I giggled outloud, much to the surprise of my cat. We’re also treated to a battle of wits between Mycroft and Sherlock, which is quite refreshing. Mycroft is an interesting character and I’d like to see more of him. Meanwhile the rift between Sherlock and Watson continues via a cute little editing montage of Sherlock and John at their respective jobs. Molly shows up, too, to play John, with amusing (but not deprecating) results.
Now, onto the mystery part of the plot. John is kidnapped off the street and placed in the center of a bonfire that is to be lit for Guy Fawkes day. Mary is sent a mysterious text, and she runs to Sherlock (wisely). Now, as Sherlock was reincarnated (at least on paper) for a terrorist plot, it is presumed that the kidnapping is a message of sorts. A man has gotten on a train and never gotten off.
I’m not inclined to give away the ending, or any of the solving bits, because that’s half the fun of Sherlock anyway. As always, it’s expertly executed and wonderfully written. Very suspenseful, and as per usual – even when I feel like everything is revealed and ready to go, it isn’t.
So, ultimately, how did this episode go? Well, the pace was different. Palpably different. Quicker, with more sight gags and visual effects. Everything else seems to be in order though, which is quite refreshing. Nothing like returning to a brilliant show and having it be equally brilliant. We also get to meet Molly’s fiancee and Sherlock’s parents, which is refreshing and fun. Equal parts quirk and drama with dashes of intrigue and well rounded characterizations. Fine performances all around, really. Oh – and of course, the introduction of the new villain.
And now for the tea. We begin with a spin off on a classic – a Chocolate Mint black tea from Harney & Sons, available at Target in the cutest little tin. Perfect for this ridiculously freezing weather in New York.