Last night had the BBC grace us with the second episode of the third season of Sherlock. Focussed around the wedding day of John Watson, this episode was hugely divisive; and in amongst the cries of dismay could be heard my own belly-aching.
I described it as being all over the place, of skipping around the timeline too much, of gracelessly using Sherlock’s best man’s speech as a through line, of too many fast cuts and swipes, too many jokes. After 45 minutes not particularly much had happened and I was getting increasingly irked.
Then things began to change; not in the episode itself, though the cuts became less erratic as the case(s) started to show themselves, but in myself. This episode of Sherlock was a different style, it wasn’t a simple ‘case of the week’ show, and was focussed more on the personal, a trend began in episode 1 and exemplified here. But I realised that it worked and that it actually went a very long way to not just defining this Holmesian world’s characters, but also to entertain. And I was very much entertained. It was more comedic, more light-hearted than I had grown to expect, but it did work.
Furthermore, the characterisation of both Molly and Mary is very much needed. Molly seems to have agency of her own now, and John’s wife Mary is certainly no wallflower, keen and bright as she is.
I need to rewatch the episode, to see if the first half still irks me the same way, post change in perspective. But overall, by the end, I really enjoyed the episode, a lot more than I thought I would
Episode three, the last of this season, His Last Vow, shows on Sunday January 12th, and looks darker by far.
Addendum: If you want to see a list of people who utterly hated this episode, including people who want to see Mary killed off, check out the comments on the Guardian review. If you want to see glee about drunk Sherlock in an explosion of animated GIFs, there’s always Buzzfeed.