His Last Vow
By Steven Moffat
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
Charles Augustus Magnussen is a blackmailer. A blackmailer who owns a news corporation and he uses what he knows to get what he wants. Right now it is to get an inquiry off his back. Sherlock Holmes has been asked to get some letters back from him by Lady Smallwood who he has complete power over. Holmes and Watson look into stopping Magnussen by going as far as fabricating a love affair with his personal assistant to gain entry. This works all too well and unfortunately for Holmes he gets shot by someone who wants Magnussen dead. The thing is Sherlock knows who shoots him and it is someone dear to him and Watson.
I really liked “His Last Vow”. It was like the Sherlock of old for the most part back to the mystery and all the twists and turns that the show is known for. There were quite a few twists that really surprised me as I did not see those coming especially the one about Mary. It turns out Mary used to be an operative that has killed lots of people for her country or some other country. This was quite a surprise and an excellent development going on in the show. What was surprising was that the clues about her were all there from the beginning and I obviously missed them. I really enjoyed how Sherlock got Mary to reveal who she really was. That was pretty clever even though you knew John would be the one sitting in the chair. It was pretty clever using elements from “The Empty House” to bring this about.
Charles Augustus Magnussen was one of the creepiest, repulsive and downright nasty characters that Steven Moffat has created for Sherlock based on a Conan Doyle character. Charles Augustus Magnussen is a nasty piece of work and was a good adversary for Sherlock. Lars Mikkelsen played him pretty well and one of the best performances in the show’s three series. When he met his end I had a feeling of good he deserved what he got. Sort of the feeling when I watched The Master Blackmailer in the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series.
“His Last Vow” was written perfectly by Steven Moffat and it was definitely the best of the three stories from Series Three. It had everything we expect and the twists were really surprising. The fact they had Mary shoot Sherlock really surprised me. In fact that whole sequence when he deduces how to save him from the gunshot until Watson shows up was really good. I’m really liking the scenes in the mind palace as it adds a new element to the show instead of him just standing there thinking. It is a strange sequence but I enjoyed it. But tying Magnussen and Mary together made the story that more intriguing as Magnussen had info on Mary and was going to use it against her. I also liked how Steven Moffat used elements from the original story with Sherlock going out with Janine and then proposing to her. That happened in the original story as Holmes tricked a maid that he loved her to get close to the Master Blackmailer same as he did with Janine so it was good to see Steven Moffat using that part of the original story.
I was a bit surprised at the ending as I never expected Sherlock to shoot Magnussen dead with a shot to the head. That really surprised me just as much as the fact that all the info was stored in Magnussen’s head. But what really was a surprise was the true ending the apparent return of James Moriarty from the dead. Or is he? Steven Moffat is good at the cliffhangers to get everyone talking and this one is another good one. Seeing Moriarty’s face on the video screens in Piccadilly Circus saying “Did you miss me” was pretty good and surely one I wasn’t expecting. Well we will have a long wait to find out and the speculation is going to be good and asinine. “The Last Vow” was a great story to finish up a good series three.