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Forsooth!

That Shocking Sherlock Finale And What Lies Ahead, According to Steven Moffat


The Season 3 finale of Sherlock aired last night in the U.S. and with it came another cliffhanger (although perhaps not as dramatic a cliffhanger as Season 2). So what can we expect going forward? The creators are working on it. Read on to find out what they’re thinking and for a chance to discuss the big moments of Season 3 now that we’re all on the same page. 

[Editor's note: There are no spoilers about Season 3 until the end, where they will be noted. We will also be welcoming spoilers in the comments. You have been warned.]

We already found out a little while ago Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were busy at least plotting the next two seasons of the hit show. When Season 4 would actually see the light of day is another matter. Moffat and producer Sue Vertue recently spoke to Collider about the previous wait fans had to endure.

“Funny enough, two years seems to go very quickly when you’re making it,” Vertue told them. “I wasn’t that worried about it.  You do think, ‘Are they still going to be there?’  But the figures were up half a million in the UK, from the year before, so they haven’t gone anywhere, by the looks of it. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best we could have done. ”

They then asked Moffat if it was true they were actually working on Seasons 4 and 5. He said, “It’s really [Season] 4 that we’ve got, but it throws forward to a terrifying [Season] 5.  It wasn’t a planned thing. We had just got out of the rain and because we don’t have the lovely big trailers that Benedict and Martin have, we had to go sit in the accountancy department and we just talked about what we could do. We just started having what I think are the best set of ideas we’ve ever had.  I think they’re just wild.  And when I say ideas, it’s what stories we’ll tackle, what big twists there will be, what gut punches there will be, and what surprises there will be, and I think it’s really exciting.”

Even though there was general talk about maybe being able to have Season 4 ready by Christmas, any further forward motion on Sherlock takes a back seat to what Moffat calls his “day job.”

“We deal with scheduling.  I’ve also got to do Doctor Who. I’ve got no choice about that. That’s the day job,” he said. “We have no idea what we’re going to do. I’m starting the third week of the new [season] of Doctor Who, so I’ve got quite a lot going on. I doubt it. But, it’s a matter of when everyone’s available, and when Mark [Gatiss] and I think we’ve got a strong enough script. We’re quite picky. We want every episode of Sherlock to be really, really good. That’s out ambition. We don’t have to make a million episodes. We have to make some very, very good ones. The moment we drop that idea, it will stop being what it is.”

And what about the ideas they’ve had thus far? [Ok, here come the spoilers.]

Perhaps more than the unveiling of Mary as a super spy or the cliffhanger of the Season 3 finale (the apparent return of the thought-dead Moriarty), the events which took place just a few minutes earlier are what fans are more curious about. Or angry about. I’m of course referring to Sherlock straight up murdering Magnussen. Can’t help but see echoes of the recent choices made in Man of Steel. What did you think of finale or this season overall? Share your thoughts in the comments.

(via Collider)

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  • Joanna

    Wow! Can’t believe they made America wait so long. We caught the finale ages ago. Surprised the internet hasn’t spoiled it for you before now lol.

  • Lindsay Beaton

    I desperately wanted John to put that bullet into Magnussen, and I’m disappointed that the powers that be took that away from him as a character. ESPECIALLY after he stood there and let that bastard flick him because Sherlock told him to (did anyone else just feel mounting rage during that scene? because I was losing my mind). The shot was Watson’s to take, plot devices be hanged.

    Will be interested to see how Mary/Moriarty storylines play out in 4.

  • Lindsay Beaton

    I desperately wanted John to put that bullet into Magnussen, and I’m disappointed that the powers that be took that away from him as a character. ESPECIALLY after he stood there and let that bastard flick him because Sherlock told him to (did anyone else just feel mounting rage during that scene? because I was losing my mind). The shot was Watson’s to take, plot devices be hanged.

    Will be interested to see how Mary/Moriarty storylines play out in 4.

  • Jim

    URRGGGHH. The “recent” choices in Man of Steel have precedence in the comic and were justified.

    That being said, I wasn’t that shocked by him shooting him. I mean, earlier in the episode he was doing heroin and proposing to a woman just to get into a building. He doesn’t see morals he sees strategy.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    It was only 2 or 3 weeks. Would have been nice if it was at the same time but it could have been worse. And yes, I’m amazed I wasn’t spoiled either.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    Good point about Man of Steel. I didn’t have the same reaction, though; this Sherlock is already so different from Conan Doyle’s creation, it wasn’t a leap for me that he would do what he did. It was after all logical and efficient.

    Defending the weak and helpless is much more an essential part of Superman’s character than not-murdering is of Holmes’.

  • Jayne Cravens

    I had so many, many thoughts about it I had to write an entire blog about it. The link is below. A big long discussion has broken out among my Facebook friends about the ending. I seem to be the only one upset that Sherlock murdered someone in cold blood – they’re all fine with the ending. http://jayneblawg.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-review-of-sherlock-s3-e3.html

  • Jayne Cravens

    I had so many, many thoughts about it I had to write an entire blog about it. The link is below. A big long discussion has broken out among my Facebook friends about the ending. I seem to be the only one upset that Sherlock murdered someone in cold blood – they’re all fine with the ending. http://jayneblawg.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-review-of-sherlock-s3-e3.html

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    “URRGGGHH. The “recent” choices in Man of Steel have precedence in the comic and were justified.”

    And? It’s still the most recent instance of a hero killing the villain. Most people still don’t like that kind of behavior.

  • Theo Radomski

    You were able to avoid these spoilers successfully for the past few weeks?! That’s incredible, and I sincerely mean it. You’re my new internet hero, Jill.

  • Cait Barrett

    Sherlock shooting Magnusseen and only being exiled “four minutes” seems to show off one of the biggest problems I have with Moffat’s writing (Sherlock or Doctor Who) — there are no consequences to anyone’s actions. At least not negative ones they have to deal with. Having Sherlock kill the guy and actually deal with the fallout of MURDER, yes, would be interesting and dark. But, Moffat’s favorite thing is to hit a reset button.

  • W_hedgie

    Definitely saw John’s rage building, but I think Sherlock taking the shot was to protect *John* from doing so. I think Sherlock saw himself as being able to take the consequences of it better than John could (given Mycroft) and also it would build into “His Last Vow” from the previous episode. But oh yeah, John’s anger this whole episode was electric.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Moriarity’s back?! Goddamit, I didn’t watch episodes 2 & 3 yet. *bangs head on desk*

  • Alyssa Lobo

    Agree totally with the Sherlock shooting Magnussen thing. Maybe it’s a Doctor Who hangover, but I always thought Sherlock was more brain than brute force. Was disappointed that he didn’t outsmart him n just killed him. Plus thought they could have done more with Magnussen. He had a pitifully slow run as villain n Mikkelson was brilliant.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    I would like to add that much more of this episode was straight out of canon than I first thought. In Conan Doyle’s story, Holmes becomes engaged to a woman working in the blackmailer’s house in order to get access to the house. In that story a woman victim of the blackmailer kills the blackmailer.

    Moffat/Gatiss chose to move the burden of murder from Mary (another character with a relatively complicated background in canon) onto Sherlock. Part of that I think is their ‘he’s the main character he must do everything’ thinking. Part of it may also be a protectiveness of the character Mary. In canon the murderess was anonymous; I am not sure that Mary doing the murdering would be as easily swept under the rug. John, a soldier, can get away with murder (S1E1); Sherlock, Mycroft’s brother, can get away with anything; but Mary, a woman trying to put her past behind her, maybe not so easily.

    Also I was at first upset about what they did with Mary; but she managed to hold on to her awesome-character attributes after the big reveal, so by end-of-ep I was okay with it.

    And regarding Moriarty: somehow I don’t care.

  • Marie

    I really did not like this season overall. There was a lot less mystery solving, and a lot more “wow, isn’t Sherlock a kooky dickhead?” Not that it didn’t have its moments. Not a huge fan of Mary’s past either. Loved the last 2 minutes of the finale though, so I’m hoping that leads to better things.

  • Marie

    Also, clearly the Moriarty/Sherlock making out version of the Reichenbach Fall was the correct one. It’s the only explanation.

  • Joanna

    Indeed. Someone owes me a Coke =)

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    I’ve not actually seen the episode yet, but I did hear about Mary’s spoiler yesterday, and found myself rolling my eyes. Really?! REALLY?! Heaven forbid she be allowed to just be a “normal” person with a normal past.

  • Jim

    Then most people need to realize that black and white examples of “good guys vs bad guys” is boring, lazy writing that lacks the complexity needed to tell good stories of conflict and character development. Good versus evil should be the template for storytelling, not the rule.

  • Jim

    lol then why did you read this?

  • Jim

    I mostly agree with this, but I think the rub is Mycroft knows that Sherlock is the only way, so he has to reconsider his position.

  • Jim

    Also good things can never happen to Watson. It’s just a unwritten rule. Not allowed to be happy.

  • Katy

    I really think Sherlock shooting Magnussen was fitting as it was to protect John. John shot the taxi driver to protect Sherlock in “A Study in Pink.” Unfortunately, Sherlock was much showier about it and it couldn’t be easily covered up.

  • Lindsay Beaton

    Oh yeah, I totally understood why Sherlock was the one who took the shot from a storytelling POV, and it’s not that it doesn’t work…it’s that I’m angry for John because I felt he deserved to make that choice (and I think he would have, especially in that moment, and never looked back because the guy was a threat to pretty much everyone John cared about, just like he was to Sherlock) and Sherlock jumped the gun–no pun intended.

    Also, I just really wanted John to have a justified outlet for ALL that anger. And I would have been more satisfied emotionally if it had been John taking the shot, because I was so upset for him this entire series. *shakes fist for vengeance*

  • Katy

    I agree! If John shot Magnussen, he’d definitely go to jail, but if Sherlock did it, he’d have some leverage. He did after all spend two years under cover dismantling Moriarty’s underground empire (well… sort of). Plus, Sherlock did all of this to keep his vow from “The Sign of Three.”

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Because the first episode was kind of lackluster and the reviews and spoilers I haven’t been able to avoid elsewhere didn’t seem to be that incredible. But that, that’s astonishing.

  • Ray Burns

    Sherlock is on record saying he is a highly functioning sociopath. Instead of being just a good line to make people smile, it turns out to be true.
    And John not taking the shot… remember, he has a wife and a baby on the way. If he takes that shot and kills Magnussen, there’s no guarantee that he’d get away with it and I don’t think he was willing to take that chance. That being said, I think Sherlock knew that if Magnussen lived, it wouldn’t have stopped there. The one thing that Sherlock knew was that once the hook was in, Magnussen could have made both Mary and John dance, and he couldn’t stand seeing that.
    So, he came up with 13 variations in his mind of what could happen, played them out and decided on the one that was the neatest for John and Mary, and not for himself. This is a huge change from the end of Season 2 when he didn’t even consider telling John that he was actually alive.
    Hard to say that a murder is actually character development, but, there it is.

  • John Burkhart

    I’ve not seen 3.3 yet, but Series 3 as a whole has annoyed me. There’s way too much John being angry (for good reason) at Sherlock, and not nearly enough mystery.

    I would like more mystery, please. From a MYSTERY program.

  • social democrat

    I think Sherlock saw shooting Magnussen as a very last resort. He knew there was no tangible evidence when he discovered that the glasses had nothing to do with Magnussen’s powers of recall. He still had some hope that his scheme to have Magnussen caught with the laptop would play out. It was only when it was clear that that would never stop M because he knows the “pressure points” of anyone who might sit in judgment on him, that Sherlock saw what he had to do. He did not kill without regard for the consequences. I saw the struggle in his face.

  • Anonymous

    But Sherlock ISN’T the only way – Mycroft’s people caught Moriarty once before. (If it even is Moriarty.)

  • Anonymous

    Well, she’s not really a person, you see. She’s a prop to Show What Kind Of Man John Watson is. The only people who talk about her marriage and her past are Sherlock and Watson.

  • Anonymous

    The issue isn’t that Sherlock killed a man – the issue is that the whole set-up was pitifully unbelievable. Apparently, after having an attempt made on his life, Magnussen STOPS having security around him checking his visitors for weapons. Because that’s what intelligence looks like.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t say I didn’t love the season, but there was a major change in the mindset of Sherlock. In two years he went from an almost passionless man to one who’s actively playing practical jokes on his friend. I enjoyed it, but I can understand being jarred by it.

    In the wedding episode, he goes from childlike innocence, honestly not understand why people are crying, to outrageous levels of swagger, clowning and camping it up to keep everyone “fixed on me” and off-balance.

    Sherlock taking the shot was pretty the only way it could have gone that didn’t end with CAM staying unpunished. It’s clear that Mycroft was ready to keep him alive, balancing the usefulness of him with the outrageous level of danger he presents. Watson could never have gotten away with it. Indeed, the only reason Sherlock gets away with it “i.e. receives almost no punishment whatsoever) is because a threat so massive appears that only he could stop it, so any need for punishment, real or merely perceived by the public (if indeed the public even knows the event happened) is rendered moot.

    Sherlock, simply, took a jump in this season to a superhero. He’s no longer going to be taking missing person cases, he’s now dealing with super-crime, to the exclusion of anything else. I’m sure I’ll like it, but it’s surely a change from how I liked the first two seasons.

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking through the whole finale that things would have been a lot simpler if Sherlock had just let Mary kill Magnussen. At least then she wouldn’t have been committing murder directly in front of the cops.

    I don’t have the same issues with this as I did with Man of Steel, because Sherlock isn’t supposed to be a paragon of morality and an example to all humankind.

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    I’d disagree. I think it’s a statement he uses to excuse his poor behavior precisely because he knows most people know absolutely nothing about sociopathy. The thing about a sociopath is that they are highly charismatic and excellent manipulators as a general rule. Now, Sherlock has shown he’s an excellent ACTOR (meaning he can put on a good show when he wants to – witness episode 1 and apparently episode 3), but that’s not his “default mode.” There are a slew of other “markers” for sociopathy that Sherlock simply doesn’t have. However! The person who strikes me as possibly being somewhat sociopathic (again, this is not yet having seen episode 3) is MARY, given the secret that comes out about her in episode 3.

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree. That frustrated the hell out of me.

    Also, Sherlock couldn’t think of an other way out of this?

    Sherlock shooting him really sat wrong with me. Like Superman snapped a dude’s neck. They are the people with super powers. They need to use them to find away out that is better then the villian.

    Couldn’t Sherlock switch the GPS, and Mary’s assassin friends could have found Magnussen and saved them.

    Or by telling John what Magnussen has on Mary, it shows that John loves her no matter what, and this information is no longer a pressure point and Magnussen loses his leverage.

  • Gregory Williams

    I am amazed at the lack of critical thinking skills of some people not getting why Sherlock shot that man … he was dangerous to his nation and the world beyond and he had it all in his head and not in some fabled repository as so many people assumed .. his death ended his evil and made sure that his “knowledge” and black mail abilities to hold a nations government hostage was over permanently and no one could pick up where he left off – there were no “files” for anyone to use.

  • SCP3

    Actually, it seems plausible to me, because it seems a perfect combination of Magnussen’s intense arrogance and his misreading of Holmes.

  • Anonymous

    They explained why they did it in an interview—they thought it didn’t make sense that Holmes and Watson would just wait around while the woman shot the blackmailer, and that Watson was therefore being an unreliable narrator (and Holmes had been the real shooter).

    Personally, I think that relies too heavily on personal fanon and kind of misses the point of the original. Holmes being sympathetic to a defensive murder is a little different than blasting the guy’s head off himself. A better choice would have been Mary, or hey! How about Lady Smallwood?

    (Also because Magnussen/Milverton was based on a real guy who was probably murdered by one of his victims…)

  • Anonymous

    lack of critical thinking skills

    Whoa there. There are plenty of reasons why someone might not like the choice of Sherlock in particular shooting Magnussen other than “they’re just too stupid to understand the plot.” That’s just unnecessarily rude.

  • Anonymous

    This, Marie, is why I love you.

  • Anonymous

    For non-readers: In the books Milverton (here: Magnusson) was killed by a woman he had tried to blackmail and destroyed her life. Holmes did help to catch because in a way he saw the murder of Milverton as justified.

    Oh, and Mary died and Watson married again. If any one cares for the original.

  • Anonymous

    I’m feeling that Moffat needs to work on an American TV series.

    He keeps trying to write things that take place over long stretches of time between Sherlock and Who, but simply doesn’t take or have the time to actually let them play out

    We could have a couple episodes of exiled Sherlock or more eps of Evil River Song, and more regenerations of her over a 24 ep season. Actually explore the ideas and not just gives us big sign posts.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, typo: Did mean “didn’t help the police to catch her”.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    Yeah, I like her too and hope to see more. I wasn’t (at first) thrilled with the super-spy bg, but after some thought I was okay with it on two levels: one, she is a highly interesting and competent person, and two, canon Mary (as I recall) was something of an unconventional character. It’s a bit of an extreme choice, I think, but since she retained her complexity afterward, instead of just becoming the new big bad, I can accept it.

  • Anonymous

    If you haven’t seen this episode, you haven’t seen the series “as a whole.”

    If all you want is mystery, Netflix has an endless supply of streaming Murder Most British shows.

  • MarthaThompson

    Me too! Considering how intelligent Sherlock is and his access to great government powers (via Mycroft). Just shots cause I’m cray cray?!?! …and basically got away with it. I’m also sad that Moffat went in that direction. It seems to me there is much more gun play—maybe appealing to American audiences?!?!

  • Tallulah Alice Mae

    I understand if people feel that way, but I’m never in a show for the mystery or plot, and always a sucker for character studies, so this season was a great surprise.

  • Tallulah Alice Mae

    I agree, and certainly about the ending, but I think there was a great amount of character change and consequences from after Sherlock’s return, which was a such a nice change from Moffat.

  • Anonymous

    I did enjoy this update of CAM, turning CAM into a Rupert Murdoch/Roger Ayles- esque media mogul was a very good idea. I also don’t get -why- people are surprised and upset at Holmes’ lack of emotion. That’s cannon. Someone I know commented that they didn’t like that Holmes just shows up from the dead and goes about like nothing happened. That’s kinda the way it happened in “The Empty House”. Holmes shows up in disguise, Watson faints, etc (funny nod to that when Watson tries remove that old mans beard). Only in this one Watson reacts, well, like how a normal person would react. He’s pissed off. Holmes is barely changed. I like the way Holmes’ playfulness is emphasized (Holmes did have moments of playfulness, they’re just not explored so often). I like the way his parents are just normal. No crazy trauma or abuse. Just normal. Yeah, I’m not too crazy about the reliance on Moriarty either.

  • Faradn

    From what I know of the character, cutting the Gordian Knot by just killing a guy (especialy when it’s no challenge) doesn’t seem to be his style. To me it came across as lazy writing.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    The difference is, canon Holmes apologized profusely when he saw how his prank affected his friend. Canon Holmes is capable of great feeling; he merely chooses not to indulge in emotional expression most of the time.
    BBC Sherlock honestly doesn’t get it. He doesn’t see how or why John could react the way he does. He is missing the emotional part that canon Holmes simply chooses not to engage.
    (This isn’t a criticism. It’s a difference, not a problem.)

    I actually liked the way Sherlock’s parents appeared normal but really weren’t. Their conversations and choices of reading matter suggest a plausible source for the great intellects they gave birth to. On the other hand, I don’t really see how two such (apparently) agreeable and functional people could raise and release into the world two such arrogant, insensitive bastards.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say, I liked this season. Less mystery, more character development. Sherlock may still have faults, but, honestly, look at this Sherlock against season 1 Sherlock. This season was much more about Sherlock as a person, and I’m okay with that.

    Regarding Sherlock taking the shot… I’m surprisingly okay with it. (I had thought Mycroft was going to take the shot once he heard Sherlock shouting loudly about how the vaults weren’t real). If it were the book Sherlock, it wouldn’t work. But the Sherlock of the books isn’t this Sherlock. I still hate the high functioning sociopath comment, BUT aside from that, there’s a lot going on here. Namely, this Sherlock IS a lot darker. He does what he does because he’s bored, rarely out of a sense of justice. It’s not that he’s a bad person either. He gets out of most situations with his cleverness and skill because violence is boring. If he just wanted to solve things, it’d work, but it doesn’t cause a lot of mental exercise, nor does it show you’re cleverer than anyone else.

    … When we get to this season, in spite of him saying that he’s not a hero, he IS doing this case out of a sense of justice. Otherwise he likely wouldn’t be doing it at all. It’s not particularly interesting. Normally he prefers cases that are unusual. This is simple blackmail, just on a large scale. Obviously a traditionally heroic character doesn’t generally straight up murder people. But that’s not Sherlock. There’s a problem, he has a solution, and for once, he doesn’t care if it’s clever, it just needs to be done. Essentially, he’s not a sociopath (a term entirely out of use, though he’s not a psychopath either). He has enough moral sense to need to stop this man… and not enough to not just shoot him. Add to that the need to protect John, who is likely about to be jailed for treason, and/or blackmailed, and… well yeah. Of course he shot the guy. He faked an engagement to get into an office, and that was with someone perfectly innocent. Is it really too much to suggest he might shoot who routinely violates people just because he can?

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. I believe real life criminals/villains tend to get less sympathy, especially because the danger they present is real and more immediate to us. I know of no one who openly objected to Osama Bin Laden’s death at the hands of our military, for instance, because of the scale of his crimes and the constant threat of future attacks. The list of criminals and tyrants who garnered no sympathy after their deaths is a very long one. I think people are generally understanding of the idea that some criminals are better off dead.

    I think it is easier to want our fictional heroes to go about their business without dirtying their hands because writers can often find ways (some logical, some not) to get around that bit of business, but it isn’t a very honest reflection of real life and the fact that heroism sometimes calls for extreme actions (the heroism that we see in comics, tv, and movies often doesn’t reflect real life heroism and the demands it places on those heroes – which can be a bad thing, in my opinion, because it warps our idea of what heroes should and shouldn’t be/do).

    I’m not a blood-thirsty person by any means, and always support bringing someone to justice rather than murdering them, but I also realize that killing the bad guys is often a necessary step in protecting the innocent. It is up to the rest of us to realize that and come to terms with it. I’ll support Superman’s decision in MoS to my dying day, but I can see why some are puzzled over Sherlock’s actions; Sherlock, John, nor Mary were in immediate danger. I can see Moffat’s excuse, that since the incriminating evidence was locked inside the villain’s mind killing him would be the only way to “defeat” him and end the threat he posed. However, I don’t think Moffat and co. made the argument very well, nor even tried to if I’m being honest, and that’s the worst part of that scene.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, actually, Magnussen never had good security. The point of having security check John and Sherlock wasn’t actually security. It was a statement. It was him showing off that he can have people searched inside their own houses. He’s arrogant enough, he seems to think that no one will attack him. His outward facing security is just a symbol of power. When Mary gets to him, he doesn’t have an emergency call button, he doesn’t have a guard in his office, he doesn’t have anything to do but beg. The fact that Mary didn’t shoot him only reinforces the idea that he’s untouchable.

  • Anonymous

    The sociopath part is just a stupid line that makes me cringe every time. He’s not a sociopath, or a psychopath, and he doesn’t have anti-social personality disorder. Sociopath isn’t even generally accepted as a term anymore.

    BUT, what he means by the statement is… well basically “I’m not a hero.” The idea that this action shows character development for Sherlock is still valid, and actually proves he isn’t a sociopath, really.

  • Chuck Lavazzi

    I have say, as a Sherlockian for many decades (viz. http://www.waxwingwebs.com/thedoge/holmes.html) I’m pretty impressed with the way these folks have updated the characters while still remaining more or less true to Doyle’s originals. I also love the numerous Sherlockian in-jokes in the scripts.

    The season 3 finale was, of course, loosely based on “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton”. In the original Holmes does, in fact, cultivate a romantic relationship with one of Milverton’s employees (although the does so in the disguise of a plumber named Escott) and both he and Watson break into Milverton’s house with the intention of destroying all his blackmail evidence, only to be forced into hiding when one of his victims (whose husband has committed suicide) breaks in and empties a revolver into Milverton. She leaves, Holmes and Watson throw everything they can find into the fireplace, and then leap over the wall just ahead of the police.

    The original Mary Morstan Watson was not, of course, a spy but she *was* a client originally (in The Sign of Four) before she and Watson got together.

  • Anonymous

    I totally understand and respect you not liking it. I disagree, but that’s fine.

    Not lazy writing though. The idea is that this is the only enemy Sherlock has faced that he actually wants to take down as a matter of justice. Every other time, it’s not about being a hero, or bringing about a better world. It’s about the challenge, it’s about proving he’s smarter. This time it’s different. He mentions, several times, how he actively hates this man, more than the murderers, more than the other criminals, more than Moriarty. This one time, it’s not about being clever, it’s about putting an end to it.

    Again, if you don’t like that, okay. I thought it worked, but it’s obviously subjective. But I think calling it lazy is unfair.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, forgot to mention in my other post. I could well be wrong, but I kinda understand the four minute exile thing. I very much suspected that this would be the final season of Sherlock. It’s kind of hinted at in the second episode. And, of course, the last episode is a pun on His Last Bow. It also sounds like seasons 4 and 5 were only thought up recently. I imagine it was actually written to end with Sherlock flying east, like the original.

    That’s not to say it couldn’t have been changed, but if it was a fairly last minute change, I can imagine it would be difficult to pull off without a major episode restructuring. If that’s excuse enough… is up to you.

  • Faradn

    I can see your point. I wonder, though, if criminals in the future will be more inclined to just shoot at HIM, now that he’s shown he won’t necessarily play the game.

  • Anonymous

    It’s quite possible. I suspect, however, that Mycroft hushed the matter up. If they opted not to jail him, it’d be far easier to claim Magnessen had a stroke or fell down the stairs or something, than to explain how Sherlock murdered someone, and isn’t even getting a trial. There weren’t any witnesses outside of himself, John, and government strike team. I expect it’d be a fairly easy.

  • Anonymous

    From what I hear, season 4 at all was up in the air. I suspect that the original script didn’t contain the end credits segment, and the series was meant to end with Sherlock going undercover, much as His Last Bow ended with Sherlock going to help the war. When season 4 was confirmed, there likely wasn’t time to do much more than literally tack on a teaser for it.

    I could, of course, be wrong about that. And if the circumstance excuses the writing fault or not is up to individual standards anyway. But I don’t think this was necessarily to hit a reset button. Although I can’t think of Moffat pushing many reset buttons anyway. The biggest reset buttons in recent Doctor Who I can think of are the endings to season 3, where things actually reset, and 4, where everything goes back to normal pretty much instantly after a dalek invasion. … And all of Donna’s character development is reset. Both of those were Davis. I guess there was that time where the Doctor reset the universe. I’ll grant you that. I guess you could say that episode with the still moment in time? Of course, both of those are episodes where problems have to be solved. You can’t leave the universe in either state, really. The Davis ones are things where they didn’t have to be reset, you could have seen a world try to rebuild, or deal with the aftermath of the daleks. I suppose that leaves the 50th as well. And… again, okay, the reset button was pushed. Ironically by not pushing a button. I’ll grant you that. I do think it was a legitimate choice, given that there were more story telling opportunities with Timelords than without. Most of the character exploration for that was already done.

    I’m not saying your wrong, I’m just not seeing it, In my mind, Moffat has more consequences than other writers. Particularly season 6, where the Doctor’s use of his own history and past awesomeness to solve problems comes back to bite him. Anyway, I hope this didn’t come across as nitpicky. I really didn’t mean to be. I just… honestly, don’t see it. My memory of the past several seasons is hazy though, so I could be forgetting a lot.

  • Anonymous

    That might have been what they were going for, but I just don’t buy it.

  • Anonymous

    Sociopathy was defined by Robert Hare as being a sense of right and wrong which differs from that of the average person. Just because he had reasons to shoot the guy with the annoyingly long name, doesn’t mean what he did was ‘right’ morally. True, terms like sociopathy and psycopath are outdated -thank goodness!- and I prefer to diagnose Sherlock with other things in my spare time. Mostly, I say he’s an Aspie, but I say that about everyone I can, just like I claim him as Ace even though he clearly had tingly feelings for Ms Adler and I happily ship him with John.

  • Anonymous

    I forgot this would only just have come out in the US? I’ve had weeks to be shell-shocked about the whole Magnussen murder thing! :p
    I like what they did with Mary, but I’m still pretty convinced that she’s destined to die. Which is sad, because it’s nice to have a significant female character around.

  • Anonymous

    They did, but they had to let him go because they couldn’t take down his network. They needed Sherlock to do that and now it looks like they didn’t even succeed that way. Make’s Moriarty seem like a much bigger threat if he has already taken on both Holmes’ brothers and apparently hoodwinked the both of them.

  • Anonymous

    Sherlock did apologise didn’t he? Or he at least acknowledged to Mary that he’d just done something pretty stupid? I admit he never did really explain why he didn’t tell John, beyond a passing comment about him not being able to keep it quiet which showed a surprising lack of confidence in John’s competence.
    …It’s been a while since I saw the episodes now so I’m not sure I remember it accurately.

  • Anonymous

    I think it was important for it to be Sherlock instead though? They’ve already established that John will kill to protect his friends (very loyal very fast!) but this series was more about how Sherlock has grown as a person and revealing how deeply he actually care about his friends. For him, personally, there was no incentive to kill Magnussen beyond frustration at having lost the battle of wits, but for John it was far more significant and Sherlock taking the shot shows how much he is really willing to sacrifice for John and Mary. Also, John’s restraint in this scene is another way of showing how strongly he is motivated by his attachments in that he is willing to put up with such humiliation for the sake of the people he loves. In some ways, what John was doing in this scene was far more difficult than taking the shot; a situation in which inaction was his only choice.

  • Anonymous

    I have been wondering if maybe Sherlock’s oddly inferior reasoning skills in this series are a deliberate contrast to his improved social skills and attachments to people? After all he used to make a point of saying that emotion clouded reason? He has started making more decisions which are based as much on emotional reaction as logic.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I thought she was a refreshing addition to the show who really held her own with John and Sherlock. Far better than Moffat’s attempts to write the female characters in Doctor Who.

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    He is most definitely not an Aspie, either – which is why I found that comment in Hounds so annoying. I wanted to slap Watson for that.

  • Anonymous

    “Did you miss me?”

    Frankly, no, I didn’t miss you. I enjoyed the season well enough without you, and hope this is some sort of red herring. However, given recent series of Doctor Who, I don’t have much hope.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll tell you what I really wish. John went over to the whisky and just poured the bottle on the ground. If Magnussen uses his information against Mary, well, then he no longer has further leverage, and cannot get what he wants from Mycroft. That’s the bind any blackmailer places himself into.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, I don’t think Sherlock has any disorder whatsoever. It’s always tempting to try and diagnose people that far out of the ordinary, but I think Sherlock’s really just… very smart, and a bit of a jerk sometimes (admittedly a jerk with a heart of gold as far as Watson is concerned). I choose to believe he calls himself a sociopath just because it sounds intimidating. It’s the only way I can listen to him say it over and over again without scratching my own face off.

  • Blacksheep

    Sorry, but that last two minutes were awful. Two years, and the best you can come up with is ‘let’s bring Moriarty back, he’s popular!’Please tell me it’s not true. I hope they are just playing with us.

  • Richard Grant

    Complexity doesn’t = killing bad-guys to make Superman appear more angsty and less like a boy-scout.
    Having a hero kill the bad-guys, because they had no choice etc etc, is just as lazy writing wise as having a hero that would never, ever kill anyone. Complex writing comes from putting your heroes in those situations and finding a way to write them out of it, while raising questions about whether the ends cna justify the means, or by using their killing the villain as a means to explore the characters morality.
    Man of Steel didn’t do that, it didn’t have a moment of discussing whether killing Zod was justified, or whether Superman has the right to make that kind of call…those questions are required in complex stories, not having Superman more or less accepted by the govt and Clark moving happily into his position as reporter with the Daily Planet.

  • Cait Barrett

    Let me apologize for this long comment.

    You seemed to catch more of my point as you went. I’m not talking about things like Donna that happened when Russell T. Davies was in charge. I mean the things that have happened since Moffat took over as show runner. I’m not necessarily complaining about these moments (I mean if the Doctor had actually died the show would be over) but it just… It accumulates. It definitely affects the way that things get viewed and how seriously they get taken. I genuinely believed at the end of Matt Smith’s last episode that it had all been a big rouse and he wasn’t actually going to regenerate because it wouldn’t be the biggest switcheroo the show has pulled.

    You pointed out a lot of the things I would have said about Moffat and his reset button. Even the mechanics he uses to pull these moments out are shaky at best. The Doctor resets the universe and is sealed off but Amy’s memory brings him back? Bit flimsy. The Doctor dies? Not only does he die but HAS TO DIE. HE MUST! Fixed point in time! Naaaaah! Just kidding it’s a robot thing.

    There was even an episode where Clara finds out the Doctor’s real name and why he was keeping “the secret” from her – nope. An actual retcon with a literal reset button happens so that the episode never happened essentially.

    Then of course comes the resetting of the Time War, which you already talked about. I have a big problem though, with the fact that last season ended with The Doctor’s grave at Trenzalore and The Doctor and Clara jumping into the time stream which now doesn’t exist…?

    A big part of my problem with Moffat’s resets are the attitude he takes about them as well. If we complain about things not making sense on Doctor Who he just waves his hands and says it’s “timey wimey stuff – don’t try to understand it.”

    Back to Sherlock – I mean he backs his characters into such corners that he has to work ridiculously to get them out – finales being prime examples.

  • Trask

    As far as Mary’s characterization in this series, what’s there to care about? They told us that she was this master assassin, a hired gun, amazing, kickass woman, but they didn’t show it to us at all. “Show, don’t tell” is something Moffat is absolutely horrible about and it happens primarily with his female characters.

    It’s so irritating that they would take this awesome character from canon, someone so amazing that Watson fell in love and married her after knowing her for a few days (? it may have been longer, I haven’t read it in a few years), and turn her into another Sherlock fangirl.

  • Avril111

    My Uncle Zachary recently got a 9
    month old Mercedes-Benz CL-Class CL63 AMG only from working off a home pc… go
    now J­u­m­p­9­9­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • MilaXX

    Not to mention no one cares what the poster says once he basically calls everyone stupid.

  • Jake Mertz

    I honestly don’t see how this season could’ve ended any other way. They did a decent job setting up CAM to be the super bad guy, and the only way to really destroy his power was to kill him. Sometimes, shooting someone is the most logical choice. The question is, was it justified? I have to wonder how many lives CAM destroyed, how many murders and suicides that happened as a result of his actions.

  • Anonymous

    Yup, and that’s broadly the same problem this episode has. Sherlock shooting a villain is a perfectly valid story choice to my mind (I’m pretty sure it happens in canon, though I might be wrong). But it’s an extreme action. almost indefensible. It needs discussion and consequence.

    Not so much because to present the action uncritically is morally dubious, but because without a supporting exploration of the action, what’s the point of including it in the story at all? This is one of the basic problems I have with Moffat plots – they’re not stories of action and reaction, decision and consequence. They’re just a bunch of stuff that happens.

    In this instance, even the purely practical consequence of the action – Sherlock’s excile – is retconned in the record time of four minutes.

    Sherlock feeling pushed into shooting Magnusson has every potential to be an interesting story choice, just as Superman killing Zod in MOS does. The fact that neither killing has any ramifications makes them entirely gratuitous moments, and possibly simply the writers’ lazy way of escaping the corner they had backed themselves into.

  • Anonymous

    It’s the ‘in cold blood’ bit that gets me: I don’t have a problem with a story where Sherlock is pushed to murder someone, but that’s a massive big deal. Sherlock seems to have no moral or emotional reaction at all.

    Everything’s become so heightened and whimsical in Sherlock that there is really no connection left to reality. The show always presented a heightened reality, but everything’s kind of disappeared into charicature at this point. No one acts in a remotely human way.

  • Anonymous

    Let me also apologize for my earlier long comment, as well as thank you for taking the time to read it.

    That’s a perfectly legitimate complaint. I don’t entirely agree with all of it (except the stupid robot Doctor thing), but that’s neither here nor there really. I hadn’t understood earlier, because when I think Reset Button, I think of a plot device that returns things to the status quo. Common on shows that have little to no overarching plots, like… Star Trek: TNG. Hence it wasn’t something I associated with Moffat, because his run tends to deal more in long running plots. The Doctor gets significantly older, the Time Lords return (which is a return to the classic series status quo, but new ground for the new series), etc. Essentially, it seems my definition of the reset button was more “Status Quo is God” and yours more “Silly Plot Contrivance at the End.” Which is also perfectly fair. Thank you again for taking the time to clear it up for me.

  • Anonymous

    If it helps, that particular spoiler is probably a bit misleading if you haven’t seen the episode. And I suspect it’s a huge red herring anyway.

  • MarthaThompson

    nice theory.

  • MarthaThompson

    What drives me crazy is I have family that live in Hong Kong. They get everything first…I guess because of the UK or iTunes UK?!?! Have no idea. They are great not giving us spoilers but love to rub in…”hey, just finished Downton Abbey…you will love this season”. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR *shake*fist*.

  • Lindsay Beaton

    I’d buy that theory.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Honestly, if we learn that Moriarty was NOT Moriarty, was in fact some kind of doppleganger of a series that are convinced that they are Moriarty while the real Moriarty lurks behind the scenes, I might never watch again depending on how it’s pulled off. I LOVED their take on Moriarty. I hope they don’t sully it.

  • Anonymous

    They did that on The Mentalist and it worked even less well than the rest of the show.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    From the original:
    “My dear Watson,” said the well-remembered voice, “I owe you a
    thousand apologies. I had no idea that you would be so affected.”

    “I owe you many apologies, my dear Watson, but it was all-important that
    it should be thought I was dead, and it is quite certain that you would
    not have written so convincing an account of my unhappy end had you not
    yourself thought that it was true.”

    I don’t remember Sherlock’s precise words in The Empty Hearse, but the sentiment was entirely missing. As to whether Holmes’ assessment of Watson’s ability to hide the truth is unfair… well, it seems to depend on the portrayal of Watson. Jeremy Brett’s bumbling companion could never have managed it; nor could the large-hearted and well-meaning but entirely readable character described in Laurie R. King’s pastiche series. Freeman’s Watson is something of another animal. However, given the gravesite scene at the end of last season, I question whether even this tough, soldierly Watson could have pulled off an act of such passion and sincerity had he not himself thought it to be real.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    She is definitely destined to die, as the canon character did. The question remains when and how. In canon she died ‘off screen’ as it were. I will be very curious to see whether the actress’s name turns up on the rolls for season 4. There is no predicting what Moffat/Gatiss will do.

  • Anonymous

    See– I never saw the Granada series Watson being portrayed as bumbling. The old Nigel Bruce Watson, sure, along with a few others over the years, but Watson in the 80′s/90′s show was very competent.

  • Anonymous

    I hope they keep her for at least the next season. I like her and I think she’s the best female character they’ve got. I’ve never been that fond of the way the writers treat Mrs Hudson and Molly.

  • Anonymous

    Your right, there is a bit of feeling lacking in the Sherlock version of that conversation!
    I personally think Freeman’s Watson could have handled it. He’s always appeared to me to be the kind of Watson who’s used to keeping difficult secrets. After all he never talks about what he saw in the war and had no qualms about concealing his murder of the villain in the first episode and is now concealing the identity of a known assassin in his own wife! All he’d have to do is be taciturn and unwilling to talk about his feelings and it would fit right in with how other character’s already know him to be when regarding his own emotions; quiet and occasionally angry. That wouldn’t be hard to fake since (if he’d been told at the graveyard after the fact) he could still channel understandable anger at Sherlock.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks. :3

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    ^^ this is all true.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    you’re right, poor choice of words, but I still do not think he could have concealed such knowledge. ‘cat with the cream’ is I think how LRK put it. ;)

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    Actually, the sentiment WAS there – it’s just during the scene where they are in the subway car. Sherlock looks up and apologizes, and you can tell from his face and mannerisms that he truly means it. Yes, he was getting ready to prank Watson with the whole bomb thing, but that single moment, he was serious and vulnerable. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if that’s why he went through with the prank – Sherlock doesn’t like being vulnerable, and so he forced Watson to be vulnerable as well (which shows he’s still got a LOT of emotional growing to do).

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    If they wanted me to buy her as an assassin/spy, they probably shouldn’t have had her act like an idiot in episode 3. I’m sorry, but YOU’RE WEARING PERFUME while assassinating someone? And you don’t recognize when you’re in front of a false building front? (Not to mention, if she is who we’re supposed to believe, she should have known about the existence of that particular address in the first place).

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    LOL, I feel exactly the same. Because Sherlock is smart enough to know he’s not a sociopath. It makes my teeth itch every time he says it. Until the writers actually have Sherlock admit to someone that “well, not really, I just say that for the effect” I am going to continue to assume it’s because Moffat and Gatiss have zero clue about sociopathy.

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    I’m all for character development, but honestly, this series felt overcrowded and overstuffed with it.

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    Actually, it makes even MORE sense to kill him. Magnussen himself was the evidence, as it were, and killing him removed ALL of those secrets from play.

  • Anonymous

    I never did read the LRK series. At the time they came out I was more interested in the Carole Nelson Douglas Adler series and some of the more off the wall Holmes tales (aliens- check, time travel- check, Dracula- check).
    You’ve seen Young Sherlock Holmes, right? It’s been a while but the B.C. Holmes gives me the impression of an older version of that Holmes.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t say overcrowded. They were character driven episodes, for the most part, instead of mystery driven episodes, in contrast to the previous two seasons. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    Of course, if you wanted, or preferred more plot driven episodes, that’s fine. Not liking this series for taking a road you don’t like is a perfectly valid reason for not liking it. I think, as character driven episodes, they were actually very well put together. But if that’s not what you want out of the show, then… well it’s not what you want out of it, and that’s fair.

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    You misunderstand me. I LIKE character interaction and focus. For me to say “it felt like they tried to stuff too much into Series 3″ is saying a lot, given the main reason I watch this is FOR the character interaction.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    I haven’t seen Young Sherlock – it’s on our short list, but maybe it’s time to bump it up a bit. :)
    LRK’s Holmes is very much along the lines of Jeremy Brett’s, I think; very faithful to canon while still having quite a bit of originality and humor. I also recommend it if you like Elementary as that show’s Watson is strongly reminiscent of King’s Mary Russell.

  • Anonymous

    I actually have not seen Elementary. When it started I didn’t have CBS and they don’t stream their shows, and what I’ve seen… well… I don’t know. I’m just not sure about Johnny Lee Miller. Just seems off. Like the Holmes movie I saw with Matt Frewer as Holmes.
    About Young Sherlock, it was made in 1985 and the effects, while cutting edge for their time don’t hold up so well.

  • Keri Mullin

    That’s what I mean though- hand over Magnussen to the ‘government’ to take care of him, aka, kill him. I’m sure all the government people who have been blackmailed by him would be willing to find a way to ‘get rid’ of him for good once they found out he has no physical evidence.

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    I’ve not yet watched this ending, but I thought I read elsewhere in the comments here that Mycroft was wanting to keep Magnussen alive (to potentially use him later, it is logical). So if Holmes really wanted him dead, he’d have to do the killing because he would know the government wouldn’t.

  • Amy W

    No, they’ve said in interviews that he’s definitely not a sociopath, that Sherlock uses that explanation to trick himself into believing that he really doesn’t care about things, because repressing emotion is so important to him. So it’s not the writers, it’s the character, and the more I think about that, the more I like it.

  • Amy W

    I’m certain it’s somebody else using Moriarty’s reputation. Note there wasn’t any ACTUAL live footage of him.

  • Amy W

    But she didn’t die IMMEDIATELY. There were years. And they’ve said they want to keep doing this show off and on for decades, to show Sherlock and John grow old together– Mary could hang around another ten years, even, before dying, and there’d still be about thirty-some years of story post-Mary.

    Basically I just like her too much, myself, but it seems so many people are almost ANXIOUS for her to get killed off as soon as possible, and it REALLY WASN’T that immediate.

  • Anonymous

    What makes you so sure he’s not?

  • Anonymous

    “Disorder” isn’t the right term to use, so I wouldn’t say Sherlock has a disorder either. I would say that he is not neurotypical, though.

  • Anonymous

    I use disorder instead of neurotypical here because neurotypical is generally used for someone who doesn’t land on the autistic scale. I meant to specifically exclude antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy (some psychologists still draw a distinction between psychopathic symptoms and anti-social symptoms, though many don’t), or anything else you’re liable to find in the DSM. … Except maybe substance abuse disorder (if it’s still called that. Naturally I took Ab Psych RIGHT before the DSM V came out, so I’m a touch out of date). Probably still not the best choice of words though, so thank you for the correction.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    I think we’re just afraid to get attached to her. ;)

  • Amy W

    Point taken. :)

  • Anastasia Lynn Storer

    This makes me feel better (because yes, as a character quirk, it’s awesome), though I do wish they would find a way to show the truth in the show itself, if only because so many people don’t understand sociopathy and are taking those words as gospel truth. :)

  • Erik

    Can someone please explain how anyone can be satisfied with the ending up season 3 episode 3? In each episode, Sherlock amazingly has a twisted plot to ‘succeed’ with the case.

    In this episode, it seems that he was outwitted so he just killed the man? and that concludes this whole evil twisted man of season 3? If so, that was such a cop out