Sherlock The Sign of the Three on PBS (Review)

Sherlock The Sign of the Three
Sherlock Holmes faces one of his biggest challenges yet on The Sign of the Three, that of giving the Best Man’s speech at his friend, Dr. John H. Watson’s, wedding. Oh, and he must solve a series of intriguing bank robberies and murders, one of which, Sherlock fears, will occur at some point during the wedding of Watson (Martin Freeman) to his bride, Mary. Will Sherlock be able to solve the mystery and prevent the murder from occurring and putting a damper on Watson’s wedding day? What do YOU think?

The episode The Sign of the Three opens with Greg Lestrade investigating a series of mysterious bank robberies. The robberies are mysterious, because the robbers somehow seem to know just when the police will show up, so that they can make their getaway.

The robberies get Lestrade more and more frustrated, until, finally, the police force manage to corner the gang. But, that attempt is thwarted when Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) sends Lestrade an urgent text message just as he is moving in to arrest the robbers.

Lestrade, believing that Sherlock might be in grave danger, abandons the chance to arrest the robbers. He sends the police to Sherlock’s house. He gets quite annoyed when he finds out that the reason Sherlock texted him was because he wanted help in writing the Best Man speech.

Mrs. Hudson then speaks with Sherlock about Watson’s upcoming wedding day, and we’re also shown a man preparing to attend John Watson’s wedding. The man is Watson’s old army commander, James Sholto.

The wedding, itself, goes off without a hitch; but, after the wedding, Sherlock somewhat humorously questions each of Mary’s male friends who had attended the wedding to try to learn if their is the slightest chance that Mary would commit an act of infidelity with any of them.

As the reception begins, John Watson thanks his former commander Sholto for making it to his wedding.

Sherlock stumbles over his words as he begins the Best Man’s speech. He is seemingly at a loss for words, though he is also attempting to figure out who committed the bank robberies. Through a flashback, we see John thinking about how he should ask Sherlock to be his best man.

Sherlock starts reading some of the congratulatory telegrams out loud, trying to incorporate them into his Best Man speech. One of the telegrams is from Mike Stamford, another is from Charles Augustus Magnussen, or “Cam,” as he’s also called. He says that he wished Mary’s family could have been around to see the wedding.

As he’s reading through the telegrams, Sherlock relates a story about his memory of John asking him to be his best man. Though Sherlock states he went through a bunch of different emotions in his head, at the time, he didn’t say a word about them.

Though Watson tries to overlook Sherlock’s rather peculiar Best Man speech, it becomes rather more difficult to overlook it when his friend begins insulting the guests there. Sherlock ridicules the very institution of marriage, itself. However, perhaps realizing what an ass he’s been acting like, Sherlock then says that Watson is a good man to consider Sherlock to be his best friend. Holmes congratulates the happy couple, and this even brings tears to the eyes of some of the wedding guests.

That’s when Sherlock decides to launch into some of the humorous stories he has about Watson. He briefly talks about Watson’s blog and talks about the cases of The Elephant in the Room, The Hollow Client, The Matchbox Decathlete, and The Poison Giant.

Sherlock takes the opportunity that’s presented itself to relate in greater detail the Case of the Bloody Guardsman.
He then picks the case of the Bloody Guardsman to explain in full detail. Bainbridge is one of the important characters in the tale. He is a royal guardsman who contacted Holmes because he believed he has a stalker.

Sherlock and Dr. Watson investigate the matter. Holmes wants to speak to Bainbridge, but he’s too late. He’s been stabbed somehow, even though he’s in a locked shower. Bainbridge is barely clinging to life. Thanks to the efforts of Watson, the man’s life is saved. Sherlock tells the assembled guests that Watson is all about saving lives, while he, Sherlock is all about solving mysteries.

When Lestrade and Tom< attempt to deduce who committed the murder and how, they are unsuccessful. Sherlock informs them that he never solved it, himself.

After that, Sherlock relates the tale about what happened on Watson’s wild stag night. Sherlock believed he’d calculated just how much alcohol he could drink and have a fun time without getting too drunk; however, Watson foils him by putting extra shots into Sherlock’s drinks. This causes Holmes to get drunk, and get involved in a fight.

Them. Sherlock and Watson head back to 221 Baker Street and they play a game where they try to guess whose name thy have written on a piece of paper on their foreheads, a little bit like playing Liar’s Poker. A potential client, Tessa, tells the duo that she believes that she’s been dating a ghost. They travel to check out the apartment where Tessa last saw the supposed “ghost,” but Sherlock pukes, having had too much to drink. Then, the landlord has the pair arrested.

The following day, Lestrade uses his pull to get Sherlock and Watson out of prison. Sherlock then begins investigating the case of the ghostly date again. He discovers that other women have also had dates with a similar outcome. Sherlock says that the man is not a ghost, but more like a “mayfly” who has his day in the sun. The detective attempts to find something in common that the women have, that might be a clue as to who the criminal is, who uses the apartments of dead men to meet with the women.

However, at the time, Holmes admits that he wasn’t able to think of any connection. That is, he’s not until the conclusion of his Best Man’s speech when the photographer shoots a picture of him. Sherlock drops the glass in his hand, and wonders how Tessa knew what Watson’s middle name was, when Watson had kept it a secret for quite a while, even from himself.

That’s when Sherlock realizes that the so-called Mayfly must have seen Watson’s middle name on his wedding invitation — which, in turn, meant that the Mayfly was still there.

In the next part of his speech, Sherlock wonders why someone would attempt to commit a murder at a wedding. The reason is, Sherlock speculates, the person wants to murder someone in particular who is there; but, who?

Eventually, Sherlock deduces that it must be Watson’s old army commander, Sholto, and the most probable motive might be because he’s gotten a whole platoon of soldiers killed while in Afghanistan. Sherlock informs Sholto of the danger that he’s in, then he tells Watson and Mary about his deductions.

In an attempt to prevent himself from getting murdered, the commander locks himself up in his room. Then, after he realizes that Sholto and Bainridge wore the same belt buckle, Sherlock deduces that the belts must contain a blade in them. The blade would spring out and stab the men who wore such a belt, and the men wouldn’t even realize it until they later took off their clothing and bleed to death.

Sholto doesn’t want to let Sherlock, Watson, into the room he’s in, claiming that he doesn’t fear death. But, Sherlock convinces Sholto that he can still possibly live, if Watson takes care of his wound soon enough.

Who is the murderer, the person who attempted to kill the army commander, Solto? It must be someone who can hide in plain site, someone who could do so without causing suspicion, such as — the wedding photographer.

Why is this episode of Sherlock called “The Final Three”? It’s because all of the signs are obvious that Mary is…pregnant. The wedding of the two, John Watson and Mary, will soon become three, when their baby is born. What a cool episode! What did you think of the episode? Please leave your comments below!


Written by: Douglas Cobb

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