Sherlock (2010– )
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The Sign of Three 

Sherlock tries to give the perfect best man speech at John's wedding when he suddenly realizes a murder is about to take place.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Sholto
Oliver Lansley ...
Ed Birch ...
Jalaal Hartley ...


As Lestrade fumes over his constant inability to convict the Waters gang of bank robbers, Holmes prepares for his role as best man at Mary and John's wedding. His speech, initially bizarre, turns out to be a moving tribute to his friend whilst he also contributes two anecdotes of recent cases, both unsolved. The first concerns a young guardsman whose life John saved after he was the victim of a 'locked room' attempted murder. The second involves a man who uses the identities of the recently deceased to date different women. As he looks around the wedding party, Holmes suddenly realizes their connected solutions, which also involve Watson's former commanding officer, disfigured war hero Major Sholto. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

26 January 2014 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


The guardsman is referred to in dialogue as a "Grenadier Guardsman"; however, their distinctive uniforms, with the leek collar badge and buttons grouped in fives, show them all to be Welsh Guards instead. See more »


Major Shulto, upon entering the wedding venue, would remove his beret. British Army personnel are trained to remove their headdress as soon as they are indoors. See more »


Sherlock Holmes: [Sherlock and John are both severely drunk] Don't compromise the integrity of the...
[Sherlock vomits on the carpet]
Dr. John Watson: ...crime scene.
[John puts his hand up for a high five]
Sherlock Holmes: [Sherlock lifts his head up and sways a bit] Yup, that.
[Sherlock wipes some vomit from around his mouth]
See more »


References Pulp Fiction (1994) See more »


Shakin' All Over
By Johnny Kidd
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User Reviews

We need to talk about Sherlock
3 August 2014 | by (Austria) – See all my reviews

'Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat's Sherlock departs from its source material.' is a sentence with about as much informational value as 'Grass is green.' or 'Uwe Boll isn't the best film director of all time.', yet it remains remarkable how small a part the underlying Arthur Conan Doyle novellas sometimes play in the British duo's adaptations. "The Sign of Three" is one of those instances, in which a wedding just so happens to include a murder attempt because a bit of zest was called- for after Sherlock Holmes had held a speech for an estimated four days at a stretch. And although I enjoy Sherlock's humorous side, a little less of forgotten forenames and exposed bellies and a little more of suspense and Sherlock's genius would be an advantageous step for the programme - unless it is about to be rebranded as Sherlock: The Sitcom for its fourth series.

Presumably, the grounds for the Lilliputian presence of crime-solving in this episode lie in the writers' resolve to humanise Sherlock in this series. He does still openly ponder the ideal liquidation of the bride groom at weddings and is startled by the mention of 'mingling', but all of a sudden, the self-styled high-functioning sociopath also takes pleasure in ordinary activities such as dancing, considers John his best friend, and takes a vow to protect Mary, John, and their fetus (I'm confident that all parties involved would favour Hamish as its name, regardless of gender). It's an appealing objective considering his persistent buggeriness in social interactions, and Gatiss and Moffat manifest capability through realising it gradually and not without displaying the problems someone as – well – extraordinary as Sherlock Holmes has to come to terms with in the process, but it nonetheless affects the quality of Sherlock.

Though the connection between the two is tough to spot, an extra drawback of "The Sign of Three" resides in a twist as shocking as the end of The Passion of the Christ, viz. it being exactly the two cases Sherlock referred to in his aforementioned speech that become significant in the final third. Whereas that would be excusable, the simplicity in all of that isn't; more precisely: if I can identify victim and offender before Sherlock does, the screenplay of the episode is unlikely to win any awards. Further corroboration for the poor script are one-dimensional supporting characters, more storytelling clichés than wedding guests, and how haphazardly the tranquil reception transforms into a matter of life and death.

As an act of atonement, the episode's three writers (a number that is even more gratuitous considering that the paragons "The Reichenbach Fall" and "A Scandal in Belgravia" required merely one) have come up with excellent bits of humour that could easily prompt one to neglect the rest. Take John's stag night alone as an example, a sequence that had me launching into laughter more often than the majority of actual comedies. If only comparisons of such dimensions could be used to describe the writing and directing…

My detective scribblings: • »You're going to be incredibly useful.« - I have a hunch that there's more to Janine saying that than Sherlock finding her a proper fling at the wedding. • Sherlock's efforts to grin seem to cause him more agony than the torture in "The Empty Hearse". • Amanda Abbington makes the most out of her little duties as Mary: just her reaction to the wine is wonderfully amusing. • Mark Davis's editing in the wedding dinner scene is stunning, his hasty cross-cutting as Sherlock and John arrive at the military barracks less so. • The most disappointing element of this episode was unquestionably the misleading acting credit for Lara Pulver, who appeared in only one scene. • There wasn't any evidence of Mr Lensman attempting to kill Major Sholto, and certainly, the New Scotland Yard can't apprehend someone for no other reason than Sherlock Holmes's words. Knowing that, no one intelligent enough to arrange a murder this meticulously would ever admit doing so, which makes this dénouement another illustration of the chaotic writing in "The Sign of Three". • Best quote: »And we're having quite a lot of sex.« - I've just glanced through my previous Sherlock reviews and noticed that I haven't praised Louise Brealey's acting at any point, making it high time to do that, since she is absolutely magnificent as Molly.

3 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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