Hassan Sayed ’15
Since it began in 2010, British television show Sherlock has garnered enormous praise from critics and gained an enormous, Doctor Who-esque fan base. The BBC show is a modified adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes stories set in modern day London which puts Benedict Cumberbatch (Amazing Grace, The Hobbit, Star Trek: Into Darkness, War Horse) into the titular role of Sherlock and Martin Freeman (The Office, The Hobbit) as his assistant, Dr. John Watson. And while the show is technically an adaptation, it is not wholly concerned with staying committed to source material; rather, it is to build upon and create a new universe from Conan Doyle’s works.
Sherlock is depicted as an utter genius, capable of solving complex problems with his mind simply by observing, yet is simultaneously unknowingly socially awkward and arrogant. On the other hand, John Watson is more kind-hearted, human, and often instills sense into Sherlock. The two cannot really survive without each other; Sherlock provides the brains needed to solve crimes, while Watson is there to keep him from “getting off track.” Together, they run a “consulting detective” business, and often take on jobs for the Metropolitan Police Service.
Each season actually only contains three episodes; however, each episode is an expansive one hour and thirty minutes, almost like a small movie. The larger scope is not at all pretentious; rather, it allows the show to better explore the intricacies and developments of its characters and tells a more complete story than if it were divided into three smaller segments. The second series of Sherlock ended with an intense, mind-razing showdown between Sherlock and his nemesis, Jim Moriarty. Sherlock is faced with the decision of either having all his friends killed or killing himself; ultimately, he makes the decision of killing himself, and jumps off the top of a building. However, during the last scene of the final episode, we see Sherlock, alive, gazing at his own grave from afar. The third series is appropriately a transition phase as Sherlock “comes back to life.”
The first episode takes place two years after Sherlock’s “death,” when Watson is about to get married and has moved on from the intense emotional trauma he faced at his best friend’s death. This episode focuses more on Sherlock and Watson’s transition back into the consulting detective business than heavily intricate problem-solving, and explains the complicated process by which Sherlock faked his own death. Episode two is similarly a more reminiscent episode, but does simultaneously contain a larger plot. Despite his lack of social skills, Sherlock attempts to give a best man’s speech at Watson’s wedding. While telling stories of small cases he has solved with John, he attempts to solve a potential murder case at the wedding, which is craftily done through small hints he picks up through the stories he tells.
The final episode, however, is an unerring blast of drama and action. The first two episodes were more like breaks to help Sherlock get back into the action; and now that he is back into the action, it is time for him to take on a full case. The episode centers around the terrifying Charles Augustus Magnussen, a “professional blackmailer” who controls an enormous media empire and knows even the smallest and darkest secrets about the most influential people in the world. While I won’t go too far into the details for spoiler purposes, the episode does involve near death experiences, distinct mental competition between Sherlock and Magnussen, and utterly surprising revelations of characters’ true identities. The third series of Sherlock is, again, more of a transition series, but is nonetheless exciting, especially during the final episode. Obviously, one cannot really watch the third series of the show without watching the first two series (which is anything but a bad thing). But sitting through nine hours of television to get to the third series will most certainly be worth the time.
The show provides an excellent mix of drama, action, and psychology. And it’s awesome.
Edsman Rating: 10/10