Monday, February 10, 2014

TV Series Review: Sherlock (season three)

Goodness it's been a long time since this show started, as the opening credits rolled by I was thinking that way back when this show first aired I had just started dabbling in video but by now I could do a fair recreation of the opening on my own if I put my mind to it (and put in quite a few hours of work that is). Back then barely anyone had heard of this show too and now it's everywhere. Before the first episode aired I was chatting with my mom and she said that they were taping it, my aunt's sister said that they would be watching it when I got home that evening if I wanted to join them, I started watching it while babysitting since my charge was already in bed, and when the parents came back, before the episode ended, they said that they were taping it too! Really, now everyone and their cat is watching the show (no seriously apparently my cat loves it when my mom watches Sherlock since it means he can sit in her lap for a full hour and a half without being moved).

Sherlock (season three)

It's been two years since Sherlock's fall and, while you never fully get over the death of a friend, John has moved on and is planning to propose to his girlfriend Mary soon. Of course this is right when Sherlock appears again out of nowhere, having somehow faked his death and ordered back to London by his brother Mycroft to help defend the realm again. John isn't so sure about getting involved again but, as everyone around him keeps pointing out, it seems that not only is he attracted to danger on some level but he also seems to draw it to him.

As usual, this season was a mixed back for me so let's start with the good things! First and foremost, it appears that Sherlock's two years abroad were good for him since we can really see in each episode that he's developing as a character and becoming a bit more human, more sensitive to the world around him. He still has a long way to go but by the end of the series we even see him performing acts not for his or John's sake but for other people as well, he seems to be finally thawing. I feel like this was most demonstrated in the final episode, especially in the scenes at the Holmes' house (which I think is my favorite scene of this entire show actually) where not only do we get a bit of banter that finally makes Sherlock and Mycroft feel like brothers but we also see some development from John as well (or at least he's starting to have a more forgiving worldview since clearly the world is out to drive him mad). Speaking of other parts I enjoyed, while the first episode's mystery was more than a bit half-cooked, and the last episode was more of a thriller than a proper mystery, I did really like how everything came together in the second episode. Funny enough the way that the story pulled together three or more different mysteries into one story makes it the most far-fetched of the three, and there were still a few moments which made me just roll by eyes, but ultimately I did really enjoy that episode much more than I expected when I heard the premise of "John is getting married and Sherlock is the best man."

Now for the things I didn't like. I try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible and here it wasn't that I disliked the ideas the show had, I had problems the execution of them. I'm seriously considering writing up a special post on what insane logic the Sherlock world must operate on in order to make these stories work, it seems almost superhero-esque at times, and if I do I'll link to it in this review in case anyone wants to be throughly spoiled or just see exactly where I didn't like what the show was doing. In short, the writers seemed to forget that in fiction you need to give villains a weakness unless you plan on having them win at the very end, otherwise your resolution feels most unsatisfying, and I both like and dislike the now Mary Watson. I like who she is but not what she is, which is the same distinction you could make for the female companions in Russel T Davies run of Doctor Who versus Moffat's female companions, RTD's characters were special for who they became while Moffats are special because of what they already represent, their archetypes in a way. And as for how the season ended, well, at least the cliffhanger isn't quite as big this time, and I half expected something like this can happen, but I do think the writers have been off more than they can actually explain in story if this season is anything to go by.