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Sherlock: His Last Vow

WARNING: Here there be spoilers. Not every spoiler, some secrets are too sweet to be opened early.

Also, if I reiterated and hashed out every last rich gem from this episode, you’d be here all week.


We meet Sherlock’s next adversary, and it might not be who you think. Not everyone is who they seem

in the thrilling conclusion to Season 3 of “Sherlock.”


Who is the mysterious man that has become so interested in Holmes and Watson? It is still unclear

exactly who abducted John in the Season 3 opener, in which Sherlock literally ran through fire to save

his colleague. Enter Charles Augustus Magnussen, millionaire and the closest thing to a shark on dry land.

Complete disregard for the life and his surroundings besides them being objects to play with and do as

he pleases. It shouldn’t surprise that the cold, dead eyes, and the vacant smile of Magnussen belongs to

Lars Mikkelsen, whose brother Mads Mikkelsen plays our favorite cannibal Hannibal Lecter on the hit

NBC show of the same name.



Magnussen is an enigma, one who has grown so bored and comfortable with his wealth that he sees

everyone as a commodity. He has dedicated his life to decoding people’s pressure points, running his

life as if infinitely connected to his own personal supercomputer. He feels the British have become

“too civilized,” and makes it very apparent that he does not live by typical societal norms. In a

nutshell, if you thought Sherlock was bad with people…


But let us get to our heroes. How is the most epic of bromances faring now that one of them has gotten

hitched and is expecting an addition to the family? The answer is not well. It’s been a month since

Sherlock swept off quietly into the night, leaving John’s wedding without a word. John has heard not a

peep from his best man, and that compiled with trying to adapt to married and expecting life is making

his teeth itch. Just as Watson has left his mark on Sherlock, Holmes has left his mark on John. He’s

become short-tempered, blunt, spoiling for a case. Of course a case means Sherlock Holmes will turn

up eventually, but be careful what you wish for.


John gets the adrenaline rush he was jonesing for, but did not expect to find his best friend doing the

same. He finds Sherlock in a drug den, “undercover,” despite what his drug test would say. In a scene

beholden to a girl getting caught out too late with a boy, John drags a disheveled consulting detective

out of the smack house and off to Bart’s to confirm for himself if Sherlock’s relapse was real, or just for



That isn’t the only massive change in Holmes’ life, though. Not only has Sherlock fallen back into

bad habits, but he’s picked up a new one – namely Janine, the bridesmaid from The Sign of Three.

I believe the reveal of this information leaves the audience as gobsmacked as Watson, as it seems

married life has massively affected both of our favorite men. But as we all know where Sherlock is

concerned, everything happens for a reason.


Yes, everything happens for a reason. Even love. Such is the case with Molly and her strangely

familiar beau, Sherlock, Janine, and Irene…and John and Mary. It is here we find several hearts laid

out on the table. Mary is the perfect woman for John because she’s strong, and because she is smart.

Stronger than anyone quite knows, and smart enough to fool even the great Sherlock Holmes. Funny

that the two people to get the drop on our boy have been women. I guess no matter how detached from

humanity you are, you just can’t beat the classics.


But, where does this leave our newlyweds once John is made privy to this information? Whose side is

anyone on? Even Sherlock is on her side eventually, which once again makes John feel like he is once

again the odd man out. “Why is it always MY FAULT?” he screams, angry at himself for wanting to

believe he wants a normal, peaceful life but knowing in his heart that he starves without the excitement

of danger and intrigue in his life.


What follows can only be described as an anxiety-ridden work of art. We are taken somewhere we

could never had imagined – inside Sherlock’s Mind Palace. Of course it is already known to hold

the world’s most precious information, but it also stores something far more uncharted – what makes

Sherlock tick. Just as he stores information, Sherlock saves himself – his memories, his emotions, his

drives. And it is by finding himself and his impetus to continue that sees him once again off the brink

of destruction.


We get many glimpses into the life of the whole Holmes clan in this episode as well, along with a taste

of what it must have been like growing up and raising the two most unique minds London has ever

seen. You discover how much the family means to these two peculiar brothers, and maybe the Holmes

boys aren’t as dismissive of each other as they swear to be. In the end they are family, and Mycroft will

always look out for his baby brother, no matter the cost.


Which brings us to what is the only coherent thought I could form while watching this episode. (Trust

me, many hours were spent staring at my notebook saying, “where do I begin.” As calm as this review

sounds now, I was a jumble of emotions and hysterical mental white noise while watching this the

first time.) Sherlock’s humanity shows unerringly in one way – his eternal inability to sincerely say

goodbye when he thinks it will be the last time. Not that his departure from those he cares for is very

long, but in the heat of the moment he can be just as human as the rest of us.


What can be said about Season 3 of Sherlock.It is by far the most consistent season yet, filled with

nothing but heart and gripping storytelling. One request for season 4, though – please Mr. Gatiss and

Mr. Moffat, take less than 2 years this time. My heart simply can’t take it.


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