#sherlocklives – And it’s great to have him back again

#sherlocklives.

sherlockTHE MINUTE the internet saw this, it came close to implosion. It’s hard to describe the way that certain sub-sections of the internet have embraced Sherlock, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ modern adaptation of the classic detective tales, without mentioning the word ‘obsession’. So all it took was a two year wait and one hashtag to send the fans into hysterics. Sherlock lives but more importantly, Sherlock is back and arguably better than ever.

It always had a tall order trying to actually explain everything that happened in the second series cliff (well; hospital roof) hanger, and to a certain extent series opener ‘The Empty Hearse’ succeeds by focussing less on how Sherlock faked his death and more on why he is back.  The series has been accused of pandering, and I can see why, in that the first episode feels like there are a lot of moments designed to provoke reaction, such as Sherlock and Moriarty getting intimate on a rooftop, Sherlock and Molly getting more intimate after crashing through a window and, after a few drinks, Sherlock and John getting… basically, it plays on Sherlock getting intimate with everyone. There are times when it feels like the writers putting in their own fan fiction but it is done with such an affectionately mocking tone, it’s hard for me to hate it.

Of all three episodes, my favourite was possibly the middle one, ‘The Sign Of Three’.  This surprised me as I often hate flashback-heavy constructions; they can easily descend into cleverness for its own sake, but this was awe-inspiring work, spinning in three, or four, mysteries around one very funny best man speech. One thing this series, and specifically, this episode, has done well is to use Sherlock’s ‘mind palace’. It advances beyond the first two series’ text screens to create an artificial space in Sherlock’s mind where he interacts with other characters. It’s an interesting concept that pays off building the mystery and helping unravel the mystery of the great detective.

It does take until the last episode for everything to fall into place. The series began on some very comedic notes, but by the time we reached ‘His last Vow’, it is clear that we are heading into dark territory the minute that series villain Charles Magnussen begins licking a woman’s face. It becomes clear that from the moment that Sherlock comes ‘back from the dead’ that this is a series centred on the power of secrets and lies. Throughout the series, characters lie to each other, but the truth always slips out, especially when you have Sherlock Holmes around. Throughout the three episodes, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are unsurprisingly magnificent, but the masterwork of this series is with Amanda Abbington’s Mary, bringing in possibly the first fully developed female character the show has.

I’m going to continue to not spoil things in case anyone reading this hasn’t caught up yet, but there was been some mixed opinion over the last ten minutes of the series but, personally, I found it to be a suitable wrap up. It felt like a moment that all three episodes had been building towards.  I loved the series. It had its flaws; the first episode dragged in places and perhaps didn’t justify its running time as much as what followed, and some of the supporting cast could still do with being fleshed out, but it is still great to have Sherlock back. Hopefully this time, he won’t stay away again for two years.