The Empty Hearse
By Mark Gatiss
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
Well it has been two years since Sherlock jumped off that building and has been thought to be dead by the person he associates with and that includes his best friend John Watson. Now that he has returned from the dead and being away from London for two years to shut down Moriarty’s network Sherlock has returned. In two years things have changed and people have gotten on with their lives and how will they react to Sherlock returning to their lives. Well it has indeed been a long time since Sherlock has been on television and The Empty Hearse has been one of the most anticipated stories for a long time. Did the resolution to how Sherlock faked his death satisfactory and what about the story itself which fans have waited two years for did it stand up to all the hoopla surrounding it?
Well yes and no. The Empty Hearse didn’t have the feel of a typical Sherlock episode. It just didn’t seem like the mystery was all there. Sherlock comes back to stop a terrorist attack and he just seems to stumble into finding it out. After he reconciles with John the pair seem to hunt for a subway car that is missing and could be a bomb. What they discover is that it is a bomb and that Sherlock does not know how to disarm it. But what this scenario really does is get Watson to admit he isn’t really mad at Sherlock any more. What seemed to be a letdown is that the bomb was disabled by an off switch. This part of the story just wasn’t as good as the previous six stories. It just seemed to be anticlimactic and was pretty much a throw away sequence which only accomplished the reconciliation of the two friends and hopefully things will be more like Sherlock of old in the mystery department.
What I did like was seeing all the theories of how Sherlock could have faked his death. My favorite one was with the mask of Sherlock on Moriarty and Sherlock bungee cord diving into the window and kissing Molly goodbye. What has me wondering is did we actually see how he did it? It did seem to be hinted at that we would not know even when he told Anderson. Even still this was a pretty clever way that they did it and it keeps you guessing. I’m sure the way it happened was how he told it to Anderson and how many spotted the Doctor Who reference when Sherlock activated the plan. The code word was Lazarus the same character Mark Gatiss played in The Lazarus Experiment. I wonder how many of the fans deduced how he did it and got it correct.
I did like how Sherlock revealed to Watson he was back and not dead. It was pretty clever seeing him disguise himself as a waiter and then making the reveal. But you did have to feel for Watson because it was at the point that he was going to propose to Mary. What was funny was how long Watson kept it together before he started punching Sherlock. I think I would have punched him the minute he revealed himself. Also like the two other attacks Watson did to Sherlock at two different restaurants with my favorite being the head butt. This part of the story was good seeing how the two friends were getting along without each other. We see Sherlock spending the day with Molly investigating crimes and we see Watson being incredibly bored at his practice. I liked this part of the story and would not mind if the story took on this for the most part of the story with the conclusion being Sherlock and Mary saving Watson at the bonfire. Then they could be wondering who did it and that could have been a good set up for the rest of the series.
After being away for two years it was really good to see Sherlock again. The Empty Hearse gave us a glimpse of Sherlock that we have not seen before actually showing emotion and being pleasant to those he works with. The fact he gave Molly a kiss is something and the fact he realized he missed his chance with her is something we have not seen and we see more of this when he is talking with Mycroft later on while playing deductions. We see a resolution to what happened two years ago and now the gang is back together again. The Empty Hearse was entertaining if somewhat not up to standards in the mystery department but that does not really detract from what was the main focal point of the episode which was the reconciliation of the old friends and how much they need each other more than they are willing to let on. The Empty Hearse was a triumphant return for Sherlock and hopefully the mystery will be more prominent in the next two stories.
Grade B +