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Sherlock - Series 3.01 - The Empty Hearse - Review

Sherlock – Series 3.01 – The Empty Hearse

SPOILERS for The Empty Hearse ahead, don’t read if you haven’t seen it.


After two long years the wait is finally over for Sherlock fans as we finally find out how the illustrious detective managed to fake his own death and survive the fall from the roof of St. Bart’s hospital. Or do we?

While the wait itself may be over, the premiere of season 3 may not have provided all the answers fan’s have been waiting for. It did, however, prove to be an incredibly satisfying episode and while we may not have gotten a definitive answer on just how he did it, the theories themselves were more than enjoyable.

While some may be crying foul on the numerous fake outs and explanations (Like Sherlock says, there are always critics) they were in fact a great way to keep the audience engaged throughout the entire episode and release some much felt tension after two years of waiting. This episode managed to balance the silliness and seriousness in an artful way, especially when as a viewer you knew there were many hurdles that had to be cleared to get the plot moving again.

If the big death reveal was the first hurdle than surely the Sherlock/John reunion must have been the second. Questions abounded for the past two years: would John be elated or angry to find out his recently deceased best friend was now definitively not so? The answer was a mixture of both as Martin Freeman effortlessly played the tremendous task of showing the wide range of emotions that John Watson felt in knowing that his best friend had indeed returned.

Despite the fact that this was a solid episode all around, the reunion may have been the most satisfying aspect for me. The various encounters Sherlock had with all his former friends an family proved to be rewarding in general, from crime fighting with Molly Hooper to a bear hug with Lestrade. The episode worked to remind us the Sherlock is human, and he works because of his close-knit group of friends, not in spite of them. John’s reaction of grief, anger, happiness, and eventually forgiveness felt so human and so real that it drew the viewer in and back into a world, which has been vacant for two years.

The episode didn’t lack in other satisfying moments either. Character development abounds and this reviewer especially appreciated the scenes between Sherlock and older brother Mycroft. I’ve always been intrigued by their relationship, and getting a deeper look at their relationship was a delight. I was satisfied to learn that Mycroft’s betrayal last season was in fact a rouse and that he was in on the plan the entire time. Knowing that he was in fact the cleverer one, it never sat well with me that he hadn’t been in on it the whole time. I was also pleasantly pleased by the idea that two such gifted children came from two relatively normal parents. (A great cameo by Benedict Cumberbatch’s own parents.)

I’m assuming, and hoping, that we will see more character development this season not just from Mycroft but from all our supporting characters. Sherlock’s comment about Mycroft’s loneliness sure signaled at least some sort of development in that area. Even if the glimpses are brief, I always enjoy getting a look at the lives of the supporting cast.

Speaking of other character the introduction of Mary proved to be an absolute pleasure. There was no animosity between her and Sherlock, which I felt, was the absolute right decision. She’s a strong presence who at no point hindered the story but only enhanced it. Most importantly, she understood the importance of the relationship between John and Sherlock, which was the backbone of the episode as a whole.

Even the mystery, which the details of were mediocre at best, served to tell the bigger story of how there is no Sherlock without John and no John without Sherlock. It’s not that the mystery was bad, it just paled in comparison to the over reaching themes of this episode.

In all, this was a satisfying, exciting, moving, and hilarious return to the world of our favorite detective. I’m excited to see what this season holds. I just wish it wasn’t (as always) so short.

Tune in this Sunday at 8:30 to see the next episode, and if you’re in America you can look forward to seeing Sherlock back on your screens January 19.

What did you think? Were you satisfied with the episode? Or are you still wondering just how he did it?
About the Author - Trina
Trina is a contributer for Spoiler TV who reviews Vikings, Game of Thrones, Sherlock and Mad Men. She is a European History major living in the united States. She is an avid TV watcher and keeps up on most shows. When not writing she spends her time reading, working on a thesis, and running.

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