Spoilers!!! - Silke's Sherlock Series Three Assessment

My new "partner in blog" Silke Ketelsen now offers up her assessment of series three. You know the drill folks. Put your tin hats on and strap yourselves in. 

So, that was that. S3 is over and we're left to our own devices again. And you know what? I don't think that's a bad thing. I personally will simply pretend S3 never happened and will return to occasionally watching ASiP, ASiB and, if I feel especially courageous, TRF. That was when the Sherlock universe was still a lovely place to be.

In S1 we saw a brilliant, lonely man, hiding behind the label of 'high-functioning sociopath', find a friend who was a true match for him, and together they had all sorts of exciting adventures in which the lonely man displayed his brilliance and the match supported (occasionally corrected) and admired him.


S2 showed us the pair consolidated, still having all sorts of exciting adventures, displays of brilliance, shows of support (correction) and admiration. They had become a couple (in whatever sense). Then fate tore them apart – the brilliant one going into danger alone, the other left behind to grieve.

Excited John?

We were sad. We puzzled about the hows and whys and whatfors and waited for them to be back... together.

But S3 was different. The brilliant man had been clobbered over the head one time too often and came back slightly confused. He was regressed. No, he was humanised. He was a waiter, a wedding planner, a junkie... a detective(?). He couldn't do the brilliant deductions any more that had once earned him his fame.

The grieving man had meanwhile become a bitter cynic, but had found a lovely wife. He didn't really need the brilliant one anymore. The brilliant man pined.

The lovely wife turned out to be not quite so lovely after all. These things happen.

Then fate tore them apart – the brilliant one going into danger alone, the other and his not so lovely wife left behind to do... whatever.

Do we really care this time?

Dear Mofftiss, I know the niggling details of reality and logic are not for you. That is okay. The visuals are so stunning, the dialogue so witty, it's all fine. Just one thing: can we at last have something remotely resembling a consistent characterisation?

When S3/3 ended last night, I ran around screaming and tearing at my hair. Yes, they were back on track tonally. No switch-off bombs or wedding cupcakes. Style-wise this episode fits better with S1/2 then the two before. As a stand-alone movie it was entertaining and exciting. Why was I still not happy?

Are you sitting comfortably?

The balance of the universe has been disrupted. That's why. This feels uncomfortable. Holmes and Watson. Sherlock and John. In Baker Street. Alone. Before the fire (unpeed in preferably). There simply is no room for Mrs Psychopath, baby psychopath and baby psychopath's teddy.

And of course, as always with Sherlock, the plot made no sense whatsoever.

Evil Mogul: I have incriminating material against you!
Blackmail Victim: Give it back!
Evil Mogul: I can't, it's all in my head!
Blackmail Victim: Then you have no proof!
Evil Mogul: Don't need proof, have newspaper!
Blackmail Victim: ???
The thing is, if you have no material proof anyway (the kind a judge/jury might like to see when you get sued for slander) you do not need to know anything about anyone, a really lively dirty fantasy will do. In other words: no mind-palace needed. I can't imagine that no one ever demanded to actually *see* whatever it was Magnussen claimed he had on them. Are people really that naïve? No, of course not.

I'm not sure how I feel about Sherlock shooting Magnussen. I don't have any moral objections. People peeing in other people's fire places have to be stopped. But it feels like a thing *I* would do. The brilliant one should not have to stoop to such pedestrian measures. Weren't we supposed to admire him for his wits? Where are they? He must have left them behind in Serbia somewhere.

This seems to go in a direction I'm not sure I like. It seems to be more Bond than Holmes right now. Despite all the canon references we have left ACD behind, I fear. Can we have more of the real Holmes and Watson, John and Sherlock next time, please? I don't really like the people who have replaced them. Less bombast, more real cases? Deductions instead of guns?

Oh dear, we're not in Kansas anymore, are we?

Written by Silke Ketelsen


  1. Magnussen to security people on Sherlock and John's arrival at Appledore: "Did you search them?"

    Security: "No need. We searched them and disarmed the other day in Baker Street."

    Magnussen: "Ah, of course. Very good. That bulge in Doctor Watson's coat can't be a gun."