His Last Vow
- Episode aired Feb 2, 2014
- 1h 29min
Sherlock goes up against Charles Augustus Magnussen, media tycoon and a notorious blackmailer.Sherlock goes up against Charles Augustus Magnussen, media tycoon and a notorious blackmailer.Sherlock goes up against Charles Augustus Magnussen, media tycoon and a notorious blackmailer.
The affable mister I was alluding to goes by the name of Charles Augustus Magnussen and makes no bones about him having the characteristics of a bellend by his licking a woman's face to compare the taste and smell of her perfume and his mistaking the mantelpiece in Sherlock's flat for a lavatory. Sherlock and John start the investigation rolling, the episode gets gripping, the game is on. But around the 30-minute-mark, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss interrupt the extravaganza to bring you Mary shooting Sherlock. Excuse me for a moment, while I go ramming my head against a wall in utter bafflement of what has just happened.
Assessing this composedly, such a radical turn of BLOODY HELL, WHAT THE ACTUAL @$#*%! WAS THAT?
Ah hem, now, let me try that again: such a radical turn of events can easily fall into the category of surprise for nothing but surprise's sake, and I wasn't immediately convinced by Sherlock's latest tricking its viewership. However, with the help of flashbacks and mind palace visits, screenwriter Moffat quelled my confusion and scepticism and instead transformed it into admiration. In fact, I have come to consider it one of the most impressive about-turns in recent television history, making way for an astonishing jaunt to Sherlock's subconscious and the nearly perfect second half of this episode.
The ingenuity of Sherlock also lies in cuts as the one from John, Mary, and Sherlock's fiery encounter at Leinster Gardens to Christmas at the Holmeses', where Mycroft brilliantly comments his brother's recuperation with: »Am I happy too? I haven't checked.« Thinking about it, he would basically be Sherlock if his score on the prick/charmer scale were just a little more balanced. Apart from such fine writing that one has been able to bank on even at the programme's shoddiest moments, "His Last Vow" leaves many enigmas behind, something Gatiss and Moffat have evidently been fond of since creating "The Reichenbach Fall".
The mysteries aren't as colossal as faking a death, but there is no lack of small ones: was Sherlock really taking drugs or was Molly helping him yet another time to persuade John, Mary, Mycroft, and most importantly, Magnussen into believing he had? Has Sherlock taken Anderson into his employ, seeing as he's part of the 'drug bust' in 221B Baker Street, appears in his mind palace, and leads Mary to him? Does Janine hint at more than relationships when telling her ex-boyfriend "You shouldn't have lied to me. We could have been friends."? What's the story behind the third Holmes brother Mycroft so casually references at the end of the episode?
Such burning questions will probably make the wait for Sherlock's comeback sometime in 2016 quite a bit tougher than it were if the only plot point remaining unresolved after this series had been the name of John and Mary's offspring (I'm still advocating Hamish, by the way). Providentially, the programme demonstrates all of its quality before vanishing for yet another immoderately long hiatus, making use of an enjoyable villain that provides a welcome contrast to the psychopathic Moriarty, the ideal blend of suspense and humour, and an outstanding screenplay.
And if you haven't hurriedly turned off your television as soon as the first notes of Sherlock's theme were heralding the closing credits, you will have also had the pleasure of seeing one of the programme's best sequences of all time, a character resurrection making the transitory deaths of Gandalf, Harry Potter, Neo, Ethan Hunt, Lois Lane, E.T., and, yes, even Sherlock Holmes look like loo breaks: Jim Moriarty is alive. After two unsatisfactory episodes that lacked Andrew Scott's unequalled portrayal of Sherlock's nemesis, I'm beginning to think that he may be the only reason for Sherlock being as superb as it is.
My detective scribblings: With blokes like Bill, addict or hipster is hard to determine. I wonder if for Janine, it's also 'Charlie Magnussen' and 'Jimmie Moriarty'. The viewers who believed Sherlock's relationship with Janine know him about as well as Lestrade does (taking Sherlock's 'Help!' text seriously in the previous episode). Am I alone with discerning a resemblance between Sherlock's father and Mr Rogers? If Magnussen » never believed the drug thing for a moment«, how come it's among his pressure points for Sherlock? John's t-shirt collection now contains 'I don't shave for Sherlock Holmes.' and 'I don't understand.', just in case anyone was longing for that information. What good are the 'porn preferences' in Magnussen's archives if none of Sherlock's characters chalk up an 'abnormal' on it? Sherlock isn't punished for killing someone due to him being related to a senior government official who deems him 'needed'. That is either a subtle hint at corruption or profoundly slipshod writing. Again, a cliffhanger is resolved at the end of the series already. Again, it feels bizarre. Best quote: »I hope I won't have to threaten you as well.« - »I think we'd both find that embarrassing.« - I'd venture to name this Martin Freeman's best performance on Sherlock as of yet.
- Aug 8, 2014