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Season Three of Sherlock Ends with a Bang

After two years of waiting and overanalyzing the last two seasons of Sherlock, fans and “Cumberbitches” alike finally found out how Sherlock Holmes survived his suicide jump. Well, not really.  Season three of Sherlock left Holmes’ survival to the fan’s own deductions, as well as tested their patience for the coming season.  While the plot deviation from the original books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are getting more extreme, Sherlock still captivates watchers because of the cinematic and well-crafted mysteries the famous sleuth takes on.  

Benedict Cumberbatch played a devilish Holmes once again as he tackled new cases and tested his friendship with the ever-patient John Watson, played by Martin Freeman.  The Cumberbatch and Freeman chemistry is what made the Holmes and Watson friendship authentic from the very beginning of the show, and hooked fans for seasons to come. 

The friendship was truly tested in episode one, The Empty Hearse, where Holmes presented himself to Watson after two years of pretending he was dead.  The ensuing hilarity landed Sherlock with a black eye from the typically mild mannered Watson.  The friends reconciled long enough for a new character to be introduced, Mary Mortsan, Watson’s fiancé.

Mary, played by Amanda Abbington, created a game changing triangle in which Sherlock had to compromise for Watson’s attention.  However, the real life relationship between Freeman and Abbington just enforced the show’s stretch for authenticity.  Freeman and Abbington have been together for more than five years and have two children.              

The triangle works well, with everyone getting enough attention from each other, and provides multiple opportunities for humor to emerge.  In episode two, The Sign of Three, Sherlock was requested to be Watson’s best man at his wedding and struggled with being a social human.  After defying death, Sherlock came across as being a subhuman, robotic, crime-solving sleuth that no one could communicate with.  By giving the speech at John’s wedding, it made Sherlock appear to be a human once again as fans watched his train wreck with public speaking. 

The true game was afoot in episode three, His Last Vow, where Holmes and Watson battled the mind of the super villain, Magnus.  This action-packed episode took on a much darker side as Magnus socially tormented the population, and Mycroft Holmes called on his brother to squelch the leverage-wielding villain. 

The twists were drastic, and episode three deviated the most from the plot of the Doyle books.  Mary confessed to being an ex-spy and spilled her plan to take out Magnus to erase her past.  That was just the beginning of the dark twists to come.  Violence was more prevalent in this episode, with almost every character taking a hit for the sake of England.  The very pregnant Mary shot Holmes in the nicest terms possible to make her escape from Magnus.  Holmes, once again, was strewn into his subhuman reality of defying death to survive the bullet wound.  For the biggest twist of all, Holmes fired the shot that killed Magnus.

All these instances of using bullets instead of brains detract from the real reason fans watch the show; to watch Holmes use his intellect to solve crimes.  By using violence and vigilantism, the Holmes character moved away from his original plan of brining justice to criminals and victims.      

While the shoot-them-up sequences make for exciting television, it does not pay the character of Holmes homage because of the lack of individuality and originality.  James Bond is the man who kills for England, not Holmes.  Forcing Holmes into the role of Bond just unravels the tightly woven web Holmes created.  Killing Magnus put Holmes on the same level as all the criminals he took out with logic. 

However, the fans have been duped before.  The scene of Holmes shooting Magnus was shot in a wide angle and could easily be misconstrued.  Just like the death of Moriarty in season two, the extra scene at the end of the credits gave fans a reason to believe Moriarty lives. 

The show is so intricate and well written no matter how far from the original idea the plot gets, it will be a fan favorite for years to come.  Overall, season three of Sherlock was incredibly entertaining and worth watching a few more times to catch all the little details.  It is up to the fans to continue their deductions and solve the mystery before next season.  

Anna Seils is currently an English major at Shippensburg University with a minor in Communication/Journalism. She is a campus correspondent for the Shippensburg University chapter of My Campus, head editor of the Ship Life section of The Slate and is an intern for a Gettysburg area magazine. She hopes to pursue a career in publishing.
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