What a perfect concoction of witty, clever, show-stopping writing and sentimentality this episode was. Filled with a beautifully written narrative and intelligent plot-lines, The Sign Of Three was so enjoyable that I would go as far to say that it was quite possibly one of the best 90 minutes of television I have ever seen. Kudos to writers Gatiss, Thompson and Moffat!
We are two-thirds of our way through season 3 and it has been a delight so far. That said, the next episode is seemingly more serious and intense than the first two have proven to be. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. The Sign Of Three had a graceful balance of comedy and tragedy, as we all witnessed the marriage of John and Mary. Sherlock's speech made up for most of the episode, including various flashbacks and down-to-earth humour that showed that yes, Sherlock has a heart! How does one write good comedic tones into a primarily drama-genre television programme? Not that Sherlock is always serious, but the way in which the humour was captured into the episode was British writing at its best. Sherlock was a lot of things during this episode; a best man, a nurse and even a drama queen. Though what he was portrayed as being was in fact, lonely. Throughout the episode, it shows Sherlock trying to ignore this fact though the ending was to show just how lonely he is - with reference to his conversation with Mrs Hudson earlier in the episode when she stated that her best friend once left a wedding early, and she never saw them again - he leaves John's wedding, early, at the realisation that he has no place there. If the entire episode was too-filled with funny, lovably moments and warming exchanges between Sherlock and others, the ending was surely hard-hitting. It would be almost completely wrong if I wrote this entire review without mentioning just how much I loved the drunk duo. Sherlock had it all planned out, didn't he?! He measured just how much alcohol both of them needed to consume to survive the night, though things didn't exactly go as planned. Some extremely funny writing was present during these scenes. Notably ones such as referring to Mrs Hudson as "Hudders", explaining that Sherlock is "clue-ing for looks" and not-to-mention the guess-who style game they played in which Sherlock thought there was a King of England. Another kudos needs to be dished out here, as it proves just how successful comic subtleties can be when they're not emphatically thrown in your face as an audience member.
The Sign Of Three is definitely a must-see, as it represents the epitome of great British writing, as well as its post-modern reinvention of the classical Sherlock Holmes tales. Its ability to create great story-telling is enough to get you hooked, and it has a wonderful balance of gripping, humorous, mysterious and adventurous qualities.
Familiar with a quality of surprise. 5/5