Sherlock—Season 3

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Cumberbatch and Freeman continue to work well together

Not my favorite season


Sherlock is back and everyone wants a piece of him!

Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is back from the dead!  Falling off a building hasn’t slowed the detective down and returning to London two years after his death, he learns that life has moved on without him.  John Watson (Martin Freeman) is getting married to Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington).  Unfortunately, crime doesn’t stop for love and once again, Watson finds himself drawn into Holmes’ web of mysteries…and is a target again!

Sherlock—Season 3 aired from January 1, 2014 to January 12, 2014 in the UK.  The acclaimed series was preceded by a short on December 24, 2013 called “Many Happy Returns” which was a prequel to the third season and available online and for download.  Due to the format of the show *****Spoiler Alert***** is activated through the rest of the review.


So wait…how did he fake his death?

Following the dramatic conclusion of Sherlock—Season 2, Sherlock has “died” and magically resurrected.  The story was based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic “The Final Problem” which he killed his beloved detective.  When the public demanded Sherlock Holmes return, he wrote Hound of the Baskervilles (which took place before “The Final Problem”) but then resurrected him in “The Adventures of the Empty House” in 1903.

Much like the novel which weakly claimed Holmes “climbed to safety” and went into hiding, Sherlock almost jokingly plays with this idea by never giving you a full, definitive means by which he escaped death.  There are a number of different methods by which he could have escaped death, but even Sherlock’s possible explanation is pretty outlandish and takes so many factors to be workable that you aren’t sure if it is true…add to that, the possible return of Moriarty in the final episode, and you don’t know what is the truth.


Happiness won’t last long…

The first episode presents “The Adventure of the Empty House” as “The Empty Hearse” but not involving the mystery.  The story makes reference to the Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes and actually feels like it took a page from V for Vendetta involving the empty subway and the bomb car.  The mystery is sidelined to Sherlock’s return but serves the purpose of getting Watson to forgive Sherlock.

The second story takes it name from “The Sign of Four” from 1890 which featured the first appearance (and engagement to Watson) of Mary Morstan.  Once again, the murder is sidelined by the wedding and the relationship between Watson, Sherlock, and Mary.  The murders are incidental and not as interesting as previous seasons.


Liar? What was the clue…when she shot you?

“His Last Vow” takes the name “His Last Bow” from 1914 but really adapts “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton” from 1904 and “The Man with the Twisted Lip” from 1891.  Magnussen replaces Milverton, and Watson’s wife Mary loosely replaces Mr. St. Clair.  Sherlock’s decision to kill was a gimme and I just wasn’t sure if it was going to be Watson or Sherlock who killed Magnussen.

I had some problems with this season.  First, I think Sherlock is getting dumber.  I saw “Liar” pop up the first time he met Mary and I also wondered how Mary knew about coding…it just didn’t make sense and Sherlock should have put this stuff together…he’s smarter than that.  I also didn’t like the weaker than average general mysteries.  Sherlock is about the fun solving of mysteries and not necessarily the overall plot.  The other seasons have found a better balance between the two.

I still like Sherlock and think it is one of the more interesting shows on television, but I do think this is the weakest of the seasons.  With the possible return of Moriarty (I’ll believe it when I see it), it does add a new twist to Sherlock’s survival story and hopefully doesn’t just become another season of “we need to catch Moriarty”.

Sherlock—Season 3 Complete Episode Guide:


“The Empty Hearse”

3.1       The Empty Hearse Airdate:  01/01/14

Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) has somehow survived his encounter with Moriarty and his deadly fall.  After two years of working undercover, Sherlock is summoned back to England by his brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) when England faces a new national threat.  Sherlock finds that life has moved in London without him and John Watson (Martin Freeman) has a new girlfriend named Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington) that he’s considering marrying.  Sherlock finds himself trying to train a new assistant in Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) and learns that she too has had changes in her life.  When a mystery surrounding a disappearing passenger on a tube car surfaces, Sherlock learns that the threat against London is credible and only John can help him stop it.  Plus, could somebody new be targeting John and Sherlock?


“The Sign of Three”

3.2       The Sign of Three Airdate:  01/05/14

It is John and Mary’s big day and Sherlock has been picked as the best man.  As Sherlock makes the most awkward best man’s speech of all time, he tells the story of a dead guardsman and the mystery of how he was killed in a locked room and a group of women who claims to be dating a ghost.  When Sherlock realizes that the cases are linked to the wedding, a mystery is about to be revealed!


“His Last Vow”

3.3       His Last Vow Airdate:  01/12/14

Charles Magnussen (Lars Mikkelsen) has come to England and is using his intel to blackmail officials.  When Sherlock and Watson are called in to investigate, Sherlock uncovers the truth about Mrs. Watson and her past.  Now, both Watson and his wife are in danger and the key to stopping Magnussen could be unlocking the files he has before he can use them…which leads to a drastic move!  Plus, Sherlock faces the return of someone from his past.

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Related Links:

Sherlock—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Sherlock—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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