*Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers*
1. They got me
I doubly fell for the fake solution in the first scene. I was feeling very smug when it came up because my theory had been that it was Moriarty’s body that fell from the roof.
2. Gatiss and Moffat were even more cheeky than you thought
Not only did they provide us with a fake solution but made it a surprise even though pictures of it had actually appeared in the paper. Oh and in a Guardian interview they along with Andrew Scott basically gave away that the solution would be disappointingly simple but the way they embedded it into the story would make it seem like a bigger surprise.
3. Are we quite sure we really know what happened?
Are they still screwing with us? I wouldn’t put it past them.
4. It all got rather postmodern
The two fake reveal scenes were based on fan theories. So we had viewers of the show unwittingly writing bits of it!
5. This was one of the less superb episodes
It was still great. All of Sherlock is. And this was undeniably the funniest episode so far and the scene with the bonfire was stunningly tense. However, the foregrounding of the characters did mean that the plot was less dazzlingly than usual.
6. It seems characters are going to be the fore in this series
As next week’s episode resolves around Watson’s wedding that seems to be a given for now.
7. Sherlock is growing
Speaking of characters, the scene where Sherlock discovers that Molly’s fiancé is his doppelganger seemed pretty pivotal. It stood in contrast with the way he’d humiliated her in similar situations before. Could that perhaps suggests he’s gradually softening into something more like the Victorian gentleman of Conan Doyle’s stories.
Given that we have been introduced to Sherlock’s parents, whether we’ll dip into his past. Conan Doyle did in the Adventure of the Gloria Scott and the Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.
8. Molly seems to have taken on a life of her own
It’s possible that Gatiss and Moffatt always intended to bring Molly into the emotional heart of the story. But it doesn’t seem like it. Louise-Brealey, the actress who plays her, said in an interview after the last series that the “reaction to Molly this series has completely taken me by surprise. I did my day or two filming, like last time. But this year – because of the frankly brilliant writing – I think people have noticed her. Which is amazing.”
Her explanation is that “Molly works because, while Watson is “the audience”, Molly is every woman of a certain age sitting at home on the settee fantasising about running their hands through Benedict Cumberbatch’s hair.” I’d disagree slightly with this. To an extent I think she is the audience – both male and female – in that she is the person who’d love to be part of Sherlock’s adventures but (usually) doesn’t get to be.
9. The roles for women are getting better
Moffat has been criticised for not being able to write women in part because of Sherlock.
Last night’s episode was a step forward in that regard. For starters as we’ve already noted Molly is getting a larger and more complicated role. Watson and Mrs Hudson’s reunion was the first time she seemed like a rounded character rather than a comic relief or a plot contrivance. And we were introduced to Mary Morstan who gets to be rather less drippy than she is in the books.
10. The literal meaning of a phrase trick
An underground network turned out to literally be a network in the Underground. That’s rather reminiscent of how the Doctor having a secret “he would take to his grave” meant he would actually visit his tomb.
Moffat has said ‘we had to inform the BBC that Martin and Benedict had commissioned a new series. They signed themselves up. They both announced that they were carrying on – so that’s good’. Indeed the two leads are apparently already optioned for a fourth series
As last night’s episode got more than 9 million viewers, it’s hard to see the BBC not exercising that option.
12. Is this the best TV drama around now?
The idea that we are living in a golden age of telly is now commonplace. The programs used as evidence of this are typically American cable shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men. But given Sherlock’s fantastic writing, acting and plotting it deserves to be up there too.