The Sign of Three
By Stephen Thompson
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
It’s John and Mary’s wedding day and Sherlock is prepping for his speech as the best man. Not an easy thing to do the best man speech especially for a high functioning sociopath like Sherlock Holmes. What Sherlock does is actually tell a tale about one of the cases they were on and unfortunately did not solve as a point in how good of a person Watson is as he was able to save the murder victim. All during the speech he goes over another case which has been occupying his mind as it ties in with a funny story on how Sherlock and Watson got drunk during the stag night and then proceeded to take on the case in their inebriated state. As Holmes recalls the case he has an epiphany and realizes that The Mayfly Man is actually targeting someone at John and Mary’s wedding and that the first case he talked about and the Mayfly man case are actually connected. So the game is afoot at the wedding of John Watson and who thought this cherished occasion would be a normal one.
After episode one it was good to see Sherlock getting back to being normal somewhat. By that I mean there is a mystery to solve and unfortunately it ties in to Watson’s wedding. This part I really liked was seeing the two cases come together and be part of an attempted murder of Watson’s friend Major James Sholto who was Watson’s commanding officer in Afghanistan. I really liked how Sherlock came to the conclusion of this problem using all the women who had dated a ghost as it seemed and used process of elimination and especially when the answer was staring him in the face when the nurse used Watson’s middle name. I found this sequence to be really clever and also the way the murderer tried to kill his victims. This is where the show really gels and keeps on our toes and we try to guess the unexpected and the reveal for the most part is pretty satisfying and has us going “Wow I never would have guessed that.” That is what I like about the show and I am glad this story had that aspect which was missing from The Empty Hearse.
I prefer Sherlock to be the way it was the first two series keeping to the cases and not being soap opera-ish. When I saw it was going to be the wedding episode I kind of cringed and was expecting it to be well stupid and way over the top with Sherlock over analyzing the guests and stuff like that. I do like it when shows take a chance and try something different as long as it is not all the time. So The Sign of Three was just that a story that was out of the norm and for the most part I was pretty much entertained. I really liked the comedy element in this story. It was pretty funny and it was not in your face funny. Just the reaction Sherlock gives John when asked about being the best man and the way he tells it in his best man speech is pretty hilarious along with the beginning of the speech.
What was also pretty amusing was seeing Holmes and Watson drunk. Seeing them playing the deduction game and Holmes had his name on his forehead trying to guess who the rude person is in itself was pretty funny but not as funny as seeing them trying to solve a case drunk. Like I said the funny bits were not over the top and were not jammed down your throat at all and in a sense it was good to see this side of the two friends. I just hope we don’t have to see much more of this and that we can get back to basics with solving crimes. But for this one episode it was good to see something different.
Benedict Cumberbatch was excellent in this story. In fact this might have been one of his best performances. You just have to watch the scene when Watson asks him to be the best man. Just standing there and being in a trance was just priceless and well the whole best man speech was a good performance also. I was really impressed with his whole performance at the wedding and how he went all Matt Smith acting with the arms flaying all over the place and twirling around. That was like the Holmes of old and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were both superb being drunk and playing the deduction game. If anything else The Sign of Three will be remembered for being funny. I really like Amanda Abbington as Mary. She brings a different angle to the show that is in a way refreshing and seems to be meshing in nicely until she is disposed of. Well it is no big secret what will happen to Mary if you read the Doyle stories of Sherlock Holmes which is a shame as I think she is working out well and even sadder when Sherlock deduces she is pregnant hence the three in the title refers to the three Watsons.
So The Sign of Three sort of based but not really on the Sign of Four, even though the little person with the blow dart has a cameo, was a pretty entertaining story but I think it is time to go back to basics and feature more of the mystery and solving crime and all that.
Grade B +