Latest Entertainment News Headlines

TV Review: Sherlock - Season 3 Episode 3: "His Last Vow"

02.03.2014

NOTE: Join us every Sunday as we review the latest episode of SHERLOCK....

EPISODE: "His Last Vow"

SYNOPSIS:  A case of stolen letters leads Sherlock Holmes into a long conflict with Charles Augustus Magnussen, the Napoleon of blackmail, and the one man he truly hates. But how do you tackle a foe who knows the personal weakness of every person of importance in the Western world?

REVIEW:  It feels like just three weeks ago we were anticipating the return of SHERLOCK to U.S. airwaves and here we are discussing the finale.  I know I am not alone in feeling that the series for the BBC detective show are far too short, but with the leads difficult to pin down, I will deal with three movie-length mysteries.  But, the flipside to that is SHERLOCK must be of the utmost quality when there are only three chances per run.  Where the premiere episode was somewhat underwhelming in reuniting Holmes and Watson, the middle episode thrilled and made us laugh at getting to know the relationship better between these uneven partners.  Now, the finale has the difficult job of being the episode everyone will remember until season four rolls in, whenever that may be.

With Moriarty gone and no true nemesis appearing this season, we are introduced to Charles Augustus Magnussen, a media magnate with an unlimited library of knowledge on everything and everyone in the known world.  This library, known as Appledoor, seems like a political allusion to the likes of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, or even the wire-tapping scandal involving Rupert Murdoch.  Instead, Magnusson's high tech eyeglasses and limitless wealth instead makes him come across as the BBC equivalent of Hannibal Lecter, a funny comparison since he is played by Lars Mikkelsen, brother of Mads who plays that character on the NBC series HANNIBAL.

But, before we get into that case, we must first visit with The Watsons as they settle into domestic bliss.  It has been a month since the wedding and there has been little communication between Holmes and Watson.  Mary and John have entered into newylwed mode when their neighbor asks for help finding her drug addict son.  Watson, longing for the adventures he enjoyed with Holmes, goes to a known drug den to save the teenager and stumbles across an undercover Sherlock.  While Sherlock insists it is for a case, he tests positive for drugs and Watson becomes worried that his friend cannot survive without him.  Lo and behold, Sherlock is not only telling the truth, but is shacking up with Mary's maid of honor, Janine.

As all of this happens in the first twenty minutes, I began to wonder if Steven Moffat was trying to cram as much as possible into the final episode of 2014 at the expense of the story.  So much contrary information is thrown at us (Sherlock the addict, Watson discontent at home, the case itself) that it is hard to tell if they are aping ELEMENTARY or what to make of all of this.  Then, in walks Magnussen, challenging Sherlock with his unlimited resources of information.  Sherlock does seem caught off guard at first and quickly recovers, thereby throwing his plan into motion.  As it turns out, everything in the first part of the episode was a setup for what comes next.  As Sherlock breaks into Magnussen's office under the guise of a proposal to Janine, he discovers someone holding the villain at gunpoint.  I can honestly say I did not see this twist coming.

The reveal that Mary is not who we thought she was is a risky one as it could have broken relationships forged in the first two episodes of the season, both for Watson and Holmes.  What follows is a scene in which Sherlock is shot and must, in his mind, deduce the best way to stay alive.  This sequence is by far one of the best uses of Sherlock's "mind palace" in any episode of the series and compresses a real time few seconds into some truly thrilling minutes of television, including welcome new scenes of Jim Moriarty taunting Sherlock from beyond.  Making Mary an ambiguous character is definitely an interesting one, but how will it play in the long run?

Once Sherlock is in the hospital, the show has now turned away from Magnussen as the focus and now forces us to try and unravel what is to become of these new wrinkles in everyone's relationships to one another.  This bothers me.  Last week's episode was all about taking disparate stories and linking them together while this week seems to be forcing too many plot elements into one episode without satisfactorily wrapping them up.  Once things do get straightened out (one of the worst resolutions in SHERLOCK history), we get Holmes' true plan to turn over his brother's laptop to Magnussen in exchange for something else.  This leads our characters to the famed Appledor where we not only learn that Magnussen has no library of knowledge, but in fact it is all in his "mind palace".

Moffat and Gatiss made a key writing error here.  I am sure it seemed like a brilliant idea to make Magnussen use the same plot device as Sherlock, but it leaves our brilliant hero without an exit strategy.  As Magnussen awaits the authorities and taunts Watson with flicks to the face, Sherlock looks completely beaten, something we have never seen before.  What is the resolution?  Shoot him dead, therefore destroying his library.  What a cheap resolution, the second of the episode.  While Sherlock's intentions are noble in saving Mary and his best friend John, his exile from England thanks to his brother's connections feels trite.  Magnussen could have been a great recurring foe but is instead wasted here, Darth Maul style.

The closing moments to "His Last Vow" offer the twist that many had been waiting for: the return of Moriarty.  His face plastered on every device in England, Moriarty asks the world if we missed him.  The answer is yes.  The third season of SHERLOCK was a great return to these roles for Cumberbatch and Freeman, but left me wanting more, especially this, the weakest of the three episodes.

VERDICT: 7/10

Unlike the first two series, the weakest episode this year was the finale, whose twist couldn't even save a very convoluted plot.  I applaud the dream sequences in Sherlock's mind as well as the twist on Mary and John's no longer cookie cutter relationship.  Mary serves as a nice third wheel and her experience as a spy/assassin should offer some aid to the two investigators in future cases.  I just feel that this entire story wasted the villain role which was impeccably played by Mikkelsen.  I always knew Moriarty would return as well, but the twist ending also undermines Sherlock's exile which could have been another strong plot for future episodes.

NEXT TIME ON SHERLOCK:

Season 4 and 5 have been announced by creator Steven Moffat, but there is no set production or air dates as both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have multiple projects in development.  I wouldn't hold out hope for new episodes of SHERLOCK to air this time next year, but crazier things have happened.

Source: JoBlo.com

RECOMMENDED MOVIE NEWS

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

11:46AM on 02/03/2014
I feel like I'm insane because I thought this Season finished with two brilliant, "best of the series" type episodes after a rocky start, yet below me is a claim of "the worst season ever". Even this review is a 7/10 which makes me wonder if we're watching the same show, and I'm not even trying to come off like a dick haha. This episode was Sherlock perfection in just about every way with twists you never saw coming, a wonderful depth of characterization and hilarity with our two heroes, a
I feel like I'm insane because I thought this Season finished with two brilliant, "best of the series" type episodes after a rocky start, yet below me is a claim of "the worst season ever". Even this review is a 7/10 which makes me wonder if we're watching the same show, and I'm not even trying to come off like a dick haha. This episode was Sherlock perfection in just about every way with twists you never saw coming, a wonderful depth of characterization and hilarity with our two heroes, a great mystery that kept you eagerly involved and one of the best cliffhanger moments on television. Oh well, I guess that's the nature of varying opinions.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:30AM on 02/03/2014
Again, I saw this when it first came out in the UK and it wasn't nearly as bad as this makes it out to be. As you said in the review, the twist was incredible, the mind scene scenes were intense, and Moriarty seems to be back! As for Magnusson...that's more about personal expectations than anything else. He was never set up as a multi-seasonal villain in the same vein as Moriarty. He's had very little to do with the events of this season, to be honest. Was he a fantastic villain? Sure, but
Again, I saw this when it first came out in the UK and it wasn't nearly as bad as this makes it out to be. As you said in the review, the twist was incredible, the mind scene scenes were intense, and Moriarty seems to be back! As for Magnusson...that's more about personal expectations than anything else. He was never set up as a multi-seasonal villain in the same vein as Moriarty. He's had very little to do with the events of this season, to be honest. Was he a fantastic villain? Sure, but there's only so much you can do with a blackmailer. It makes all the sense in the world for Sherlock to just kill him. Plus, there's more to it than just Sherlock using the lamest solution ever. He's sacrificing himself. He knows he'll either get thrown in jail or get Mycroft to somehow intercede for him, but either way, he'll never see John again. But he does it anyway to protect both John and Mary. It's great stuff. But I can understand your point about the Moriarty twist undermining Sherlock's sacrifice. Still, not a weak episode at all.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+5
1:58PM on 02/03/2014
Mads Mikkelsen brother were exceptionally creepy. I liked that character more than (at times over-the-top) Moriarty.
Mads Mikkelsen brother were exceptionally creepy. I liked that character more than (at times over-the-top) Moriarty.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:40AM on 02/03/2014
Wow, our opinions are completely the other way around.... Honestly the first one was too silly for my taste, i'd gave the episode a 5/10, With the second one i felt like somebody was playing a prank with the series, I Thought it was godawful, incoherent and selfrighteous... And the last one i thought was the best Sherlock episode ever... Great main villain, great twist with mary, dream sequence was fantastic, i loved the drug addict subplot as well... Funny how opinions can differ sometimes...
Wow, our opinions are completely the other way around.... Honestly the first one was too silly for my taste, i'd gave the episode a 5/10, With the second one i felt like somebody was playing a prank with the series, I Thought it was godawful, incoherent and selfrighteous... And the last one i thought was the best Sherlock episode ever... Great main villain, great twist with mary, dream sequence was fantastic, i loved the drug addict subplot as well... Funny how opinions can differ sometimes...
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:25PM on 02/04/2014
Loved the series, but what did this last episode reveal about Sherlock?
He was out-maneuvered by Magnussen. someone with seemingly similar abilities to his own, and when he realised he couldn't win, Sherlock resorted to murder - perhaps a noble murder in some ways, but he still basically killed a guy because he'd effectively been beaten. No longer the smartest guy in the room - just the most ruthless. Maybe I missed something, but that's how it seemed to me.
Want to turn him into a devious
Loved the series, but what did this last episode reveal about Sherlock?
He was out-maneuvered by Magnussen. someone with seemingly similar abilities to his own, and when he realised he couldn't win, Sherlock resorted to murder - perhaps a noble murder in some ways, but he still basically killed a guy because he'd effectively been beaten. No longer the smartest guy in the room - just the most ruthless. Maybe I missed something, but that's how it seemed to me.
Want to turn him into a devious villain for season 4? - just establish that Sherlock created the rumour of Moriarty's return to save his own ass. - have Watson slowly realise that the sociopath is turning psychopath - I don't suppose they'll go there, but episode three of this season made it kinda borderline.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:09AM on 02/04/2014

Love Sherlock, but this episode....

...hmmm..
If you are the most powerful man in the Western World because you have blackmailed EVERYONE, wouldn't you have SOME blackmail material? Although Magnussen says "I don't need evidence, I'm in the NEWS business" he taunts that he can take a person down with rumors and innuendo. All well and good, but that leaves our villain with NO safety net. A good blackmailer would set up the evidence itself to go public upon his death (a timed package, sealed, ready to deliver to major news
...hmmm..
If you are the most powerful man in the Western World because you have blackmailed EVERYONE, wouldn't you have SOME blackmail material? Although Magnussen says "I don't need evidence, I'm in the NEWS business" he taunts that he can take a person down with rumors and innuendo. All well and good, but that leaves our villain with NO safety net. A good blackmailer would set up the evidence itself to go public upon his death (a timed package, sealed, ready to deliver to major news outlets if he doesn't check-in on a daily basis, for instance). Instead this moron memorizes everything (a CHEAP trick, making Sherlock's skills seem 'commonplace'). I found the villain hateful and wanted him dead but felt that he was written in a completely stupid way.

And just WHAT was Mycroft gonna do when he showed up? Were they going to arrest Sherlock or arrest Magnussen?

And here's one last gripe -- every single person in our family heard and saw Molly say "he's clean" in the drug test. Then she slaps him as if he tested POSITIVE. We all debated why....perhaps she's just mad he got so close to doing drugs again. You say above that he tested POSITIVE for drugs, and that makes the slap make more sense. So...did she or did she not say "he's clean"?

Mary didn't need a twist plot background. They have REALLY diverged this episode from the original Sherlock material :(

The real upside was the return of Moriarty. Wish I'd loved this season the way I loved seasons 1 and 2 :(
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:53AM on 02/05/2014
Finally caught the episode and seeing all the comments, . I am clearly a weirdo. I felt like the murder of CAM was a total cop-out. Sherlock Holmes of all people should be able to out-think, out plan, out smart, out SOMETHING the baddie without resorting to plain murder. It wouldn't be so bad if I thought there would be emotional retribution or remorse but Moffatt's heroes don't do that so this is just going to be swept under the rug.
Surprisingly, as campy as Cumberbatch was, I really
Finally caught the episode and seeing all the comments, . I am clearly a weirdo. I felt like the murder of CAM was a total cop-out. Sherlock Holmes of all people should be able to out-think, out plan, out smart, out SOMETHING the baddie without resorting to plain murder. It wouldn't be so bad if I thought there would be emotional retribution or remorse but Moffatt's heroes don't do that so this is just going to be swept under the rug.
Surprisingly, as campy as Cumberbatch was, I really enjoyed the first and second episodes of this season
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:44AM on 02/03/2014
It really is a shame that they killed off Augustus. He was the most intimidating villain we've had so far. I don't understand why he makes Sherlocks stomach turn. He needs to meet guys like the Ice Truck and Trinity Killer.
It really is a shame that they killed off Augustus. He was the most intimidating villain we've had so far. I don't understand why he makes Sherlocks stomach turn. He needs to meet guys like the Ice Truck and Trinity Killer.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
7:12AM on 02/04/2014
I *fully* understand why he makes Sherlock's stomach turn. He was not only a bully but a creepy bully who loved bullying. I wanted him dead before the episode was over. I didn't think I could watch him again.
I *fully* understand why he makes Sherlock's stomach turn. He was not only a bully but a creepy bully who loved bullying. I wanted him dead before the episode was over. I didn't think I could watch him again.
5:11AM on 02/03/2014
SPOILER ALERT! Weakest season, I keep my fingers crossed the 4th season will top this one. The Moriarty twist is such a bad idea, too early and this guy so overacts his part, I even felt releaved when the character died in season 2, that was too painful to watch him act like a horny teenage girl. This is not the Moriarty this series deserve. Lars Mikkelsen should have been the Moriarty this series deserve if you ask me, the man was charismatic, evil and sober as it should be.
SPOILER ALERT! Weakest season, I keep my fingers crossed the 4th season will top this one. The Moriarty twist is such a bad idea, too early and this guy so overacts his part, I even felt releaved when the character died in season 2, that was too painful to watch him act like a horny teenage girl. This is not the Moriarty this series deserve. Lars Mikkelsen should have been the Moriarty this series deserve if you ask me, the man was charismatic, evil and sober as it should be.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:35AM on 02/03/2014
He might not necessarily be Moriarty. Maybe it's a Moriarty admirer, maybe it's Irene Adler, it could be anyone really. I bet at this point even the writers don't know.
He might not necessarily be Moriarty. Maybe it's a Moriarty admirer, maybe it's Irene Adler, it could be anyone really. I bet at this point even the writers don't know.
5:38AM on 02/03/2014
But I agree that overall it was the weakest season.
But I agree that overall it was the weakest season.
6:53AM on 02/03/2014
I truly hope its not Moriarty. He is by far the biggest fault in this show. He is GARBAGE. Him showing up in the last 30 seconds turned an enjoyable (if not sliiightly subpar (compared to seasons 1 and 2)) season, into me lamenting the coming of season 4.
I truly hope its not Moriarty. He is by far the biggest fault in this show. He is GARBAGE. Him showing up in the last 30 seconds turned an enjoyable (if not sliiightly subpar (compared to seasons 1 and 2)) season, into me lamenting the coming of season 4.
7:15AM on 02/04/2014
It wasn't Moriarty, to be pedantic. It was an animated picture of Moriarty's face...they were pretty clear about that...a picture with a goofy moving mouth, ala "South park". The whole thing could've been set up to go off at a specific time by Moriarty long before he died. The fact that it wasn't a live picture of Moriarty gives them multiple ways to explain it.

But I'll agree with you on this -- weakest season yet :(
It wasn't Moriarty, to be pedantic. It was an animated picture of Moriarty's face...they were pretty clear about that...a picture with a goofy moving mouth, ala "South park". The whole thing could've been set up to go off at a specific time by Moriarty long before he died. The fact that it wasn't a live picture of Moriarty gives them multiple ways to explain it.

But I'll agree with you on this -- weakest season yet :(
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Movie Hottie Of The Week

More