The Sign of Three (Sherlock season 3 Episode 2) TV Show Review

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 Threeof 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

Picture Sources

All pictures/gifs: http://bbcone.tumblr.com

The Empty Hearse (Sherlock Season 3 Episode 1) TV Show Review

Can I just say, IT’S BACK! After two whole years of waiting, the first episode of the third season of the BBC’s award winning series Sherlock has finally aired. 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.

Firstly, for those who haven’t seen it, this is the mini-episode Many Happy Returns that is to be watched before The Empty Hearse:

The first episode of the series, called The Empty Hearse, was written by co-creator Mark Gatiss. It did not disappoint. It had everything a Sherlock fan could have asked for. Action, romance, deductions, amazing cinematography, and of course, brilliant acting by the show’s stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. It was like a fanfiction reader’s dream! A brilliant assortment of references and actions that by no means diminished the essence of the show. The crack-shippers will be happy, and so will the more traditional Sherlock Holmes fans like myself. The music, if possible, was even better than in season two. It consisted of some of the older tracks, and well as some new tracks, and new takes on old tracks. As a whole, I really liked the episode and thoroughly look forward to the rest of the season.

SPOILERS AHEAD (this includes the images as well)

Now, a more in-depth review of the episode, for those who are lucky enough to have already seen it.

One of the things that I was looking forward to most in this episode was John’s reaction when he saw that Sherlock was indeed alive. I have to admit, it was a bit different from what I expected but the multiple beatings that John gave Sherlock were more than enough to make me happy. I actually really like how they didn’t make John forgive Sherlock straight away. He was angry, and rightly so. I love how his character was written after seeing Sherlock was alive. It just gave him so much more depth. I’ve always thought that John was portrayed as a sort of one-dimensional character. Not to say that his character doesn’t have depth, more that we rarely saw it. In The Empty Hearse however, we definitely saw it and it was brilliant. Martin Freeman, of course, did a great job of showing this new character development. I especially loved his acting in the train scene when he thought that the bomb was going to go off.

Speaking of character development, one word; ANDERSON. I don’t think a character has ever had such a quick and convincing turn-around that didn’t seem totally cliche. And it just seemed so natural. I never thought I’d ever feel so empathetic towards him. Another great character development was with Mycroft. We barely got to see any characterisation for him in the previous seasons, but in this one episode we really got to see him for who he is; a lonely man who feels like he has no equals.

Special mention of Amanda Abbington who did literally played the best Mary Morstan I have even seen. She made the character so likeable and I could genuinely see how Mary and John could get along together so well, and her friendship with Sherlock was one of the highlights of the episode.

I really, really liked all the shoutouts to the fandom. The Sherlolly kiss, the Sheriarty almost kiss… The way they did it was just absolutely perfect. In fact, the alternate theories were absolutely perfect. When I saw the bungee-jump one, I honestly thought that was what happened and became so confused that I hadn’t seen the bungee cord! The humour, was just amazing. It really helped lighten up an emotion-packed episode. Speaking of emotion-packed, it made me both laugh out loud and cry which gives the episode a big tick for me.

No fanfiction needed with scenes like this:

Then there’s the actual explanation of have Sherlock Holmes survived his multi-story fall, which I was pretty happy with. Although, it was way more extravagant than any of my theories. The only part I guessed right was the ball under his arm to stop his pulse.

The only real downfall I can find with the episode is that it sometimes felt like it was all over the place, switching back-and-forth from John’s to Sherlock’s point of view. However this could also be due to the stop-start nature of the player I was watching it on. *shakes fist at BBC iPlayer* But anyway, I found this to be a very minor setback.

Fun fact: The actors who played Sherlock’s and Mycroft’s parents, are actually the parents of Benedict Cumberbatch.

The music *sigh* was amazing. Like I said in my first paragraph, I thought it was even better than in the previous seasons. The most notable song was the one that played when the bungee-jump theory was being shown. It was an awesome mix of the usual Sherlock theme with electric guitars.

I highly recommend, that if you haven’t already, you give John Watson’s Blog a good read. It’s really very entertaining.

Favourite character/actor: Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Least favourite character/actor: This is actually impossible, because all of the credited actors were actually amazing

Favourite scene: The Sherlock survival theories

Least favourite scene: The bonfire scene

Rating; 4.5/5 stars

Picture Sources

All pictures/gifs: http://bbcone.tumblr.com

Top 10 Songs That Make Me Cry

I really enjoy listening to music but unfortunately, because of the style of music that I listen to, it’s difficult to review it. Therefore, I have come up with the idea to create a series of the top 10 songs that I listen to, to fit into a category. This category is for the top 10 songs that have made me cry. Not just out of sadness, either, but out of happiness as well. A lot of them are from TV shows or movies so they may only make me feel the way they do because of the context I know them from. However, I hope you guys love them as much as I do. These songs are in no particular order. The top 10 songs that make me cry. Warning that this post contains spoilers about Doctor Who, The Lord of the Rings, Sherlock, the musical Wicked and Avatar: The Last Airbender (however none of the actual songs do).

Doomsday
This song from Doctor Who (and written by Murray Gold)plays over one of the best separation scenes ever; the separation of the Doctor and Rose. I was bawling my eyes out, it was horrible, and I relive that moment whenever I listen to this song. I love how affected I am by it, it just shows how good it is. In addition, the song itself is just gorgeous. The use of voice, without using actual words, is amazing and just makes it more emotive. It just sounds so sad, almost like the singer is letting out their grief by singing a wordless song.

 

Moonlight Sonata
This is one of those beautiful classic pieces of music that can portray emotion without a single word. I have found myself unknowingly listening to this song and just subconsciously feeling sad for no reason. The way Moonlight Sonata does this is just incredible. Written by Beethoven, it is one of the top classical songs. No story is needed to feel this song.

 

Edge of Night
The songs of hobbits are usually happy, cheerful and full of life, but this one (sung by Billy Boyd) is the exact opposite. It’s short with very few lyrics:

Home is behind, the world ahead, but there are many paths to tread. Through shadow, to the edge if night, until the stars are all alight. Mist and shadow, cloud and shade. All shall fade, all shall fade.

It’s short and sweet, or a better description, short and sad. It is sung to the greedy and vindictive steward of Gondor who had sent an army of men to an impossible battle where they will all surely die.

 

Vale Decem
Another song from Doctor Who (and written by Murray Gold), played during another incredible sad scene in the show. The title, and all of the lyrics are in Latin, with vale decem meaning ‘farewell ten’. That’s what this song is about, a farewell. The farewell of the tenth Doctor as he regenerated. I thought I was ready for this moment, but this song made sure that I wasn’t. The lyrics, and translation to the song:

Vale Decem (Farewell Ten)
Ad aeternam (On to eternity)
Di meliora (The fates be with you)
Ad aeternam (On to eternity)
Vale Decem (Farewell Ten)
Di meliora (The fates be with you)
Beati (Oh, blessed be he)
Pacifici (Who brought us peace)
Vale Decem (Farewell Ten)
Alis grave (Lay down your burden)
Ad perpetuam memoriam (We will remember you forever more)
Vale Decem (Farewell Ten)
Gratis tibi ago (We give you thanks)
Ad aeternam (On to eternity)
Nunquam singularis (You are not alone)
Nunquam (Never)
Dum spiro fido (Trust to the last)
Vale… (Farewell…)

 

Blood on the Pavement
This is one of the final songs in the season two final of Sherlock, and for anyone who’s seen the show, they’ll know how important it is for setting the scene. It has the slowed down main theme, that’s usually so upbeat, being brought to almost a halt. It really shows the reaction of John Watson to the events that are occurring before him, and what he is feeling. In the case of this song, it is absolute grief.

 

Married Life
Anyone who has seen that classic Pixar film Up would know the brilliance of that wonderful love story that lasted a lifetime in just a few minutes. This song shows the same things, you can feel the good times and the bad times of their story, with all of the ups and downs. The ending of which was just heartbreaking.

 

Reconciliation
This song from Avatar: The Last Airbender is about exactly what the title says. The reconciliation of Zuko and Uncle Iroh. Although not in the song, the lines that are said during that part are just so heartwarming. The first song in this list which causes happy crying, this time for a moment that was meant to happen for so long. This song just brings it all back.

 

Stuff We Did
The second time I cried during the film Up, and probably the saddest song of the film. And yet also one of the happiest…

 

For Good
Another separation song, but this time the separation of two best friends Galinda and Elphaba from the musical Wicked. I think it sums up most good friendships. These are two of my favourite lines from the song:

And just to clear the air, I ask forgiveness for the things I’ve done you’ve blamed me for. But then I guess we know there’s blame to share and none of it seems to matter any more.

Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better.

 

Firework
Lastly, Firework , sung by Katy Perry. It alsi doesn’t make me cry out of sadness, but rather if happiness. It’s just so inspirational. For once a song isn’t about lost love of complaining about life, but showing how good it can be and how special each person is.

 

I hope you guys liked my list. What songs make you cry?

BBC Sherlock (Season 2) TV Show Review

Coming up to this season I was really worried. The first season was so short that I didn’t know if it was just luck that it was good. Would this season turn out to be better or worse? It turned out that I had nothing to worry about. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

I think I’m beginning to see a pattern with this series. The first episode of each season eases people back into the show, nothing too intense but a good story. The second episode is generally the worst of the season, it doesn’t have much to do with the overall story and is just there. The third episode is epic and stressful and awesome, ending on a massive cliffhanger. Time will tell if the following seasons will be like this as well.

This season was the one that was based on the three most popular of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories; A Scandal in Bohemia, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Final Problem.

The first episode was pretty good. Despite the large level of nudity (not that anything is actually shown) it’s still rather tactful and these scenes are not the most… Awkward for John. The episode introduced a new character, Irene Addler (Lara Pulver), who is played very well. I admire Pulver’s acting skills in this role. The ending of the episode is very touching, it is one of the first inkling we get that Sherlock (played once again by Benedict Cumberbatch) actually cares. Another moment when Sherlock’s caring nature is shown is when we see his reaction to Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs) being hurt. It actually made me scared! One thing that did annoy was the way that the strokes of the violin didn’t match up with the sound of it; I just close my eyes in these parts. The overall genre of this episode, surprisingly for a Sherlock Holmes story, is romance.

The second episode has the genre of horror, but it didn’t really scare me that much. It was very interesting how they made this story modern and I think it was very well done. There was another new, one-episode character in this episode called Henry Knight played by Russell Tovey. Unlike Pulver’s character, Tovey’s just wasn’t as engaging. I felt little pity for him and didn’t think his acting was as good as it could have been. The best part of this episode was probably the ending with Mycroft that continues on with the backstory with Moriarty, but the episode had lots of really awesome small moments in it. It’s these moments that makes me enjoy this episode.

I loved episode three. It had me on edge the entire time. I was constantly feeling worried, angry, surprised and sad as I watched it. It was so amazing that I can barely describe it. I have to commend Martin Freeman for his role of John Watson in this episode. The amount of emotion he showed brought be to tears. There are so many hints and clues in this episode, you can tell that it’s leading up to something. It builds up to massive climax which doesn’t disappoint.

The music, oh, the music! It was amazing. While re-watching the episodes and thinking about which scenes were my favourite, I realised that it was the music that made them. They all had that music that had a fast undercurrent with a slow and strong melody. It sends shivers down my spine. Of course this music wouldn’t be as good is the theme song of Sherlock hadn’t been brought in during season 1. Here’s one of those incredible songs composed by David Arnold and Michael Price:

Favourite character/portrayal: Sherlock Holmes/Benedict Cumberbatch

Least favourite character/portrayal: Henry Knight/Russell Tovey

Favourite scene: When Moriarty is telling Sherlock the story about the knight and when John is in the graveyard.

Least favourite scene: When Henry is reminiscing the past

Rating; 5/5 stars

BBC Sherlock (Season 1) TV Show Review

I’ve watched the old Jeremy Brett version of Sherlock Holmes, the new Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and I have to say that the BBC’s Sherlock easily beats them all. I have seen both seasons one and two of this series, but seeing as this is the first one I’ll try to avoid references to the second season. Each season consists of three, 1.5 hour episodes. Warning this post may contain spoilers.

In a word; brilliant. The storyline is brilliant. The acting is brilliant. The filming, directing, everything is brilliant. I absolutely adore this series, so much so that led me to read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Sherlock is the Sherlock Holmes stories modernised and set in 21st century London. Despite this, in every other aspect it is perfectly in tune to the books.

The first episode called A Study in Pink (not the pilot, I will talk about that later) starts from the beginning. If you’ve been living under a rock for 100 years and have no idea who Sherlock Holmes is, you could watch this series and it would make total sense to you. The first episode is told through Dr. John Watson’s (played by Martin Freeman) eyes as he tries to figure out Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). Benedict plays Sherlock extremely well. He has such a Sherlock Holmes aura about him; one of arrogance and brilliance. Freeman is also a good John Watson. I hate it when Watson is presented as an idiot and Freeman does the opposite if this. Watson is shown as exactly what he is; a caring invalidated army doctor who admires Sherlock’s skills. One of the unique things about this series is the way writing pops up on the screen to show texts, emails and even thoughts. Whenever I talk to people about this series it’s one of the first things they mention. I’ve never seen it before and I love it!

The second episode The Blind Banker isn’t as good as any of the other episodes. Unlike the other episodes, you can only really watch this once without getting bored. Despite this, it’s still a lot better than most TV shows. I think one of the reasons why this episode wasn’t as great was because it didn’t contain as many of our lovable characters; DI Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves), Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs), Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss), Sergeant Sally Donovan (Vinette Robinson), Anderson (Jonathan Aris) and Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey). The stories seem to really need them to add extra humor and interest to them. The guest appearance of Gemma Chan as Soo Lin Yao really brought down the episode as well. I can say I am not a fan of her acting and I’m glad she won’t be on the show again.

The third episode The Great Game I thought was even with or better than A Study in Pink. The start of the episode was priceless; so funny! The actual episode has a lot of cases in it that keep your mind racing. It also has the introduction of a character that has been hinted out through the first two episodes; Moriaty (played by Andrew Scott). We find out more about Sherlock and John in this episode too. I think this quote sums it up.

  • John: “There are lives at stake, Sherlock! Actual human lives! Just so I know, do you care about that at all?”
  • Sherlock: “Would caring about them help to save them?”
  • John: “No.”
  • Sherlock: “Then I’ll continue not to make that mistake.”
  • John: “And you find that easy, do you?”
  • Sherlock: “Yes, very. Is that news to you?”
  • John: “No… no.” Sherlock: “… I’ve disappointed you.”
  • John: “It’s good. It’s a good deduction, yes.”
  • Sherlock: “Don’t make people into heroes, John; heroes don’t exist, and if they did I wouldn’t be one of them.”

The Pilot was an unaired 1-hour version of A Study in Pink. Although it isn’t as good as the aired episodes I think it deserves a mention because it has some funny and interesting scenes in it. It also shows the difference between good editing and great editing.

The music in this series is also very good. Whenever I think Sherlock Holmes music the first thing that comes to mind are violins and the score for Sherlock does not disappoint in this field. I think the best type of music for a TV show/movie is either when you don’t even notice it’s there, or you really notice it and love it. One of the main theme songs, The Game is On, is here:

Favourite character/portrayal: Sherlock Holmes/Benedict Cumberbatch

Least favourite character/portrayal: Soo Lin Yao/Gemma Chan

Favourite scene: So many! The interplay between Sherlock and Anderson (hilarious) and the end of A Study in Pink, when Watson makes a very good analysis of Sherlock

Least favourite scene: When Soo Lin is explaining about her past

Rating; 4/5 stars