I know that Season 3 of Sherlock has been out for a good long while and David and I finished watching it finished watching it a few weeks ago, but I still thought I would share some of my thoughts. I have read a few other reactions and just thought I would add my thoughts to the fray. I love Sherlock the first two season are amazing and I had been waiting for season 3 forever. Then it finally came here and I couldn’t bring myself to watch it because I was worried that it would not meet expectations. We decided to make sure to watch season 2 again before starting to watch season 3 to make sure we were in the appropriate mental space.
When we finally did get through it I still love the show because the characters of Sherlock and John Watson are amazing and the way they work together makes you want to see more. Now this season definitely feels a bit different than the other seasons, but that makes sense. In the story it is 2 1/2 years after Sherlock supposedly fell and died, with John Watson thinking he is dead. They have also introduced a new character because with the passage of time John actually found a woman, which also changes the dynamic. The basic comes down to the fact that the show needed to change and personally I do not mind the changes. (Spoilers for Sherlock after the jump)
Passage of Time
2 1/2 years is a long time for you to think someone is dead. This makes the first episode of season 3 feel slightly awkward, which makes sense. Sherlock is trying to come back into the world like nothing has changed. He even makes the comment about what could John have been doing because he was away not thinking that John would move on with his life. Some have commented that they did not like the first episode because of it not feeling quite right, but this seems appropriate to me. We should not just come back and it be the good old days. The first episode does a great job making us really understand the problematic nature of what Sherlock did. The introduction of Mary as a new character was also done brilliantly and by the first episode I absolutely love her.
The great thing about season 3 of Sherlock is the fact that we got a lot of growth from the characters. Season 1 introduced us to the characters, season 2 we really got to see how John and Sherlock work together and in season 3 we saw the characters grow. It means that the dynamic changes just a bit, but in some ways I think Sherlock and John grow closer together. The epitome of this moment is during the wedding between John and Mary when Sherlock gives the best man’s speech. The speech that Sherlock gives is one of the greatest speeches in television and shows the amount that John and Sherlock care for and rely on one another. I especially love that Mary understands the connection that John and Sherlock has and knows that it is important. At the same tie Mary can amazingly keep up with them, which we find out is not as surprising as originally thought.
I think the weakness of this season was really the villain and how he was handled. They actually brought in a very intriguing bad guy who was working on a very different level then other villains. I think I was expecting it to go somewhere more and it didn’t. In some ways I think they could have done a bunch of minor cases and just focused on rebuilding the connection between Sherlock and John Watson, as well as introducing the new dynamic of Mary. Now the whole secret life of Mary would have needed to be introduced in a different way, but I think it could have been done. The final villain just felt so rushed it was there and then gone again almost like it was an after thought. This especially feels so when they end up introducing Moriarty again at the end of season 3.
Even with the slight lacking in terms of the villain I still thoroughly enjoyed the season and am excited for the next season. The big thing about this season is it definitely felt like a lead in to season 4 versus a season into and of itself. They needed to get Sherlock and John back together and functioning well in order to deal with the real threat that they are building to which is obviously Moriarty. In some ways I think they wanted another interesting villain for season 3, but could not have them around for season 4 so they had to deal with it quickly. They could have had season 3 build to season 4 with Moriarty without having to do a rushed villain. The thing that was great with Moriarty was the building complexity and they did not give this villain the same amount of care. At the same time they did such a good job of rebuilding the relationship between Sherlock and John that I cannot wait to see more.