Benedict Cumberbatch in Episode 1 of Sherlock Season 3.

Sherlock S03E01: Still Funny and Clever But 2 Years Is Too Long

Just finished watching the first episode of the long-awaited Season (or Series?) 3 of the BBC’s Sherlock (Wikipedia/IMDB) on Youku (神探夏洛克 第三季:第1集).

I actually began watching the episode half a day ago but decided to stop and go to sleep about halfway through it, which likely says something about the episode’s ability to keep me riveted to my seat despite how much anticipation I had to see the continuation of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s take on the famous detective duo. Let me therefore say up front that the episode has left me somewhat lost and confused.

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It’s not that I don’t understand the basic plot of the episode itself involving a terrorist attack in London, that Holmes is reappearing alive to a Watson who thought him dead for two years, or the likely plot arc for the season involving who wanted to kill John Watson. I’m just confused by all the apparent tying up of loose ends from the previous season which ended with Holmes’ death. I remember Holmes’ dying, but I actually didn’t remember Moriarty framing him, why some Scotland Yard detective felt guilty about Holmes’ death, or even this Molly Hooper character! Throughout it all, I just kept asking myself why I can’t seem to connect what’s being revealed now with what I remember from the last finale, and concluding that I have to rewatch the series to figure out what’s going on in much of this episode.

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In checking Wikipedia right now, it turns out there was a “Christmas mini-episode” that acts as a prequel to Season 3. Perhaps that will explain or otherwise give context to everything I didn’t understand in this episode. Then again, Molly Hooper seems to be an important character and my forgetting her entirely means I’ve forgotten so much that a rewatching of the entire series really may be in order for me.

Until I do so and see if it clears things up for me, I will say now that I loved how the creators carried over (on?) the self-conscious joke of a homoerotic Holmes-Watson relationship. It was very well played by Mrs. Hudson and Watson early in the episode and, at this point, hands-down the best scene as far as exemplifying the (dare I say British?) humor of the series.

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Cumberbatch’s distinctive appearance also continues to be a high point in his portrayal of Holmes, lending an air of slightly unsettling mischievousness that you don’t see in Robert Downey Jr. or Jonny Lee Miller’s incarnations in the new Sherlock Holmes movies (Wikipedia/IMDB) or the US show Elementary (Wikipedia/IMDB) respectively.

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Finally, there was enough lens flare throughout the episode I don’t remember noticing from past episodes that I couldn’t help but wonder if it was somehow contracted from JJ Abrams through Cumberbatch’s involvement in Star Trek Into Darkness (Wikipedia/IMDB).

3/5 stars.

The entire episode from Youku with Chinese subtitles is embedded below, but you probably won’t be able to view it unless you are in China.

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