So before I begin just the usual caveats that if you want to watch Sherlock be careful about reading this review. I am not going to go through things plot point by plot point but anyone who reads this will have the impact of ‘His Last Vow’ lessened.
Oddly I am not sure that I enjoyed this episode as much as the previous two. That is not to say it wasn’t as good or that it was not a better put together story just that this one was tonally completely different to the previous two episodes. The comedic tone has been replaced by something much darker. Although the stakes have not been set up in the same in the same way as they were against previous villains. I really enjoyed the previous two episodes whereas ‘His last vow’ was more gripping if not as edge of your seat as the Irene Adler or season 2 finale.
However, as I look back at the clues that were present in previous episodes to certain events that transpired in episode 3 I am of the opinion that Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat adopted that comedic tone as a slight of hand. The effect of which was to stop people looking to deeply at the actions and motivations of certain characters. In my case this trick worked probably better than they writers could have ever hoped for. Instead of looking for betrayal from certain characters I was expecting tragedy so to have these expectations subverted was just good writing.
Furthermore, this episode for me had the best moment of the series. Simply because, the writers followed the situation they put Sherlock in to its logical conclusion given Sherlock’s self confessed sociopathic tendencies. Other shows would have avoided having the main character do something “evil” for a good cause in case it alienated the audience. Instead they would have manipulated the plot through hoops in a manner that was never convincing. So to have the Sherlock do what a sociopath would do. What was logical. Was great.
Lastly of course is the ‘twist’ at the end. I’m not sure whether it was a good thing for the writers to go back to this well again. Ever since the end of season 2 until this season’s beginning they placed themselves into a corner and required themselves to explain the seemingly impossible. By setting up season 4 as they have they have done the same again. Unless that is the ending was orchestrated by Sherlock himself, but that doesn’t seem too likely.
A solid 3 and 3/4 stars which I am going to round up to 4 out of 5. Not great but very good.