After two years away from the small screen, “Sherlock” returned for its third season on PBS last night, reuniting London’s only consulting detective with his friends, family, Baker Street flat, and his best bro-FF John Watson. In addition to solving the lingering mysteries of the Series 2 finale, it brought one of the most anticipated onscreen re-pairings of the year: Holmes and Watson, detective and doctor, together again at last.
But now that we’re over the emotional high of seeing Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch doing their dance of deduction, there’s so much new and exciting material to parse — and more on the way! Here are the questions we’re pondering before next week’s episode.
Which Big Moment Made You Lose Your Mind?
There were multiple, major emotional moments in “The Empty Hearse” — from long-awaited reunions to surprise romances to outright trolling, in which Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat were clearly trying to make us lose our minds. So, ‘fess up: what did it for you? The Sherlock-Molly liplock? The restaurant reunion? Mrs. Hudson, screaming? The big hug from Lestrade? Unless you have a stone heart, at least one of these scenes made you a) scream out loud, b) cry real tears, or c) meow like a cat.
Can We Get a Better Bad Guy?
Lord Moran, the man behind the big bomb hidden beneath Parliament, was such a toothless, unmemorable villain that we had to go back and look up his name just for the purposes of writing this question. Maybe “The Empty Hearse” put crime-solving on the back burner to focus on the Holmes/Watson reunion and attendant emotional journey, and maybe that’s okay; after all, we still got to enjoy a flashback version of Andrew Scott’s manic, brilliant Moriarty. But it would be a shame if the show’s long-awaited return didn’t bring us at least one Big Bad to really sink our teeth into.
Who Flamed Doctor Watson?
The last shot of the episode showed the daring rescue of John Watson from a toasty death-by-bonfire, being watched on a continuous loop by persons unidentified. At first, it seemed like Watson’s kidnapping was just a ploy to distract Holmes from his terrorist tracking activities — but the appearance of this creepy, apparently unrelated voyeur suggests something else entirely. Could this be the villain we’ve all been waiting for?
There’s Something About Mary — But What?
As indebted as we are to Mary Morstan for bringing the boys back together, there’s the little matter of what Sherlock saw when he looked at her: a cloud of deductions including “Cat Lover,” “Size 12,” “Only Child” and “Secret Tattoo”… but most interesting of all, the word “Liar.” (See a full list of the deductions here.) That doesn’t seem encouraging, but then again, it doesn’t seem to bother Sherlock. Is Mary hiding something big? Or is she only lying about, say, the location of that secret tattoo?
Are We Satisfied By The Big Reveal?
Now that we know how Sherlock did it — or at least, how he says he did — the only question remaining is whether it was worth the wait to find out. Was it? On one hand, it’s not hard to sympathize just a little bit with Anderson: two years of creative theorizing, and the secret is a giant airbag? Lame. But on the other hand, after seeing the reunion between Holmes and Watson, maybe John has a point: the more you care about Sherlock Holmes, the less you’ll care (or be impressed by) how brilliant the way he killed himself off was. What’s important is this: he’s back, and the game is on again.