After two weeks of fairly low-crime character-focused lightheartedness, here we are at the Sherlock series finale. They basically cliffhangered the first episode out to set up this week’s big villain, Charles Augustus Magnussen (Lars Mikkelsen), and now here’s his big moment to shine.
Got to get some drama, maybe a big reveal, probably a cliffhanger – but they’ve got a hour and a half, so should be fine. Review follows, watch on iPlayer first if need be.
Mind Palace Estate Agents Having Good Year
All told, I enjoyed the crap out of that. A pleasing return to crime-tension-twists, helps that I love Lars Mikkelsen after his role in The Killing. This time, his character Magnussen is an evil Danish Rupert Murdoch who keeps everyone’s secrets in his vault for blackmail purposes.
Ultimately, his presence is largely a catalyst to get some cast truths into the open. Why did we spend so much of the first two episodes on character stuff? Mostly to get the Watsons into position for tonight’s reveal. This would be another downside of the three-stories-a-series format, I suppose – complex subplots take ages to establish.
Not that it bothered me this week, as we flail from the Magnussen storyline to the Watsons and back again, throwing several twists out there and indulgently including a lengthy sequence set inside Sherlock’s “mind palace” as he thinks his way through a bullet wound. It amused me, which is the main thing, and also set up the fun final reveal about Magnussen’s vault. Basically, I approve especially of the Magnussen storyline, I kinda wish he’d had more time, but it was needed for…
Okay, so Mary is a former assassin but not a bad person and she and John are angry yet fine. Cool – I was half-expecting her not to survive the episode. Martin Freeman sold this storyline for me, as even with all the time devoted to the John/Mary relationship in the last two, I don’t yet know it that well.
Plenty of good bits from Freeman/Cumberbatch too, even if there’s more OTT emoting than I felt we needed. You don’t need to have John/Sherlock announce their love every five minutes, I definitely got it last week with that huge speech. Even Mycroft’s feelings are weirdly out there nowadays. When did the Sherlock characters get so big on verbal affection?
Lastly, the possible return of Moriarty at the end is an entertaining inversion of last series’ cliffhanger. Is he really back or is someone else using his image? He did have a comprehensive screen death, but I almost hope Moffat/Gatiss do resurrect him, just to see if they can sell something that ridiculous. Like the idea of next series being forced into immediate danger right at the start, too.
But I doubt we’ll get the pay-off until 2016, so best not overthink it. Good final episode, nice reminder they can still do twisty crime after a couple of weeks off. I hope series four is tighter and more back-to-basics after all the love-ins this year, but since I’ve enjoyed every episode of series three bar a few niggles, hard to get too whiny. Good show, Sherlock.