Synopsis: Wedding bells are in the air and Sherlock has the honor of being best man. Is this the wisest choice John has ever made? And what does it all lead to?
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves
We sigh in utter contentment as Sherlock- being ever so Sherlock- pulls Lestrade away from what could potentially make Lestrade’s career to help him write his best man speech- Sherlock’s idea of impossible. Just like this, this episode, was in essence, solidifying Sherlock and John’s relationship rather than John and Mary’s. How you may ask? Did you think it was an act of laziness or accident that John and Mary’s vows were never shown and we are only shown Sherlock and John’s words to each other? This was intentional. The show has always been about Sherlock and John and it always will and should be. We see the lengths to which Sherlock is willing to go to for his best friend. From using Youtube to learn how to fold pretty origami serviettes to giving the best man speech to monitoring the people in the couple’s lives. We also learn the titillating fact Sherlock secretly loves to dance! Additionally, we know from A Scandal In Belgravia, John tells Irene Adler, “Sherlock always replies; He is Mr. Punchline. He will try to outlive god having the last word”, to which she- and the audience- asks, “Am I special?” Sherlock being dumbfounded and quiet as John asks him to be his best man because he is John’s best friend is particularly satisfying as we now have conclusive proof, if you already didn’t believe it, that John is “special” to Sherlock.
The telegrams scene was sheer hilarity as Sherlock so awkwardly read the emotional letters. His best man speech was an emotional journey recounting their mysteries together. We are shown that there is a case The Bloody Guardsmen that Sherlock cannot solve and The Mayfly Man who John just assumes is human nature. The case seemed so simple and yet, the one time Sherlock didn’t think it was clever, was the time it was the most. We later discover that everything is intertwined and how the photographer murdered? I don’t know whether to be sick to my stomach or praise that he fooled even Sherlock for a second. One thing’s for sure though: I’m going to be obsessively checking my belts for a long time. Intriguingly, we find Sherlock turning to his brother’s voice to guide him when he is at a loss. This reveals how much he actually idolizes Mycroft and respects him for his intelligence.
Thank you Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for finally introducing to us to, non-other than, drunk Sherlock and John. Seeing Sherlock produce two measuring cylinders for drinking had me sprawled on the floor laughing and the deductions when he was drunk were very ordinary; a chair being “chair” and a taxidermy bull head being “death”. Quite rightly, too, Sherlock. The cinematography during the drunk scene had the visuals slightly stretched out and blurry which was very fitting. John, very drunk-confident saying (referring to Sherlock) “He’s clueing for looks” made my day. Likewise, are you sure you are not alarmed by sex, Sherlock? Because you seemed pretty shell-shocked when Molly bought it up.
Now to bring up the elephant in the room- no pun intended. Sherlock’s loneliness. In The Empty Hearse when Sherlock was advising Mycroft to stop being lonely and find some friends, I thought they were foreshadowing Mycroft’s future; but I should’ve realized that it was actually Sherlock’s. Usually, Sherlock doesn’t ever realize he is alone but, this time, after developing so much as a human being, it breaks my heart to see him so alone and wounded and realizing his situation. Especially, when he brings up the joke about having a baby to care about other than him; the look on his face is painful as we realize what humanizing Sherlock means. He feels the happiness and the sadness of life- and it hurts to see it. And, fascinatingly, we see that Molly, “the one that mattered the most”, is the only one that notices Sherlock slipping out on his own.
But one thing I feel compelled to mention is this: Sherlock telling John that his choice of best man is disappointing; that Sherlock is not the best of man and is arrogant and selfish and starts rattling of all his bad traits- I wanted to deck him in the face- and then give him a hug. Sherlock thinks he is not the best of man because he is “…dismissive of the virtuous…” Well, Sherlock was so intent on stressing the fact that he “solves murders” and John “saves lives” but in this episode, towards the end, we see Sherlock saving a life for John’s wedding; how is that not virtuous? He continues on, rattling he is “…unaware of the beautiful…” If that were true, Irene Adler wouldn’t still be popping in his head at random moments (how often does he think of her when he is not busy?!) and “…uncomprehendable in the face of happiness…” Now he is just being stupid. Seeing how smiley he is with John, congratulating Mary and John being together and then being happy for them for the baby! Mr. Holmes, in the very first episode, we see the ultimate foreshadowing: Officer Lestrade says “Sherlock Holmes is a great man and I think one day, if we’re very very lucky, he might even be a good one too.” And now, without a doubt, he is.
UPDATE: I have read other reviews of the episode that have been tearing this episode apart for it’s lacking in complexity in mystery, that Sherlock is becoming too human and that we don’t need- or want- to know how he’s feeling. While I do understand these can be putting off- initially I was upset that he seemed a bit more sentimental- there are justified reasons for them. I’m sure the reason why the mystery hasn’t been intense with a passionate villain is to, hopefully, make the third episode a bit of a shock and increasingly compelling to the audience when we are introduced to something darker in contrast to the rest of the perky season. As for not caring about how Sherlock is feeling is entirely up to how you perceive your heroes. If seeing them having human vulnerabilities such as loneliness and jealousy upsets your ideals of a hero remember this from the man himself:
Don’t make people into heroes, John. Heroes don’t exist and if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.
We are shown from an early stage that this Sherlock was going to be vulnerable. The writers and directors wanted the show to be more than just case after intense case- there is no need for an hour and half to accomplish that- but rather about what actually happens to people. And this is the reason I have yet to be disappointed with the show because we should have been expecting this. If you do not want to be shown the truth about a hero’s life, that is unfortunate but that is what Sherlock is; not about what the characters do, but why and how they do it because that is what makes the human race so awe-inspiring.
Verdict: 10 of 10 kicks