Sherlock series 3 finale review: His Last Vow

Review Louisa Mellor 12 Jan 2014 - 22:00

Sherlock’s series 3 finale is a surprise-packed, cleverly written story with a terrific villain. Here’s our spoiler-filled review…

This review contains major spoilers. Our spoiler-free review is here.

3.3 His Last Vow

Let’s divvy up the winnings then, who had ‘rogue Secret Service assassin living under an assumed identity’ in the Mary Morstan sweepstakes?

Wrapping His Last Vow around the newly arrived Mrs Watson, taking her from ally to foe and back again, was a satisfying and thrilling end to Sherlock’s third series. Forget delaying gratification, this was revelation after twist after revelation after twist (with helicopters, shootings, and Bond villains to boot). Anyone wondering where the plot and jeopardy had gone in the previous two episodes now has their answer: it was all here, waiting to make a big showbiz entrance.

What worked so well about the Mary revelation is that it changed everything and nothing. By the end of the episode, she and John - Mr and Mrs Psychopath - were still in love, married, and expecting a child. Mary’s allegiance had been called excitingly into question but ultimately - like Sherlock - everything she did in His Last Vow was to keep John Watson safe. Planning to, but stopping herself from, killing Magnussen, shooting, but not killing, Sherlock… it was all to protect John from her truth and lies, both of which she thought would break him. (Not marrying him, of course, would have offered the best protection, but what was it Sherlock said last week about love standing opposed to pure, cold reason?)

The careful character work of the previous two episodes paid off richly in this, with Sherlock fulfilling his titular promise to always be there for his friends in dramatic style. Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington cemented John and Mary's until-now unexplored relationship in the series with some truly affecting scenes. “The problems of your past are your business. The problems of your future are my privilege” is 2014's (much wordier) “You had me at hello”.

Singling out praiseworthy performances from such a well-matched and talented cast would take up the rest of the word count, but special mention has to go to Lars Mikkelsen, whose Charles Augustus Magnussen was a rare kind of bastard.

Granted, we heard more speeches about Magnussen’s villainy than villainy we saw, but the face-licking, eyeball-flicking and fireplace-pissing all did their work. Mikkelsen made an altogether quieter villain than Andrew “Miss me?” Scott (more on him - zoiks! - later), less mad but just as bad. Magnussen’s role as modern-day bogeyman the newspaper mogul made him especially easy to despise and continued the thread of tabloid-bashing Sherlock started with the character of Kitty Riley in The Reichenbach Fall.

Magnussen’s Robocop-style read-outs being down not to Google Glass but his mental acuity (“I have an excellent memory” indeed) was another great twist in an episode full of them. Learning that the basement glimpsed at the end of The Empty Hearse existed only in the blackmailer’s mind was the best kind of reveal: outlandish-sounding at first, but looking back, loudly advertised throughout the episode. His Last Vow spent so long showing us around the complex architecture of Sherlock’s mind palace that we should have seen it coming that Magnussen’s vaults would also turn out to be figurative. Perhaps you did. (Incidentally, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but does that make Magnussen the only villain in fiction to best the hero using… metaphor? Well done that man.)

Locations-wise, those “empty houses” at Leinster Gardens were a fun real-life addition, and Magnussen’s stunning modernist mansion may have had the whole Bond thing going on, but Sherlock’s subconscious was the one with all the surprises. Director Nick Hurran (The Day Of The Doctor) and Arwel Wyn Jones’ production design team took us further into the character’s psyche than ever before, past a dearly departed family pet (the Redbeard of The Sign Of Three), sibling-inflicted childhood trauma, and a padded cell containing a chained-up nemesis (zoiks! once again). Sherlock’s freeze-frame and balletic fall as mind-palace Molly talked him through his post-bullet options was bravura television. The visual flourishes had real narrative justification this time. Sherlock wasn’t just being flashy for style’s sake, it was telling its story.

That story was noticeably more serious than either of the previous two but Steven Moffat’s clever script still found time for laughter. The scene in which Sherlock attempts to convince John of Magnussen’s extreme evil but is unable to distract him (and us) from the reappearance of Janine - who, in her Sussex bee-keeper’s cottage, remains forever a romantic possibility for the Great Detective’s eventual retirement - was a treat.

So too, was the introduction of Bill Wiggins, leader of the Baker Street Irregulars in the Conan Doyle stories, as a junkie wannabe sleuth. There was plenty more fun: “Shezza”, “Sherl”, “Shag-a-lot Holmes”, all that Smaug-referencing dragon talk between the Holmes brothers (more like Niles and Frasier Crane than ever now, what with having a genius for a mother).

Better than the jokes though, were the surprises. List them all and you’d get writer’s cramp. Sherlock using, Janine emerging from the bedroom, Mary’s secret identity, Mary shooting Sherlock, John stepping out of Sherlock’s shadow, the truth about Appledore’s vaults, Sherlock killing Magnussen, Sherlock’s plane turning around after that Casablanca-style landing strip goodbye, and of course, the reappearance of Jim Moriarty. Is he actually… Does that mean he wasn’t really… Was it even him who…

Do you know what? Let’s leave the speculation for another time. Sherlock and John aren’t the only addicts here. The cleverest, most entertaining show currently on TV is over once again, and Lord knows we’re going to need something to tide us over until our next fix.

Read our review of the previous episode, The Sign Of Three, here.

Sherlock series 3 comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD on Monday the 20th of January and is available to pre-order at the BBC shop, here.

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Disqus - noscript

Well Flick my face! Or should that be "Great (Andrew) Scott!!!"?

Great TV!

Did You miss me?

two, that was great...two, please don't make it another 2 years wait

I think Richie C's 'Squeee' could be heard the world over!

this was phenomenal television and an utter privilege to watch. Martin Freeman has been the star for me for Series 3, his acting has been grand. And that cliffhanger!

That was bloody brilliant. Beautifully acted, well paced, and bloody Moriaty! Yes!

Brilliant. Can't think of anything else to say.

The whole series was great just far too short, did not see the ending coming at all at least in the Reichenbach Fall we knew Sherlock was going to die or fake his death at the end but Moriarty?! Wow, I'm betting they've wrote it as a neat cliffhanger but haven't really got a plan for how he could possibly be alive yet!

That was worth the licence fee

Holy moly!!

"Do you know what? Let’s leave the speculation for another time. Sherlock
and John aren’t the only addicts here. The cleverest, most entertaining
show currently on TV is over once again, and Lord knows we’re going to
need something to tide us over until our next fix"

^^^ nail on the head.

I knew Moffat wouldn't be able to resist bring back Moriarty. Now, don't you dare make us wait more than a year. Hopefully they can manage to film later this year.
I wonder what it is about the Mikkelsen brothers that allows them to play such interesting characters? I'd have quite liked to see more about Magnussen, shame they couldn't have spread the plot over two series like the Moriarty one.

Well, it may only have lasted one and a half weeks, but it was well worth waiting two years for. I wonder what series 4 has in store for us?

Moriarty yesssssss I bet Richie C collapsed lol

I loved this series, as I have loved every episode of this fantastic show, but if I had one wish for series 4 would for one of those episodes to be a truly standalone, clever and urging murder mystery. For all the ingenuity Sherlock displayed this year, most of his deduction were just unexplained words hovering on the screen.

Fantastic. Brilliant. excellent 90 minutes, engrossing, amazing. Already likely to be the best TV of the year.

Oh god, they better not pull that trick again.

I haven't had such a frantic geek fit since Peter shouted "KIDNEYS!"

Yes we bloody did.

yeah I definitely heard that even above the loudness of my big grin.

By far the best episode of this series for me, but that's largely thanks to the brilliant setting up that took place, I had faith the writer's knew exactly what they were doing and it paid off in dividends. And that cliff hanger...not even going to start thinking about it, my heart can't take it.

Who is Sherlocks 'other' brother?

It's gonna be carnage when CAM and M team up!

I wonder if well get 3 versions of how Moriarty did it? Would make a nice juxtaposition to the resolution to how Sherlock survived the fall!

The credits started, then the static, and the high pitched "miss me?", and a grabbed my girlfriends leg and shock it so hard I think I might have spoiled the moment for her a little.....

I found that to be a huge letdown - pretty much like the previous two episodes. Don't get me wrong it's still fun TV but it's lacking....well detecting. Magnusson turned out to be a bland villain - the licking, flicking and pissing just attempts to make him seem quirky, but ultimately he was forgettable - and defeated in an equally forgettable (anyone else get a Indy Jones vibe) way. Infact this whole episode was underwhelming, despict the twists and turns nothing really excited - that is until the finale minute when Moriaty returned and instantly made more of an impact then anything in the previous 89 minutes.

What if its not Moriarty but another fiendishly evil villain who is making people believe Moriarty is alive as a means to his/her ends...

If Mikkelson minor doesn't get a Bond villain after that tour de force (did you HAVE to kill him off?) there's no justice in this world. He was chillingly,brilliantly repulsive

A Moffat written show that I am not going to pull apart. Excellent. Lars Mikklesen was truly outstanding. Sherlock shooting him was totally believable- though I was thinking that it would be Watson. An amazing piece of television.

Laughably bad. They can't risk cranking it up to 11 can they? Very silly, and a waste of a good bad guy. Hated the way Sherlock was out thought and was reduced to just shooting him. The idea that an event like that can be hushed up in someway so we're back to normal next year is weak plotting. They should have stuck to Doyle's original ending.

As for Moriarty's return well it was inevitable but oh, how we miss the original shadow by the swimming pool who kept the world at arms length. Andrew Scott will never get a scene any better than that now. Everything from now on is pantomime. His ludicrous trial last series was I thought the real jump the shark moment but oh no he's now behaving like a Roger Moore era Bond bad guy. Just give him a white cat. Terrible. CBBC moment.

A very disappointing end to the series. Not sure how it can recover. The show is now addicted to hysterical plot twists that have extinguished the elements of realism that are essential in this kind of fantasy. One last thing Dr Watson neither your wife or Sherlock is a sociopath or a psychopath, wiki the definition!

Well, that was bloody brilliant to put it mildly. Mikkelson utterly dominated the part, the first time a Sherlock villain has really made me feel genuinely uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, I adore Moriarty but he's a different kind of villain. Plus, it was lovely to see Sherlock really underestimate his foe for once, it made for some fantastic drama. Plus, it really says something about this website that my first thought upon seeing Mr Moriarty was 'blimey, I bet I'm not the only one wondering what Ritchie C's going to think'

What in the holy hell does a villain have to do to lift him out of your 'bland' category...? Magnussen was fantastically evil - a dirty, seedy, controlling little skidmark who got off on exerting his influence on other people and exploiting their most vulnerable secrets. He was not 'quirky', nor was there any attempt to present him as such. He violated personal space in the most extreme, yet still technically kind-of legal ways possible, to show his victims that he owned them. He was truly revolting, and possibly the best character the show has produced yet, though there is stiff competition in that area.

Yeah, I gotta agree with Soupy I'm afraid. This episode just didn't really engage me. Not sure about the twist at the end either, if I'm being honest. Maybe I'm just burned out with Moffat's writing, as the most recent Who was decidedly underwhelming too.

I just thought I'd check in and Squeee!!!!!

Where is the real Appledore, and who was the architect? Anyone know?

So did everyone else judging by the rest of the comment section. Nice to see everyone knows each other so well.

Maybe its the mysterious brother Mycroft mentioned in the episode...

I think, aside from the nit-picking that is bound to ensue here, we should just take a moment to thank the Beeb for Sherlock. It's remarkable that they're willing to spend an enormous amount of money on letting a couple of geeks make three movies every couple of years that are near impenetrable to non-fans.

The fact that they're brilliant is yet another reason to be thankful.

I know :-)
Gotta love this place!


Shooting him was the only way. People complain about the show being ridiculous and unbelievable, but then criticise it when it shows that sometimes there isn't a magic way out of things.


On a side note - Mrs Hudson.
A former pole-dancing, typist married to a drug cartel mobster turned marijuana smoking landlord/housekeeper... brilliant!

I have to agree that he was a brilliant villain. In fact he is the only villain I have ever seen on TV that has made me truly uncomfortable. It wasn't pleasant to watch him at all, but that made it all the more brilliant.


Loved the red herrings for those people who knew the original stories, also I really wasn't sure whether it was Watson who was going to shoot him, rather than Sherlock. Plus Lars M's performance was truly outstanding, I was actually repulsed by his CAM

Also I'm surprised to see that Ritchie C hadn't left a comment on this thread - I really hope he hasn't been put off by some aggressive comments on a previous article. In-jokes and running gags are what make DOG more like a forum / community and I enjoy them.

Either that or Ritchie C is still squeeing / rolling about on his collection of Andrew Scott photos....

Did you miss me?
Yeah, I've commented. Updated the avatar.

maybe his real name is Arty Morty?

The shooting was, of course, a nod to what happened in the original 'The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton', in which the shooting of a well-known Victorian London figure, with Holmes' marginal complicity, was indeed hushed up. Perhaps a reference too to the power of information and the difficulty of overcoming a blackmailer?

In two months, I've watched Day of the Doctor, Time of the Doctor and speed-watched three seasons of Game of Thrones. And they all paled in comparison to this, the best thing on telly bar none. Magnussen was truly nauseating, I suppose at least you know Moriarty isn't going to urinate in your fireplace while you stand helplessly by because his security toughs would climb aboard you the moment you tried to intervene.

I hope there's a scene between Moriarty and Sherlock where they both try to out wit each other by explaining how the other survived St Barts

So how long do we have to wait this time?

gawd, when I think about how old I'll be when it does come back...what we need is a Tardis so we can go watch it now, lol.

Holy Molly!!

Sherlocks other brother is a genius like Sherlock and Mycroft, however he became obsessed with Sci-Fi at a young age and the lines between the real world and the fantasy world became blurred to him, he now resides in an asylum where he lives a fantasy life as a 2000 year old Timelord named The Doctor.

That's my theory anyway, I mean Moffat did say that Matt Smith making an appearance in Sherlock was a possibility xD

That wasn't Richie squeeeing, that was me... or at least the combination of both of our squees.

If I flick your face you have to promise to keep your eye open

I thought it was possibly an in-jokey reference to the Asylum films Mock-Buster version of Sherlock Holmes, where he had an evil genius brother Robert. Who made an Iron Man suit. And a couple of clockwork dinosaurs. Or maybe the Gene Wider film from years ago.

You were waiting for the opportunity to use that weren't you xD

It's in Gloucestershire near a village called wotton-under-edge. The architect I'm afraid I don't know.

Best post credits scene/trailer since Captain America. Well for me anyway

I'm sure it won't be the last time :-)

Definitely the best episode and villain of the series, loved it! I have two thoughts about the end. First, we didn't actually see CAM dead, it was implied that he was shot in the head but it's possible he wasn't and he's been kept alive for Mycroft to get information from his vaults (since they're only in his mind). Secondl, I think Andrew Scott's Moriarty IS dead and was just a cover for the real Moriarty who is now making his presence felt.

Well it all makes sense now doesn't it?
Clearly Moff The Hoople couldn't cast him as the Doctor because he'd be too busy filming season 4 of Sherlock.

Loved your reference about Niles and Frasier! :) Yes, it a magnificent episode and these 2 actors (Benedict and Martin) are surely among the best of the best at present. God, what a tour de force, it really felt like a film that should have been shown in cinemas. I'm blown away.

I'm a bit disappointed in Magnussen to be honest. Any villain that you can defeat simply by killing isn't a particularly good villain. Mary provided the solution to his problem early on and Sherlock accomplished it.

Loved your reference about Niles and Frasier! :) Yes, it was a magnificent episode and these 2 actors (Benedict and Martin) are surely among the best of the best at present. God, what a tour de force, it really felt like a film that should have been shown in cinemas. I'm blown away.

I couldn't help myself...

"As my colleague is fond of remarking, this country sometimes needs a blunt instrument..."

That colleague - I believe she was referred to as M?

Any ideas on Mary's real name? A.G.RA or A.G.R.A?

An East Wind may be a reference to the Basil Rathbone Nazi threat as heard in the BBC4 documentary on after this episode interviewing Gatiss and Cumberbatch.

Sherlock's suggestion for baby names

Sherlock...his own name
Scott...Andrew Scott or Great Scot/Scott! As said by past Watsons?
Holmes...his own surname

Moriarty's reappearance a ploy by Holmes to get him out if the task Mycroft was going to give him?

It's actually in Swinhay, near Wotton - it's owned by one of the founders of Renishaw (their headquarters are nearby) - and the building was designed by David Austin. It's about 10 miles from my house, I drive by it from time to time. The house is every bit as amazing as it looks on screen and the grounds are incredible.

I think I would have preferred a reveal where an evil Holmes brother is 'returning' to exact revenge on Sherlock and Mycroft. To say they promised to explore 'Conan Doyle's other brilliant villains' I'm disappointed to see Moffat and Gatiss falling back on Moriarty.
At least, I feel that way from a writing point of view. As far as the actors involved go, I can't WAIT to see more of Andrew Scott's preposterous do-badder!

I can remember someone telling me at some point aged ago that William may actually be Sherlock's first name, but as it is a family name passed down he never uses it.

That would be interesting lol. It wouldn't surprise me if this mysterious brother is in season 4 in some kind of capacity I mean why else bring him up? I think it would be a good plot in season 4 to have Moriarty or another villain slowly reveal to the public all the secrets that Magnusson had kept recorded in his mind.

perhaps CAM was working with Moriaty and feeding him secrets. I think this would fit with Moriaty's MO because he of course previously tarnished Sherlocks reputation and now he could be tarnishing the reputations of politicians, businessmen etc. What if Moriaty ends up being the prime minister like the Master... Just a theory...

Um, you know CAM just got shot right?

To be fair so did M!

Sigerson 'Sigi' Holmes is the younger, much smarter and insanely jealous brother to both Sherlock and Mycroft.

See The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)

Holy Mollly!!

What ever happens, and I mean what ever happens! I don't want to have to wait until the first day of 2015 to see Sherlock agen!

To be fair, the other villains were a politician hiding in a hotel room and a wedding photographer with a hat-pin.
Not much in the way of competition... ;o)

But was going to result in Sherlock's inevitable death in Eastern Europe (Mycroft is never wrong). So it's really Moriarty that saved the day...

That doesn't work.
All the people Magnussen has blackmailed, all the enemies and no-one thought "Hey, maybe I should just kill him".
Now you could say they didn't realise Magnussen doesn't actually have any physical evidence so couldn't risk it, which then leaves the question. Why the hell tell anyone you have no evidence on them, especially a high-functioning sociopath who may have a gun (because well done on checking for one). I mean, am I missing something here or is Magnussen an idiot?

Well yes he is, that's the point. His pride (being so sure he'd trapped Sherlock, and thus not contemplating the possibility of a weapon) was his downfall - much as Sherlock's pride was his own

Sherrinford Holmes is a non-canonical brother to Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. Taken from one of the early Conan Doyle draft names for Sherlock.

Phenomenal TV. I'm still buzzing after watching it hours ago. The most enjoyable programme I've watched in years. Cumberbatch was incredible as always and I loved his interaction with so many characters.

And in that one moment, we were all RichieC...

That's pretty dumb. It's the equivalent of monologuing (James Bond or The Incredibles) and I expected better from this show.

CAM - I have all your secrets in my brain. I win
S - Is your brain bulletproof?
Cam - Crap!
S - I win

At which point? Moriarty chained up in RichieC's, sorry I mean Sherlock's, mind palace? The scenes that caused Sherlock to be flown back to the UK, the post-credits coda/stinger or all three?

That's the biggest question I left the episode with.

Can I please ask that anyone who thinks that they might be "burned out with Moffat's writing" just doesn't watch any more Doctor Who or Sherlock and refrains from commenting on it thereafter? I have hugely enjoyed both programmes recently, and to be perfectly frank am becoming more than a little "burned out" by the constant criticism levelled at someone who for me - and many others - has provided hours of excellent entertainment. It might not be your cup of tea - but it is mine, and also for many others. Please don't detract from the enjoyment I and many others derive from stopping by my favourite websites to see how much other fans have enjoyed it.... just to find it being triped.......

He made my flesh creep. I hated him, brilliant portrayal of a horrible, horrible character.

yeah, that was 007 reference if ever there was one.

Well this session kinda disproves Sherlock's obsession with claim that he is sociopath. I mean, he took bullet AND prison for Watson.

Holly Molly?
I should take those christmas decorations down.

Yes Magnussen's just been shot...but who's just come back from a shooting?!

I'm glad you're happy, but I think almost everyone is happy...well except C.A.M....

it's got to be in the genes, both he and his brother can be massively charming and then hideously repulsive, sometimes in the blink of an eye.
It's a talent some politicians would love...I mean imagine it...a charming politician.

yeah, no one dies anymore, it's not like the old days!

"That doesn't work.
All the people Magnussen has blackmailed, all the enemies and no-one thought "Hey, maybe I should just kill him"."

At which point incriminating documents are emailed to authorities or a safe deposit box is opened. Blackmailers generally have a guarantee to stop someone killing them.

Only if you knew about the mind palace could you safely pull the trigger.

"Now you could say they didn't realise Magnussen doesn't actually have any physical evidence so couldn't risk it, which then leaves the question. Why the hell tell anyone you have no evidence on them, especially a high-functioning sociopath who may have a gun (because well done on checking for one). I mean, am I missing something here or is Magnussen an idiot?"

He said it while there were a dozen police witnesses. Most people would feel safe in a such a situation.

Just finished watching His Last Vow......come to think of it, it calls back to mind the very end of Peaky Blinders; merely, acceptable closing - then however refreshingly upshoots itself, come very final minute's end.
What I would say, is that in bringing Moriarty back the writers have, aside from giving us what it is that we want, actually, amazingly too performed an act of Sherlock a now genuine opportunity to redeem himself, following his inability to in his preferred of ways have defeated Magnusson.
Great (final minute) climax. Great show!

I can't be the only one who has a mixture of feeling jubilation at the episode we just watched and feeling like I've just gorged a box of thorntons in one sitting and now have to wait an eternity for the next time I'll get a box.

Good grief! You mean someone else has seen this?? I thought it was just a full strength Kia-Ora induced vision I had...

It is soooo incredibly bad - the elements you mentioned, the mindnumbingly ridiculous story and Ianto Watson's remarkably badly fitting costume.

But I've watched it twice.

Plus I also bought the hallmark channel Matt Frewer stories too - both of them.

And watched one of them twice.

I think I may need to get out more.

That Magnus Magnussen fella was genuinely creepy

Benedict Cumberbatch is consistently ace and I'm sure will steal the headlines, but how good is Martin Freeman? After stepping out of Sherlock's shadow (which was the best (pre-credits) moment of the episode for me) his fury back at Baker Street was an absolutely masterful perfect piece of acting. For all the great Sherlock Holmes portrayals on screen, there's only one John Watson.

For all the people that complain about shooting Magnus was lazy, awful, yada yada, the show isn't as good as it used to be. Remember the first episode? A long time ago ain't it. How did that one end? By John shooting the bad cabby, saving sherlocks life and bam, the case is over. In this one, although Sherlock was practically outsmarted by Magnus, Sherlock shot Magnus to protect John and Mary. It's a similar concept. Actually pay attention to the show before you bash it.

Well, title of episode "His last vow" kinda gives it away :)

This season is all about Watson. And yeah, I personally think Martin has come out of his shell for this role. He is not push around anymore - and it seems Holmes start to understand that.

Well, the books were written a while ago and that's pretty much how the short story finishes, with Milverton shot to death. Not by Holmes, though.

I really hope Its not actually Moriarty, loved him but we seen him blow his brains out. This isn't comics you don't miraculously reappear when the writers want you back. Terrible twist at the end of a great although sometimes predictable episode.

I loved the episode. The references were everywhere. The Bond nods (fan of that too). What they did with Mary Morstan. Freeman's and Mikkelsen's WONDERUL acting. Molly's character developement.
The only thing I didn't enjoy was Moriarty's alleged comeback. I am hoping that, since Mary bears a few similarities to the Moran of the books, Moriarty's comeback can be a fake conceived by her, John and maybe even Mycroft in order to keep Sherlock in London. I'd believe that easier than Moriarty coming back.

Perfect Episode.

Really who is the brother, not Moriarty?

Awful, awful episode. Worst episode by far out of the entirety of the show. Let's see, was there the classic ending where Sherlock outwits the villain? Nope, he just shot him, great stuff Moffat. Was there a pointless twist with Mary, making her this unnecessarily complex character? Yes. Did the Sherlock character somehow become comfortable in being a boyfriend, even for a case? Yeah, it makes no sense. For the case it can accept him using the girl who just happened to work in the top level security rigged office of the villain, but him so comfortably kissing and allowing her into his life? Please Moffat, stop ruining my favourite series. It's the DW fiasco all over again.

surely after this cracking episode there is got to be a full screen film follow up from wherethis left off...@muso1

Just sad, really. Mr. Moffat just can't leave the dead, well, dead. This isn't Dr. Who. If I want fantasy I'll watch that or Torchwood or Being Human. I want a reality based series that makes sense, not one that insults us by saying that Moriarty is dead for the last two years. Remember saying that, Steven??? And then he magically survives a gunshot through the mouth into the brain. Wow, what utter rubbish.

Pan across a darkened room, the camera moving smoothly, pausing to linger on an open laptop, a Word document displayed on the screen. But the camera whisks away before we can glimpse at what it is.

We move across a desk, covered in notes, to rest on the hands of a seated figure. A telephone rings, and the hands move swiftly to answer it.

"Sir." A voice come through the receiver, "Sir, you've done it. You've broken the internet."

Steven Moffat smiles.

Exactly, I was content with the episode until that point. It better not be him, sherlock loses all credibility if it is.

As a reader of the stories, I'd guessed about finding Sherlock in the drugs den and Jenine (though admittedly I hadn't thought it'd be HER)- then again,all it gave me was a smug feeling that I'm sure they were all banking on :).
AMAZING episode, my mouth was wide open the whole time.

That said, Moriarty had better not be back. He was never my favorite villain (I love Sherlock in spite of him, really) and it would just seem FAR too contrived.

Shouldn't of bothered going back to pause sherlocks huge list of pressure points, it's juts the same few over and over again. But minor nitpick in otherwise a pretty good episode.

Nonsense. The bit where he shot him was fabulously done, especially where it changed to the boy-Sherlock stood crying and then plain-faced regular Sherlock.
A common complaint about Mary's character is that she's too bland. Quite adequately corrected, IMHO.
And did you not watch the elevator scene where Sherlock was explaining how he was simply using her?? And judging from everything implied, he didn't let her into his life - he had sex seven times a night with her. Hardly romantic.
Why not switch off from now on??

Please please please please don't have Moriarty come back. I want a new villain. We saw him get his brains blown out... unless it was a hoax by a new villain to ensure Sherlock got to stay in the UK.
Then again, Sherlock may have lied to Anderson about how he fakes his death, I suppose.

1- Magnussens demise is pretty much how it goes down in the original story. Holmes stands by and allows him to be executed by someone he wronged. This isn't too much of a step away from that.

2- Pointless twist about Mary making her complex? No, I dont think it was pointless but that one is at least subjective and personal taste.

3- Becoming a boyfriend for a case- this is what happens in The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton upon which this episode is based. So its pretty faithful to the source material. Holmes becomes engaged to a girl and uses her simply to assist in solving the case. Leaving her crushed, so at least this one had a more positive conclusion.

As much as I dislike Moffat, your complaints are for the most part aimed at Conan Doyle. It was a pretty faithful adaptation of the story with a modern twist, and as thats what the series set out to do it has been pretty successful. In fact,this episode is the only one of series 3 that is really faithful and a direct (more or less) adaptation.

The east wind line is from the canon. His Last Bow Holmes says it, referring to the German threat of the first world war. So almost right. Just wrong war :D

For 1 and 3 of your points I have to answer it like this: The series isn't wholeheartedly based off the original. It is adapted and enhanced for the modern age, the characters changed in different ways. In this version, Sherlock isn't like the original, he is different. In this he ins't simply a detective trying to imprison his enemies, he has to beat them. It's his entertainment, winning these mental confrontations, solving it all, then proving it to the world. Having him execute the guy right there is wrong for THIS character. 3, again he doesn't get physical like that. He has no experience or so is implied, he doesn't get into them. I understand he uses her to get forward in the case (the fact that John is friends with a girl who is in the private office of a very powerful guy is too coincidental for me alone) however him allowing her to walk into his bathroom while he is bathing is too far. How on earth does that help the case? Kissing maybe to keep the facade, but I don't see that as anything but unbelievable for the character. The Mary twist was unnecessary, she was a fine character who worked well off Sherlock and John, making an interesting member to the team. She needed a little more development however suddenly revealing she is the previous secret spy who murdered people is just stupid. Why does Moffat have to take characters classic to the series and make them ridiculous. He did the same with the Daleks in DW as well as the Cybermen, now he's done it with Mary.

I have a response coming but it is awaiting moderation apparently, so stand by.

Could it possibly be the other brother Mycroft spoke about? I really doubt Moriarty is going to be back for the next villain.

Throughout the three series it has drawn heavily on the original Conan Doyle stories, this episode is no different, they arent simply a modern Holmesian character (Like Jonathon Creek is, for example), these stories very much are adaptations of Doyles Holmes for a modern setting. So to complain that they are too faithful seems at odds with the internets usual complaint that things arent faithfull enough. It seems writers are damned if they do, damned if they dont these days.

As to your belief that the original was just a detective trying to imprison his enemies I can assure you that is far from the truth. A large number of the original stories were not about tracking down criminals at all, the key point was a mystery needed solving, the criminality of the mystery was secondary to the challenge. This version of Sherlock, the character and the show are extremely faithful to the original stories. This really is a good representation of what a modern Holmes may be like.

As to it being wrong for this character, I dont see how. He was more than willing to kill Moriarty at the end of series 1 and was only stopped by Moriartys phone going off. He is also constantly telling John to bring his gun along, so has no problem with people being shot.

The episodes draw from the old stories, they are not just those stories reshot in modern times though. It is well established in this series that Holmes must beat his opponent with his mind, you can't deny that, it is his motivation for doing it in the first place. Therefore him shooting the guy without outwitting him is cheap and unfaithful. I am saying it is unfaithful, the character Holmes in this episode seemed like a stranger wearing Sherlock's face. It just didn't fit. Sherlock doesn't care what happens to his enemies after he outwits them of beats them, and that is why Sherlock was willing to kill Moriarty, he knew he could beat him and he knew how to do it. This new guy was killed without any explanation behind whether Sherlock had won or not, no hint at all. For all we know, Sherlock was outwitted and shot him out of anger.
I have read some of the old Holmes stories and he speaks completely differently, acts differently (does not use his deductive powers to embarrass friends or the like of that) to this Sherlock. I feel that this Sherlock is a unique yet still fitting interpretation of the character, an interpretation which has developed over 2 and a half seasons, with this episode throwing that development away and making him seem less like Sherlock and more like what a normal person would be. I don't watch this show to watch a normal human.

OK, there is something nobody has mentioned, what's the story with the scene after the credits??? not the bit about Moriarty popping up on the screens but when the credits actually end, the medieval scene with the guy kneeling over a dead body and guys riding horses in the snow and once again we hear Moriarty's voice saying "miss me". Why is nobody wondering about that????

We watch the show for its clever writing and acting. They should of made it so there was a way out, rather than writing Sherlock into a hole then giving him a weak ending. They control the show and decide what to do with it. The clever "magic" endings as you put it are always possible.

I was a big fan of series 1&2-I'd rate the 1st and 3rd episodes of each of the first 2 series as 9-10/10. I was therefore very eager to see series 3 (and it is stream able here I the US if you spend3 minutes trying to figure it out. unfortunately I would rat each episode of series 3 at about 3/10... If series 1&2 we're not so good, I would give up after 3 episodes of series 3 and not even look forward to a 4 the series.

Where are the. Leaver mysteries to be solved? Where are the cleaver inductions? It's turned into a character driven dramedy with limited believability with limited, unbelievable plot.

For those yet to see, I'd recommend remembering series 1&2 with a warm glow and hold off hoping that they can return to form in the next series rather than watch series 3!!!!

Gah! I only came to this page to find the spoiler-free review link. I was hoping the big reveals might have been a bit further down the page.

Freeman has always been excellent at reaction, something I've felt has been very central to his portrayl of Watson, but that fury. I nearly cried.

That was absolutely amazing. I loved everything about that one... God, Mikkelson's villain was creepy. The twist with Mary was so well done; the sequence with Sherlock figuring his way through his gun wound with projections of Molly, Mycroft and Moriarty was brilliant... just great.

Now I really don't want to nitpick anything, and I'm sure I'll catch it on a re-watch... but I have to ask, how did Sherlock conceal the gun from Magnussen's henchmen? They made a point of searching Sherlock and John earlier, so I'd guess they searched them again... I missed how he snuck the gun in with him. Did they show that at all? But that's the only nitpick I have with that... if anyone can explain, I'd love to know.

Great episode, loved it.

Even the little bits like Magnussen keeping people's porn preferences in his mind palace.

It's the sign of three... musketeers.

My thoughts as the end titles were playing: "OH MY GOODNESS Moriarty is back. I thought Moffat said in an interview that he was definitely dead... Is it bad that I'm kinda glad he's back? ... Hold on... no, but this means... WE HAVE TO GO BACK AND RE-EXAMINE THE WHOLE REICHENBACH FALL ALL OVER AGAIN."

Just as we feared when Anderson voiced aloud the question in The Empty Hearse that he would be the last person Sherlock would tell the truth to, we still what really happened on that rooftop, because Moriarty's side of the story has to factor in as well, what with him somehow surviving blowing his brains out and all.

In an episode full of wows and surprises, there were three "f... off" moments for me:

1) Sherlock pulling out the engagement ring. Even my self declared "Cumberbitch" daughter gasped and said "what a b......"

2) The reveal of Mary holding the gun.

3) Of course, the return of Moriarty

Simply stunning episode. If there is a better piece of television produced anywhere in the World this year, then I want to see it!

I fear that if Moriarty is still alive, this show is going to lose a significant part of its fan base.

Don't get me wrong, I love Jim Moriarty and Andrew Scott's portrayal of him, it's A+

But this is "Sherlock", not "Doctor Who", and Moffatt (who wrote this episode) has already been called out for his several examples of major events happening in "Doctor Who", only to have reset switches turned on every time, so there's no real consequence to a person's actions. They take the one defining moment from the revival of Doctor Who, the destruction of Gallifrey by the Doctor himself...and now that's all forgotten.

If Moriarty is really alive, this isn't much different in a way, except there's no bloody TARDIS to make it possible. He blew his brains out. Leave him dead...

And Louisa knocks another one out of the ballpark! That was a brilliant review, again. After witnessing what Steven Moffat can do when he's writing for grown ups, I get the privilege of reading your recap. So very well done all.

Thank you.

He best not be, I love the show but I won't be able to take it serious if He miraculously healed his brain and the large hole in his skull.

Just because it was well done does not make it fitting for the episode. The shooting was wrong because Sherlock was beaten, there was no clever ending and it was a cheap way to end it. If he was shot after Sherlock outsmarted him, then fine, whatever that would of been good. It is just ridiculous for the Sherlock character in this to be so laid back about losing. Oh, I lost? Better shoot the guy. With Moriarty he went to any length to ensure he won, suddenly a new guy and he gives up and shoots him? That's just weak for him. The Mary character had great interactions in the short time she had been with them, she was witty and worked well with the characters. She fit nicely and felt natural for the show to have someone who grounded John and gave him some responsibility. The twist was unnecessary and is classic of Moffat. Take characters, make them over the top extravagant and that makes a character. The fake relationship idea was fine, he used her to get what he wanted and that's great. What's not great is that John just happens to have a friend who he invites to the wedding who is in the private, high security office of a master criminal. To much of a coincidence for me to buy it. Secondly, Sherlock would not get that intimate with someone, even for the case. The kissing is acceptable, but her walking around invading on his privacy while he is in the bathroom is just too much for the Sherlock character. The only romance he would go to lengths for is Irene Adler and that's because she was a challenge for him mentally. They have made the Sherlock character of this series too human, it's wrong. Also, stop acting all high and mighty, I have the right to express my opinion without you taking it as a personal insult and commanding me to go away just because it differs from your own. I justified it so grow up and accept that the world does not bow down to you.

so wait, does this mean the Sherlock tv show is over? or by Series 3, do they mean Season 3? I'm a bit confused....

Glad I'm not the only one who thought this was so, so weak. How anyone can say this episode was 'amazing' is beyond me, I must surely be missing something. I was not thinking 'OMG' with the Moriarty reveal, was more like, 'Really?' The mind palace was also extremely overused and overdone and I'm tired of Moffat writing incomprehensible rubbish disguised as something 'deep'. No. This didn't work at all.

It was done differently. The first episode was acceptable as it had the whole idea of anonymity of the killer. Sherlock had to work it out and we saw his thought process. He beat the killer there, he outsmarted him with the gun and then he got shot on the verge of them swallowing the pills. It had tension, a clever story, and the ending was fine to suit that. This had Sherlock beaten, and he just went straight to shooting him. No thought process, no clever ending or story, just bang.

Someone else that thinks that Sherlock should adhere to a formula which it has *NEVER* stuck to. Sherlock isn't a detective drama in the conventional sense and it never really has been. This isn't Poirot. These are character-based "capers" with comedy and thrills. And that's why they're so good.

lol!couldnt resist!

THAT was the biggest question?

And its only taken you 4 years!

Series 3 means season 3 in UK, 4th is on the way.

So you only want people to voice their opinion if it's the same as yours then. Someone else finding something they don't like about the show somehow detracts from your enjoyment?

At least there was a proper point to it. Magnus was unarmed!

If Moffat needs someone to replace John Simm as the Master, Lars Mikkellson has just submitted a bbrilliant application.

There have been nine episodes of Sherlock. If you can name 5 episodes (i.e over half) that have adhered to "a truly standalone, clever and urging murder mystery" then I'll give you an upvote.
If you can't, it may be time to realise that you're expecting the wrong thing from this show. What you want from the show, and what it's striving to deliver seem to be two different things.

Mate, criticism is an important part of work. Knowing what you do wrong so you can improve. We have the right and should be allowed to point out why we don't like an episode just as much as you have the right to point out why you did. You may find it wearisome but I feel that if we are giving valid criticism for poor writing, then it says quite a bit about the writer in our view.

Sorry that whole Janine thing was obvious! wasn't a surprise. Still made me angry :D Only minute complaint: I thought the end scene had been shown like 4 times :D Oh, I think the whole room was a server or interactive interface or already moved, come on, yeah there is the distinct possibility that there are villains with mind palaces but the whole text-on-screen was a give away that there must be something, in addition to the invisible tV that disappeared.

Moriarty's presence was hinted at through various scenes but mostly minutely, the dialogue was so tight this season it was difficult to catch :)
I concur this season was all about the character developments - Sherlock's paradoxical growth in instability and stability,Anderson's halfway acceptablility and then Molly (hello?! stabbing, slapping, .... ) The brother dynamic, the family core being revealed...

It felt like a set up to the next (two) seasons and boy that is going to be brilliant!!!!

Speculation must Begin!!! Who is the 'Other' + billy + John's irrationality + the woman's return (eastern europe reeferences abound) obviously the final conundrum :D

He probably didn't think anyone would be dumb enough to shoot him in the head in his own home with secret services literally outside.

Sherlock shot him to project his 2 friends, which is what he'd vowed to do in the previous episode. He went to the house to make that happen, and did the ONLY THING he could do to make it happen.

HaHaHa. I said exactly the same thing when Moriarty appeared. Love that film... "a drink? I was just saying to my good friend Watson, what a charming place this is".

"Sherlock would not get that intimate with someone, even for the case"

This isn't "your opinion". This is just incorrect- you don't write "Sherlock". You don't get to decide what he does or doesn't do.

You also just aren't paying attention to anything. John doesn't "just happent o have a friend". Mary does, because she's doing exactly what Sherlock does, using her to get to Magnessun.

You don't think blunt instruments give a damn for legal process or the Geneva Convention, do you? This is the barbaric New World Order decreed by free market capitalism. Don't expect the Law to protect you - it's too busy ensuring business is protected from it.

I thought it was fantastic. It showed the length Sherlock was willing to go to to protect his friends. I thought the point, which was echoed by Myecroft, was "Sherlock thinks of himself as a hero", which he disproves by murdering someone and for all he knows dying in a a hail of police gunfire.

Well I for one really enjoyed it. The Mind Palace was stunning piece of work, shocks and laughs all the way through and a truly terrifying villain. But is it just me or has Sherlock completely lost his touch? It was mistake after mistake and the fact that Magnussen completely outfoxed him forced him to take the lower way out. Excellent writing.

But there was a thought process. Magnussen was a blackmailer who thought he was so smart he could neglect to do the one thing every other blackmailer is sure to make a point of mentioning first thing when they blackmail someone: leaving evidence with an accomplice to be made public if anything happened to him.

Sherlock did outwit him in the end, by realizing that, in his arrogance, Magnussen had taken absolutely no precautions to prevent any of the people he thought he owned from just killing him.

Now we can argue about the moral implications of Sherlock killing an unarmed man, but I don't think it's fair to say that his putting together what none of the other people Magnussen blackmailed managed to wasn't at least a bit clever.

Loved the episode. Loved the way they adapted the original story. Loved the series. However - and I know Im in a minority here but - Im not sure about the return of Moriarty (if indeed it is he.... ). I know he was a fantastic villain. But Moriarty is dead. Conan Doyle and SM killed him off in TRF (Adventure of The Final Problem and if my memory serves me right, despite being a presence before the falls, he only appeared in two stories (The Valley Of Fear and Final Problem). I know SM has a habit of chopping and changing things but please.....

Moriarty always had considerable influence over people who he thought he would need help from. Is it really inconceivable that he faked his own death in a manner similar to Sherlock? It's not like we watched his autopsy, we just heard a bang and saw something red come out the back of his head, it could easily have been a squib.

We could also be dealing with one of his lieutenants who Sherlock failed to get rid of (we didn't get a Sebastian Moran story in the "The Empty Hearse" after all), or one of the other Moriarty brothers. If I'm recalling my Conan Doyle correctly, there's evidence of a total of three Moriarty brothers, at least two of them (including the villainous professor) named James.

I think the person with a bullet in his head got out foxed. Magnussen overplayed his hand. You always have to have a back up copy ready to be sent in case of your death when you are a black mailer.

Well I've always been skeptical about his interviews but this just takes the biscuit. He told everyone and got everyone to say Moriarty was dead, and he even stated reasons why he couldn't come back. Moffat man is liar.

I agree Magnussen overplayed his hand and ended up dead...

It's pretty much made clear that Mary has befriended Janine because of her position as Magnusson's PA, so there is nothing coincidental about that at all.

Good lord do people not bothering actually watching the episode? It's VERY clearly stated when she comes to visit him in hospital that everything splashed over the front page of the newspapers is a lie. They haven't had sex and he claims he was waiting until "after marriage" which she immediately calls him on as it was never going to happen. Played her from start to finish and sacrifices what could have been a good friendship for him to do so. "Too Human"? They flat out say he's quoting from books when describing his relationship with her, it's an act and nothing more.

As for shooting Magnussens why do people think that came out of nowhere? Sherlock clearly sets it up *way* in advance as he not only gets John to bring his gun to the Christmas party but even checks that he knows where it is. The deduction work comes all through the episode leading up to that point, most importantly when he inspects the glasses. But the biggest moment is the list of pressure points. Everyone on that list is someone Sherlock cares about which back him into a real corner. He also exhausts every option to fix this before using the gun. Hell he even makes sure there are a LOT of witnesses around before doing it so that John can't be blamed despite this putting Sherlock himself at serious risk of being shot by the secret service / police. He does, indeed, win except as Magnussens himself states there's no plan here, no grand scheme to foil. It's about power and control with only one way to take that away which Sherlock does despite knowing it'll cost him everything. But yeah, let's pitch it as lazy writing and not the culmination of three series worth of (sometimes very subtle) character development.

Damn you Den of Geek. My first thought on seeing Moriarty re-appear (at the end in "real-life" not in the mind palace) wasn't "Hmm, so how did he survive?" or "But, does that mean it wasn't really him on the roof?" or anything like that. No, instead it was "Will RichieC spontaneously explode with joy?"

Surprised that they didn't have a jumper in-joke in homage to Lars Mikkelsen & Forbrydelsen!

Bill Wiggins,he's gotta get a bigger part in the next series. He almost stole a few scenes from those other two jobbing thespians. ;-)

I loved the episode and even though I loved the visceral rush of seeing Jim back my initial thoughts are that he's not back at all. My speculation at this point is that it's Mycroft's work.

I think that with it being established that Mycroft knows Sherlock would be dead in six months if he went undercover in East Europe and that it would break his heart coupled with his statement that the country would need Sherlock at some point in the future means that sending him to certain death as an alternative to prison is rather self defeating.

So, to create a situation where Sherlock is needed to save his life seems well within Mycroft's abilities.

I may be (probably am) completely wrong but I hope that Mycroft isn't back because it stretches credibility too much for me.

Thoroughly enjoyable and much more like the previous series.

Only slight disappointment was that these very pages provided unknowing spoilers by highlighting the comments regarding Mary's face when the telegram from 'Cam' was read out at the wedding.

And as for those fretting about Moriarty being resurrected, I think it's the best of both worlds: we get to see more scenery chewing from Andrew Scott, but it can all be in the Mind Palace or recycled footage, like the Miss Me message.

Hmmm, scanning the comments below I seem to be the lone disenter. I thought CAM should have been given a longer story arc as he felt squeezed into this and he had potential.

I thought the big reveal was poor and for Sherlock to then shoot the guy who, at the end of the day, is not killing anyone, was pretty poor. The guy was a blackmailer - not a killer. He shot him to protect his friend's wife's reputation - newsflash, that doesn't mean you are aloowed to murder someone!

Also, much as I lovde Moriarty, I'm a little disappointed he has been brought back (if indeed he is). I would prefer they move forward with new villians (i.e. developed CAM and his relationship with Mycroft further).

The whole series seems like a bit of filler before the return of Moriarty. There just hasn't been the clever ideas and twists from the original 2 series. Disappointing for the years it took to make.

It was to protect more than her reputation, it was to protect her life and John's life.

Where was that explanation though? Where was the whole viewable process of him piecing together it all? Sherlock's outwitting him was realising that he could just kill him? I'm sorry, that is not the kind of tactic Sherlock should use. Sherlock can kill anyone really, but he doesn;t because he likes outsmarting them, so how does he outwit them by realising the only way to beat Magnussen is to kill him?

Why was it made that way? This is a show where Sherlock is supposed to be the cleverest of them all, the one who has the plan, outsmarts the enemy in a clever display where he pieces together all the clues and defeats his opponent. Why did they set it up so he could only shoot him? It was lazy in my opinion.

And in the same episode I supposedly didn't pay attention to it was stated she didn't have any friends. The character we have seen develop wouldn't do that, he just wouldn't. The whole idea of intimacy is foreign to him, as is stated in the first episode and the first of the second season.

Turns out Steven Moffat can still write a television show. No matter what The Guardian and some people on Twitter strongly believe.

I was only going along with what he said about the sex aspect in case I had it wrong. My point was the intimacy level they shared was wrong to me. My points for this was the physical level of apparent affection and the privacy point of the apartment none existent.

I'm saying that sure it may of been the only option for the character Sherlock, but the writers? Come on, they write the show, they could of set it up any way they wanted really and they go with that? The apparent deductions was minor through out, we didn't see his observations and his deductions based off that and that annoys me. Without that being stated as it had been in previous episodes it opens up the whole question of what is he thinking during, is he planning, is he winning? The whole idea of the power play was nice, it was different, but straying so far from the idea of Sherlock defeating his opponent with his mind was too much. Sure, he planned for the kill to ensure the end of Magnusson with his friends remaining unharmed, but it shouldn't of been done that way. He should of not had to resort on a gun, it was wrong.

Oh and I agree the development of the Sherlock character, the Watson character, their relationship and all has happened, however Sherlock should never appear to be as human as he was in that episode, it takes the magic out of the character.

the minute I saw that I could not help but think of you

To be fair, The Sign of Three was very clever to me. Had a clever murder and cases, a not over the top humourous bit with them being drunk, and quite an interesting story.

Alright, I can accept that, however I stick by my other arguments.

There was no other way, if you paid attention that whole meeting was about Sherlocks options slowly being taken away until only the one remained.

I think he played into CAMs hands, allowed CAM to think he was beaten, lead CAM to assume Sherlocks plan was to have the laptop tracked and therefore have CAM arrested. This meant CAM let his guard down as he thought he has won and beaten sherlock, hence telling him about his mind palace etc. Therefore they weren't checked for the gun

Cool, I don't agree with your other opinions - specifically the idea that Sherlock would not form a fake relationship with someone to get to a villain ( after all he fakes his own death to do so) and that Sherlock never resorts to physicality (he would have shot Moriarty and he threw a CIA agent out of a window).

I like the idea that Magnusson was smarter than Holmes and that after basically threatening Mary's life Holmes kept a promise he made in the previous episode. It really doesn't contradict anything that has been established, it builds on themes (friendship, the fact that the Holmes brothers need each other and Sherlock's logical way of thinking things out).

Thank you!

My thoughts exactly, unless the amount of emphesis placed on the word miss/missed is literally what happened Moriarty litterally missed himself, when he shot himself (i hope not). Would much rather see the "other brother" being the mastermind for series 4. That said seeing as their wasn't a definitive answer as to how sherlock survived i guess there is space for them to both survive, unless im not recollecting correctly no one had a clear view of all that happened on the roof, so fake shooting self, sherlock gives moriarty a way out...

Imagine if they adapt the adventure of the devils foot? People will be up in arms at a Sherlock who allows the murderer to go free :)

I lvoed this episode! It was a good adaptation in the first half hour and an outstanding original story for the remaining hour. I was especially pleased to see they finally brought in Sherlock's drug habits. Be it in a tongue in cheek kinda way. Troels Hartmann I mean...Charles Augustus Magnussen was great villain and a spectacular performance by Lars Mikkelsen (but then I did expect that) the twists were all brilliant and like some of Sherl's earlier episodes this one really felt like more like a movie than an episode of a tv show. It's marvelius to see how close the Moffatt/Gattiss version of Sherlock Holmes is to the original tv series starring Basill Rathbone. Therw was just one thing I didn't like. At the end of the episode I was just about ready to declare it my all time favourite when all of a sudden Andrew Scott appeared. I never liked his Moriarty. Too loopy. Moriarty should be more like Magnussen and less of a psychopath. I hope this thread will be resolved pretty quickly next season with Moriarty turning out to be dead after all but it probably won't.

In the Conan Doyle stories Sherlock is a master of disguise. He is able to analyse a situation and adapt himself to it to get what he wants. Therefore my take on this is that he played a role in order to get what he wanted. Look at how his face changed once he shut the door on her. Door closes, he loses the act. Sherlock would do anything for a case. Watson would regularly have to pull Holmes out of opium dens, and flea pits. This romantic disguise was just another example of this.

BTW Holmes does understand emotions, he has to in order to understand human nature and understand why people commit acts of murder etc. He just doesn't allow himself to be affected by them. This doesn't mean he can't pretend when the need arises.

It's the way it is done. I would be happy with a villains killing if its done right. A Study in Pink, great episode ended in the murderers death, the reason I like it is that it set the tone for Sherlock's character, a man who had to outsmart his adversary, and he did and only then did the guy get shot. That's fine, having Sherlock in this beaten is just stupid to have him shoot him. If he lost and it followed into the next season, great, more time to resolve it, but killing him after being beaten was just stupid. Sherlock has the killer walk free? Great, just make sure it is done right and Sherlock wins something over the bad guy.

You really have missed the point. Watson is the gun man, Watson does any killing that needs doing in the Sherlock stories. In the Doyle stories Sherlock would regularly ask Watson to bring his gun. Now, imagine Watson had shot CAM in front of all those people.... he would be locked up. FACT. In episode 1, if the police knew it was John who took the shot, he would have been locked up. What was this episode called.... His Last Vow.... And what was his Vow...? To protect John Watson and Mary Watson. So, he did what he had to do to protect Watson. That was the last option he had. That's why he told Watson not to react, and let CAM flick his face. He couldn't let John react angrily, pull his gun, and get arrested.

Wotton is a town not a village, and yes its in swinhay, next door to one of my best friends family home, loved the helicopter shot over the tyndale monument as well, got very excited seeing a place i grew up in/had many drunken nights as a teen on Sherlock :-D. Before the house was built it was derelict farm buildings where many highjinks happened...

I nearly did.
I'll tell you, it was a good job I was sitting down!

but that is the whole point. Sherlock was defeated in this story. Sherlock did not outsmart Magnussen. He just lost straight up. No though process required for defeat. Even the dumbest person on earth would arrive to the same solution. No need to show thought process behind that

yeah I get that, but what does it signify is what I'm wondering. Who is the main character in the scene, the third Holmes brother? Moriarty's brother? why is it set in medieval times? time-travel, film-set? Anyway hope next season is an improvement on this one, although still brilliant it was a big step down from the first two seasons, almost amateurish in comparison.............

The point I'm trying to make is that it shouldn't of ended like that. People are saying it was the only way and yeah, I get that but the writers are the ones who control what happens. It left me feeling thoroughly disappointed. I get he did it for protection, yet it could of been done entirely different and still achieve the same result.

real disappointment on watching it the first time i was taken in by the ride but on reflection there are several key points which disappoint and make this one of the weakest tales of the 3 series.

The first is the attempt to manipulate a twist by turning Mary suddenly into an ex government assassin who happened to fall for John Watson. This was lazy writing by Moffat and Gattiss. I don't mind them changing traditional Sherlock characters but this felt like plot manipulation to deliver the end of the tale rather then an organic writing process.

My second issue, the fact that Magnusson did what not even Moriarty could do, beat Holmes at his own game. No clever Holmes way out, no manipulating the situation. Holmes only rescued because Moriarty, or some person acting as him, returned from the dead. This made Holmes look weak, desperate, out of control and beaten. Something he never suffered in the books. Again this isn't an issue if the writers have Sherlock work his way through and better his opponent, Instead the writers had Sherlock shoot Magnuson meaning he ultimately lost which left me feeling cheated. It is almost as if the writers have run out of ideas for clever plot lines and stories and instead decided to take the cheap option.

I think matters are not helped by the fact that this is one of the closest representations to a Holmes story in all 3 series and yet just this year Elementary also did a take on this story and pulled it off to my mind far far better and more believably.

My issue with this is, unlike that first episode where we believed Sherlock had the killer beat, in this episode Sherlock was shown up, he was inept, his carefully thought through plan was completely useless, Magnuson succeeded where Moriarty failed, he beat Holmes. The acting was superb and there where some really clever bits. It was just let down by a poor story and a failure of an ending. The Mary story line also felt completley manufactured in order to give a reason for this story. You can imagine it.
Moffatt "We need Sherlock to be so involved in this situation that he acts out of character and kills Magnuson"
Gatis "Ummm he has something over Watson"
Moffatt "To Obvious"
Gattis "He has something over Mycroft"
Moffatt "Good but not believable"
Gattiss "I know Watsons wife is actually an ex government assassin and he knows and could expose her leading to her eventual death"
Moffatt "I like it, but we need to re write the other 2 episodes now."
Gattiss "No we don't, we will just add a couple of scenes in, refer to them when Sherlock works it out and everyone will think how clever we are".

I don't mind characters being changed from the story versions (I happen to love Lucy lieu as Watson in Elementary and the Irene Addler/Moriarty twist was very clever). But this felt too forced.

Sehrlock was on to CAM having a mind palace after realising that the pair of glasses were just glasses. He went to CAMs house to to confirm this deduction having already decided that the best way to keep his Last Vow and protect his friend was to put a bullet through the brain containing the mind palace. He had already beaten CAM by having him think he had the upper hand.

and this is why we dislike the ending, because Sherlock is never beaten. There is always another way out, another option. This series has been more about showing Sherlock has changed as a person then it is about the crimes he is investigating which is fine, as long as the crimes and solutions don't appear lazy and cheap. This was a lazy cheap ending to the series. You can tell it is because finally Gattiss and Moffatt realised they had to throw us all a bone to stop us going, oh was that it, so they throw us Moriarty.

Excellent bit of telly and one of my favourite Sherlock eps to date mostly because of Magnussen. Brilliant villain - I thought he was far more interesting than Moriarty who gets a little OTT and 'pantomimey' for me. Shame Magnussen was killied off. I would have like to have seen at least one more episode with him.

I actually think that putting Sherlock in that situation WAS clever writing. It illustrated Sherlock's fierce commitment to logic and reason. The situation was completely believable and the way it ended was absolutely right.

I think criticising the show for not being "magic" enough is utterly ridiculous.

Is it just me who found the BBC continuity announcer annoying over the end credits?

I think that depends on how you read the original story, actually. It is one of my favourite short stories, and IMO, Milverton does beat Holmes quite spectacularly. Holmes is reduced to breaking into his place to steal some papers, and even that plan was doomed to fail because Milverton actually enters the room and forces Holmes and Watson to hide behind a curtain leaving the safe a bit open. Then, a random woman, who had been exploited by Milverton, comes in and kills him, and Holmes and Watson get the chance to burn everything and run away, not before Watson gets spotted by one servant.
I mean, it wasn't Holmes' most clever and successful plan.
The main issue I have is that I can't see why it was so necessary for Mary to shoot Sherlock. Even as I was hearing the explanation I was like "yep... doesn't make too much sense".
I still loved the episode, though.

My take on that is that Mary is also involved. Her character bears a few similarities with the Moran from the books now, and it would be quite a thank you. Also, as an ex-intelligence agent, she may have worked for Mycroft at some point. In fact the only agency we hear her associeted to is the CIA, and we got a comment on Mycroft occasionally working for the CIA once (I can't recall if it was in Study in Pink or in Scandal in Belgravia).

The only reviews of this season which I've felt have actually, for lack of a better phrase 'got it', Wonderful stuff.

I reckon Cumberbatch brought back some Super Khan Blood from Star Trek.
Explains everything. (;

All three to be honest, but mainly the stinger.

I loved the references to 'Milverton', 'The Man With The Twisted Lip' and 'The Empty House'. Those were brilliant. Using Sherlock's own mind palace against him was also a great way to use the floating texts. Having Mary be revealed as a secret agent felt a bit too convenient, but luckily John voiced all those concerns as well (although I disliked, as John did, that it was all somehow his fault and that he 'chose' her, and is somehow attracted to psychopaths, that doesn't make it okay) and somehow it was okay by the end. Magnussen's plan seemed to have a direct flaw, a problem that could have been easily solved, which I predicted the moment I realized (right before he opened those doors) that there were no vaults, and that was shooting him in the head. It was the only option left. The episode was rocky though, with flashbacks taking us out of the moment and too much mindpalace, but it was a solid entry no doubt, because it stuck to its core characters and didn't let go. I loved in particular how Watson played Sherlock to Mary's Watson in the beginning, with Watson sounding rude to a client and going out to solve a case. The ending was convenient, bringing Sherlock back. The more obvious answer would be that Moriarty is still dead and that either Mycroft or an unknown third party broadcast that message to keep Sherlock in England.

Overall, the third series has been somewhat mixed, not to the same levels as previous series, but still in great form. I miss the puzzles. The murders Sherlock solved. This series has had more references to clients and cases than it had actual clients and cases.

If there's one thing that bothers me about Moffat's writing, just one, is his need to define Sherlock as a sociopath, which he clearly isn't, or a psychopath, which is basically the same thing. Didn't do the research there. I love me a more human Sherlock, which is why I love his relationship with Janine, and the backstory with his brother and parents....and especially Redbeard. I cried.

on a slightly different note... I am a big big fan of this version of Sherlock and look forward to every season... but every time I finish watching it I can help think I would like to see a modern twist on H.P Lovecraft's swork in the same kind of vibe as Sherlock. Make Lovecraft a modern day paranormal detective who investigates strange cases loosely based around his original stories. Keep it to a mini series only 3-4 episodes per season. Would love to see what Moffat and Gatiss could do with that material, even get the other League of Gentlemen guys Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith involved.. ah I can day dream about that all day.

I think that Sherlock intended to kill the villian all along. He already knew that Magnussen kept the information in his head. Sherlock discovered that when he looked at Magnussen's glasses. He outsmarted Magnussen by getting into his home to establish that there was no other source of information. He made sure the gun went with them, - remember he was carrying John's coat with the gun in it when they were walking to the heliocopter. He also knew that Mycroft would not act against Moriarty and took decisive action.

Given that the resolutions have so far been purposefully anticlimactic against the expectations that the cliffhangers generate in Sherlock then I think it a safe and reasonable assumption that Moffat hasn't indulged in one of his "playful misdirections" in interviews this time. I'm more inclined to believe the "Miss Me" multimedia assault was the work of one of Moriarty's agents or, more likely given previous cliffhanger resolutions, S4 will begin by showing us how it was engineered by Sherlock himself to get out of his exile and that he hadn't run out of options in his plan against Magnussen , shooting him was merely moving another one of his pieces of his plan into place and then then we will be into business as usual.
It's not that I'm defending Moffat here or anything, it's just that I won't believe Moriarty is back from the dead until the show shows me him walking and talking about.

"This is a show where Sherlock is supposed to be the cleverest of them all" - Says you, not the people who write it, and not the vast majority of its viewers. He's pieced together the clues in a clever way enough times in the past, they can't redo the same thing every episode.

Honestly though if you hated it as much as you seem to, why not just stop watching it? The writers will undoubtedly continue to write progressively and you will most likely not enjoy it judging by your comments, so i'd save yourself 5 hours and skip S4 probably?!

No it wasn't. She said ALL she has is friends. "Orphans lot". Its not your place to decide what the character would do, its the people who write it, the people who write it think THEIR character WOULD act like that, i agree. You obviously what?

Please help... I really loved the episode, but WHY did Mary shoot Sherlock?

At first the ending seemed crude beyond belief (the killing), when they were on the balcony I thought Mycroft would have ordered a govt sanctioned hit on CAM from the helicopter, as he was almost enemy of the state. So what if Mycroft had ordered the hit, when he told Sherlock to slay some dragons.......this of course would have made sense if they covered up his murder somehow, but they didn't seem too? just some ideas

Well said. Agreed.
Moriarty was indeed the brains behind many of Holmes stories in the Adventures Of series (5 to be exact) but only appeared the once. Moriarty's first appearance and his death occured in The Final Problem. Valley Of Fear was written after Moriarty's death but set before (if that makes sense) but the two dont actually meet. Rather it is one of Moriartys henchmen about to commit murder that Holmes is trying to stop.
Moffat does have a habit of doing his own thing but to bring back Moriarty would be sacrilege as far as canon goes. He is also quite cunning. Of course we do not know for sure that it was indeed Moriarty.
His adaptations have been skilful, clever and enjoyable and so we can but trust that he will do the right thing.

'IF' M is alive CAM can almost certainly still be. Did the extreme close up on the whiskey being drunk not set off the warning signs?
Sherlock drugged CAM with a Wiggins cocktail, when time came for the drug to kick in and knock him out Sherl shot him with a blank cartridge (he handed Hamish his coat with the gun in).

If that's not the case then Sherlock Holmes is a murderer and I refuse to watch a programme that promotes gun crime............

My only other theory is that Mary actually shot CAM from the grassy knoll.

That was bloody brilliant.

to try and protect Watson from the truth. She shot Sherlock in a non fatal way so she could escape and plan another way to kill Magnussen... she couldn't shoot both as it would make Watson guilty as he was the only other one there.

Thank you :)

I don't think Moriarty will be back. That 'MISS ME?' stunt was engineered by someone to get Sherlock out of the suicide mission he was sent on.

It's either Mycroft, a new adversary or the woman.

Being that returned favors are a bit of a thing with Sherlock, my bet is on the woman.

As much as I love this episode, I couldn't help being a bit annoyed by the fact that Charles Augustus Magnussen didn't have anything on any of the people he blackmailed?

Yes, I know he knew things but I want to know 'how' he knew all these things and IF someone refused to give him money, how he planned on proving it? Because he literally had no proof. Which made no sense.

I would have preferred it if those glasses really were feeding him info!

I just find it too convenient that he can fake a gun shot to the head. Seems to be the writers have decided they will just bring back Moriarty rather than flesh out other villains, I hope its part of the network because the show gets to ridiculous otherwise. Unfortunately its been years since I read the books and my memory is terrible so I can't recall how many brothers he had, fair point on Moran, I would like if they had him behind the broadcast.

I actually turned to my friend to comment on exactly that, and he had no idea what I was talking about lol

I must be the only person on the planet not interested in seeing Moriarty return. I loathed Andrew Scott's portrayal; camper than a pantomime dame at a jamboree, more psychedelic than psychopathic, delivered with an accent that sounded like a backwater hillbilly pretending to be the King of Denmark and with only two volume settings: morose or foghorn. I appreciate that Holmes' Rogue Gallery isn't as wide or diverse as other fictional detectives, but I'd rather watch an hour of Sherlock trying to rescue a kitten trapped in a Pringles tube than another minute of Morifarty.

it'll be interesting to see how he keeps the character fresh, but I'm sure it won't turn into Heroes where the show started to dine out on it's only real villain (Sylar).

The first 6 all one had one - maybe I went overboard with the 'standalone', but certainly ever story had a mystery, and all but the 6th episode had featured displays of Sherlocks deductive abilities, whereas this series he didn't actually deduce a singular solitary thing in the standard process of citing then explaining it. Don't get upset though, I really liked this series...

Why is no one talking about Sherlock killing someone in cold blood? :(

Because we forgive him. Yes, he is tagged. Sherlock Holmes is a murderer. But I, at the very least, don't feel at all angry. Wether he deserved to be murdered, is still an ongoing calculation in my mind, but the fact that this doesn't make Sherlock a bad person definitely isn't.

thanks for the clarification mate!

"Every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned villain. You need me, or you're nothing."


With the main villan coming back,Awesomeness will be awaited in Season 4!!!!!!!!

He may STILL be dead.
Don't bet your house on it.
An earlier recording quite possible
Note - no comments other than "Miss me ?"
Could be done at any time

Why not Moriarty ?

You didn't figure that out from Whovians already?

"his putting together what none of the other people Magnussen blackmailed managed to"

Except Mary...

It wasn't perfect but I really enjoyed this episode and felt it was the strongest of the three. It also restored my confidence in the writing after the horror show that was 'The Sign of Three'. Liked seeing Sherlock be a complete bastard, the drugs nods, the shooting scene and the villain, and loved the complete absence of Sherlock mugging for the camera. Will be interesting to see if Moriarty fully returns next series or if it's more misdirection. Hopefully the producers will have noted how mixed the fan reaction was for TSOT and write that change of tone off as a failed experiment.

I don't know if this has been discussed already but I noticed there were 3 new directors for this season where Paul McGuigan directed 4 of the previous 6 episodes. Wonder if this contributed to the inconsistency in any way?

Moriarty vs Augustus, who would win?

This is my (only real) problem with this episode but it's a big one. Magnussen, a supposedly brilliantly clever man, essentially leads Sherlock right to his archives with absolutely nothing to stop Sherlock destroying them. It's a monumentally stupid move from CAM that pretty much undermines the whole episode.

Sherlock's goal was to destroy the Appledore vaults. I believe he accomplished that mission.

After being shot and stumbling through his own mind palace, he saw the fragility of such a place, and the only way to beat it. How we beats the murder charge and remains free, that will be the real brilliance of Sherlocks master plan.

He was gloating. He couldn't resist but show Sherlock exactly why his plan failed. He couldn't help but trump the detective famously known for his immense cognitive skills and boast about his own, with which he beat him. It's like a game of poker, he couldn't help but show Sherlock that he'd had pocket aces the whole game. It's human error. Hubris. After that, there was only one way it could go down, but he never thought they would do it, especially with Mycroft on the way. That's when he misread Sherlock Holmes. And that's where the boy comes in, the boy Sherlock used to be, and his dog Redbeard that was put down. He wasn't going to let it happen again. CAM mentioning having tormented Janine was probably the last straw. Sherlock wasn't going to stand by and let him get away with it.

A more important question is: how did Watson manage to get a gun past CAM's security goons?

There's arrogance and then there's sheer bloody stupidity. It was episode-breaking for me. And yes, the gun

We need a Sherlock/007 crossover movie to happen. As a nation. As a world. We need it. Now.

I just hope Moriarty won't completely dominate the next series like he did the first one - I enjoyed this more "realistic" (esp. in the light of things like the NSA scandal) kind of psycho alot more.

Just on the accent, that's a genuine (but little heard in the media)
Dublin accent Scott is doing. I think M's return could be justified once,
hopefully, they don't retreat old ground.

there is a glaring plot hole everyone seems to have missed. Why would a careful, scheming villian like Magnusson not get his security to search and frisk Sherlock and Watson, when he got them searched and frisked at Sherlock's home, the writers obviously didnt want that so that Sherlock can murder him with Watsons gun, are you telling me the writers couldnt find a different way for sherlock to murder him

Thank you very much for the great review.
I have however two main concerns about that episode that are for now preventing me to enjoy it fully (but maybe your answers will help me :D)
- how is this possible for John and Sherlock to bring a gun inside appledor without being security checked?
- how is it possible to explain to the general public the death of someone as important as Magnussen? Mycroft manipulation of mass-media? I have trouble buying this.

Thank you again,

Nah, Mary was at Magussens place to torture him into surrendering his files, not to kill him. Allthough that might have been her plan B, if things hadn't taken a different turn.

Exactly. But it doesn't have to be the "last option". To kill Magnussen could very well have been Sherlock's plan all along. (In the novel this is based on, Sherlock calls it justice, so it's not out of character.) In order for that to work you have to get close to him, past his security detail, and let him believe he has the upper hand. Mycroft, on the other hand, wanted Magnussen alive, for his secrets. (that's really the most probable reason why MI6 hadn't already "neutralized" the obnoxious guy who was intimidating all the MP's) The plan to frame him and bring him in might even still have worked, but that would have meant that Magnussen would potentially be able to extract vengeance on Mary through a phone call. So: bang.
In a sense, you could say that Sherlocks game in this story was not just about taking out Magnussen but just as much about circumventing Mycroft.

I liked the bit where Andrew Scott regenerated....

i must confess that they are straying slightly onto the path of making it all up.
as much as i love (and really, i do) it i think that they need to stick to the books a bit more. and as much as i would love Moriarty to be not dead i think that if they brought him back too it would turn the whole thing into an average tv program that doesn't know when to stop. the first 2 series were much truer to the book. i did love the 3 series but as i said before i think it's turning a bit trashy and they need to spend more time writing it. then again, i had a brilliant time watching it, and found many of the moments funny, captivating and clever. While full of subtext for you to think over after it had finished. Overall i think it is amazing, but i just hope that they don't stray to far from the books.

i must confess that they are straying slightly onto the path of making it all up.
as much as i love (and really, i do) it i think that they need to stick to the books a bit more. and as much as i would love Moriarty to be not dead i think that if they brought him back too it would turn the whole thing into an average tv program that doesn't know when to stop. the first 2 series were much truer to the book. i did love the 3 series but as i said before i think it's turning a bit trashy and they need to spend more time writing it. then again, i had a brilliant time watching it, and found many of the moments funny, captivating and clever. While full of subtext for you to think over after it had finished. Overall i think it is amazing, but i just hope that they don't stray to far from the books.

He said he had access to the proof when he needed it, it just wasn't stored in one single vulnerable place

US Season = UK Series

Do you really not know this?

Why did she have to shoot either?

Once she realised she couldn't kill Magnussen without risking incriminating John & Sherlock, why didn't she just use the threat of the gun to have Sherlock keep his distance and leave without shooting him?

I enjoyed the episode but found this a very weak element.

Some questions left, to think about or maybe to answer:
What happened to Molly´s boyfriend? Judging by Sherlock´s behavior, I´d have thought he´d make an appearance in the final...
why did molly slap him in the beginning? Who´s the "other brother" Mycraft was talking about? And how much of what happened in Magnusson´s house Sherlock he plan? Was he seriously thinking that Magnusson would just hand over the documents concerning Mary? The episode was a rather good one because you never knew how much Sherlock had planned and what was beyond his control...but actually i have started wondering about this already in 2.3, since he had obviously outsmarted Moriarty from the beginning, planning his own decline in the media...

Well that was rather good, I must say.

Well, the third Holmes brother IS Q from Skyfall, that much is obvious :P

Loved this episode. Although I did wonder where the hell Sarah Lund was in all this.

I think because Sherlock wouldn't let her just walk away so she shot him to distract Watson giving her time to escape.

I thought it was truly great! Most people criticising the shooting failed to understand that Sherlock at the end had all sorted out. He asked Watson to bring the gun because after the encounter with Magnussen and that glasses thing he knew that a mind palace was one of the possibilities, in which case the only solution possible in order to keep Mary and John safe would be killing the bastard. The only thing I didn’t like was the easy solution of sending Holmes abroad and then bringing him back via Moriarty. I don’t think he had to ‘pay for his crime’, but this cheap ending stains the meaningfulness of his heroic sacrifice. But that’s just a small detail in an overall outstanding episode. Boy, I’ll miss this series!

Someones been watching "without a clue" ...maybe John Watson as the crime doctor is for S4!

I am a Whovian, hence the skepticism. I dont really like what he has done with DW.

Wasn't there two Jim Moriarty's in the original books? They were brothers.

I was disappointed by the ending but there is a possibility that isn't Moriarty. For one there were two Jim Moriarty's in the original Holmes' canon that were brothers.

Sherlock knew about CAM's mindpalace right after their conversation at the cafe. He had planned the kill all along. There was no other way to destroy him.

Even accepting that Sherlock wouldn't have let her walk away (which I don't) why wouldn't Mary have simply shot Sherlock in the foot or leg thus incapacitating him in a non-life threatening manner?

Shooting him in such a fashion as to cause his heart to stop beating and for him to end up in intensive care seems a little unnecessary for your scenario and counter productive to Mary maintaining a salvageable relationship with John.

This is still the weakest element of the story for me.

The story didn't make any sense! So Sherlock killed him because he knew about Mary's pasted life? She is apparently a murderer! Also she shot Sherlock in the chest just so she didn't have to tell Watson she had a darker side? A bit extreme.... I'm not actually sure why Magnusson was bad? .... The only actual bad thing he did was piss in Sherlock's fire place. Also if Mary did kill Magnusson the police wouldn't of assumed Watson and holmes did it because Holmes had just beeen shot!

I really liked the ending. Magnus was smart and not a murderer and had assumed Sherlock wasn't either. But in his words he is a high functioning sociopath murder is a easy option for him. He times it so he can be taken into custardy so Magnus's men can't retaliate and who knows he has a morratiy gif teed up to get him off. Sherlock has to confirm Magnus has no other copy no backup partner and to do that he has to let him think he has won. If Sherlock wants the infomation on Mary and the only place is in Magnus' brain it is a logical move.

So, Sherlock was going to be sent to an unknown destination, only for him to return because an animated (and thats a compliment) Moriarty appears on every screen in the UK. Leaving us with another unanswered question of - Where was Sherlock being sent in the first place? These producers are really good at asking questions, and never giving a proper answer!

More Moffat drivel!

He was going to do undercover work, Mycroft hinted at that earlier in the episode, it didn't really need explaining beyond that. Yes, he got brought back pretty fast, but how do we know that Mycroft didn't arrange the 'Moriarty' thing in the first place as an excuse to stop his brother being sent on a mission that would have seen him killed within six months?

Yes, Sherlock killed Magnusson because he knew secrets about Mary which could have destroyed her and John. And Sherlock, incidentally (remember: "I own Mary so I own John so I own you"). Yes, she shot Sherlock to protect John from finding out about her (and to prevent Watson being accused of a double shooting), but made sure she didn't kill him (she called the ambulance, and she avoided key organs with the bullet - "That wasn't a shot, it was surgery").

Magunsson is bad because he runs the Western world with the secrets he has on everyone. You don't think he's evil? A newspaper magnate with half the world's politicians in his pocket? Think a bit harder.

No, the Police wouldn't have thought Watson and Holmes had killed Magnusson if Mary had shot him, they'd have thought Watson shot both of them. Which is why she didn't shoot him. Just like they said on screen.

I really dont think it matters where he was going (they said quite clearly it was Eastern Europe) and I think you are placing too much importance on the place. The point was he was leaving and never coming back.

Mary a CIA assassin, Moriarty maybe not dead... What have they done to my favourite show? This season was mostly rubbish, not because of the actors, who were as great as ever, but the writing. The authors were just so pleased with themselves that they lost it. I'm not interested in Sherlock as an impotent James Bond. Words fail me to tell how disappointed I am.

Mycroft didn't send Sherlock away, he sent Sherlock to his death. He said earlier in the episode that Sherlock shouldn't take the mission in East Europe as he would die within 6 months. However at the end of the episode they need to do something with Sherlock for murdering the person, but they know if they put him in prison there would be a public outcry. Therefore they send him away on a 'case' that would kill him and thus there wouldn't so much of a public backlash when he died.

But Magnusson didn't commit any crimes that deserved death. It's one thing to have the data and quite another to use it. Fair enough, if he was holding the World hostage, but he wasn't, he was innocently sitting in his house drinking expensive whisky when Sherlock arrived. So the only motive for Sherlock to kill him was that Watson wouldn't be able to get over a bad breakup? It was also ridiculous that Mary shot Sherlock to hide he secret. He was on deaths door, in fact, if he wasn't Sherlock Holmes he would be dead! I don't understand the motives of these characters.

It may have been said earlier in the episode, but, with Moffats writing it was never made clear at the end of the episode!!!

Sherlock has been beaten in the books he admits to have "been beaten four time- three times by men, and once by a woman".

That would work beautifully. I can picture Mycroft and Sherlock ribbing their little brother mercilessly right now.
Look, I know they're both extremely established and massive franchises that have never had the slightest hint of connection before. But it seems like everyone's teaming up these days, and having Sherlock's superhuman intellect working against and working with Bond's brutal form of enforcement would be amazing.

Erm, it was pretty clear to me.... Moffat just assumes his audience are capable of recalling information they were given less than an hour ago which isn't really a bad thing.

Rule number one: The Moffat lies...

I don't think it is a plot hole as much as writing realistic and imperfect characters. It was clear Magnusson was very arrogant in the house scene and he probably underestimated Sherlock just the way Sherlock underestimated him. He never expected Sherlock to shot him regardless of whether he had a weapon.

and why he had to die anyway. he did a favour to all those blackmailed politicians. they should make him a statue or give him the city key or sth...

nice idea. thats a fourth explanation. i thought of 1) we have never seen the real moriarty and that was a mere "puppet" till now and the real puppeteer pulls secretely the strings, unseen behind his curtains while using all as pawns. 2)or that we will see the brother of moriarty as a revengeful villain. or 3)moriarty foresaw the deadend sherlock brought him into and planned to fake his death as sherlock did...(i hope its not the last one it will be utterly stupid and devastating for the series...)

that other brother thing got me puzzled too...

stfu he is an awesome actor. one of the best in the series. but we dont wont him back....

well if the vaults were in his head, it was the head that should be taken care off.. nothing strange here...

2 is a nono. they should reveal her.

nice comment. six dumbasses disagreed...

Here goes my little...big rant: W T F people. what happened to these series? really? they got rid of the villain in half an episode? and in such a manner? holmes actually believed he would keep files in his basement or sth? like that it would trouble the victims of blackmail to bomb the place and make it look like an accident or sent a squad to burn these things... who would believe such a blackmailer could exist anyway. or at least they should develop the whole thing and establish it properly. this season was full of last minute fillers. like the mycroft being the smarter brother theme. fanboys ranted "hey you didnt mention that stuff from the books!" and they established it with things like mycroft saying "but i was always the smart one. we thought you were retarded before meeting other children. or -you didnt know serbian. -it took me some hours(!). - you are rusting (!!!) older brother....uhhh... puke". because in two seasons of episodes mycroft nowhere managed with his acting, wits or plans to show that he is superior. but lets add this too anyway huh...? plotholes everywhere, meaningless twists and very very intelligence-insulting writing. i believe really smart people would laugh their asses with these things. now that i think about it such people wouldnt even bother to watch series but anyways... ok i can stand the "humorous" 2 first episodes of s3, but this should require another season to climax things with Magnussen. really? what kind of developement was that? and dat finale. im so efin sceptic about season 4...

i liked that circumventing mycroft thing. but to be unpleasantly honest. viewers pretty often "outsmart" film writers and think off things that arent even intented in the first place. many of the "deeper meanings and plots" people find are frequently just lazy ass swiss cheese (of plotholes) writing...


yeah i laways thought that was actually an actor and a mere puppet, while the real deal was pulling strings and observing unseen and unheard...

that kicked arse...

Which apparently is available on YouTube as well. Brilliant.

much smarter? wtf!? i can see that coming...: -before meeting other children i thought you two were retarded -(mycroft and sherlock): sniff sniff do you really have to rub that on our faces? -oh you are such crybabies i didnt say you are completely stupid though -smile on sherlock's face -(mycroft to sherlock): im still the smarter one of us two, u little retard black sheep of the family, dont get too excited... - (sherlock): two smarter brothers in two seasons? i'll fall in drugs again, no doubt about it....

you sir got me laughing big time...

right. except from impossible (dominating all the screens in a country simultaneously) this was SO stupid and rushed. or at least unexplained if you want (oh sherlock come back to save us, a big scary screen of a deadman appeared)...

I know what you're talking about, But I think this one is rather on the nose.

Think about it: First they have that private conversation where Mycroft insists to Sherlock that he has no interest in taking down Magnussen.
Then, like an hour later, John&Sherlock arrive at Magnussens place with the "stolen" laptop, and both Magnussen and Sherlock already know all about Mycrofts standby SWAT team that will be converging on them shortly.

The only way *any* of that makes any sense is if Mycroft planned to let Sherlock steal his laptop, and Sherlock in turn anticipated Mycrofts plan (and pulled a double-switch by also sneaking along Johns gun). If the Holmes brothers had worked in synchronization on the sting, then there would be no need for that first conversation, or for Mycroft to appear drugged.

I will keep watching because every other episode in the series has been fantastic. It is tv done not for cash outright for once, but for the entertainment value. That's why there is such a delay between seasons, they make them good. One episode is not going to stop me yet and I love watching Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. It is just unfortunate that this episodes writing was so subpar.

Just because people disagree doesn't make them dumbasses.

Actually thats nothing at all to do with the delay, its because the actors are so busy with films. But good that you'll keep watching :)

Totally agree - she took an enormous risk that he would survive, so it doesn't make a huge amount of sense to me either. Apart from that I loved the episode.

Ok, well firstly it's an entertainment show - of course shooting Sherlock for Mary's reasons in real life would be ridiculous, but he IS Sherlock and she obviously had faith in his ability to stay alive.

Secondly, does a country a country have to actually use a nuclear weapon to be exerting influence by having it? If someone puts a gun to a powerful person's head and makes them act in a way contrary to the interest of those they are responsible for, does the villain have to pull the trigger to be committing a crime? Magnusson was committing the crime of blackmail, and on a scale that was affecting the lives of millions of unwitting people. Sherlock's deciding that he was deserving of death is a different matter and perhaps did seem a bit excessive.

The script tried to help us understand how much Sherlock hated Magnusson ("The one person who can really turn my stomach"), but I don't think we as the audience were helped to feel quite that level of revulsion so that a summary execution felt acceptable.

If you're going to bother replying to me, do so in a reasonable manner and try not to resort to profanity, or worse still, acronymical profanity. I didn't criticise his acting ability, but rather this choice of portrayal.

It is an entertainment show but that's no excuse to make it so unbelievable. Like I said before, the character's actions don't make any sense. Why didn't Mary simply ask Sherlock not to saying anything to John until she explained?, why didn't she just run off into the night without shooting him? Why did it take a bullet in the chest for Sherlock to go "eeee I don't think I'll tell John that his wife is a professional killer"? Her motivations doesn't make any sense. I could maybe of got behind this if she at least looked desperate when she shot him, but she was cool and composed thought out, completely taking the drama out of the situation.

Magnusson needed more screen time for us to understand how much Sherlock hated him. One sentence and 5 minutes of interaction isn't enough character development for me. I feel Moffat doesn't highlight the important points correctly. Instead, we are left to make our own assumptions on the plot.

I didn't like the whole time-lapse method of moving the story along either. One minute, it's very tense drama (Watson and Sherlock interrogating Mary) and the next it's Christmas day round the Holmes'. Moffat did the same with the Dr Who Christmas Special, but at least with the Christmas Special they didn't have much time to plan the episode, so they kinda had an excuse. The creators of Sherlock have had 2 years off so I expected a polished storyline this series.

To be honest Sherlock wasn't really justified in what he did and he was a murderer at the end of the day. Yes Magnusson was vile and belonged in prison for the rest of his life, but as he said he had never actually murdered anyone. He didn't deserve to be killed.

I like the jump cuts :)! I think they are are clever and make the show more interesting. I don't think it has anything to do with lack or planning or laziness, but just personal preference.

a) They broke up. I think it was pretty clear this was going to happen as Molly was still pretty obsessed and hung up over Sherlock. I mean did you see the glares she was giving Janine in the wedding?

b) She slapped him because she loves him and saw him as throwing his life away with drugs that could possibly destroy his body and mind.

c) The other brother is a very very minor canon (I think) character who was referenced in the books (I think) very very very briefly. There is actually a chance that he is in the Holmes fan-canon (I can't remember), but the idea for the third Holmes brother has been around for a long long while and isn't something BBC Sherlock invented. We'll just have to wait to see if we find out more.

d and e) Personally I think Sherlock had planned that the GPS locater would bring Mycroft to the house so he could search his vaults. He never intended to give Magnusson the laptop. I also think that Mycroft knew Sherlock had put something in the punch (as he clearly mentions it to Sherlock), but as he knew Sherlock was helping them he left him to it. Obviously it all went wrong when there were no vaults though. This also answers your last question too. I think seeing the vaults and getting the file was a bonus for Sherlock that he didn't really expect, but his main plan was to give Mycroft's people a reason to search the vaults as this too would give him chance to get hold of the files.

It distracts me from a solid story. The whole series has replaced good drama with fan pleasing scenes and name drops. For me, the lack of planning show's in the story. The creators should've developed Magnusson, made him a recurring element. He was the most interesting thing in this episode.

a) That is how Magnusson is killed off in canon. The writers do like to try and stick to canon a bit.
b)i. Most experts can figure out the difference between a bombing and an accident. ii. For all they knew Magnusson had back up plants to print their information even after his death. They hardly knew it was all in their head.
c) Such blackmailers may exist, how do we know?
d) Again, Magnusson's story was canon. To be honest I think he'd get pretty dull pretty quick and as we have already had a long-lasting villain it was nice and different for the show to mix it up a bit.
e) There were always clues in both the previous seasons for Mycroft being smarter. Just because you didn't notice them didn't mean they weren't there...
f) Yes Sherlock likes to mock his brother as he does everyone else... What exactly is your point with this one?
g) Not a single thing you mentioned was a plot hole. I'm sure there are some somewhere but what you are mentioning is your lack of paying attention and your personal preferences for the structure of TV shows. Nothing to do with plot holes mate.
h) Congratulations on your beliefs? I know plenty of 'really smart people' who enjoyed Sherlock.
i) Congratulations on your scepticism? I highly doubt it will matter if you watch it or not.

have to say series 2 and 3 have been very hit and miss. 'hound of baskervilles' was the poorest episode in series 2 and 'the sign of three' was like an episode of gavin and stacey. so out of touch of what makes sherlock so good. some other things:

- those special effects on the hound.

- the cheesyness and horrible comedy in the sign of three.

- mary is a cold blooded CIA killer but her and john are alright now are they? marys past seems so unbelievable.

- sherlock cant talk to others in a human way but has a girlfriend in the next episode. she also just happened to be magnussons PA?

we are meant to get all teary again end of series 3 at watson(how many times is he crying, being deceived/lied to?) and sherlock. then he spends 4 minutes on a plane and hes back. watson cannot stop being emotional then when the plane lands in 5 minutes then? there is a lazyness/lack of care creeping into the writing.

this show can be very clever when it wants to be but there is an element of 'we are smart arses and look what we can do' that needs to be reigned in on series 4.

something a bit more simpler like 'study in pink' is what makes this show. things are getting a bit out of hand and too unbelievable.

a) It is a BBC TV program, what were you expecting? Hollywood blockbuster movie graphics?
b) I do agree it was a bit cheesy and too humorous but I don't think it took away from the plot too much.
c) The was a whole portion of the episode dedicated to the fact that John is abnormally attracted to danger and dangerous people. It might seem weird to you, but he can forgive her. Not everyone is the same. He has killed people also btw.
d) That is book canon and it is very well known in BBC Sherlock and book canon that Sherlock is an excellent actor. There have been plenty of moment in the show that have shown Sherlock being a brilliant actor. He is also a great observer and thus can learn how to act around a girlfriend just by observing others. Most the time he chooses not too because he doesn't like sentiment and emotions, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know how.
e) I really can't make sense of what you are trying to say in that paragraph sorry.
f) If this season was exactly the same formula as the previous two seasons people would have just complained about the show not developing and becoming boring because of it.

#Bond acknowledged in #Sherlock ?
Caught the final episode of season-3, Sherlock, yesterday.

Mycroft says "As my colleague is fond of remarking, this country sometimes needs a blunt instrument. Equally, it sometimes needs a dagger, a scalpel wielded with precision and without remorse. There will always come a time when we need Sherlock Holmes"

Is the "blunt instrument" remark a reference to James Bond and M? In both Bond books and Bond movies, M has been vocal about 007 being a blunt instrument
oh oh heaven ;-)

i edited my point about e)

a) not expecting great effects, but that was 60s hammer bad. the show looks great, very expensive cameras are used. this really made it look bad though.

c) i just don't believe mary is this "really really bad girl" its not believable.

d) i understand its in the book, it happens to quickly though in the show. they are all worried about him doing a speech which was weird anyway, next minute he has a girlfriend. she just happens to be the villains PA.

f)i think you are being blinded by the fact you are a huge fan of the show. you are defending it on here all the time when someone criticises it. series 3 episode 3 was very james bond, that is not what sherlock is about.

i was a huge fan of series 1 but it seems to really have lost its way now.

they have to fix that for series 4 or im out and so will a lot of others.

I find Moffat a bit tedious in this regard, myself. A good twist is a wonderful thing, but anyone can just lie. And yet everyone seems to regard Moffat as a master of deception. We haven't been sucked in by clever storytelling, just to have the rug pulled from under our feet. Moffat simple lied to us, and then revealed he was lying later. What skill is there in that?

He's shown many times that death has no real permanence or weight in in stories, so now when he tries to pull the 'haha he's actually alive!' gag, I just shrug.

Sherlock has a massive national and international audience. The beeb rakes in money selling Sherlock to other countries.

I love the Beeb, but they're not financing shows to please the obsessive fans. When a show isn't getting the ratings in they're just about as quick to pull the plug on dramas as any other channel.

E.g. Ripper Street - it started out great and was getting better and better. But the ratings were low so it got axed.

I actually didn't think season 3 anywhere near as good as the previous 2, it is just that a lot of the 'plot holes' that people do point a out are explained and understandable and aren't really plot holes. It is just personal preference or opinion. Such as you saying Mary could not possibly be a bad girl and thus it is unbelievable. However I highly doubt you have ever come across any previous CIA agents or assassins and if you had would you know? They are trained actors and brilliant at manipulating people so for all you know the person who lives down the street from you could be a previous assassin, they are hardly going to walk round with a sign on their head or constantly say creepy and enigmatic things. People don't walk around broadcasting their pasts or dark sides. In fact, a lot of mass murderers were loved by their community and seen as friendly. I think what I mean to say is - how do you know what a ex-assassin should look/act like?

However that is not to say there weren't any plot holes or the show is perfect, but when people are saying something doesn't make sense to them and it does to me I will obviously try and explain it to them lol.

i might not have come across a cia agent but its the fact she just happens to be one. it would have been better if she killed someone in her past but was a more normal person. ex-cia agent takes it to james bond kind of fantasy. maybe she works in the same place as arnold in true lies lol

sherlock should be more realistic in my opinion. shutting off a whole street to construct a fake suicide? things have went too far.

i just hope they keep things a bit more simple in series 4. series 1 was the best for me, now its getting very convoluted.

Oh that scene with Magnussen flicking Johns face, that made me want to gouge his eyes out myself. I don't think I can recall a scene in a TV show where I've wanted to see the character die a prolonged, horribly and agonising death other than "King" Jofferey in GoT.

Isn't it interesting that Magnussen is one of the few centric people in this episode that never killed anybody?

Watson has killed atleast one person, the cabbie from A Study in Pink
Sherlock got Magnussen
Mycroft-you don't get such high ranks in the Secret Service without some field work, and even if he never did any, he is responsible for several murders, without doubt.
Even mrs. Hudson got her husband executed.

It's just funny how perspective works, and how interesting it is that I'm more disgusted and appalled watching somebody get flicked in the face than watching somebody get killed.

interesting maybe but from seeing a lot of comments, people didn't like him shooting magnusson in the head like that. myself included.

I agree. I am happy to be tricked by the show, outsmarted by the characters - that is surely how it should be, that Sherlock is cleverer than us. But the writers/director actually lying ruins it.

I particularly hated the way that the text was curved to actually show it like it was on his glasses. Fine, linger on him picking them up - this misdirection could have just been him being poised and intelligent - but to position it that he sees the text in that way is simply cheating. Even if Magnussen does see it in his mind as type, (which would be anachronistic with the more traditional way he sees his mind palace), would he really picture it curved like that?

Cheating. Hate cheating.

you really are a funny person. do you feel some kind of fulfilment now? oh you surely are... as for the plotholes i didnt say i will mention them anywhere. i just said they were there. and that the whole thing was oozing with sketchiness. of course i will have preferences too and quite good ones. i can tell well designed from cheap. and judging by your tastes you probably dont. congratulations from you? what the f should that even mean for me...? probably nothing. and finally. you?! hanging around with really intelligent people?! ha i dont buy this one... mate.

Yep Cumberbatch is fast becoming a favourite actor, Im a bit late getting to 12 years a slave,but just saw it yday, and cumberbatch stole the couple scenes he was in

mindblown, never thought of it before but surely it could work! of all the screenwriters int he world surely someone could put the two together!!!

I thought Magnusson was an *excellent* bad guy and far better than Moriarty. Such a shame he was dealt with so quickly and so permanently in a single episode.

Yes, I thought the Magnusson's-glasses-twist was particularly ineffective - for all those reasons and also this:

I didn't know for sure we were MEANT to think that Magnusson was literally seeing that info in his glasses, until it was treated as a big reveal that the text had been metaphorical all along. The show makes a big deal of 'presenting a character's thoughts as written text', so naturally enough when I saw written info on-screen my first assumption is that this was what was happening.

When there were those shots you mention that imply the text is actually a literal thing and connected to his specs, I began to wonder. And in the end it turned out I was right in the first place. Again, there was no skillful misdirection here: I was simply told to believe one thing, despite my natural assumption, then told that I was wrong to have believed what I was told. Not very satisfying.

Couldn't agree more.

Ha! Idea guys! season 1: Jim moriarty becomes molly's boyfriend. season 3: revengeful brother moriarty becomes molly's boyfriend too! (she has a magnet with psychopaths i guess..) and plays a dummy (as jm in s1 played a gay and ordinary person), to infiltrate sherlock's environment and learn as much as possible. he also will have learned by molly how sherlock outsmarted his brother in the end of s2, so that he knows his methods and way of thinking. is it by chance that in the end of s3 they suddenly broke up? I don't think so.

Oh thank goodness! Someone else saw this too! This is what I got from this. Sherlock knew that it wasn't the glasses; he established that already. He even told John to bring his gun so that he could eliminate Magnussen!

I love Sherlock, some of the best tv ever, and I wish they'd make more episodes each season! But I have to admit, there were aspects of this episode, in particular Mary, that seemed pretty daft. As it turns out, Mary is a murderer, some sort of ex-secret agent/CIA recruit, basically lied her pants off about everything, and came incredibly close to killing Sherlock. But hey, let's just forget about all that and keep on being married..... it's utterly implausible that anyone, on finding out about such deceit in their spouse, would conclude that they wanted to stay with someone like that.

And Sherlock's apparently great regard for Mary seems pretty baseless. Nothing that happened indicated any particular attributes that would win over Sherlock so why is he so warm (for him) towards her? It just didn't gel that both he and John would so easily write everything off about her.

you are out of your mind! it was the most boring and stupid episode, both of them 2nd and 3rd episodes!

As well, as preventing Sherlock from going straight to John in anger that his best friend's lover had lied to him all this time.

I'd imagine he caused quite a few suicides in his time, though.

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