Pop on your deerstalker, turn up your collar, and Anderson? Don’t talk out loud. Not only do you lower the IQ of the whole street, but you’re drowning out the opening bars of the “Sherlock” theme.
It’s finally here: after a two-year hiatus, “Sherlock” is back on the tube. The third-season premiere of the BBC drama, “The Empty Hearse,” airs tonight at 9:58 p.m. on PBS — returning Sherlock Holmes to his Baker Street flat, and reuniting the detective with his beloved Dr. Watson. Will tonight’s premiere bring the big payoff that we’ve all been waiting for? Let’s speculate, beginning with a quick rundown of where we left off.
Previously on “Sherlock”
Last season was a gritty, grueling romp through the rise to fame of our favorite consulting detective; a rise swiftly followed by his downfall, as the villainous Moriarty used his considerable font of evil smarts to convince the world that Sherlock was a fraud. And though Sherlock was the one left alive after their final, thrilling confrontation, Moriarty’s suicide created a new and awful conundrum.
The Reichenbach Fall
In the episode’s penultimate scene, Holmes stood on the roof of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital with the corpse of his arch-nemesis and a very unpleasant choice: leap off the roof to a splatty death on the pavement, or live to see his three best friends murdered by Moriarty’s goons. And because the detective had spent all of Series 2 learning about the value of love and friendship, and particularly the love and friendship he shared with his best bro John Watson, Sherlock opted to jump, sacrificing himself to save his loved ones.
Fool Me Once…
…Except he didn’t, of course. Though Watson has spent the past two years mourning his fallen friend, fans have known since last season’s closing scene that Sherlock faked his death. As the bereft doctor delivered a heartbreaking monologue at Holmes’s grave (and as the tears of Johnlock shippers fell like tiny, salty gemstones made of the saddest sadness) the camera panned to a nearby tree, where a familiar figure stood with a telltale mop of curly hair, wearing a coat with an upturned collar. #SherlockLives, indeed.
Needless to say, in Series 3, Watson’s request will be fulfilled: Sherlock will, indeed, just stop this whole “being dead” nonsense and return once again to London. And while there’s no end to what we hope to see this season, there are three things we’re particularly on tenterhooks for.
The Johnlock Reunion
We’re getting emotional just thinking about this. Holmes and Watson, together again? Be still, my beating heart! But how will the big reunion happen? Will there be laughter? Tears? Violent man-hugging? Considering Sherlock’s penchant for drama, we wouldn’t put it past him to make his big reappearance in John’s life by jumping out of a cake (as he suggests he might, in the teaser for “The Empty Hearse.”) But considering how heartbroken John was when we last saw him, it’s going to take more than baked goods and bro hugs to undo two years of grief.
John’s Mustache, and John’s… Beard?
Just kidding, of course: per last season’s conversation with Irene Adler, we all know that John Watson is not actually gay. But while any lingering doubts about the nature of his relationship with Sherlock should be put to rest by the appearance of Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington), a.k.a. the future Mrs. Watson, we can’t say the same for our feelings about that… Growth on his upper lip which we’ve spotted in the previews. Please let the ’stache be a temporary plot point, not a permanent change.
Seriously, How Did He Do It?!
The trailer for “The Empty Hearse” includes the bitter, furious voice of John Watson, snapping: “I don’t care how you faked it. I want to know why.”
Yeah, we’re gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there, Johnny boy. The “Sherlock” fandom has spent two years coming up with theories about the secret solution to the detective’s survival and we’re not going home until we get some answers. [Chains self to radiator in 221B Baker Street, glares defiantly.]
“Sherlock” premieres January 19 at 9:58 p.m. ET on PBS.