Monday, January 27, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Sherlock: The Sign of Three (2014) ****

TV-14, 90 min.
Creators: Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss
Director: Colm McCarthy
Writers: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Steve Thompson, Arthur Conan Doyle (works)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves, Mark Gatiss, Louise Brealey, Amanda Abbington, Vinette Robinson, Lara Pulver, Alistair Petrie, Alice Lowe, Yasmine Akram

I don’t remember Sherlock Holmes’ adventures being particularly funny in my exposure to them as a child. Perhaps I just didn’t really pay attention, but it seems this new wave of Sherlock found on television and in the movies has a great deal of humor to it. The latest episode of the BBC’s series “Sherlock” is a pretty good example of that.

“The Sign of Three” once again riffs off an Arthur Conan Doyle title of a Sherlock Holmes novel, but involves a story that is pretty divergent from its source inspiration. The primary event in this episode is John Watson’s marriage to Mary Morstan. “Sherlock” finally introduced Watson’s bride to be in the previous episode, and she is perfect. Doyle introduced Morstan in the book “The Sign of the Four”, but that hardly centered on her marriage to Watson, rather it merely marked the beginning of their relationship. It did involve a military man named Sholto, who is a character in this episode, although much more of a minor one than in the book.

In fact, the mystery itself takes a bit of a backseat in this episode as it is Sherlock’s best man speech that dominates the proceedings. It must be the longest speech in the history of weddings, but it is mighty entertaining. In it Holmes describes a few vignettes of cases that he and Watson have solved in the time between the last episode and the wedding. The speech itself is very humorous in its depiction of how incapable Sherlock is in handling affairs of the heart, but the cases are even more entertaining.

“The Sign of the Four” was the book in which Doyle really began to tackle Sherlock’s issues of drug addiction. That is an aspect of the character that really hasn’t been a factor in this series. In fact, it would seem the creators decided to leave it out of this Sherlock’s make up, but one of his tales during the speech involves a “stag” party thrown by Sherlock for Watson. In true Sherlock form, no one else is invited, but the two imbibe plenty of alcohol and then decide to go out on a client call. The results are quite hilarious.

I am once again saddened, however, that each series of this show is limited to so few episodes. I feel like this season of “Sherlock” is just getting rolling. This episode in particular got rolling right out of control, and it was so much fun. Now suddenly, I’m faced with the realization that the next episode will be the last for almost a year. A Christmas special is planned for the holidays in true BBC style. I hope next week’s is as enjoyable as this week’s and can sustain the long break.

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