These were the last words we heard from Sherlock Holmes right before his “Reichenbach fall”, a scene that pierced fans’ hearts and left them on edge until the mystery of the famous detective’s suicide could be solved. Even two years later, we still don’t know how he did it.
The popular British television program aired its first episode of season three, “The Empty Hearse”, in the UK on January 1st, and airs in the US on January 19th. Fans expected a great deal of explanation after the patience demanded of them, but were actually left feeling overwhelmed by everything but the truth throughout this hour-and-a-half episode.
[For those of you who haven’t met Sherlock, he’s madman-meets-sociopath genius, very sarcastic, and very particular. The show is modeled after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s series and has had two seasons so far, each with a whopping three episodes. Season two ended with Sherlock’s apparent suicide after villain Moriarty held his friends and family at gunpoint.]
“The Empty Hearse” begins with the re-emergence of Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch); though we’re more interested as to how he survived, rather than that he did. His sidekick John Watson (Martin Freeman), ex-landlord Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs), and police friend Lestrade (Rupert Graves) had long since abandoned the idea that he is still alive. Little do they know, Sherlock pops up during John’s date with his fiancee sporting a bow tie and scribbled-on mustache.
Insane theories and lies surrounding Sherlock’s magic trick take up most of the first 30 minutes: a Hollywood-type scene where Sherlock bursts through the window; a fan fiction fantasy scene including a Sherlock dummy and a disturbing near-kiss scene between the detective and his nemesis; and his story to Anderson, which seems like the only logical explanation, though fans would be greatly disappointed if it was really that simple.
Soon Holmes has integrated himself back into his prior life–after taking a few disgruntled punches and head butts from a newly mustached John Watson. Turns out he’s been gone seeking a terrorist group aiming to attack London; a new villain has cropped up to take Moriarty’s place. It’s not long before the show brings its regular suspense and blood-pressure-rising dread, as John is kidnapped and thrown into a Bonfire Night remaking of The Wicker Man, and later on finds himself in a train car awaiting a giant bomb to detonate–but no worries, Sherlock is right there beside him for immoral support.
Cumberbatch, as always, is magnetic in the role of Sherlock, drawing viewers to the intricacies of his mind palace. There is no one better to portray the famous detective–or his partner-in-crime. Their relationship is by far one of the best I’ve yet to see on a television program, and their undeniable companionship and reliance on each other is beautifully showcased throughout the show, yet you still find yourself laughing whenever they’re together.
For someone who has been a long-time fan of the BBC show, “The Empty Hearse” was nearly flawless. Had they included the explanation to the elaborate fake-suicide, it would’ve been the best Sherlock episode yet. Unfortunately, the episode leaves us just as puzzled as Anderson and Sherlock’s fan club. But perhaps producers have saved this for the finale–which is only two episodes away. Sherlock fans are undoubtedly the most unlucky of them all. Score: 9/10.
Nataly Capote/A&E Editor