Television: Sherlock and the Empty Hearse

"The Empty Hearse"

Two years after the devastating effects of The Reichenbach Fall, Dr John Watson has got on with his life. New horizons, romance and a comforting domestic future beckon. But, with London under threat of a huge terrorist attack, Sherlock Holmes is about to rise from the grave with all the theatricality that comes so naturally to him. It’s what his best friend wanted more than anything, but for John Watson it might well be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’! If Sherlock thinks everything will be just as he left it though, he’s in for a very big surprise…

It looks like Steven Moffat saved all his smarts for Sherlock and left none for Doctor Who. But this isn’t about Doctor Who. This is about Sherlock Holmes, and BBC’s brilliant adaptation that takes the detective to the present time. And currently, the only show under Steven Moffat that has any semblance of brilliance.

Last time on Sherlock, we saw our titular detective fall to his death–only to attend his own funeral. In the first episode off the new series, we quickly find out how Sherlock survived the fall. Or do we? The way Sherlock tells the story is open to interpretation. He really might be telling the truth, but he could also be trying to pull a fast one. It wouldn’t be out of character for him. I don’t plan on dwelling on the mystery. I’m just happy to have three new episodes of Sherlock.

The first order of business is to bring Sherlock back to everyone’s lives. It takes a third of the episode to integrate him back into people’s lives, but I’m not complaining. Benedict Cumberbatch, the bastard, is perfect in every aspect. The ways he breaks the news to the people he cares about are Standard Sherlock, but he gives them each a personal touch depending on the relationship his character shares with whoever he’s talking to in the scene.

Amanda Abbington is a glorious addition to the cast. I was afraid that I wouldn’t like whoever they cast as Mary Morstan, since I’m already content with the existing cast from the first two series. I feared that introducing Watson’s wife might change the chemistry of the show. But I was wrong. Abbington’s first series of scenes doesn’t actually make much of an impact. I won’t share why. But once we do get to meet Mary and see how her relationship with Watson works, she immediately wins us over.

Well, she won me over at least.

Louise Brealey, our dear Molly Hooper, also steps up as she gets more screen time. Brealey gives life to Molly with such enthusiasm and seriousness, that I would actually like to see her help out more in Sherlock’s cases. She gives a new dynamic to the Holmes-Watson tandem, and I think the team behind BBC’s Sherlock would do well to explore it. If not in this new batch of episodes, then maybe the ones for Series 4.

But the best part of The Empty Hearse is this: it’s fun to watch. Series 2 of Sherlock reached too much into intellect. The writers sought to one up us every step of the way. The Empty Hearse brings something back that hasn’t been seen since the first series: fun. It’s not tiring to watch The Empty Hearse. Our minds do not get taxed. We get sharp wit and smart entertainment, without the show becoming overbearing… or too smug about its brilliance.

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9 thoughts on “Television: Sherlock and the Empty Hearse

  1. I agree with your analysis. Watching Molly assist Sherlock was actually interesting and she seems to stand out as her own. I thought she would be out of the equation when she talks about the new man in her life but since this person seems to be a replica of our hero, there’s hope that she isn’t going to desert the series anytime soon.
    I also agree that this one didn’t tax the brain as much as some of the last ones did but I’d love for the writers to pull more fast ones on the audience. It’s always fun when you’re left scratching your head and speculating :)

    • I feared the exact same thing when Sherlock saw her ring and she started talking about the new man in her life. But I had a huge laugh when they finally introduced the guy in the end.

      And I’m all for speculating fun, but in moderation. I think one of the reasons why this was so fun was because it was a break of pace. :D

      • Haha. Perhaps. This one was wittier than the rest; it re-connected us with Holmes and Watson and the rest of them. It was great fun. But to think! Only three measly episodes after a two year wait! :(

  2. Loved this review. Much more personal and human than a lot of the ones I’ve read previously. I loved this episode an immeasurable amount, I really did. It was hilarious whilst touching, action-packed (dodgy tube carriage, I’m looking at you) whilst not rushed. It was a great beginning to the new series. I wrote a review, I’d love to hear your thoughts. (: Hopefully you’ve seen The Sign of Three, which I thought was exceptional. The writers are really pulling it out of the bag this year. To answer your earlier question, Series Four is confirmed by Martin and Benedict, but no idea of when we’re getting it. Nonetheless, it’s damn worth the wait.

    • I wasn’t as big a fan of The Sign of Three as I was of The Empty Hearse. And it seems like Moffat and Gatiss has confirmed Series 4 and 5. But then, who really knows with those trolls, eh? :)

      Thanks, by the way! I’m gonna head over to your corner of cyberspace as soon as I can. :D

      • Ahh, I loved the Sign of Three. I think both episodes have been amazing, and I’m terrified for what they’re gonna do to us on Sunday. Yeah! They said they’re plotting 4 and 5 out, but no news as to whether it’s officially happening. I think it will, given the viewing figures of this series.

        You’re more than welcome. Awesome! Thank you ((:

  3. Pingback: Television: Sherlock and the Sign of Three | taking a break

  4. Pingback: Television: Sherlock and His Last Vow | taking a break

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