Sherlocked

Martha Hegarty scrutinises the long-awaited third series of Sherlock

While a cloud of fan culture threatened to fog up the camera lens, Sherlock Season 3 has obviously decided to avoid being dominated by its own defiance by referencing the theories, speculations, scepticisms and fantasies of its fans. A show that takes ‘contemporary adaptation’ to a new level, it not only plays on the Arthur Conan Doyle canon but knowingly comments on the usually ignored influence of the internet and its #SherlockLives eruption.

Two years after Sherlock faked his suicide, the internet has been buzzing with theories on how he did it. Episode 1 of the new series opens with a dramatic retelling of the scene that has been re-watched, paused and scrutinised to no end in attempts to note small details that might betray the method behind Sherlock’s madness. The lightning-fast retelling shows our hero leap from the roof on a bungee rope before smashing into the hospital window, tousling his hair and mauling long-time devotee Molly. Hearts soared, air was punched, and fangirls rejoiced before, the suitably melodramatic scene is cut off and revealed to be a fan theory itself, courtesy of Anderson.

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Besides the tongue-in-cheek treatment of the suicide explanation, the series is characterised more than ever by the relationship between John and Sherlock, but fizzing with humour and amazing cinematography.

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The episode offers another two versions of how he did it, one of which features an almost-kiss between Moriarty and Sherlock that could have been taken directly from a number of Tumblr shipping blogs. While there seems to be one definitive explanation given by the man himself, in the end it almost doesn’t matter because the show recognises that, after such a long time for nit-picking speculation has passed, not everyone will be happy either way. At the end of the episode, Anderson, upon hearing Sherlock’s description, is let down after the long wait: “well it’s not how I would have done it. Bit … disappointed.”

Besides the tongue-in-cheek treatment of the suicide explanation, the series is characterised more than ever by the relationship between John and Sherlock, but fizzing with humour and amazing cinematography. The exploration of their closeness which lends the series an ever-present sweetness is never allowed to pass into the cloyingly saccharine. While the cases are not as dominant as they were in precious seasons, each episode is peppered with deductions in different scenarios – whether in flashback or stag night form – enabling the elaboration of familiar characters as well as situation comedy with the confidence and pizzazz of a show that has established a strong foundation.

And while I don’t want to reveal any spoilers the show’s recent season 3 finale garnered over 377,000 tweets with fans posting 10,000 tweets a second. After 2 years away from the screen the show still manages to pull in an audience.