Sherlock Season 3 Finale Recap: Shot Near the Heart, and You're to Blame

sherlock-season-3-finale-recap-mary-double-life-moriarty-aliveWhere does one even begin a discussion of Sherlock‘s Season 3 finale?

With our intrepid detective’s lip-lockin’, bathroom-gigglin’ encounters involving a certain plucky bridesmaid? With Mycroft’s heartfelt show of emotion for brother dearest? With Molly’s absolutely brutal (and seriously pissed-off) triple face-slap of Mr. Holmes?

I mean, all of the above angles sound pretty juicy, and yet not a one of ‘em — nor “Sherlock found in a flophouse!” or “Supervillain licks a powerful lady’s face for sport!” or “Everybody passes out from poisoned punch at Christmas!” — can begin to match the Rated W (for WHOA!) plot developments of this particular(ly crazy) installment.

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“I will not attempt a linear recap,” I write on the blackboard 100 times. It’s just not possible. Nor can my recountings do justice to the not-entirely-perfect but perfectly riveting “His Last Vow.” So let me  instead present a few humble discussion points that we can use as jumping-off platforms to dish the final installment of the British detective series for this calendar year. (How painful is that?)

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ESTABLISHING SHOTS | The action kicks off with a government hearing looking into the activities of media magnate Charles Augustus Magnussen (eep! it’s Creepy McGlassesface who so enjoyed Watson’s near death in the season premiere). Dude’s got a mental dossier with the secrets and lies of everyone in the room, and later, we see him use said knowledge to threaten (and tongue-bathe the face of!) Lady Alicia Smallwood (Lindsay Duncan) into backing off. But she, in turn, decides to pay a visit to 221B for help — and that’s where our story begins.

TROUBLE IN SUBURBIA | Back at Casa Watson, we discover it’s been a month since Watson’s seen Sherlock. But when a neighbor lady pops by to tearfully beg for help in tracking down her missing addict son, something stirs in Watson — a need to grab his bike iron and head to the local drug den to play the hero. (Priceless explanation to Mary: “One of them might need help with a tire!”) Who turns out to be in the adjoining mattress, though, but Sherlock (Shazzer?) himself! And so, despite Holmes’ insistence that it’s all part of a case, Watson drags him down to the lab for a urine test — where a very unhappy Molly gets her slap on, and delivers this brutal assessment: “How dare you throw away the beautiful gifts you were born with! And how dare you betray the love of your friends!” Sherlock’s just glad she’s no longer wearing her engagement ring, which sad as it makes me to say, isn’t a big surprise. I mean, she got with Tom during Sherlock’s two-year absence; with him back on the scene, could her new romance really thrive? (Especially when the guy has cockamamie theories about knives made of meat and bone? And he’s not even a sociopath!)

THE CASE (OR THE FIRST CASE, ANYHOW) | Sherlock finally convinces everyone his “relapse” into drugs is part of his case — something he needed to make the papers in his efforts to undo Magnussen. But Mycroft demands Sherlock back away; it seems Magnussen is more useful than harmful to Mother England, and is therefore under his protection. And that results in Sherlock slamming Mycroft into a wall. (Was it just me, or did that sudden jolt of violence feel unexpected almost to the point of unbelievability?) Mycroft makes his exit, but Watson discovers that they’re still not alone: It seems Sherlock’s taken up with Mary’s maid of honor Janine, and she’s apparently familiar enough with 221B to join “Shirls” (gah! the familiarity!) while he’s in the bath! “We’re in a very good place,” Sherlock explains to Watson. “It’s very affirming.” CLEARLY SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE — and not just because, at least to this recapper, Sherlock would never stray from his singular devotion to Watson.

THIS IS WHERE MINDS GET BLOWN | So, OK, get this. Magnussen — who holds the secrets and pressure points of every influential person in the western world at a compound called Appledor — pays a visit to Holmes and Watson at 221B, and proceeds to relieve himself IN THE FIREPLACE. (Only No. 1, thank goodness. Still hideous though.) But yeah, apparently dude has no plans to return the evidence that proves Lady Smallwood’s hubby once had a dalliance with an underage girl. But Holmes isn’t one to just cave to threats, and he’s got a plan of his own. Turns out Janine is Magnussen’s personal assistant, and Sherlock gets past the 14 layers of security leading to the Big Bad’s office by flashing an engagement ring over a black-and-white camera. But when Holmes and Watson get upstairs, Janine’s been knocked over the head, and there’s a hint of Lady Smallwood’s signature scent (Clair de la Lune) in the air, and Sherlock rushes to find her about to put a bullet in Magnussen’s head.

EXCEPT IT’S NOT LADY SMALLWOOD. AND SOMEBODY ELSE WEARS CLAIR DE LA LUNE. AND THAT SOMEBODY IS MARY! AND MARY SHOOTS SHERLOCK IN THE CHEST AND FLEES THE SCENE. AND HOLY *#^@&$ HECK, WHAT IS HAPPENING?

SO LET’S TALK FOR A SEC | I did not see Mary’s secret double life coming. And if some cruel Brit had spoiled me on this plot deet, I’d never have believed ‘em. But I do have one little quibble with the way this story arc played out. You see, it turns out Mary became friends with Janine for the same reasons Sherlock started dating her: For access to Magnussen. But if Magnussen is as shrewd as everyone claims, would he ever in a million years have kept on an assistant dating an investigative mastermind like Sherlock? Or who was BFFs with a dangerous woman leading a double life, a woman whose secrets were so dark that she could presumably want to kill Magnussen to avoid their public airing? That just didn’t add up.

That aside, the scenes playing out in Sherlock’s brain in the seconds post-shooting — Molly and Mycroft directing him which way to fall and telling him how to avoid death; a chained Moriarty rushing him like a rabid dog and trying to usher him into the beyond — prove as riveting as Janine’s hospital visit to Holmes was hilarious. “Sherlock Holmes, you’re a backstabbing, heartless, manipulative bastard,” she grins. To which Holmes shoots back, “And you, as it turns out, are a grasping, opportunistic, publicity-hungry tabloid whore.” So, yeah, they’re all good now, especially since Janine made a lot of money off of her false tales of their nights of passion. “Just once would’ve been nice,” she says wistfully, but oh doesn’t she know Shirl is saving himself for Watson? (OK, sorry, I ship those two a little too hard; I’m a Mrs. Hudson that way. But live and let live, really.)

THE CASE (THE REAL CASE) | Mary tracks Sherlock down, or rather, Sherlock tricks Mary into tracking him down, at the facade of a house (“remind you of anyone?” he asks her), where he recounts the ways he should’ve picked up her true identity: The lack of a family or close friends pre-Watson; her ability to recognize a skip code; and way she was able to remember Major Sholto’s room number in a moment of crisis. He gets her to toss a coin in the air and shoot it with unbelievable precision. “That wasn’t a miss,” he says of the bullet she put in him at Magnussen’s office. “That was surgery.” But it turns out John Watson is in the room, too, and he’s heard everything. And in a heartbreaker of a scene, they take her back to 221B, have her sit in the client’s seat, and decide whether or not to take her case. (“But she’s not just a client, no matter how terribly she behaved!” is all I keep saying on the inside.)

LONG RECAP SHORT | Sherlock being Sherlock, there are a lot of overlapping timelines and funny asides and even a new assistant named “Wiggy” who is all kinds of awesome. But in the end, the action culminates months after Mary’s identity is revealed, on Christmas day to be exact. We flash back to the scene at 221B where John, having just learned the truth, seethes over Mary’s betrayal, but Holmes — beautiful, brilliant Holmes — won’t let his BFF off the hook so easy. “You are a doctor who went to war. You’re a man who couldn’t stay in the suburbs for more than a month without storming a crack den and beating up a junkie. Your best friend is a sociopath who solves crimes as an alternative to getting high. That’s me, by the way,” Sherlock says. “Even the landlady used to run a drug cartel.” (“It was my husband’s cartel. I was just typing,” Mrs. Hudson huffs back.) But the kicker is this: “John, you are addicted to a certain lifestyle. You’re abnormally attracted to dangerous situations and people. So is it truly such a surprise that the woman you fell in love with conforms to that pattern?”

Mary, contrite, pregnant and still wanting to save her marriage, slips John a drive with all the information on her murderous, espionage-filled, CIA-agent-turned-freelancer past — and makes one request: “Don’t read it in front of me, because you won’t love me when you’ve finished.” We flash-forward back to Christmas, and the mood is still icy between the newlyweds — Mary pretending to read the book Sherlock’s mom wrote about mathematics, Watson grumbling and stumbling skittishly. But then he tells her he’s made his decision, and in the happiest holiday gift of all, he tosses the drive into the fire. “The problems of your past are your business,” he says, his voice crackling with emotion. “The problems of your future are my privilege.” Damn, he’s romantic!

LOVE WINS OUT…UNTIL | Suddenly, Mary and Mycroft (who just finished telling Sherlock that losing him would “break my heart”) and Sherlock’s mom and dad have passed out. Sherlock, it turns out, drugged them — the better to steal Mycroft’s laptop full of secrets, then trade it to Magnussen for Mary’s file. But when they get to Appledor, it turns out there isn’t a basement of incriminating files. Dude keeps everything in his head — and seriously gets off on the power that brings him. He begins flicking Watson’s face, and then his eye, a psychotic gleam in his eye. When Mycroft tracks his missing laptop to Appledor, he’ll pin the theft on Sherlock and Watson and have no choice but to imprison them for treason — especially since a search of Magnussen’s home will reveal not a single illegal or incriminating document. And it’s at this point, that Mary’s desperate remarks about her target ring clear and true as a bell: “People like Magnussen should be killed. That’s why there are people like me.” And that’s why there are people like Sherlock, too. When Magnussen accuses him of trying to play hero, Sherlock sets him straight: “Oh do your research! I’m not a hero! I’m a high-functioning sociopath — Merry Christmas!” Then BAM! Holmes shoots him in the head at close range as Mycroft observes from a hovering helicopter. “Give my love to Mary,” says Sherlock to his pal. “Tell her she’s safe now.” Maybe not the most fully actualized or best-solved mystery in the Sherlock oeuvre, but certainly a satisfying end to old nasty Mags. (Fast poll: Was the comparison to Rupert Murdoch too overt or just right?)

A DEATH SENTENCE | Sherlock, thanks to Mycroft’s lobbying and Lady Smallwood’s approval, avoids imprisonment, but gets assigned to a six-month undercover stint in Eastern Europe that Big Brother is certain will end in death. But minutes after his plane takes off — following a sweet farewell to John and Mary, and an unsuccessful lobbying effort to get them to name their daughter Sherlock — something shocking happens. Every TV set and screen in England gets interrupted by the same message, and it looks like something out of Sherlock’s near-death experience: Moriarty, gleeful and seemingly very much alive, asking, “Missed me?” Could it be that Holmes isn’t the only one who faked his own death on that rooftop? Stay tuned…

Best Quotes
“People were talking other than me? I must’ve filtered…I’ve got Mrs. Hudson on semi-permanent mute.” –Sherlock, being totally honest

“It doesn’t mean I’m not pleased to see you.” –Watson, reassuring Magnussen’s bodyguard after the bike iron in his pocket is discovered during a patdown

“Don’t worry — I’ll keep him in trouble.” –Mary, assuring the mission-bound Sherlock that his BFF will be OK

What did you think of the Season 3 finale? Did you see the Mary twist coming? Did you have any issues with the mysteries or Sherlock’s end-of-episode gunplay? And is Moriarty really alive? Grade the episode in our poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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98 Comments
  1. kd86953 says:

    The best show on television. Hands down.

  2. Lariet50 says:

    God I love this show! Why is it only on every two years?

    • TheTinyDane says:

      It’s usually on each year, but due to their roles in The Hobbit and schedule conflicts they had to push this season.

      • TvPeong says:

        The first season was in 2010, the second season in 2012 and this season in 2014.

        • TheTinyDane says:

          The second series of three 90-minute episodes was initially planned to air in late 2011,but was delayed until early January 2012. With 1st january broadcast.

          2 months delay or so, that’s not a year in my book :)

    • The Beach says:

      And such a short season when it is on. It definitely leaves one wanting more. I thought it was pretty cool to learn on the after-show that the actors playing Sherlock’s parents were Cumberbatch’s actual parents.

  3. Alichat says:

    This episode wasn’t as entertaining as I expected. The last half hour to 20 minutes of it just wasn’t as entertaining as the first hour. I think my mouth was agape through the first hour of the show. And I was expecting that Mycroft would be the one to shoot Magnussen….especially after the surprisingly heartfelt declaration he made earlier in the day. That perhaps Sherlock had been recording the conversation, and as a matter of national security, Mycroft was able to get away with it.

  4. desertpoet1 says:

    was I the only one who thought Sherlock was going to say I love you to John before he got on the plane. (ok I knew it wouldn’t really happen but it seemed like the perfect moment) There is so much romantic subtext between those two if one of them was a woman everyone would expect them to get together.

    • uh huh says:

      He did say it, when he said there was something he always meant to say to John. THAT was him saying I love you. The actual words were superfluous and unnecessary.

  5. Olga says:

    Soooo many typos, Michael. But this was the most emotionally exhausting hour and a half of television ever, and there weren’t even any commercials to catch my breath!

  6. pepperbuster says:

    It was all you said but I am getting a bit tired of all the time jumping. I feel like I’m watching an episode of Dr. Who instead of Sherlock.

    • Daven C says:

      I had that same problem with this installment. The back and forth between the wedding and the past just felt wrong to me.
      Loved the show though, even with the annoyance.

  7. HDH68 says:

    Wow! I was riveted throughout. You make some good points, but they didn’t take away from the episode. Can’t wait for season 4. Best show on TV.

  8. Brigitte says:

    Amazing show. I’m loving UK shows lately (Luther 4sure) and Sherlock. Quite amazing.
    I don’t think Moriarty is alive, though he is ultimate criminal genius. I think someone’s using his memory. Pretty hard to fake blowing your brains out, though if anyone could, it would be him. God, I hope we don’t have to wait another 2 years, though I’m thrilled to hear there will be a season 4 and 5. Yay

    • Badpenny says:

      I agree that Moriarty is dead. I think Mycroft is faking Moriarty being alive to fool everyone and keep Sherlock from dying on the trip. He will fall down the slippery slope rather then let his little brother be killed – like the other one…

      • A says:

        “…like the other one,” indeed!! Can’t wait for this shoe to drop.

        • Znachki says:

          That’s actually a reference to a theory from a respected Holmsian, who posited that there must be an older brother who holds the family seat, allowing Mycroft (#2) to enter the civil service, and Sherlock (#3) to be a gentleman of leisure. He called him Sherriford. So another shout out.

      • kd83954 says:

        Ah! That’s riiiiiiiiiiiight. I forgot about that little quip. Does this mean we’re going to meet another Holmes?

      • JM says:

        I don’t think Moriarty is alive either. I thought perhaps it was Sherlock who placed the broadcast, not willing to give up so easily, but your theory on Mycroft is a good one, too.

    • Mark says:

      Moriaty is alive. There was another little bit with him at the end of the credits (at least at the end of the UK broadcast). Did they show that here?

      • Alichat says:

        They showed the same tease here as well, but I didn’t take that as an indication that he is alive. It was just the a nod to the ending and the character.

  9. Ellie says:

    This was probably my 11th or 12th time watching this episode, still blown away. I am still pretty upset about John forgiving Mary the way he did. I don’t care if she was the mother of his child. She lied to him their entire relationship, not to protect him but to protect herself (and endangering him), then killed his best friend to top it all off. Sure Sherlock lived, but he died for a bit on the table.

    • Jenna says:

      Thank you!! That has been driving me crazy. He forgives her?? Just like that?? That didn’t ring true to me. When we discovered Mary was the one with the gun on Magnusson I thought for sure this was the end for them. Maybe the fact that I haven’t been crazy about the introduction of Mary this season adds to it, but I just didn’t buy it.

      • sophiaNY says:

        I also was very upset about John forgiving Mary after shooting his best friend and betraying him so terribly. Would love to see the show go back to Sherlock & Watson, Mycroft & Mrs. Hudson sans Mary.

    • Ashley says:

      YES!!!!! I know there was a time jump and supposedly months had passed, but we went from John finding out the truth and being furious right to John forgiving her. I loved this episode, but I don’t like where they’ve taken this version of Mary, and I hope she goes away soon!

  10. demps66 says:

    OK, did anybody get the line Mycroft threw out there about being sentimental with “the other one” meaning that there is another sibling out there? Or was I dreaming?

  11. KH says:

    Those last two episodes of the season were by far my favorite of the (so very short) series so far. Tonight’s finale may be ever so slightly my favorite but at least is tied with last week’s. I also love that Sherlock and Mycroft’s parents are played by Benedict Cumberbatch’s parents. That being said…how much longer until season 4??? Not sure how long I can wait to find out what the heck is going on with Moriarty.

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  13. DarkDefender says:

    Brilliant. Just brilliant!

  14. You know some part of me wanted Watson to shoot Magnussen, but this worked just fine. This might have been the most consistent season yet, since while the show is one of my faves and I enjoy every episode I find it hard to pick a worst this time around. Sherlock’s return in episode 1 was probably done the only way it could have been, episode 2′s string of stories and such coming together to make a damn intriguing and fun tale worked pretty well, and this was an interesting conclusion with some genuine twists.

  15. Kate says:

    I’m with you and Mrs Hudson, Michael, Sherlock & John – the greatest love story of all time.

    • Jenna says:

      Same here! They’re clearly in love with each other. Too bad it will never go there. I secretly hoped Mary would be out of the picture when this twist came about, partly because I ship them pretty hard, but mostly because I worry this will ruin the dynamic of the show. But that’s just me.

    • Mo says:

      I don’t ship them romantically, but seriously… John’s face when he saw Janine in the flat just making herself at home, walking about in Sherlock’s shirt, sitting in his lap & calling him “Sherl” was PRICELESS. It’s okay, John, you’re his pressure point not that little tart!

    • Guest says:

      Wait! Who is Michael?

  16. scooby says:

    I assumed the smart and strategizing Magnussen already knew Janine was involved with both Sherlock and Mary’s lives. I don’t think he was oblivious to the situation. Maybe he realized Mary was trying to get to know Janine and it got his attention to then gather info to eventually use against her. The problem is she didn’t have a pressure point until she met John. For some reason things didn’t get set into motion until Sherlock comes back. Did that then cause Magnussen to try to take out both of them? Maybe Mary was biding her time and then Magnussen’s involving himself forced her hand to protect her life with John. You gotta wonder when she’d have tried to kill Magnussen if she’d had her own way. She’s been prepping for years. She didn’t plan on getting pregnant when she did. She couldn’t act before the honeymoon, that’d have given her away to John plus that part of her life was important to her. I also wonder if Janine was being manipulated by Magnussen, Mary, AND Sherlock at the same time.

    • KenM says:

      Before meeting John, Mary went to the trouble of creating a false identity and establishing herself as British. This process began 2-3 years before she met John. With that in mind, I assume the threat of exposure was her “pressure point” even before she met John.

    • Mo says:

      In the previous episode, Mary reacted when Sherlock was reading the telegram from “Cam” that ended with “wish your family could have seen this.” Maybe she didn’t realize that the threat to expose her past was imminent until that moment at the wedding. She obviously knew he had the info, thus why she befriended Janine, but that was the tipping point for her to act right away. As Magnussen pointed out, having dirt on her meant he had control over John, which meant he had control over Sherlock, which meant he had control over Mycroft, which meant he had control over the government.

      • KCC says:

        I agree. Magnussen knew about the people in Janine’s life. He was probably just amused by it as he considers the more strategic opponent.

  17. adam says:

    I loved the episode. I thought Janine was hilarious. I was hoping they could stay friends, but i don’t think they will, when they were in the hospital she said something like you should have just asked me and we could have been friends. Also, did anyone else notice Sherlock’s face twitch, when Magnussen was flicking Watson’s eye and implied he did the same thing to Janine. Molly slapping Sherlock was great. I kind of hope Moriarty is alive.

  18. Tahonia says:

    Too much silliness this season. I want to get back to Sherlock solving mysteries. Mycroft should go back in the cabinet or whatever part of government he is and just stay. Gatiss and Moffat have started to get too far away from the premise odor Sherlock. And it’s too much about the characters rather than the mystery. I won’t give up my Sherlick, but really, when one is only given 3 episodes every other year, they need to be absolutely worthwhile. In a typical US tv season, it’s okay to have a few character driven episodes, and then back to the story. But when we’ve waited 2 years to find out how Sherlock survived, and then given three tiny mysteries for the world’s greatest detective to solve amongst all the other nonsense…..however, the whole scenario of John finding out Sherlock is alive, and attacking him was hysterical.

    • uh huh says:

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. There are dozens of shows on TV that solve mysteries. What sets this one far apart from the rest are the characters.

  19. meresger says:

    Not as good as the previous episode, but all right. It had some good lines.
    _
    John: Why would I bring my gun to your parents’ house for Christmas dinner?
    Sherlock: Is it in your coat?
    John: Yeah.
    _
    It probably won’t make best quotes of the week, but that cracked me up.

  20. tvdiva says:

    Great recap. And the best Sherlock season to date.

  21. Isobel says:

    I liked the character driven episodes, US tv except for cable generally sucks because it’s characters have no actual character to make character driven episodes

  22. Danielle says:

    Word of advice? Tumblr posts links to these episodes after they premiere in the UK, instead of making America wait. Just FYI for the next series.

  23. Fridi says:

    I absolutely loved this third season and really liked how the characters developed – especially Molly. Her and Sherlock’s interactions always make my day!
    On a different note: The official BBC Sherlock app shows a countdown that states that episode 1 of season 4 will be shown on Christmas day 2014. Has that date really been confirmed?

  24. Tahonia says:

    Now the Bilbo has finished filming, they should be able to knock off a series a year. I hope so. There are still some other Sherlock stories to loosely base this series on…….

  25. Nichole says:

    Maybe because the second episode was a masterpiece in how to make an awesome TV show, I felt a bit let down by this one. It felt like they had a place they wanted to be by the end of the season and went about getting there in a slightly weird and disjointed fashion. Felt more like it should have been two episodes maybe?? Can’t put a finger on it really, but this last episode of the season left me a bit flat. Still great TV compared with pretty much everything else out there and can’t wait for the next (assuming it will be renewed of course), just hope it’s not a two year wait again!

  26. SLS says:

    There were a great many ups and a few downs in this episode, but I really really hated when Molly slapped Sherlock in the lab. Whether or not his piss was clean of drugs, that is not the way you confront or show someone you love that you are sad to see them getting high again. I just thought it was really odd. And right before didn’t she say he was clean anyway?

    Any and all possible references to the slashiness of Sherlock and John’s relationship were thoroughly, very much, and deeply enjoyed throughout (and in S3e2 too!). I ship them SO hard.

    • Mo says:

      I didn’t think it was odd for Molly to slap Sherlock. She helped save his life by helping him fake his death, and here he is throwing it all away a short time later. She felt betrayed. And when she said “clean” it certainly seemed to be with the inflection “Clean?!?!” as in “Are you frickin’ kidding me? Of course it’s not clean!”

    • Kate says:

      I hated the Molly slaps too. HATED it. That’s not the definition of a strong woman.

      • Cian says:

        Are you both mad?? That Molly slapping scene was hilarious! One of the very best Molly & Sherlock scenes of the 3 series! I was in stitches! Love Molly she’s gas!

  27. hols says:

    The best show on TV and Cumberbatch is extraordinary

  28. TvPeong says:

    “Sherlock is actually a girl’s name” …. Awww

    I wish they had hugged at the end. This season was the season of their bromance, with the speech John gave to Sherlock in the train station, then the best man’s speech, and finally the sacrifice that Sherlock made for John by killing Magnusson. A hug in the end would have capped it all off nicely.

    Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 2 years for the next season.

  29. shamangrrl says:

    I’m probably in the minority, but I really didn’t care for Moriarty, and I hope that the last scene was some sort of ruse – I don’t want him back. Don’t care for the portrayal at all. That being said, I enjoyed the episode until that point, although I should think that the PTB of British government would want to give Sherlock a knighthood for getting rid of the boogeyman, instead of sending him off on a suicide run.
    The performances this season have been stellar – and I’m including Mary in that. I was flabbergasted when the shooter turned out to be Mary, and even more surprised when she shot Sherlock. What saved the character for me, was the fact that she obviously loved John and didn’t want to lose him. It wasn’t all a lie on her part. All in all, a very strong season, great performances all around and lots of little hints of things to come. I just hope we don’t have to wait another two years for the next three installments!

  30. JK says:

    Regardless of the storyline…can we all agree that this show contains some of the most INCREDIBLE acting talent? Martin Freeman was nothing short of brilliant this season. He had SO much emotional material to dig into (Sherlock’s betrayal, Mary’s betrayal, a wedding, a baby, need I go on?) And I think he nailed it every, single time.

    One of the things I love best about this series, is the character development we see with Sherlock over time. His growth is so beautiful and engaging to watch, and that’s all due to Ben’s flawless portrayal.

    Loved seeing more of Molly this year. Her main priority is to show us a different side to Sherlock through her reactions – and she caries that off perfectly. From her blushing, enamored, crush in season 1, to her seething fury in the most recent episode, her reactions provide a fantastic foil to Watson’s relationship with Holmes, highlighting how delightfully dysfunctional that relationship truly is.

    And I’m am SO excited to see more of Moriarty! Andrew Scott’s interpretation is so deliciously creepy.

    I could certainly go on – Mrs. Hudson, Mycroft, Anderson, Lestrade, Sherlock’s parents, Janine, Billy Wiggins.

    Love this show.

  31. Sara says:

    But the tv screen was just a picture of Moriarty with his mouth mechanically moving. Do we just assume he’s back, or is someone playing copycat? Why do we have to wait so long to find out!!

  32. shivangi says:

    This is it………i just love Sherlock whatever he does seems incredible.The best serial on television with the best actor

  33. Abby says:

    Sherlock simply has the best soundtrack! Brilliant music! Outstanding work by David Arnold and Michael Price!

  34. gwegweg says:

    He faked shooting himself in the head? God, are you an idiot or what?

  35. JM says:

    LOVE this show! Bring on the awards! Everyone on this show deserves one!

  36. aunt_deen says:

    My favorite line was, “I’m a doctor. I know how to sprain people.”

  37. Tuesday says:

    This season was a good one. Beginning to love John even more than Sherlock if that’s possible. The last scene with Moriarty was straight out of Dr. Who (all of the screens in England being taken over by someone). Also, all the time jumping, but I still love the writing. I was shocked by the scene in the flat with CM. That was a new one. Over all, great season and will look forward to season 4.

  38. A.Boutin says:

    Glad I’m not the only one not entirely enchanted by how the Mary character is in the picture. I realize her presence was necessary for the sake of the type of story written, but now I’d like to see her disappear. With any luck, maybe the writers will see fit to arrange a car crash to get rid of the mother and her unborn child. I can’t see having a baby in the middle of this mess. After all, in the original stories, John lost his wire.

  39. about says:

    Make that “John lost his wife”. And while I’m back, would also like to see a bet less sentimental sap coming out of Sherlock… it’s not his true character.

    • about says:

      Typos, typos.. “would like to see a bit less sentimental sap…”
      Will admit that I enjoyed the expansion of the Holmes family background and the interaction between the two brothers.
      Disappointed to see how Sherlock was made to be a murderer. How on earth can the writers get him out of that mess when Sherlock returns to England?

    • tp says:

      If Sherlock didn’t evolve at least a little bit by having John in his life that would be unrealistic. He doesn’t have to gush poetically at every turn but he does need to show some growth.

  40. Mary says:

    Holy mother of OMG I can’t believe how amazing this episode was! Aghhhhhh

  41. Melody Paris says:

    As much as I enjoy most everything Sherlock, Magnussen was just simply too disgusting to watch. I found myself physically ill when his presence invaded my screen. So this episode, which followed last weeks series best episode, only got a B grade from me.

  42. Shannon94 says:

    I think Moriarty is probably dead (although if Sherlock thought he might be in danger and therefore prepared 13 alternate scenarios for faking his death, as he may or may not have done (since the first episode doesn’t make it totally clear that he was telling the truth about this), Moriarty could also have prepared ways of faking his own death). Assuming Moriarty is dead, I still think he’s going to show up in Season 4, perhaps with a “last laugh” kind of dastardliness against Sherlock, maybe set up with a confederate before his death. I only think this (or rather hope this) because Andrew Scott is so brilliant — he makes such a perfectly crazy genius as Moriarty — that I bet they’re going to give the fans a little more Jim time.

  43. Angela says:

    Martin Freeman – absolutely brilliant.

  44. kat says:

    Moriarty can’t let Sherlock die! After faking his death, Moriarty has been following Sherlock’s activities and when push comes to shove he “saves” Sherlock’s life, so that he(Moriarty) can begin again to play cat and mouse with Sherlock and have the pleasure of threatening Sherlock’s life. Sherlock and Moriarty have more in common than one might think!

  45. Alvin Lopez says:

    I gave it an above average, but just because the Series 2 finale was better. Giving it an “Awesome” rating would bring the two to the same level, and to me that is not true. Having said that, I do think the episode was awesome, and this TV show is the best of the best.

  46. Richard Hart says:

    Could the real Moriarty be another person? There is a reference in this episode to Sherlock’s mother being a genius and mathematician. .Wasn’t Moriarty a math professor in the Doyle books?

    • Howard Price says:

      I was thinking the same thing — that Jim Moriarty was really the puppet, and that the *real* Moriarty has yet to be seen.

      Recall in the opening of Season 2 — Jim has Sherlock dead to rights, and lets him go after a phone call. We only ASSUME the call was from Irene Adler because the camera cuts there afterward. What if it was from someone else.

      Could the puppet master be Mary? Is that why MARY ELIZABETH MORSTAN is an anagram for HAZEL STEBMAN MORIARTY?

      • John Doe says:

        Agreed. In the final episode Mycroft mentions how he had sacrificed another brother. This relieves the doubts of the others deciding to send Sherlock to prison.
        Moriarty is never referred to as Dr. or Professor.
        In my opinion the Jim Moriarty character although brilliant seems to irrational and controlled by his emotions to be a true Moriarty.
        Sherlocks mother is said to have been a mathematician which Moriarty in the original books, as Richard Hart pointed out in his post.
        Finally in the TV interruption Moriarty’s mouth doesn’t actually move. Rather it is a picture of “Moriarty” with his mouth moving. It looks a lot like a dummy or puppet mouth to me in the way it moves.
        The really Moriarty is Sherlock’s brother and has yet to revile himself. which I’m sure he will with Sherlocks lost love.

  47. Johnny Devoid says:

    If Sherlock had to get through 14 layers of security, then it follows that Mary must have had to get through 14 layers of security? How did she get in? Because Janine was her friend? Doesn’t make sense. Sherlock had to go beyond that. And if Janine had allowed Mary in, don’t you think she would have said to Sherlock “Hey, what a coincidence! Mary’s here too! Is John with you?”

    How did Mary get in?

  48. jay says:

    I still don’t know if i liked the season/ finale. I don’t fancy Holmes a killer, he should have been capable of planning for this contingency. Driving magnussen crazy with the unfolding of an überplan and destroying his mindpalace would have been better. It show that our functional sociopath is indeed the best,one and right guy to root for. Give it some emotional twist showing that Watson is the defining factor making Sherlock not smarter but in the end more effective than even mycroft. Remember that Magnussen “occasionally requires a hardcopy”. we should deduce that Magnussen was lying and needs the hardcopys as insurance from a single bullet to the brain. Which would solve the problems of every powerfull person in the western world. they didn;t get that way by being frightend of killing someone.

    Also too many loose ends and hints at subtext make it more fuzzy than mysterious, leaving me entertainde but with no resolved feelings.
    And too many sociopaths make for an explosive mix, they would not willingly coexist, certainly not sharing the same opject of posession/love (watson). They cant feel love BTW.

    So i liked but not loved and hope season 4 will tie 3 in with the rest.

    PS, Scandal in belgrave was the best because of the clear storyline, perfect believeble twist and the right character development.

  49. sherlock_fan says:

    I’ll be honest: First time I watched this, I wasn’t happy. It felt like Mary got off the hook too easily, the ‘surgery’ explanation wasn’t convincing, and John was accused – by Sherlock – of deserving Mary, an ex-assassin who had nearly killed his best friend. What I did love right from the beginning was Sherlock’s love and heroism in this episode. It’s hugely grown on me since that first viewing, having come to terms with some of the characterisation I wasn’t fond of at first. Overall, it’s an amazing story with some of the most heart-wrenching scenes ever – and certainly the most emotional 90 minutes I’ve seen. I love it now. But like The Empty Hearse, I feel that the material was too vast for the time range, and so it became a bit cramped.

  50. Becca says:

    Did anyone else think Sherlock shooting Magnussen was lazy writing on Moffat’s part? I acknowledge the sacrifice he made for John and Mary, and the solution was effective, but Sherlock is great at beating people at their own game. I wanted to see him take down Magnussen by outsmarting him. I thought Mycroft might shoot Magnussen after having Sherlock and John step away, but I didn’t expect Sherlock to be the one wielding the gun.

    • Shannon94 says:

      How do you take away the evidence when it’s in someone’s head? Well, how do you usually take away evidence? Break in. So that’s what our hero did. Ok, I suppose he could have found (in his own memory palace) some way to perma-hypnotize Magnussen to forget all he knew, or otherwise delete all of Magnussen’s knowledge, but that seems somewhat less dramatic. The thing about the shooting is that it’s the last thing you’d expect from Sherlock. (And it brings to mind the similar, scimitar scene in one of the “Indiana Jones” movies which was also a surprise.) For me, if I figure I know the hero’s MO, I’m happy to be wrong. Well, a bit grossed-out, but surprised, and that’s what counts, to me.

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