Monday, January 20, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Sherlock: The Empty Hearse (2014) ****

TV-14, 90 min.
Creators: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat
Director: Jeremy Lovering
Writers: Mark Gatiss, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (works)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Scott, Louise Brealey, Amanda Abbington, Jonathan Aris

“Sherlock” returned to U.S. television last night and Benedict Cumberbatch returned in all of Sherlock’s abrasive magnificence. Picking up two years after the events of “The Reichenbach Fall”, in which Sherlock apparently killed himself in order to thwart Jim Moriarty’s plans to hurt the only people he cares for, we find that although Sherlock himself hasn’t changed much, John Watson has.

Not all that pleased that Sherlock was willing to allow him to believe for two years that he was dead; John is reluctant to forgive his friend. He’s even less willing to allow Sherlock to tell him how he did it, although it burns at him, mostly because it took some 25 people to help Sherlock pull it off, but not apparently his closest confidant and friend. As expected Sherlock can’t fathom why John should be upset about all this.

However, there is reason why Sherlock chooses this point in time to reveal himself to John. He has been beckoned by his brother Mycroft to help stop a reported terrorist attack on London. Given only the clue that there is an “underground” movement to embark on a terrorist attack on the city, Sherlock finds himself slightly mystified at the vagueness of this report. However, his brother’s concern intrigues him. And so another mystery is set in motion for the crime-solving duo.

The series returns with all the flair it had last we witnessed it here in the states way back in almost two years ago. To tell the truth, I like most people just caught up with the series last year on Netflix. But anyway, it’s still good to have them back for another three episodes, and possibly a Christmas episode at the end of the year.

Director Jeremy Lovering brings back many of the stylistic flairs from the first couple of seasons, most notably the visualizing of Sherlock’s ability to deduce clues in the form of word thoughts about the people and places he observes. Writer Mark Gatiss, who also plays Mycroft, also explores a good deal of humor in this episode, mostly pertaining to Holmes and Watson’s reunion. I really liked that Watson kept attacking Holmes when he first reveals himself. Cumberbatch perfectly captures Sherlock’s surprise every time, unable to comprehend his offense against his friend.

We also finally get introduced to Watson’s bride to be, Mary Marston. Oh, how I do like British casting agents, who don’t feel such iconic characters have to look like some supermodel that just stepped of the airbrushed cover of Vogue. Amanda Abbington is a delightful addition to the cast, who promises to enrich the world of “Sherlock”, hopefully for some time to come. Of course, this is a murder mystery show that doesn’t necessarily follow the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the tee. I hope she doesn’t become the victim of their new nemesis, whose Guy Fawkes Day terrorist plot seems designed merely as a test for Sherlock and his crew. Time will tell.


Kathy in MD said...

I love the camera work; it's gorgeous. Also, if I had more time, I would research the musical motifs. Obviously there is the one for Sherlock, but I am pretty sure Mycroft has one and possibly John.

Andrew Wells said...

Yes, the camera work does have an eye for London. I think this is a wonderful detail of this series. It seems to be in love with its location, which is something that Doyle did with the books as well. They're kind of a love letter to London.