Monday, January 27, 2014

The "Sign of the Three" Comment.

For all that's been said about Sherlock season three's middle episode, usually the position for the weakest of the show's three episode seasons, I found myself surprised as the episode drew to a close.

Not by the solution to the mystery, which was actually stronger than non-spoiler comments from previous viewers would have had me believe. Not by the continuing focus on the Sherlock and John bromance. Those things weren't unexpected. Surprising at the level they were, but not a complete surprise.

No, what came at me from out of the blue as Franki Valli and the Four Seasons sang "Oh, what a night!" was something I had never felt from any production of a Sherlock Holmes tale ever before, and a true surprise at that . . . the feeling that Sherlock Holmes actually lived in the same world I do.

This episode is of a different caliber, a more mundane caliber, with Sherlock Holmes turning his powers toward things the rest of us are familiar with, being surrounded by the things the rest of us know so well. After all the talk of past attempts to "humanize" Sherlock Holmes by giving him weaknesses, I found myself completely amazed to find the one show that had portrayed him as "a man who wants to be a god" had found the most direct route to doing such a thing.

Humanizing Sherlock Holmes doesn't take a drug addiction, which, thankfully, will never be a part of the world for so many of us. It takes alcohol. And bridesmaids. And unlikely friendships.

And a silly pop song from 1975.

Bravo, Sherlock. Bravo. Bring on "His Last Vow."


  1. And that's the reason why the AV Clubs article, which mostly focussed on the so called "lack of character development" in Sherlock was so incredible funny for everyone who had already seen the third season.

    Unlike some other fans, I enjoyed the hell out of Sign of Three. It is certainly different, with it's non-linear structure and the focus on the characters with some cases added to underline their relationship, instead of showing a case and throwing some character scenes in, but I think it is in a really good way different.

  2. I just don't see Sherlock Holmes the way he was portrayed in this episode. In Doyle's stories he is not as socially inept and clueless. Even though Holmes does not like the society of many people, Doyle's version of the character displays panache when he is around others. Also, I don't for a minute think of Holmes as a "high-functioning sociopath." I have a person in my family who was diagnosed as such, and the disorder is not consistent with Doyle's Holmes. And Gatiss and Moffat don't even really know how to portray one--even a "high-functioning" sociopath would not have the introspective ability to come to the insights Holmes expresses in the latter half of his best man speech.

    I did find "The Sign of Three" entertaining, but with every new episode, Cumberbatch's Sherlock becomes less and less like the hero I fell in love with when I read Doyle's stories as a teenager. I probably won't be counting the days for season four.

  3. Same with me, Melissa. I will watch it, of course I will, but the excitement is somehow gone. Because this was a step or three too far from the characterisation of S1/2 which I loved.

  4. Ah, see, I like it even more with a few character-centered episodes in the mix. Perhaps because it hit me in deeper spots than the standard case!fic. In the first episode--and the second--i could empathize with Molly--knowing you're settling for the wrong guy when you can't have what you want. And I think most of us have been Sherlock at the reception--knowing that, while you should be happy for everyone--and you are--they're moving on without you, and you've suddenly become irrelevant in your own life. He didn't have to be away for two years for that to happen--it was always in the offing. To me, these glimpses of everyone's inner lives (except for Lestrade--not enough there) just make me appreciate the show more. And I don't think what Moffatt and Gattiss are doing is that far off from the before/after banter in the Canon--which I always love more than the deductions anyway. I do wonder if having such a long time between series did mean that a lot of people would have problems adjusting--both because the excitement had reached some pretty ridiculous proportions (ok, in me, personally) and because quite a few of us ended up with our own headcanons which Moffatt and Gattiss would inevitably violate. The upcoming episode is my favorite, but I love them all (and have seen them all multiple times now). It could be half as good as it is and still be the best thing I've ever seen on TV. (Reconsiders. Is certain).


    1. I constantly told myself before the season started to lower my expectations and reminded myself that each season so far had his up and (relative) downs. I think it did a lot to allow me a lot of squee.

      I had a really hard time to adjusting to the parents, though, because they went totally against my head canon, though the additional information we got in HLV helped with that considerably.

    2. Someone on TwoP said that for them the hero worship was over as clearly these are just three deeply damaged people in a very unhealthy relationship depending on enabling each other's addictions. I don't see it quite so harshly, but the glamour has worn off for me, too.

    3. And what else is new? Sherlock and John were always two damaged people who enabled each other addictions. Fans have discussed this since season one.

    4. I've found Sherlock & John to be fascinating characters, each with many fine qualities. And some flaws.

      I'm not watching the show to find heroes worthy of my worship--but for intelligent entertainment.

    5. You know, SP, you have a tendency to presume that when *you* are okay with something, everyone else has to be, too. You do not have the last word on any of this and the thoughts and feelings of other people are as valid as yours. I do find your attitude highly irritating. Please stop addressing me.

  5. I enjoyed the episode thoroughly. Why must every Sherlock Holmes story follow the same pattern? The Sherlock & John invented by Gatiss & Moffat (& Cumberbatch & Freeman) have come to life. Those lives began with ACD's stories & have evolved through other versions. I'm glad to watch them all play. (If I'd heavily invested in writing fanfiction, I might be pissed; but I leave that to the pros.)

    Two ladies in the office are also fans--although I doubt either of them has even heard of "fandom." We're quite happy so far but somewhat apprehensive for next Sunday...