After a brief recap of Sherlock circa 2010; 2012 and 2014 we go to the Second Afghan War and John Watson returning home after being wounded. He runs into Stamford who takes him to Barts wherein he meets the man he will always meet in every life, in every universe: Sherlock Holmes.
They do all the things our Sherlock and John do, including John getting married to Mary who is so annoyed at John for not including her in his adventures that she trolls him and Sherlock by pretending to be a bride in mourning because her husband has been galavanting with a new paramour. Sherlock thinks this is hilarious. John does not. The row gets interrupted by Lestrade showing up with a freaky arse case: a young bride shoots herself in the face, after playing russian roulette with the crowd, however when her husband, who was at The Limehouse, goes to pick up her body up from the morgue she isn’t there.
She’s behind him with a shotgun and she blows his brains out in front of several witnesses.
Everyone is like,’….what?’
And we’re off!
While the case itself is easy enough to solve, I actually figured it out about a third of the way through the episode, the case is merely background noise to what’s really going on. What is that? An anchoring of sorts for everyone, the audience and the characters, of just who these people are, how they connect to each other and why their little family works, because they are a family.
It also gives us a fascinating look at how Sherlock views everyone around him, especially women, while setting up the foundations for next season in a way that fully incorporates the whole gang and each of their particular talents.
Benedict Cumberbatch does an excellent job of reminding us of why he’s become so ubiquitous in the last few years in giving us a Sherlock who is just like the one we know, yet subtly different. Martin Freeman is, as always, amazing and Amanda Abbington is both droll and dangerous as Mary Morstan Watson.
The performance that stands out for me though is Mark Gatiss’ Mycroft. While the character has always been this show’s hidden big gun this episode gives you every shade of Mycroft’s turmoil and constant worry about his little brother that he alludes to in the very first episode of the series. It’s a quietly upsetting performance as you feel how very at the end of his rope Mycroft is with his brother. You also realize how much he depends on John, and more importantly John’s relationship with Sherlock to keep not only Sherlock together, but himself as well. It’s an Emmy worthy performance and I hope someone is paying attention because Gatiss is phenomenal.
My appetite is fully whetted for season four.
I give this episode 4 out of 5 orange pips.