The Sign of Three in Review

RS_Spoilers_476

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!

Advertisements

The Empty Hearse in Review

RS_Spoilers_476

First of all, as a season opener, I have to say the plot was rather shabby. Although Sherlock is a character-driven series (as were the books, though to a lesser extent), I did expect something more than a very V for Vendetta reminiscent Guy Fawkes Day terrorist attack. However, in saying that, the reunion scenes, especially that between Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and Sherlock, really capture how much the detective has been missed, and the first snippet of the The Sign of Three really highlights the almost paternal relationship between the two men, as Lestrade shows exactly how much he is willing to give up for Sherlock (even though Lestrade’s first name is not a detail to remember, Sherlock’s opinion, which is another reference to Conan Doyle’s lack of continuity, as various police constables trot through the canon with remarkable alacrity).

The more comedic elements, such as the night-long battle of Sherlock’s lack of tact and John’s temper, craftily edited to suggest the expulsion from each establishment, free the episode from becoming too angsty. I think we have to recognise the hilarious Sherlock-ness of fixating  on John’s Moustache, even while knowing it will result in more violence. (It was an awful Moustache, it deserved to die at the blade of a vengeful John Watson.) In much the same way, Sherlock himself manipulates John into a position where talking about his feelings to Sherlock, acknowledging his grief over Sherlock’s ‘death’ and forgiving him, does not impinge on his pride. This is a rather clever move from Gatiss as well, I have decided after some consideration, as at first I thought the scenario was a bit unlikely. However, I reconsidered, and now think that it was ingenious, allowing the friends to keep their relationship intact even while appreciating the not inconsiderable puerility of Sherlock, as well as being an action that I can see Sherlock doing (not to mention, this reconciliation allowed the characters to stay true to the foundations laid by canon and previous series).

Another enterprising aspect of this episode was the titular group; ‘The Empty Hearse’. While many fans saw the 3 alternative scenes of Sherlock’s survival as a breaking of the fourth wall and a nod to the fandom, I see it as something serving multiple purposes, the primary one being been mentioned by Moffat in an interview. As a Conan Doyle canon fan, I can see how clever this is. On the one hand, Gatiss is paying tribute to the original stories, which created the illusion that Sherlock Holmes was amongst the 1982 London population, and a real personage. When Conan-Doyle ‘killed off’ Holmes, to the horror of the fans, groups emerged, explanations of Sherlock’s survival were submitted, and fanfiction was written. Fanfiction was also published – for the duration of the Great Hiatus, the Strand Magazine had 20,000 less subscribers, as readers were forced to use their own imaginations to supplement the lack of forthcoming Holmes stories.

Thus, the scenes that Gatiss has included in ‘The Empty Hearse’ are genuine re-interpretations of what was happening with the canon, simply modernising the context as always. That fans can see themselves in the episode just shows how masterful Gatiss was in depicting events to overlap into modern fandom. I also enjoyed the nod to Conan Doyle’s somewhat sloppy re-animation of Holmes in the canon, as the simplest of theories presented in the episode was declared the true one (yes, now we know for sure!), and Sherlock, when confronted with Anderson’s disappointment, responded with “everyone’s a critic!“; a collective nod.

So I can certainly say that after a bit of rumination, I really liked this episode. Not to mention that I feel that Mary Morstan-Watson (played by Amanda Abbington) is a brilliant addition to the cast.

For a bit more reading, you can look down here:

I’d be really interested what all of you felt about the way the plot/character divide was in this episode, and whether you approved of it or not!

– Let’s call me Lily

The Time of the Doctor

First of all, I forgot to post about this:

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot

I think this is MORE awesome than the special itself….I loved it.
It is AMAZING. And funny. And has Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Peter Jackson in it. Watch it.

Secondly, The Dr. Who Christmas Special. In which nobody dies, again (except for Handles, but, you know, who is he even? He’s just an odd cyberman head). There is a photograph on Facebook, in which Steven Moffat is seen rubbing his eyes, and below is written: “Doesn’t he look tired?” This is a reference that comes from the David Tennant (10th Doctor) run, wherein the Doctor overthrows Harriet Jones’ government with 6 little words: “don’t you think she looks tired?” . It kind of sums up this episode, maybe the last few episodes of Doctor Who, for me.

The thing is, the 11th Doctor (I am going to use the less complicated naming of Doctors: Eccleston=9, Tennant=10, etc) run was quite long. And personally, I didn’t connect to this incarnation of the Doctor, to his companions, to the main arc of the  story line, as much. There a few episodes that I really loved; for example, the dinosaurs in space episode, and I believe that Matt Smith is an incredible actor, but overall I can’t really claim to be an 11th Doctor run lover. I recognise that Moffatt doesn’t write all the episodes, I recognise that he is trying his best and I definitely acknowledge that what he is doing is beyond anything I could ever produce.

However, he is currently directing and writing for two prestigious and popular shows which are running almost concurrently, and thus has the weight of two well-established fandoms on his shoulders, as well as pressure from past and contemporary adaptations such as Elementary, and that is a lot to bear. He must be incredibly busy. It’s admirable, in some ways. But, in other ways, I find it a bit…self-indulgent? Because I feel as if the Christmas Special, while knotting some threads, left others open, and that the episode in itself was a bit jolty. Matt Smith’s speech, his proclamation “Never tell me the rules!” seemed to be an echo of Moffatt’s frustrations at both fan criticism and, perhaps, the restraints in which he must operate. Meanwhile, his work in Sherlock is, in my opinion, much more fun, ‘lighthearted’, in tone as a necessity of the more comedic elements, but also just the feel of it. Sherlock feels ‘fun’. Doctor Who feels a bit tired. So why not step down from the helm as director of Dr Who and concentrate on Sherlock? It has been confirmed that the Conan Doyle adaptation is continuing, and Moffat could still write Doctor Who episodes, as he did when Russell T. Davies was directing. It would gift fans with a new, potentially exciting take for the 12th Doctor.

Anway, back to The Time of the Doctor. I’m still rather muddled about the setting of this in the timeline, as it’s a continuation of The Day of the Doctor, definitely, but seems to have also forgotten the ending of The Name of the Doctor…and as it is now Peter Capaldi’s turn to act as the Doctor, I’m unsure of how that conundrum is going to be solved. Somehow the Doctor and Clara survived being inside the Doctor’s DNA, or whatever it was, to come back in the Day and the Time of the Doctor, but as far as I know it hasn’t been explained yet? So that still confuses me, if you could shed some light on that I would be eternally grateful 🙂

The episode felt a bit bumpy, as I said, as we move very rapidly through Clara and the Oswalds, which was an amusing if short sequence, back to Christmas. And vice-versa. While I am glad that Moffatt didn’t decide to demonise any other Christmas ornaments (the trees, the snowmen, the baubles…), it didn’t feel extremely festive. While the score and set design is quite spectacular, as always, and the acting is good, arguably the best part of the episode was the ending. I have to say that I preferred the 11th Doctor’s farewell to the 1oth, as I felt that Russell T. Davies was milking it rather a lot, and I am still upset that Martha ditched her fiancee to somehow end up married to Mickey (as in, I object because of continuity reasons). Also, I didn’t really like the Ten Two ending, so, erm, yeah. Whereas Matt Smith’s farewell seemed a bit more understated, and I know that a lot of people shed tears when Amy Pond re-appeared  – it was a lovely touch. And Peter Capaldi has kidneys, and doesn’t like the colour of them, apparently!

I’m really looking forward to how Capaldi treats the Doctor…are you?

– Let’s call me Lily

Cliched as a Girl in the Flower Dress

I have been neglecting this blog a bit.

Sorry.

(I had lots of excuses here, but they were all clichéd and useless and really, who wants to read those anyway?)

However, as the Armageddon Expo is this weekend, and I am attending for the first time ever, I will definitely be blogging on how that goes, after the whole event is over. I promise 🙂

November is almost here, and with it comes Thor: The Dark World (expect for in France, which gets it on October the 31st) and, on the 23rd, The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special; The Day of the Doctor.

December brings, on the 11th, The Hobbit:The Desolation Of Smaug,

January the 19th is the newly announced Season 3 Sherlock premiere date.

There are also the weekly previews of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show.

Then there’re The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Antman, Guardians of the Galaxy and so forth…

I have decided not to watch any of the trailers that have been released, which is kinda why I’ve been a bit silent – if I’m not watching them, I can’t very well write about them, now can I? But I am very much looking forward to them, especially since Thor: The Dark World is meant to be very promising since Joss Whedon fixed some problematic scenes. I very sincerely hope that Jane is going to be a stronger character than in the first film, not just a besotted damselish scientist who gets the buff guy unexpectedly.

And all off my friends have been going on and on about the wondrous growly voice of the magnificent Cumberdagon – Smaug – who speaks in the new trailer. I haven’t seen it, but you can below 🙂 I think that I want to wait and see if the anticipation is worth it. That way I will have tried both methods; the wait and see, and the watch all you can beforehand, so I will know exactly what to do for the final installment in the trilogy.

However, I did recently see the Iron Man 3 blooper reel and how they did the ‘barrel of monkeys’ sceneit is absolutely incredible – the amount of people who worked on that scene to get everything to match up what with all the layers of CGI. And the fact that it’s REAL! Real skydivers doing the action sequence! REAL!!!!!! (yes, I am very impressed, can you tell?)

Also, on my quest for an identification card for Coulson, I discovered the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D website, which has some other handy accessories and a bit of info on the characters so far.

However, I have to say, I am not convinced with the show itself. Really, this is what we’re doing, Whedon? Really? Inserting a bundle of clichés into every episode and not even making them well-executed clichés? The internet told me that The Girl in the Flower Dress is the best episode yet. I will have to respectfully disagree with you on that point, internet. I am not seeing the show increase in quality, let alone in the bounds and leaps described by others. It’s okay. It has a couple of characters that I like, it has a plot line that I find intriguing because of the Project Centipede thingy (not because of Skye), and I’m trying to like it because it might have promise. Hopefully this will be revealed before the penultimate episode.

Also, I really want to know how Coulson lives.

What say you?

Official 26 Seconds Of Excitment

Yes, I have now watched the 26 seconds of the Sherlock Season Three Official Trailer.

I have to say, I just about choked when I saw the Moustache (I think that at this point it deserves a capital). It looks completely ridiculous, which, I believe, is its purpose, and I hope that when John first sees Sherlock again it is because he has broken into the flat to surreptitiously shave of John’s Moustache while he is sleeping.

Also, it took a comment from a friend and a second viewing to realise that yes, that is Lestrade. Talk about a buzz-killer! I think that I assumed it was Moran or someone random

Anyway, enjoy!

Comic Con From A Distance

Unfortunately, I don’t have ready access to a plane and a couple of grand, so I was not in San Diego for the comic con that tumblr fandom communities have been raving over (I heard this from my friends. I have not yet succumbed to the lure of gifs, reasoning that I would most likely embarrass  myself and spend hours and hours and never get anything done even more so than now).

However, my above friends told me about that handy website hypable, which had links to live blogs and summaries and such, and so I got a vicarious view into some of the goings on – yay!

So, as  result, I’ve seen the Marvel Panel (minus all the cool clips they saw, which aren’t allowed to be released) discuss Avengers 2 and Captain America 2 and The Guardians of the Galaxy (which I know nothing about) for an hour. I watched as Tom Hiddleston commandeered fans as Loki and turned them into a frenzied army, and I grinned in empathy as Karen Gillan (a.k.a. Amy Pond in Doctor Who) revealed her shiny bald head. I kinda wished that when I was bald, I’d worn wigs. Then I could throw them at my adoring crows and later ask for them back 🙂

So that was an hour of slightly confused fun!

I also found out what the real names of the movies are in a recap:

  • Captain America: Bewitcher of Souls
  • The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, in which the main antagonist for the film is Ultron (surprisingly!). Ultron is a criminally insane rogue sentient robot dedicated to conquest and the extermination of humanity.

Then, onto the BBC Sherlock fandom, where I discovered the top 10 things learnt, which included the fact that Moriarty was, indeed, DEAD, and that Moffat still claimed that an audience could work out what happened during the Fall with just the information given to them in the last scene. While I have not yet watched the Sherlock panel in the comic con, I intend to! Instead, I watched Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch’s (hilarious) messages as they apologised for not being able to be there, in a roundabout manner that included sarcasm and faked forgetfulness, as Freeman was in New Zealand filming, and Cumberbatch, it was later discovered, was officiating for a gay wedding.

I also giggled at the lovely “Sherlocked” and “Moffat!” shirts and mostly intelligent questions of fans, as well as the answers, at the very cool Sherlock Nerd HQ charity panel, which raised approximately $5,000, from what I remember.

Now, I’m a Whovian. But, as I’m very much behind on Doctor Who, only being up to episode 3 Season 5, when I took a glance at the panel of the Doctor Who Comic Con youtube video recording, I decided to follow the Doctor’s commonly said warning, and ran out of there, because of spoilers. So, I haven’t seen that. But someday, I will! I intend to catch up to everyone else before the New Zealand Armageddon, as there will definitely be some cast there, and I want to attend 🙂

Hopefully, you San Diegoans (San Diegonists?) had a great time.

– Let’s call me Lily

Benedict Cumberbatch Top Gear Interview

Here is a hilarious interview with Cumberbatch.

I genuinely fell for the little description, which said that “In this clip, we’re treated to seeing Benedict’s mother posing with quite a fanciful car, we learn what the BBC Sherlock star drove as his first vehicle, we see host Jeremy Clarkson learn how to take a punch, and determine how well Cumberbatch fared on his timed track laps versus other Star Trek greats.

We also get the secret behind exactly how Sherlock Holmes was able to survive the Reichenbach Fall.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I thought he was going to do the big reveal on Top Gear. Because I am a credulous idiot. Still, I enjoyed it 😛