Sherlock, Season 3 (2013)

 
Reviewer: Charity Bishop
 

It's been a long wait to learn how our favorite "high functioning sociopath" managed to pull off his death-defying ... well, death. John last saw him bleeding out on the pavement after leaping off the top of a building. But Sherlock Holmes is alive and well... and longing for home. In his two year absence, much has changed--and the timing of his dramatic reappearance couldn't be worse.

 

John Watson (Martin Freeman) has almost managed to achieve a normal life in the absence of his best friend. He has moved on and found a woman he wants to settle down with, Mary (Amanda Abbington). But on the very night of his marriage proposal, Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) rises from the dead. Once John quits pummeling him for two years of misery and bad memories, he's thrust into another case -- London is under a serious threat that Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) can't handle on his own. Underneath the terrorist plot is a threatening presence gently probing to discern Sherlock's weaknesses. The answers to those questions turn up in the third episode, which features a delightful look into the nuances and hierarchy of the "Holmes household." Stuck in-between is John's wedding, a hilarious fiasco that begins with Sherlock's best man's speech and ends with an attempted murder.

 

Three seasons ago when this writing team tackled my favorite literary character, I worried about what the might do to Sherlock Holmes. Yet somehow, in spite of the many problems I have with the series, it still manages to win me over due to its excellent character development. Much as the show appears to be about a friendship between two men, it's also the story of a relationship between brothers. Mycroft and Sherlock both struggle to express their emotions, and even understand basic human emotions, yet ruthlessly defend and watch out for one another. This season expounds on that by giving us a glimpse into their childhood, and how they truly see one another as individuals. But if its strengths lie in its characters (and each of them are memorable in their own right), its weaknesses are in its occasional absurdities. For a series that deals in excessive logic, the incredibly far-fetched explanations are hard to swallow.

 

Where former seasons were more about cases, this season is more about characters and a wry sense of humor. The shenanigans the duo get up to and the sardonic wit woven throughout are a joy to behold even when the scripts aren't quite up to snuff. Its greatest consistent flaw is that it sometimes resorts to lowbrow humor you'd expect to find in trashier television -- but then again, this is the show that stripped Irene Adler naked and pranced her around as a dominatrix. What's even more frustrating, however, is the long wait we have for season four.

   

  

Sexual Content:

A brief shot of a man's naked backside; a memory of Irene in the altogether (we only see her bare shoulders); a woman exits Sherlock's room wearing only a shirt (lots of leg) but we later learn they never slept together. Sexual references and a few gay jokes.
  
  

Language:

Eight abuses of Jesus' name, many casual uses of God's name, occasional profanities.

  

Violence:

Men are shot (sometimes in the head). Sherlock is tortured while undercover. Crime scenes with very little blood. A man is nearly burned alive.

    

Other:

Social drinking. Sherlock gets high while "undercover." A man pees in a fireplace.  

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