So when last we saw them, John Watson was happily married to Mary and Sherlock was doing his “Jon Pertwee at the end of The Green Death” impression. We catch up with John as he decides to rescue his neighbour’s son from a crack den. By the way, he hasn’t seen Sherlock for a month – that’s not going to last much longer.
Sherlock has been retained to retrieve important information… oh, just read the blog post of The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, replacing his surname with Magnusson, to get a feel for the first thirty minutes or so to get a feel for the first half hour or so of the episode (which admittedly added a bit of urination). But on the half-hour mark… things change. A lot.
So, we have Sherlock’s third arch-villain. After Moriarty – dead , Irene Adler – missing, we now have the ultra-creepy face licking (and flicking) Charles Magnusson, newspaper tycoon and keeper of secrets. And possibly more than a match for Sherlock.
Which ties into the short story as well – Holmes takes fairly desperate measures to deal with Milverton in the story – in fact, he accepts that he cannot stop Milverton, just save his client, but ultimately matters are taken out of his hands. But here…
… a good friend of mine just tweeted me that isn’t Sherlock supposed to solve crimes? In the past, when he has been outsmarted, it turned out to be a master-plan of his. Here, he seemingly is outsmarted and has to do something spoilery to resolve matters. In fact for most of this episode, Sherlock is playing catch-up, but by making Sherlock react to everything, rather than being one step ahead, it seemed to me to take a little away from the character. I didn’t really get a sense of the character’s frustration at being powerless and I definitely didn’t get much of a feeling that anyone thought he’d done anything wrong at the end of the story.
But having said that, there were some wonderful parts along the way. John and his tire-iron, Magnusson’s improvised bathroom, the fake-out with Magnusson’s SPOILERS that completely suckered me (as I think it was supposed to), Magnusson’s playground bullying of John and the fabulous trip to Sherlock’s mind palace. And how cool was it that SPOILER saved Sherlock’s life in exactly the same way that the Master saved the Doctor in Caves of Androzani… oops, that’s two Doctor Who references in one blog. Whoops.
Oh, and who’s last vow? Didn’t hear anyone making any vows…
Overall, I really enjoyed the episode – as I’ve enjoyed each episode this series – but I do hope we can perhaps concentrate more on the crime and mystery-solving aspect of the show next time. I assume that given there is only going to ever be a small number of episodes at a time, each has to be something special now, but standalone non-arc episodes, like The Hounds of Baskerville, would be appreciated by this viewer.
And then the ending… I loved the idea of the four-minute exile but it’s going to be a long wait for Series Four.