The BBC has been trailing the return of three (okay, four) of its most popular detective heroes in a clever advertisement showing Stella Gibson from "The Fall", John Luther and Sherlock (and Dr Watson). "The Fall" re-starts next week although it is my least anticipated of the three, while "Luther's" comeback was very good but this dazzlingly brilliant episode was the best thing I've watched this Christmas.
The writing really was terrific with a plot that had more ups and downs than a mountain range, more ins and outs than Hampton Court Maze and more twists and turns than a dozen corkscrews, in short it was a triumph. Starting with a Victorian-era impossible murder with an even more impossible murderer, guest appearances by all the previous supporting cast including a massively-bloated Mycroft, surely a homage to Sydney Greenstreet and the return of the master-criminal we've all missed, a premonition of another husband-slaying in a big old house after dark, a recreation of the real Reichenbach Fall climax of yore, an ingenious denouement anticipating female suffrage years later but perhaps the best thing of all was the promise of a new series to come.
As ever, the technical aspects of the production were great, I'm a sucker for the multiple camera-angle, 360 degrees perspective, time-freezing, computer graphics and microscopic zoom shots employed. There was humour a-plenty and hosts of references to the Conan-Doyle original, including, if I'm not mistaken, the first time this Sherlock has ever said "Elementary my dear Watson".
The playing by Cumberbatch, Freeman and Andrew Scott as the three main protagonists was never better. I'm sure there will be Sherlock-oligists who can pick apart the complexities of the plot, which for sure seemed at times like a read-across from Moffat and Gatiss's other re-creation Dr Who, but let them, they won't spoil it for me. This was the best "Sherlock" I've yet seen and sets an almost impossibly high standard for what may come after this.
Doesn't matter if they don't however, this one was so good it really was the perfect after-Christmas present.
Imagining himself back in the 1890s, Sherlock is visited by Inspector Lestrade after newlywed Emelia Ricoletti, having apparently killed herself in public, murders her husband Thomas in front of witnesses before vanishing. Some months later Holmes is approached by Lady Carmichael, who tells him that her husband Sir Eustace has been threatened by Emelia, who then seemingly does away with him. With an intrusive Moriarty crossing him, Holmes attempts to solve the enigma, with unexpected help from Watson's wife Mary and evidence of a conspiracy involving half the population of the country.
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July 22, 2016 at 7:59 PM