Thursday, January 23, 2014

ANTICIPATING "SHERLOCK" SEASON 3

I don't like surprises, I don't like to be kept in the dark, and I don't like unhappy endings. That may be why I so often re-read a good book rather than search out a new good book to read.

I quite naturally didn't like being kept in the dark about how Sherlock survived his "Reichenbach Fall." Being a Holmes afficiando of long standing, I knew he was going to "die" in the final episode of Season 2, and I knew he was going to survive.

When he did his swan dive from the top of the hospital, it seemed that only an illusionist of the caliber of David Copperfield could have pulled that off and escaped unscathed. There were some suggestions that Sherlock was engaging in some sleight-of-hand, with his asking his M.E. friend Molly for help and with the bicycle accident Watson had running to look at the body of his fallen comrade. Other viewers with better eagle eyes than me picked up on additional clues.

The hype leading up to the American premiere of Season 3 got me to wondering just how he did it, so I did a modicum of spoiler research and found out that ... But maybe you, the reader, like surprises. Knowing the plot outline has not dimmed my enthusiasm for the premiere on January 19 but has increased it. It appears that they have done some very good things with the story while keeping the characters true to their personalities in Seasons 1 and 2.

I now have another mystery--how did they cram so much action into a single hour? I'll find out tomorrow.

***

Well, tomorrow came and went, and we still don't know how Sherlock pulled off the feat of faking his death. I suspect that we don't know because the writers don't know. They painted themselves into a corner with Sherlock's swan dive off the roof of the hospital, and couldn't come up with a plausible explanation for how he did it.

It seems Season 3 is going to be more character-driven than the two previous seasons. This is good as far as it goes, but it seems that the mystery took a decided back seat to character development in the first episode. As "Elementary's" second season has shown, you can have character development help to drive the plot rather than getting in the way of the plot. The episode of "Elementary" where Moriarty returned was an admirable example of how character development was integral to the mystery. Perhaps "Sherlock" should study how "Elementary" does it before starting production on Season 4.

I haven't seen the last two installments of "Sherlock 3" yet, but the reviews seem to suggest that as Sherlock becomes more human in the series, the series suffers. Here is another area where "Sherlock" could take a lesson from "Elementary." "Elementary" started off with a more human Holmes in the throes of chemical dependency. The storyline was actually enhanced as Holmes worked through his chemical dependency. The critics seem to think that in the English rendition, Sherlock's discovery of his humanity has a negative effect. As far as episode 1 is concerned, it hasn't been much of an impediment to the story. We'll see how things play out in the next two episodes.