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Review: Sherlock 'The Empty Hearse'

Review: Sherlock 'The Empty Hearse'


If you aren’t familiar with this modern-day adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson’s myriad adventures, well, please, do yourself a favour and check it out. Go on, now, go… I’m going to be spoiling the ending of season 2 so you may catch up before reading on. Don’t worry, this review will still be here when you’ve caught up on the whole 7 episodes thus far!

Now then, if you are familiar, then you know how much we’ve waited for this. Two years. Two long years with very little other than here say and the occasional tweet to go on, we finally have Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman back together on screen doing what we love to see them doing; solving cases and saving lives while arguing unceremoniously. It was brilliant for the first two seasons, and this is about as good as a return gets.

‘The Empty Hearse’ is an episode steeped in tension, considering the ending of ‘The Reichenbach Fall’. Basically, Dr. Watson and ourselves watched the systematic destruction and inevitable fall of Sherlock Holmes at the hands of Moriarty. It was as heart-breaking as it was momentous, and ever since we’ve been waiting for Sherlock’s return, and an explanation for how he did it, how he took Moriarty down without he himself paying the price.

tumblr_inline_mxve6n6ROO1qjn7ndWe got the former, but the latter is shrouded in a touch of delicious mystery, but more on that later. Sherlock’s return to the show is definitely a mixed bag of emotions, but a very well done and well written mixed bag of emotions. As Holmes re-enters the lives of everyone who wasn’t in the know of his ‘demise’, we see all the reactions that we as fans feel seeing him again and having to wait so long.
There’s anger, resentment, love, relief and everything in between and I don’t think I’ve ever watched a show that was so in tune with it’s fans, so knowing of how we would react and then give us those same reactions on screen to allow some catharsis and expression of general disapproval over being away for so long.

It is Freeman’s turn as the ever lovable Watson which is the most poignant on screen, as he has moved on and built a life for himself with a wife-to-be and a life-to-be that is free from Sherlock’s constant adventuring and case solving. He is not at all happy to see Sherlock, and after two years of thinking his best friend and colleague was dead, why should he be? Holmes of course wins back his brother in arms, but he must earn his affection and learn to be sort of human for a change (a change that never sticks, mind you).

This, of course, brings us to the big question: How did he do it?

How did Sherlock manage to fake his own death and disappear for two years?

Well, this is probably my favourite aspect of the episode. In the wake of Holmes’ fall, a fan-club (led hilariously by Jonathan Aris as Philip Anderson) has developed, calling themselves ‘The Empty Hearse’. They get together and discuss how Sherlock did it, amongst other flights of fancy to do with the situation. The episode is interspersed with these, essentially, fan theories playing out as members of this group attempt to unravel how it was done. They are all, of course, wildly wrong, but it gives the episode a very light-hearted feel at times which helps lift the mood somewhat and keep things going at a nice smooth pace. We’re never made totally sure of how Sherlock did it, even though one explanation is given by the man. There’s a light air of “we’ll never truly know'”, which I hope they maintain as it only adds to the eccentricity of the show and it would be nice to have something to fall back on when the show heats up, and judging from this episode, things are going to heat up.

The casting, cinematography, writing and soundtrack are all reliably back on top form. I felt a definite tinge of happy nostalgia when I heard that intro music again. There is truly very little wrong with this show, it does what it does incredibly well, and does it without resorting to cheap tricks. Yes, this episode contains fan service, but after two years, fan service that is necessary and only proves to get us all ready for the two remaining episodes.

The big bad for this season is a terrorist plot, and one being perpetrated by a seemingly clever and vicious set of individuals at that. It’s hard to believe in just over a week it will be all over for another season, but if things keep up to this standard, it’s going to be another must-see three episodes.

[easyreview cat1title=”The Arcade Verdict” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”10″]