Sunday is for some reason the night to put forth quality television to the world, maybe because it softens the blow of the oncoming work week or maybe because it is a time when there are just more people able to tune in, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that tonight on PBS season three of Sherlock will finally air in the US after a painful 19-day delay. In a way, I give them a lot of credit as 19 days is a lot better than what they’ve done in the past, but we live in the age of the internet where if you really want to see something that has already aired in another country you can do so minutes after it has aired over there. This is my way of saying that I’ve already seen all three episodes and there is a chance that some of you have as well.
In the case of Sherlock, fans have been waiting for two years for the massively-popular show to return mostly because both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were able to up their star power thanks to the series and appeared in a bunch of big Hollywood projects in the meantime. So really, this has been two years in the making and the show doesn’t skip a beat for even one second, even making note of the two-year time gap and working it into the story.
Tonight’s episode, “The Empty Hearse,” is the much-anticipated follow-up to 2012’s thrilling season finale, “The Reichenbach Fall,” which [spoiler] saw Sherlock Holmes jump to his doom to preserve the lives of Mrs. Hudson, John and Lestrade. Of course, he is Sherlock Holmes and he is clever, so we get a glimpse of Sherlock being alive, plus we knew that there was at least a third season coming and that they wouldn’t do the show without Sherlock. So tonight’s episode relies a lot on the fact that everyone wants to know just how Sherlock did it; how he fell from the roof of a building and was able to survive.
What you’ll probably notice about the episode is that some things are distinctively different, as they are throughout this season. The popularity of the series on Netflix has really opened it up to American audiences and you’ll notice that a lot of the measurements are almost too obviously in American standards of pounds, inches, feet, miles, etc. (this wasn’t uncommon, but it sticks out more now). Sherlock himself is also different, as the character becomes more human than in past seasons. This means that the relationship with Mycroft is expounded upon a bit and that Sherlock begins to understand the value of his relationships with his friends in London.
There are some solid nods to Guy Fawkes throughout the episode, as it was to take place during November, with some events happening on November 5th. Most notably, Sherlock and John have to foil a plot for a massive terrorist attack on the fifth of November, while John is still adjusting to the return of Sherlock into his life while juggling with his new life as an engaged man who can’t live at Baker Street with Sherlock anymore and live the same life that he led two years previous.
The whole episode is paced a bit differently for a Sherlock episode as you need to get a feel for the tension between John and Sherlock, as well as the world kept turning without Sherlock. Sherlock has to face some hard facts about what he values in life and how he treats people while still being a clever, deductive mastermind that he’s always been. For those that waited two years for the return of Sherlock this episode is most definitely a worthy return of one of the best shows on television and should not be missed.
In fact, the season only gets better and none of it should be missed. Hell, it should be watched multiple times just to take the whole thing in.