Television, Sherlock, "The Sign of Three"

I wrote a few thoughts down when I first watched this episode a few weeks ago. Those can be found here:

Initial Thoughts
Additional Thoughts

Watching it again, it was only slightly more tolerable. And I'm wondering, did they cut the fart joke from the American broadcast? Or maybe I just missed it, since my attention was wandering.

I understand the idea—the necessity, really—of intercutting the flashbacks into the wedding, but it really made the best man speech seem interminably long. And the whole story falls apart once we get the stag-night-turned-ghost-hunt. How can they have Mycroft nay saying coincidence when it is mere coincidence that Sherlock chose the Bainbridge story as part of his speech? And even inebriated, I find it hard to believe Sherlock would miss the use of John's middle name (particularly as he worked so hard to discover it himself)—AND then, when sober again, also miss a random reference to the wedding . . . I know he's not infallible, but it seems they only make him dense when it suits the story. There is a lack of consistency in the characters overall in Series 3. And a push to better define Sherlock's relationship with Mycroft. After all, in Doyle's stories, Sherlock readily tells Watson that Mycroft is the smarter one. There is no seeming animosity in Doyle's version, however; the brothers enjoy a friendly rivalry. Here the writers go for something slightly darker. Perhaps Mycroft's lifelong ability to control his little brother and exercise full influence over him has begun to slip in the face of Sherlock having made other friends. You have two brothers without intellectual peer . . . And then one "lowers" himself in the eyes of the other by hanging around with other, more average people . . . I dunno. Whatever.

Well, no, here: You have Mycroft, secure in his intellectual superiority. But he's spent a fair amount of time telling Sherlock he's not that bright. Smarter than others, sure, but not as smart as Mycroft himself. ("We had nothing else to go on.") Fine. So when Sherlock decides that maybe he can find a place for himself in the crowd of others who are less brilliant than Mycroft—well, it's one thing in common with the world, anyway—Mycroft takes it badly. Because Sherlock is the closest thing Mycroft has to, well, his own company. Which is what Mycroft really prefers. It's lonely at the top. And one gets tired of talking to oneself . . . Or having to speak slowly to everyone else.

Anyway. I'll admit I missed Mrs. Hudson's, "Who leaves a wedding early?" bit the first time, so catching it this time was nice. Because of course, Sherlock leaves a wedding early. Poor form for the best man, though.

On the whole, this one is just weak. The plot, the execution . . . It's really pretty sloppy. It has its moments, and it lays the groundwork for "His Last Vow," but on its own (for reasons laid out in my previous posts linked at the top), "The Sign of Three" stands as somewhat hollow.


Christine Rains said...

The fact that I figured it out before Sherlock shows how poorly the plot was executed. I laughed and didn't pick up my book during the episode, but I really want to not know what happened until Sherlock does. I like the darker Mycroft. And I do wonder what will become of Mary. Your theory of her being a plant is interesting.

M said...

Yes, in both "The Empty Hearse" and "The Sign of Three" I felt like I was ahead of Sherlock. But neither episode seemed to be making the plot the priority; each was more interested in the emotional aspects of the characters, and the plots were only made to serve or spotlight those aspects. "His Last Vow" is better . . . And you'll see what's up with Mary there.