The middle episode in the previous episodes has usually been my least favourite of the three, so I was expected the same of this episode as well. However, The Sign of Three turned out a lot better than I thought it would. The first paragraph will be a spoiler-free review for those who are still waiting to see the episode, until I say “SPOILERS BELOW” where it will be filled with many a-spoiler.
The Sign of Three was written by a Sherlock writer who we hear very little about; Stephen Thompson as well as Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Thompson was the same person who wrote my least favourite episode The Blind Banker but also my favourite pre season three episode The Reichenbach Fall, an episode whose credit is mostly given to the two co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. Thompson’s previous middle episode being my least favourite, I was a little worried about how The Sign of Three but it turned out that I had no reason to be. Being slower-paced than The Empty Hearse it was still exciting, emotion-filled, but most of all, hilarious. This episode was single-handedly the funniest episode of Sherlock aired to date, and I found myself laughing out loud more than once while watching. Of course, it ticked both boxes because it made me cry as well, making it a well-rounded and brilliant episode which is typical of Sherlock.
SPOILERS AHEAD (this includes the images as well)
What can I say, other than this was the wedding of the year. I didn’t expect to be based around the wedding, I expected the wedding to just play a small part in the story, but I was wrong. The story wrapped itself neatly and subtlety around the wedding of John Watson and Mary morstan in a way that showed off the brilliant cinematography that was used in the episode. And I really loved the way they did that. The way they moulded smaller stories of cases and stag nights and conversations into the very essence of the wedding. The wedding was the main event, but that fact did not take away from all of the little stories that came together in The Sign of Three.
Now, for what I thought of the actual story. I felt like not much actually happened. There was a recap of some old cases, a stag night, a wedding and an attempted murder, but nothing really seemed to chang. I’m not necessarily saying this as a negative, I just found it interesting how, although so much appeared to happen in the episode, at the end of the day not much happened at all. A wedding began, and a wedding ended, with not many altogether life-changing events occurring.
But then, of course, they were the more subtle things that the episode implied. The Sign of Three, of course, meaning that the family of John and Mary was going to have a baby added. I feel like the whole episode was telling us one thing that can be summed up in one of Sherlock’s quotes;
“You hardly gonna need me around now you got a real baby on the way”
The whole episode seems to be about how John marrying Mary is going to split them up. Mrs Hudson talking about what happened to her and her best friend, Mycroft saying it’s the end of an era and Sherlock leaving a wedding early. “I mean, who leaves early at a wedding?” I don’t know what it is, but I feel like these last two episodes are leading up to something bad happening. No one has died, nothing bad has really happened. They’re been cheerful and funny and exciting, but what will the next episode be like? That’s pretty much what The Sign of Three has left me feeling; what’s going to happen next?
One of my favourite things about this episode was Sherlock’s best man speech. I don’t know what I expected, really, but what was actually shown just made my heart soar. It was rude and abrasive, and yet touching and sweet in a way that only Sherlock Holmes could do. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I especially commend Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting nearing the end of the speech when he had to pretend he was giving he pre-written prepared speech, when instead he was actually trying to solve an attempted murder. I thought it was incredible how he made it seem like he was in two places at once, working on the case, and putting on a show.
Then of course there were the drunk scenes. I don’t think there’s much more I need to say about them except that they were hilariously amazing.
On that point, I noticed a new technique that has been employed this season, less so in the previous episode but a lot in this one. I found this method quite revolutionary, rather like the one that was used in Sherlock‘s first episode, with the text messages and deductions appearing as writing in the air. The technique I’m talking about is the way in which the background changes between what’s actually happening and what’s happening inside Sherlock Holmes’ head. I just think it’s incredible the way they did it, and I personally have never seen it done so flawlessly before. At first they used it to almost surprise us, but afterwards it was used so seamlessly that you barely even noticed, just enough to make it interesting.
The cinematography was absolutely stunning. I don’t think there was have been a single screen-capture that couldn’t be printed and hung in a frame. One of the things I’ve always admired about Sherlock was the cinematography, and this episode certainly showed it off.
The music was good, but to be honest I didn’t find it as incredible as it was in previous episodes. It just didn’t take the limelight in The Sign of Three, but in staying that it still set the scene in the perfect way background music is supposed to, it just didn’t have it.
Favourite character/actor: Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Least favourite character/actor: Major James Sholto (Alistair Petrie)
Favourite scene: Sherlock’s best-man speech
Least favourite scene: When Mrs Hudson gives Sherlock tea
Rating; 4.5/5 stars
All pictures/gifs: http://bbcone.tumblr.com