Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sherlock 3.02: "The Sign of Three"

“You are not a puzzle solver. You never have been. You’re a drama queen. Now there a man in there about to die. The game is on. Solve it!”

The “Sign of Three” again did not focus on one particular original Sherlock Holmes mystery, but it worked better than “The Empty Hearse” because the various stories were more closely tied together. The episode was really a meditation on the relationship between Holmes and Watson in the setting of Watson’s wedding to Mary. Sherlock is the best man, and he struggles with the task of writing the best man speech. Most of the episode involves the depiction of the things Sherlock talks about in his speech, and it all ties together nicely in the form of a mystery that takes place at the actual wedding. The title of the episode has multiple meanings. There’s the trio of mysteries that we see at various points in the episode, there’s the trio of Sherlock, Watson, and Mary, and there’s (spoiler alert) three Watsons by the end of the wedding. I appreciated that this episode combined an intriguing mystery with heart.

I thought the opening sequence of “The Sign of Three” was especially amusing. We see that over the course of a year and a half, LeStrade has been trying to catch an especially crafty bank robber. Just as he’s finally about to get his big arrest, he gets a text from Sherlock saying that he’s needed at Baker Street immediately. LeStrade leaves immediately, calling backup as he rushes to Baker Street. It turns out that Sherlock is just having trouble writing his speech, and he’s hoping LeStrade will have some funny stories about Watson. If I were LeStrade, I would have killed Sherlock right then and there, I think. LeStrade takes it relatively in stride.

We don’t actually see the wedding ceremony – the action picks up again with Watson and Mary walking out of the church. Then it’s reception time (at a super posh and gorgeous manor house). Sherlock gives his speech, and it alternates between super awkward and really touching. He’s got note cards for all the different points he wants to make, but he doesn’t have the cards in any particular order. Early on in the speech, he gives a really heartfelt monologue about how much John means to him and how good Mary is for John. It’s nice to see Sherlock so accepting of Mary. He doesn’t seem threatened by Mary’s role in John’s life at all. He’s just satisfied that his friend is happy.

Sherlock is determined to include all the requisite components of the best man speech, so even though the bit of the speech I already mentioned would have been a perfect end point, Sherlock insists he must also tell some funny stories about John. The funny stories turn into retellings of recent mysteries they solved together. The first mystery started as an attempt by Mary to get Sherlock and Watson out of the house (they were both getting bogged down in wedding planning). She kind of gently encouraged them to find a case to take already. The case they took was a plea from one of the Royal Household Guard who thought he was being stalked. While Sherlock and Watson are trying to scheme their way into Buckingham palace, the soldier is killed in a locked shower by a very thin blade. Sherlock says that he and Watson never solved that case.

The second case involved Watson’s stag night (bachelor party for you non-Anglophiles out there). Sherlock, being Sherlock, had it planned out in detail so that they would spend the entire evening at a pleasant buzz. Not too sober and not too drunk. Watson wants to lighten up the whole affair though (Sherlock had been really annoying keeping track of exact quantities of alcohol), so he sneaks some extra shots into both of their drinks. This results In both of them being stupid drunk back at Baker Street when they get a new client. The client thinks she’s dating a ghost. She found an obituary for the guy she’s been seeing. They decide to go to the flat where the client last saw her date, but they’re still drunk, so they act like idiots, and Sherlock vomits. The landlord has them arrested, and Sherlock and Watson find themselves waking up in jail the next morning.

Thanks to Lestrade bailing them out, Sherlock and Watson are back on the case pretty quickly. Sherlock starts contacting a bunch of women online who think they’ve been dating a ghost. He thinks this particular group has all encountered the same person, but he can’t find one particular commonality between all the women that would draw the attention of their suspect. Sherlock doesn’t quite figure out the connection, but he does compare the suspect to a mayfly. Basically the guy impersonates a recently dead person for a day or two, then moves on to someone else. All of a sudden (in present time), Sherlock realizes that their client knew Watson’s middle name (which Watson hates) and surmises that she must have seen the wedding invitation. He thinks this means that Mayfly Man is at the wedding and wants to kill one of the guests.

The most obvious intended target is Watson’s commanding officer from his Army days, Sholto. Sholto ran into a heap of trouble when his platoon of new recruits was killed in Afghanistan while he survived. There are probably a non-zero number of people who are upset about that, as Wil Wheaton would say. Sherlock secretly warns John, Mary, and Sholto about the danger, and Sholto goes and locks himself in his hotel room. He wants the killer to just finish him off without hurting anyone else. Sherlock finally realizes what killed the soldier, and he’s worried Sholto will succumb to the same fate. The killer attached a tiny, lethal blade to both of their belt buckles. When Sholto takes off his belt, he will likely bleed out. Sholto wants to get it over with, but Watson wants to try and save his life. Sherlock convinces Sholto to let Watson do his job by reminding Sholto that he would never want to ruin Watson’s wedding by dying if he could help it.

Once Sholto is stabilized, Sherlock reveals that he knows the identity of the killer. It’s the wedding photographer, whose brother was one of the recruits killed under Sholto’s command. With that nasty business all out of the way, the reception dancing can commence. Sherlock composed a piece that he played during Watson and Mary’s dance, which I thought was sweet. At the end of the evening, Sherlock makes a comment about vowing to always be there for “all three” of the Watsons, and he accidentally reveals that Mary is pregnant. He then leaves the Watsons to their happiness and heads home. It was definitely interesting to watch Sherlock, a man with a very large ego who doesn’t show a lot of emotion, deal with the fact that he is not the only important person in Watson’s life anymore. He seems to take it surprisingly well, really.

No comments:

Post a Comment