The return of Baker Street’s finest! Sherlock hits the BBC again, for another three movie-length adventures. Last year’s first run was widely regarded as marvellous, with two great episodes and, um, that other one, so anticipation was high for this comeback.
Can Sherlock live up to our expectations? And would he care either way?
A Reference In Circles
This first episode, written by Steven Moffat, is definitely very heavy on the mythology, with a lot of Mycroft, even more Irene Adler and a little Moriarty for good measure. It also features the visual flair we enjoyed during the first episode last year, which Moffat seems the most comfortable dealing with – it somewhat disappeared during the latter episodes.
But here, we get a lot of text on screen to portray Sherlock’s various thought processes, as well as an excellent first twenty minutes, which I may have enjoyed more than the part where the story got going – a few days in the life of Holmes and Watson.
Don’t get me wrong, the final plot is also very clever. It’s one of these mysteries that makes me want to watch again to see how it fits together. Sherlock is clever, but not too much, and Mark Gatiss as Mycroft is fun. Irene Adler was an interesting match for Sherlock, although as a Doctor Who viewer, she was written in an annoyingly similar voice to the River Song character.
A Venture In Fan-Fiction
Oh, and speaking of the level of self-referencing, we also have a lot of jokes about the “close” relationship between Holmes and Watson. Has Moffat been spending too much time on his own fan sites? Nonetheless, the bromance is in full force here, thanks to Cumberbatch and Freeman. The “punch me” scene particularly made me smile, as did that whole Christmas sequence.
No review would be complete without a complaint, and mine is this: the way they got out of last year’s cliffhanger did not entirely work for me. It was a little too cursory and smugly clever. I kept hoping we’d get an explanation of exactly how Adler made Moriarty spare them, but it never came.
Still, it was brushed aside so quickly that it didn’t stop me enjoying the rest of the episode. A good return for the boys, looking forward to next week. What did you think of Sherlock’s comeback? Catch the episode on iPlayer and let us know.