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[Sherlock Review] The Empty Hearse (no spoilers, honest)

After two years of waiting, the US fans of Sherlock will have to wait another two weeks for Season 3 to start with The Empty Hearse.
When we last left our heroes, Watson arrived to witness Sherlock jump off a building to make sure Moriarty’s goons didn’t kill Watson, Lastrade or Mrs. Hudson.
The death of Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem has been played out across much of the reboots over the years. Jeremy Brett’s run being the one I remember the most. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows being the most recent and enjoyable since both Robert Downey Jr and Jared Harris were fun to watch even if the plot got a little laughable in spots.
The Reichenbach Fall doesn’t take us all the way to Switzerland and instead The Final Problem is played out on a rooftop giving our hero the only option left to him to save his friends. In the end, Sherlock falls, dies and is buried. And in the final moments shown to be quite alive.
There’s a phrase in DC Universe to explain how Batman does the things he does: He’s Batman. And like the costumed Detective, Sherlock is the same way.
The tone of The Empty Hearse is less morose than it’s predecessor, The Empty House. Two years have passed and everyone is getting on with their lives. Fresh from the seven minute short entitled Many Happy Returns, Lastrade continues to happily shoot down wild theories from Anderson that Sherlock is solving crimes across Europe. Watson, now with mustache is getting ready to propose to Mary and just where is Sherlock, exactly?
The return of Sherlock is less of a surprise this time round. Instead of Sherlock regaling Watson of his continental adventures we’re shown the events which is much better than being told it. The set up and the pay off is laugh riot. Honest to god, a laugh riot.
And I’m not just talking about Martin Freeman flipping off the audience (check the Hobbit DVD extras for his outtakes of flipping off the audience) the episode on a whole is fun to watch and is welcome breath of fresh air after the disappointing Doctor Who season.
For much of the episode the Detective Duo are separated until the unnamed antagonists reach out and the episode gets moving. The use of Moran was a nice touch even if he isn’t chasing Holmes like before.
The episode on a whole was very V for Vendetta, minus the bald Natalie Portman. Using the London Underground as a set peice reminded me of Skyfall.
In the end, I’m happy Gatniss and Moffat have dulled some of the edges of Sherlock and made him more human. This is a good thing. You make the highly functioning sociopath more likable while still solving crime and keep the humor within reason.
Here’s hoping the quality of the next two episodes are just as good.

[Television] Quick thoughts on Sherlock Series 2…

A quick review about Sherlock Series 2 that just finished airing on BBC and should appearing on PBS Masterpiece in May 2012.
Series 1 re-airs the 15, 22, 29 of this month in case anyone missed it.
I enjoyed Series 2 a bit more than Series 1 because the drop off of Moffat written episodes was not as bad as Series 1. The zingers between the two leads really drove this Series home and the introduction of Irene Adler and the continuing Moriarty plot helped broaden the world without it make the stories too far fetched.
The finale was different in the fact it was small while the movie and the original series adapted from Doyle’s books the television series covered different ground between Moriarty and Holmes. The finale was aptly named and unlike the movie does not go anywhere near Switzerland except in a brief cameo of the painting. The Deer Stalker Cap can be called a Death Frisbee and Sherlock is slowly learning to filter what he says, sort of.
I liked the idea of what happens when a Consulting Criminal such as Moriarty gets bored or what happens when a Consulting Detective looks to be creating his own cases. It has a certain which came first quality: Batman or the criminals in Arkham.
The nice thing about it all was the final episode did not top the previous episodes and used the core cast without introducing too many new guests.
I wonder if the hour and half format would make Doctor Who better or worse. I enjoy the extra half hour, personally. It doesn’t feel like they’re rushing to finish the story.
Gonna be a long wait between series…