Spoiler Free - Review "The Empty Hearse" Sherlock S3E1

Okay. So you’re about to compose the story of Sherlock’s return. What kind of plot do you want to craft?

This was the question facing Arthur Conan Doyle in 1903 when he sat down to pen The Empty House. He knew full well that the thing his readers would be most interested in would be the physical return of Sherlock Holmes and how Watson and his other friends would react. Knowing this, Doyle made use of a relatively thin crime around which to mould the stuff that people were really interested in. He was right to do so.

So, to the few people on the internet who remarked that the plot of Sherlock series 3 episode 1 - The Empty Hearse was a trifle thin I say that Mark Gatiss had the same problem and dealt with it in the same way as Doyle did. He knew full well that all the, borderline rabid, fandom wanted to know was how Sherlock survived, how he came back into everyone’s lives and how those people reacted.

So that is what he gave us. The central plot and reason for Sherlock’s return is mainly a spool around which to wind the material that we’re really all interested in.

In short, it’s done brilliantly. Yes, the first few minutes made you want to go WTF? But, and this is addressed to those nations yet to see it, bear with it, hold in those inner voices and you’ll be in for a fun ride where you are not given a lot of time to catch your breath.

Amanda Abbington is excellent as Mary and the rest of the cast performs to its usual lofty standards. We have some wonderful exchanges between Sherlock and Mycroft and some lovely cameos. The very end of the film gives chills but I shall say no more - after all I'm spoiler free (dammit). I shall simply confine myself to this one image.

Written by Alistair Duncan
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  1. I am of two minds about it. There were bits I really, really liked, but also things I found disturbing.

    Also, as I just said to Brad Keefauver, the look, touch and feel of Lovering's style is quite different and misses the seemingly effortless grace of McGuigan's direction, resulting in an episode that was not as aesthetically pleasing to me as S2/1 was.

    And to waste one precious episode out of only three on fan wank - even if done in good cheer - was not a clever move, imo. Reviews are not so over the top enthusiastic as they were two years ago.

    I'm worried about the rest of the series.

  2. As much as I look forward to your reviews, I will have to wait till the show airs over here to watch it. Then I will get back with you.