The Sign of Three in Review


This episode was a collaboration between all three writers, who each contributed a sequence to create the whole extravaganza that was John Watson’s Wedding (and stag party, plus some crimes).

That sentence was ambiguous, as I am attempting to find a coherent way to review this episode. It is hard. Let’s start with…(someone else’s words!!)

The best man’s speech was masterful. As a reviewer said:

Sherlock’s speech itself was equal parts awkward, embarrassing, funny, heartwarming, and sincere, which means it was pretty damn great. And even though there were several moments where I clutched at my face and willed Sherlock to stop talking out of sheer embarrassment for his character, the sentiment was there.

– Kaitlin Thomas

His speech also serves as the thrust of the plot, as scenes that he described melded into intriguing, sometimes hilarious flashbacks, all the while serving to display Sherlock’s admiration and respect and love for John to the audience; of both the episode and the wedding reception. While it did get slightly confusing for me (during the mind palace part, but we’ll get to that in a moment), I really liked the plot device used, as it is new to the series and created a more nostalgic, reminiscing tone which was perfect for a sentimental (oh, and it WAS, Sherlock was really revealing his hand here!) best man’s speech which dwelt on the core of Sherlock and John’s partnership – “I can solve your case, but John Watson will save your life”.

I’m still trying to decide whether to do this in chronological order, or filming order…oh, what the heck, I’ll just label everything! Who says a review has to have a middle or an end, anyway 🙂

Sherlock at wedding

I loved this gorgeous still with the flower petals – as always, the cinematography was sublime.

The Stag Party

Was just a hilarious affair overall. Really, I think that this episode was quite heart-wrenching, as the writers made us laugh and laugh…right until the end, at which point Sherlock (nope, hang on, that comes under a different heading!). I’m not sure whether drunk Sherlock was my fidgeting favourite part about that, what with his amazingly accurate deductions of “??death ?skull?deaded??” and his “clueing for looks”– fidgeting because I get embarrassed for actors/characters, even though I know the actor’s are only acting – or whether it was his utter determination to get it just the right amount of drunk using scientific methods, or whether it was the fact that they ended their stag party at 9 pm, the lightweights! Or it may have been John’s outsmarting Sherlock for once and fooling him into getting drunk. Actually, let’s go neutral: my favourite part about the stag party was the techno-version theme tune that played during this scene.

The Wedding Preparations

The SMILE. Let us first of all consider that smile. That very, very psychopathic smile

The SMILE. Let us first of all consider that smile. That very, very psychopathic smile

As expected, Sherlock goes a bit overboard with the wedding planning, interrogating boyfriends, learning how to fold napkins from youtube, and ensuring a boy’s good behaviour by bribing him with gruesome pictures of beheadings and murders. Cumberbatch shows  talent (as always) in portraying Sherlock’s vulnerability at being left behind in this episode, especially as characters all stress that John is going to change his ways irrevocably and abandon Sherlock now that he is marrying Mary. The elaborate planning that he is involved in, to me, displayed his wish to not only make sure that the wedding was perfect to please John, but also a way of keeping himself involved in John’s life.

Additionally, I continued to like Mary; her little manipulation of both John and Sherlock was amusing, and also intriguing, especially when compared to the canon version of Mary Morstan. In this episode I expected some more background about Mary, but had to be satisfied by a sentence. I’m looking forward to see how dramatically Moffat and Gatiss will alter her character further…

The Best Man Request

This rather poignant sequence continued to build upon the theme of Sherlock’s character development, as he admits to treasuring John Watson’s company (his labelled best friend in Series 2) and the honour he felt at being chosen to give the best man’s speech. Juxtaposing this was again the humour which pervaded the episode, as we are treated to snippets of Molly realising that John will ask Sherlock to be his best man, and what that means to an audience who will be completely unprepared for his tactlessness and disregard for social awareness. She then warns Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson of what she feels is a legitamate threat to the wedding, and throughout the episode we see quick cuts of their table, as they react to his sometimes questionable statements cringingly (along with me).

The Crimes

I was a bit dubious of the whole ‘belt so tight that I couldn’t feel myself being stabbed’ bit, but I have been reassured that it is credible. In which case – ouch?? Why do these royal guards abuse themselves that way – it seems illogical, especially since they won’t be able to concentrate as well if they’re in constant pain! And what a step, for Sherlock to admit he hadn’t solved a case; that was a piece of character development as well.

Apart from that, though, I felt it was a very impressive tie-in, especially as John Watson’s official blog then featured the new cases mentioned…except for the most intriguing, The Elephant in the Room. The individual cases themselves served a purpose in highlighting parts of Sherlock’s speech, and thus certain admirable characteristics of John. But then, taking them all together (after a bit of a wait) and using the Best Man’s speech as a ruse – brilliant, just brilliant!  That very intense part with Sholto, showing the motivation that blame could be to commit suicide (kind of) and how the responsibility to other’s welfare and happiness could change someone’s decision…I thought they did this aspect really well.

Except for one thing, which I didn’t like: the mind palace. First of all, at the start I couldn’t figure out what was going on at all – a friend had to explain it. Even then, the 5 way conversation befuddled me, especially after it turned out that some of the time Sherlock was only predicting the women’s responses (I think?). I propose that they should have visualised in in a different way – maybe more ethereal, like a kind of shadow world, or that they shouldn’t have done it at all and kept the mystery of Sherlock’s mind palace forever.

The Wedding

Oh, wow, I’ve covered a bit of it already, haven’t I? whoops. Carry on!!

Mrs. Hudson has had quite the life,I’m beginning to think, eh? What with that husband of hers and his drug cartel and everything. And, when Sherlock says to take the glass away from her 🙂 It’s a bit like she’s his slightly embarrassing, loving aunt/other maternal figure.

Sherlock using his deductions to help the maid of honour, Janine, played by Yasmine Akram, find the best one night stand was amusing, and did anyone catch something odd going on between those two? There’s certainly a dynamic I’d love to see explored! (Plus, another female character, yay!)

The episode begins with Mrs Hudson catching Sherlock ‘dancing’, as he composes a waltz for the Watson couple. Well, at the end you see him perform it for them as they dance… while he, heartbreakingly, finds out that there is no one for him to dance with at all – that was a very sad ending all of a sudden! Because you kind of realise that the whole episode has been leading to the moment that Sherlock truly acknowledges (as he does with his inscription for the waltz, which addresses them both) that he is giving John away (as cliched as that sounds, sorry.) Which is a bit sad for him, and us.

Also: Mary’s pregnant! WOW! Did not see that coming! At all! Nowhere in canon does it mention children…and I was expecting Mary to die soon anyway, so, double wow! Pregnant Mary, this will be interesting.

Also: Where has Magnusen disappeared to? A bit odd, he seemed very menacing right there at the end of the first episode.

So (cough, cough), this is my very informal review-thingy for The Sign of Three (it doesn’t deserve a real term). I realise it’s a dramatic change of tone from The Empty Hearse review I did, and I apologise if it’s not what you were expecting. To appease you, here are some other reviews 🙂 Enjoy!


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