Sherlock Sunday: “The Sign of the Three”; by Thompson, Gatiss, & Moffat

jpeg I used to love this show so much, but two awful episodes in a row would have driven me away if the third hadn’t saved it. The actors are still superb, but this episode wasn’t even a hot mess. It was a cold mess. Here’s my live blog (well, it was live at the time) of the episode, followed by my notes:

I’m trying to keep an open mind, I really am, but Sherlock is an absolute selfish bastard again, this time to Lestrade before the titles. Now he’s rude to Mrs. Hudson. Is this supposed to be funny? It’s not funny. They both deserve better.

The wedding is fun. The bridesmaid is excellent. I love Mary. Extra credit because Amanda Abbington is Martin Freeman’s partner of fourteen years, and he’s wonderful when he talks about her.

This thing has no plot.

Why do the people who are writing this series love public humiliation? I mean I’m annoyed as all hell with Sherlock but I don’t find humiliating him funny. What happened to this season?

Okay, the moment with the best friend bit is lovely. And then he’s just a dick again.

Is there ever going to be a plot in this? Because the Sherlock-gives-a-horrible-speech is going on too long. And then he makes the damn speech about himself. Here’s a clue, Sherlock: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.

So he’s been a dick for an episode and a half to set up a speech?

I can’t believe nobody has yelled, “SIT DOWN” yet. This is just awful. And now a series of stupid jokes about titles.

The bit about Sherlock helping with the table cards is fun. Anything with John and Mary is fun. But there’s no plot here, there’s no antagonist here, thirty-two minutes into an eighty-five minute episode, this thing is a mess. Give Mary a series; love her manipulating both of them, but really, thirty-two minutes before there’s a case?

Freeman and Cumberbatch are so good, even with this garbage. Amanda Abbington is delightful. Mary is such a tough character to keep from being a Mary Sue, and she gives her so much life and light.

Thirty-nine minutes to get a body. Standard obstructionist commanding officer; trite.

Oh, John gets to be in charge. Excellent.

And now we’re back to the wedding. Why hasn’t somebody beaned Sherlock with a champagne bottle?

Molly’s so pretty with all the flowers.

I would cheer if Rupert Graves smacked Sherlock. Not Cumberbatch, I love Cumberbatch, but Sherlock yes.

This speech will never end.

I want a series with Molly (“We’re having quite a lot of sex”) and Mary. Each week they kick Sherlock in the nuts. Sometimes Irene makes a cameo with the riding crop.

You know the people who wrote this mess are really good writers. Well, Moffat is. I’m not even sure Gatiss helped with this, there are no interminably long chase scenes. Unless you count the bachelor party.

What the hell is this stupid game? No, I don’t care what the game is, what is this supposed to do in the plot?

Oh, good, drunken detecting.

This is just embarrassing. It’s a bunch of writers playing clever boots. NEVER THINK YOU’RE CLEVER. The minute you do, you’re just writing rubbish. And evidently watching this has made me British.

It’s not funny. It’s supposed to be funny, but it’s not, which is the worst, much worse than thinking you’re serious and being inadvertently funny.

Okay, Mr. Hudson running a cartel IS funny.

One hour in, it’s finally good. Great mystery, love the women he’s interviewing. This is the stuff I watch Sherlock for.

Oh, fuck, we’re back to the wedding. This is excruciating. That part I liked: One minute.

The. Longest. Best. Man. Speech. In. The. History. Of. Weddings.

Lovely moment with Irene. There’s another good three seconds.

Too late on the milking a good speech. This is dumb. Sherlock’s being an idiot. If it turns out to be John’s old boss, this will officially be a total loss. Never mind, it’s already a total loss. Cumberbatch should sue.

If he’s a genius, why can’t he remember Lestrade’s first name? Stupid joke.

This is so awful. This is amazingly bad. How can you make Benedict Cumberbatch look bad? I’ve never felt so sorry for an actor.

Oh, they’re going to kill the commanding officer. An hour and a half to do that? Somebody tell me the last episode is better than the first two of this season.

“There’s a headless nun in it for you.” Great line.

I love Mary. I love how much respect they’re paying her. They’re getting Mary exactly right.

So “The Sign of the Three” is Sherlock, John, and Mary?

Good for John for the Drama Queen line.

Oh, good job on the impossible murder. Although the music is trying to make me care, and I don’t, because this episode has squandered most of its real estate on dumb jokes so I never got emotionally involved.

The photographer is a call back to the cabbie? Except that whole episode was about the cabbie, and this is an afterthought.

This is another episode I’ll never watch again, inspite of Mary and Molly and Irene. We need a British Birds of Prey.

She’s pregnant? THAT’s the “Sign of Three”? The awful romance novel They’ll-Be-Happy-Because-There’s-Going-To-Be-A-Baby ending? Kill. Me. Now.

This thing will never end.

Oh, no, wait it just ended. Not with a bang, but with a whimper of self-pity because the bridesmaid and Molly are dancing with Others. It’s because you’re a dick, Sherlock.

Such marvelous actors wasted. The Argh cut of this would be Irene and the headless nun and probably Molly saying “We have a lot of sex.”

Notes:

• Every good, clear plot has a protagonist (hello, Sherlock) and an antagonist (uh . . . the camera guy? I dunno.) Since the antagonist shapes the narrative, if you don’t have a strong one (or one at all for most of the story) your narrative goes all over the place like spilled BBs.

• Every good, clear plot has a single through line upon which the subplots are hung, and it should be the strongest plot. A horrible speech that never ends is not a plot, it’s a comedy routine that’s not funny. Several different fragmented mysteries are not a plot, they just tear the story apart. A horrible speech begun a third of the way through the story that references fragmented plots is narrative abuse, the result of a writer or writers who think their right to be clever supersedes the right of the reader/viewer to an enjoyable story. (Did Sherlock write this?)

• Charming, witty vignettes cannot carry a narrative that rests on anti-charm, they only serve to emphasize how charmless the main story is, and to make readers/viewers start fantasizing about narratives centered on the people with charm and wit. Really, really, REALLY do not drop the most interesting antagonist the series has ever had into the narrative for a naked two-second cameo in which our protagonist admits he thinks about her; it’s like waving sparkling water in front of someone dying of thirst and then yelling, “Psyche!”

• If you’re going to use flashbacks (don’t), use them constructively to draw parallels between past and future events not to illustrate an interminable speech. A good use of flashback (not that there are any) clarifies the narrative structure with some kind of visual aid (Person of Interest‘s calendar, Arrow’s color of light change).

• If you must use flashbacks (no, really, don’t), use them to reinforce the structure and frame the narrative clearly. Forty-two flashbacks (I didn’t count, I’m guessing) just chop the story into incoherent mincemeat. “Where are we now? When are we now? Who’s on first?” Not even Doctor Who screws with time like this, and that show uses time like a chew toy.

• Don’t assume I’m emotionally involved when you haven’t spent any time to involve my emotion: if I was supposed to get all verklempt at the end with the senior officer, you have to invest me in his fate, not just play emotional music over the scene. My greatest emotional moments in this came from my outraged sympathy for Lestrade in the beginning and my happiness at seeing Irene. Okay, and the bit with the kid and the headless nun. I loved that.

• Never end a story with a baby unless the story was about trying to get a baby. You might as well put little hearts over all the “i”s in the script and do the credits in pink ribbon. Especially don’t do it so you can get cute with the title. Also, John is a doctor and Mary is a very smart, athletic woman who pays attention to her body, so there’s no way they would have needed Sherlock to tell them she’s pregnant. That moment was the absolute nadir of the series so far.

Observation: Moffat kneecapped Doctor Who by making the stories about the Doctor’s angst instead of about the Doctor being the Doctor, going to different places, meeting strange people, and saving them. And now he’s doing it with Sherlock, making one episode about Sherlock’s return to John with detective interruptions and this episode about Sherlock and John’s relationship and how marriage will affect it, with detective interruptions. Thank god the third episode is not about Sherlock becoming an uncle, or I really would have lost it.

50 thoughts on “Sherlock Sunday: “The Sign of the Three”; by Thompson, Gatiss, & Moffat

  1. I agree with absolutely everything except the flashback issue. (I like them–I like reading them–IF AND ONLY IF they add to the structure in such a way that the story kinks and twists away into unpredictable territory, or gives me something meaty that alters the here-and-now in a fascinating way. Very very difficult to do, very rarely done well, but there are a few examples out there and of course, my brain just went blank. I will think of some. Eventually.)

    But regardless, these flashbacks were atrocious. They were there mostly because I’m pretty sure the writers and editors were aware that watching it through chronologically showed all of the structural flaws, and someone somewhere got cute and thought, “Oh, I know–we’ll break it up, a la Tarrintino–that’ll fix it!”

    They never really made me care about the commanding officer; they didn’t even really try, which was insulting. They gave some exposition about how John talks about him all the time (which was supposed to tweak Sherlock’s jealousy, but a sociopath wouldn’t really BE jealous, would he?) (I think Gatiss and Moffat need to look up the word sociopath, because they’re veering so far off it, I don’t think it means what they think it means.) Then during Sherlock’s whole Best Man Schtumping Decoding Of The Mystery, I knew who it was as soon as he walked out there into the group and started trying to brainstorm. There’s no way he’d have taken that long to figure it out. It was ridiculous that someone like Sherlock wouldn’t know, immediately, upon glancing out over the crowd.

    I love the spilled BBs analogy. Perfect description. The whole baby thing? DEARGODNO. I know they didn’t think that through. They couldn’t possibly have thought that through. Especially after the next ep where we have who/what Mary is confirmed.

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    1. I don’t think they thought anything through. I think they got drunk and played, Hoo-Boy-This-Would-Be-Funny.
      Also, Flashbacks Are Bad. Tsk.

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      1. Ha. 🙂 We will have to agree to disagree on the flashback. (Although I will grant you’re right about 95% of them.)

        I think flashbacks can stop a story cold. They can kill the suspense (of any genre, because the current story stops flat while waiting for the reader to get back to it). otoh, they can be done well. Time Traveler’s Wife. Outlander. Casblanca. Atonement. Memento. The Bourne Supremacy. [This is very likely a potato, potahto, thing. If they don’t work for you, they just don’t work for you.[ It’s just very rare that they’re done well, though, because most of the time, most people use it to explain stuff they should have set up better. For a flashback to be effective, it must absolutely move the story forward, not simply look backward and explain something that we should have already known.

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      2. This episode reminded me of a science fiction book by Piers Anthony, not because of the story itself but because I thought that the book was a result of a bar bet: bet you can’t write a book about a space traveling dentist who treats non-humans, can you? Unfortunately he did and he shouldn’t have. The best man speech was excruciating. It was embarrassing to be in the same room with the TV during it. And everyone knows Holmes can’t really play the violin.

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    2. “I think Gatiss and Moffat need to look up the word sociopath, because they’re veering so far off it, I don’t think it means what they think it means.” Thank you, Inigo.:) Also: you’re not wrong. lolol

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  2. You know, I have all the thoughts about this one. I agree with 90% of your storyline critiques, but as a reader some of the stuff I have always liked best in books aren’t the things that *necessarily* drive the plot. Sometimes you’re reading a book for the line where the character warns the Bursar will go totally Librarian poo when he finds out. It’s an obscure meta in-joke by Pratchett but Oh Holy God do I love those. I read Pratchett so I can get more back story about Vimes and other “people” I love just as much as I read him for the good plot lines and narrative weaving. Thus, I liked this one. I giggled in many a spot. No one told Sherlock to sit down because he is just too damn fascinating to look away from. Whether you see it as a train wreck or a performance piece by a childlike genius you cannot NOT watch. I’m not in this for the realism or even the “story”. I’m in it to see Sherlock, John, Mary, Molly, Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson be themselves together.
    Clearly, I have no future as an editor.

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    1. I’m with Sylvia on this one. Although this episode was far from perfect, I liked several moments from it enough to forgive a lot. The mystery was far too thin and unbelievable, but I enjoyed hanging out with the characters.

      Molly just wrenches my heart. She is the only one to anticipate Sherlock’s problems with the speech, and the only one to notice him leave early. There’s so much story in that little moment of her turning away.

      The actors are all fantastic.

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  3. SIGH. Also dammit. With a *headdesk* thrown in for good measure. Give me back my season one and two Sherlock, PLEASE.

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  4. Well, since I’ve used flashbacks in a number of my books, obviously I disagree. I think saying “no flashbacks” is exactly like saying “no subplots” (or like saying “no prologues”). I have read many a subplot where I just think, “GOD, I’m bored with this tedious, digressive nonsense.” That doesn’t mean Subplots Are Wrong, it means that -that- subplot is poorly executed. And, just like flashbacks, yep, lots of subplots are poorly executed.

    That said… yeah, this episode was a mess. The use of flashbacks wasn’t its problem; overall poor execution in the writing was its problem. There were little character moments, I enjoyed and some good lines, but the overall story was a mess and I agree with your commentary on the many specific problems that made it a mess.

    What’s surprising/interesting is that, amidst the annoying mess the writers have made of the first two episodes, they’ve done an excellent job with the one element I’d have thought would have been the hardest to get right–Mary.

    I was frankly expecting Mary to be identical to John’s previous love interests–who were just uninteresting distractions, jokes, or devices to create friction between John and Sherlock. Which is also Mary Morstan’s role as Watson’s fiancee/wife in the Conan Doyle stories, where she’s just an off-screen story prop (or, more often) annoying story encumbrance to be shed dismissively (Doyle’s Mrs. Watson is usually out of town or visiting relatives, etc.).

    Instead, they’ve made her a really strong and engaging character, and they’ve written her to fit in well into the John-Sherlock relationship, which is not at all an easy task to achieve in a series which has previously focused on developing a special bond between those two characters. Writing Mary so that she felt like an expansion of that bond, rather than an intrusion on it, was a tall order–and they succeeded.

    And I’m surprised, since they’re screwing up almost everything about the series they did WELL for two seasons… while meanwhile doing so well with this new/tall challenge of folding Mary into the show.

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    1. I will agree to disagree on prologues and flashbacks (WRONG WRONG WRONG) but I’m all for subplots.

      Mary is fabulous. You’re right, it’s amazing, they never hit a wrong note. At least not until the end, when she should have said, “Of course, I know I’m pregnant, you moron,” instead of pretending not to know so Sherlock could feel all proud. I also love it that in real life she’s Martin Freeman’s long time partner and the mother of his two kids because that kind of thing always makes me all squishy inside.

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      1. I don’t care who she is in her private life, but I do think the actress was very well cast.

        I like that she’s age-appropriate (i.e. looks John’s age rather than looking 20 years younger) and that she’s an attractive woman who’s not a raving beauty. She looks like someone I might know, rather than looking like A Movie Star. I really like all that about her.

        And I really like the performance. The actress is interesting, engaging, has good timing, has a lot of presence and strength, and is warming/charming.

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  5. Oh, the other thing I hated–the logistics of the murder method here were idiotic. The proposition is essentially that you can deliver a puncture wound to your own torso so severe that, when you remove the sharp object, you bleed to death within minutes, and… you NEVER NOTICE you;re doing this.

    !?!!?!?!?!?

    It takes a lot of blood loss to kill a person. More than a litre, certainly. It takes a serious wound to create that much blood loss that quickly–particularly in the torso. So the premise here is… there was something implanted on these mens’ belts big enough to do that, and they never noticed when pick up, donning, and fastening the belt? They felt no pain when piercing their own bodies with something that big? They felt no discomfort (or raging pain?) when going about their day after having pierced a major artery with a wound of mortal severity? The boss sat through Sherlock’s interminable speech without ever once thinking, “Gosh, something in my gut feel weird”? Upon removing the belts, they again failed to notice the long piercing object when pulling it out of their own flesh and commencing a fatal rush of blood loss? Didn’t see the thing when folding up the belt? Didn’t notice they were bleeding–a lot? Soldier boy got into the shower without noticing his own fatal abdominal wound?

    The people in the wedding audience whose labored explanations Sherlock dismissed all made more sense than THIS non-sensical crap that the writer’s came up with.

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    1. Laura, I was thinking the same thing as you on the murder method on my first viewing, but on the second viewing (yes, I am a masochist), I realized that what they were proposing was the moment of the murder was when the photographer was moving everyone around for the photo. There’s a moment where he walks behind the Colonel (? Commander? whatever he was) and supposedly in maneuvering the man where he (the photographer) wanted, him, he inserted the thin blade. The Colonel reacts — presumably, it would have felt like a bad pinch — and the cameraman was relying on the fact that the man would put up with the discomfort because he was in uniform and would remain so throughout the wedding and reception and only later, when he took off the uniform, would he notice.

      However, it’s ludicrous. When Sherlock and Watson are examining the first man’s body, supposedly, there’s no weapon. That couldn’t possibly be true, unless the weapon was made of something that dissolved, which it was not. It was said to be a thin blade. A thin blade that the wearer would have had to draw out of his own body for the blood to start flowing. So either the damned thing is lying there on the shower floor (for the first body), or is stuck through the man’s belt and lying on the floor still protruding from the belt, or broke off in the man’s body… but it’d SHOW UP. So it wasn’t invisible, or made of something that dissolved, which renders everything else just plain stupid, because Sherlock, being Sherlock would have seen the guard’s belt, then noticed the Colonel’s belt and would have put two and two together: that was their similarity. And frankly, if a guard drew out that long of a damned blade, I’m pretty sure he would have been yelling for help from the shower, or would have opened the shower door and tried to go get help, because, like you said, he’d have had to pump a lot of blood before passing out / dying.

      Dumb. Just dumb.

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        1. I usually lurk but thought I’d pop in with my perfectly usueless factoid…..there’s actually historical precedent for this type of murder. Empress Elixabeth of Austria was assassinated with a long, thin blade. Her corsets were so tight that they restricted the bleeding allowing her to walk for some distance. I may be misremembering but I think that the blade was so thin that she didn’t feel it and never realized that she was stabbed.

          Anyway, Love the analysis. I learn a lot from all the discussion. Back to lurking…..

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          1. I’d forgotten that. Georgette Heyer used it as the inspiration for her murderer in Envious Casca.
            You must stay out of lurk, we need your useless factoids.

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    2. It took a couple of viewings (sign me up for the Masochist Club) but it appears (to me) the a long, thin, stiletto/ice pick type blade is snuck up under the belt to create the wound and then, as Jenny said, the belt acts as a tourniquet until removed. I’m not saying this isn’t lame (because it kinda is) but that is what I understood after multiple viewings… which it shouldn’t take more than a second viewing to catch the bits you missed in the first, imo.

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      1. I thought it was a clever way to stab someone, but I believe it could only be perpetrated on an very uptight, upright British military man – trained to endure standards of posture and pain thresholds we might not understand. I believe both soldiers were special forces. IMHO, of course.

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  6. Well I watched the first 5? 10? minutes and something happened that flipped a switch in my brain that said “no!” and I haven’t gone back to watch it. I think maybe Sherlock was mean to Mrs. Hudson and she just took it? I don’t know, but I just wasn’t in the mood to put up with that bullshit. Maybe I’ll watch in the future, maybe not.

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      1. Oh yes, Lestrade comes to his rescue and he’s writing a speech. That scene WAS vile. I’m not sure I can watch this anymore. I hate who’ve/what they’ve made Sherlock into. Ugh. It’s disappointing.

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      2. Except it wasn’t clear to me that Sherlock WAS being vile (rather than the writers just playing games). It just seemed like Lestrade made a mountain out of a molehill for no good reason.

        Or maybe I missed why Lestrade went over-the-top with his reaction, but the request was vague enough that I just knew it was going to be a gotcha, and I couldn’t see why Lestrade dropped everything to respond to it. It’s not like Sherlock had some sort of coded distress call that they’d agreed on or something, and Sherlock didn’t say “bring back-up” or anything.

        I didn’t blame Sherlock for being vile in that particular scenario (unlike the interactions with Watson); it was too obviously a fake-out by the writers. The SCENE was vile, but I didn’t really think the CHARACTER was. If that makes any sense.

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        1. I didn’t think Sherlock was vile there either. His texts said help me, but they didn’t say “I’m in life-threatening danger, come save me.” It was a stupid and unnecessary scene, but I didn’t hate Sherlock for it.

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  7. Total and utter tosh. The only thing I liked was Mary’s wedding dress. The next episode is better, not great, but definitely an improvement.

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  8. The first thing my housemates and I did after the episode was start discussing The Sign of Four to see what, if any, similarities there were between it and this episode. I finally found it. TSoF is a novel. The only similar elements are Mary (this is when she and John meet and she’s really a nothing), Sholto who is a military officer, and Smallman, who wants to kill Sholto. That’s all. I mean, sure, they aren’t going to totally stick to canon, but they had done so decently for the first two seasons. I guess they don’t have to this season, in their minds.

    A baby? Really? No, totally non-canon. So either they are going to muck things up with a baby, or they are going to kill both Mary and the baby. Either one sucks.

    My housemates were not bothered by the lack of plot and enjoyed the show. I liked parts of it, but mostly hated what they did with Sherlock and how cruel he was. Also, housemates liked the pathos at the end, but it seemed anti-Sherlock (sociopath, anyone?).

    One of the things I have hated about this series since the beginning was Mycroft. He is so far from the Mycroft of Doyle’s. Sure, he has his fingers in everything, but the original Mycroft was not a cruel man. He was never cruel to or dismissive of his brother. (Also their parents were not in evidence and were presumed dead.) This Mycroft is horrible to his brother and seems to revel in any misery of Sherlock’s. I want someone to shoot Mycroft. Then drug Sherlock so maybe he’ll go back to being the good Sherlock of the first two seasons.

    And I like Mary so much that I suspect she will turn out to be too good to be true.

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  9. I tried to pick one thing from your running commentary that I identified *most* with, but… it’s all spot on. Basically “what she said” is what the Hubbin and I were saying to one another through our first watch. (He hasn’t gone back for a subsequent watch. Smart man. Keep in mind, I’m of the minority that enjoyed ep1…) I think the thing that makes me most angry is the Lestrade sequence at the beginning. W.T.F. And then, I figured, this’ll figure into the mystery somehow, right? WRONG. ARGH. I cannot be done enough with this episode. It has some brilliant bits – basically anything with Mary and/or Molly – but is unredeemable beyond that. Before this episode, I would’ve told you I’d be perfectly content to watch BC read his grocery list and after this… ok, I would still watch that, but only if Moff’tiss was NOT involved. : After this I had very low expectations going into ep3 and I have conflicted emotions regarding it, so I’m interested to see what the Argh Nation thought.

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  10. “Okay, Mr. Hudson running a cartel IS funny.”

    That was my favorite part of that whole episode. I find it ironic at this point that Sherlock, a series about a brilliant crime solver, has little to do with crime and that, when I’m watching it, I can’t think about it too hard or I’ll get this annoyed by it. It’s starting to feel like Psych feels in its 8th (and last) season: all about thinking you’re being clever and funny when you’re being neither and being so self-indulgent that you’re audience is staring at their TV with a look of WTF? because it’s a mess.

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      1. I liked it through most of its seasons. They had a really great one with a dramatic hook that one year. It’s always a funny parody type show but yeah, this 8th — and very reduced last season — feels more like “Here’s a list of our personal Dream Episodes so we’re going to cram them all in and make them so over the top cheezy that even our acting is ridiculously hammy!” And I say that as a total Psych-o fan.

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        1. Oh, but when they were good . . . That was some of the best dumb comedy ever. And they did the romance right, too. I love that scene on the bridge: “I’ve been thinking about getting a car.” Great line.
          So maybe I won’t catch up on the episodes I missed.

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    1. I think Psych has been doing that for a loooooooooooong time. As in most of its seasons. I kept watching it, but….yeah.

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    2. Thanks for the warning. I love Psych but have watched it on Netflix. I thought it was going down hill, starting around the episode they had Shawn try to make coffee in the humidifier. Shawn was irresponsible & irreverent but that’s plain stupid, and he shouldn’t be that. So sad that this season has gone from not good to bad.

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  11. First, most of this episode is vanity scriptwriting. The clever lines were flying all over the place and appear to mostly showcase Cumbatch delivering -which is exquisite and delightful to listen to, even when it’s all just a hot mess. my favorite parts of the episode were Sherlock doing the place cards and Mary playing them both. Then the hilarious bachelor party bit. The murder plot was intriguing but we could spot the killer too early on so as to be not too Sherlockian. I liked the stabbing tourniquet bit even if it may have been too far fetched. I love that Sherlock finally wrapped up his toast appropriately given John his due. What I didn’t like was the pacing of this episode. It was too slow and very jumbled up. I think many of the scenes were in the wrong order. And while I enjoyed the episode and specific parts, it doesn’t change the fact that Sherlock’s character is inconsistent with previous seasons. I look forward to discussing the next episode.

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  12. I liked this one, but I think a lot of that was because I hated the first episode so much that this looked good by comparison. The speech as a framing device wouldn’t have bothered me, since this was clearly about Sherlock and John’s relationship, but this should have been half an hour shorter. If they’d cut out most of the jokes (the thing with Lestrade at the beginning was just absurd, and the drunk game was not funny), they could have had the plot there from the beginning.

    I think the reason I forgave so much with this one was because of those moments when Sherlock talks about John and what his friendship has meant to him. After the horrendous way he treated him in “Hearse,” I really needed to hear that. Also, there’s Mary. And the kid he bonded with over crime scene photos – that was priceless.

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    1. The kid was wonderful.
      I think my problem with the speech is talk means little, action means a lot. And his actions were not the general Sherlock callousness from the first two seasons, they were also cruel. So he can say anything he wants, I’ve seen what he does. Character is action, not dialogue.

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      1. True. I guess the speech seemed in keeping with his actions from seasons one and two (maybe not “Hounds,” I don’t remember that one). “Hearse” just didn’t seem like him for me. But that’s probably why “His Last Vow” works so much better – the end of that is definitely all action.

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