Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Sign of the Three

Well, all I can say is that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss certainly know how to kill two birds with one stone - in The Sign of the Three, the second episode of the much-awaited Season 3 of Sherlock (if anyone still cares about my overdue opinion), they not only successfully pluck at the fanbase's heartstrings but also manage to spin out an intriguing mystery.

Heartstrings, first: much was done to point this episode in direction of #EMOTION, notably in:
1) The best man speech
2) The Irene Adler cameo
3) Reiterations of "you're my best friend"
4) Even little things such as Sherlock ruffling his hair

As I mentioned in my previous Sherlock post, certain decisions - atypical as they may be (but thankfully in moderation)- are inevitably being made during the screenwriting process to satisfy the fans' needs expectations and recognize the existence of the tumblr-populating Sherlockians.

But are such components (e.g. gif above) truly considered atypical anymore? Sherlock BBC is, after all, a 21st century remake of a the classic detective novel. So the drunken scenes

perhaps seem tangential to the Mayfly case/crime but in fact are essential to the pith of the show itself: Sherlock and Watson's friendship, his humanity (yes, to some degree)... plus, such scenes take us deeper into the show and further into character exploration and understanding - not to mention the fact that they're hilarious and contribute greatly to the excellence of the episode.

Moreover, all the delightful flashbacks we are treated to in this episode turn out to not actually be as tangential as we may think (apologies for backtracking on my comments); this is what I mean when I say that Gatiss and Moffat killed two birds with one stone in this episode: all flashbacks/juicy footage of Sherlock-Watson chemistry are IN FACT greatly relevant to the main mystery's unfolding... EVERYTHING ties together - the two seemingly separate cases Sherlock presented in seemingly trivial anecdotes are in fact brother-cases... the WEDDING ITSELF is the crime scene...

Q.E.D. The screenwriters deserve all the awards.

What I love about this episode is also all it does to expose Sherlock's 'soft-side,' notably when his smoothness temporarily goes and sulks in the corner while he struggles to write/deliver the best-man speech. Sherlock, with "an international reputation" (as he drunkendly puts it) is rendered gauche and awkward at John's sunny, yellow-wallpapered wedding (tangent: I loved the set design).

At first, the best man speech does not start of so well -

Sherlock goes on a brief tirade about how marriage is a staple of the "ailing and morally compromised world... etc" "doom of our society" "entire species" etc.

BEFORE he (thankfully) salvages his speech and says (cue fangirl tears):

"The point I'm trying to make is that I am the most unpleasant, rude, ignorant, and all-around obnoxious arsehole that anyone could possibly have the misfortune to meet. I am dismissive of the virtuous, unaware of the beautiful, and uncomprehending in the face of the unhappy. So if I didn't understand I was being asked to be best man, it is because I never expected to be anyone's best friend. Certainly not the best friend to the bravest and kindest and wisest human being I have ever had the good fortune of knowing."

^Certainly not something one would imagine Sherlock saying in Season 1... John has changed him as much as he has changed John. So when Mycroft mockingly asks Sherlock on the phone, "Civilian life suiting you?" he knows that Sherlock has already gotten involved (despite his denial - see gif below).

"involved? I'm not involved!"

His final promise to protect all three Watsons certainly doesn't help his case.
While Sherlock is getting all the more involved, Mrs. Hudson warns John that marriage life will take him away from anyone out of his marriage (e.g. Sherlock). John denies this, of course, and his denial is much more believable than Sherlock's .... as we see in the next episode.


  1. I absolutely loved this episode! People criticised it for being designed to appeal to the fangirls, and it did feel like it was verging on fanfiction at times, which to me is no bad thing! Like you said though despite all the friendship and fluffy stuff Moffat and Gatiss turned it into something very clever. Possibly my favourite episode yet (and not just for the drunken scenes...)

    1. :) It was definitely my favourite episode from this season! So many great moments and such a clever plot twist.