Sherlock’s The Last Vow unabashedly threw a montage of creatively threaded together plot twists comprising of comedy and tragedy, mixed with intense drama and suspense and of course, the absolute and utter madness of Sherlock Holmes.
In short, the complete package. And nothing less was to be expected from the grande finale of the much awaited Sherlock. If the first two episodes were fleeting disappointments, then this one surely made up for it in the eyes of whoever was complaining (not me!). Sherlock’s finale presented us with quite a few interesting details when it comes to our central characters. It delivered through the high points and low ones (as if it could have low points! Phew!) and what we are left with is an uncompromising portrait of Holmes, better defined than ever before.
Sherlock likes to provide its viewers with Jack-in-the-box moments and usually we’re taken for a ride with John Watson. But our flawed central character took quite a hitting this time too, when questions of betrayal nagged the space he usually keeps reserved for his nemeses. Because this episode revolved around Holmes fulfilling the promises he made to his best pal on his wedding day. The Sherlock-Watson friendship grew into something three dimensional because Sherlock was tugged in different directions but he managed to reel it all back in for that one person.
The highest point of this episode of course, was watching Sherlock’s mind palace in all its chaotic splendor when he got shot. We got to experience hands on, the richly physical interpretation of every single turmoil in Sherlock’s head as he figures out how to survive. Stop me if I am wrong, but I have never seen anything this gripping on television before.
It was spectacular, the way everything Sherlock ever does was beautifully compressed into a sequence where he has to figure out the best ways to survive and we explore the nooks and crannies of his head while he’s at it. The crooning, glorified nothingness of Moriarty’s existence as a light-sucking bug inside Sherlock, the little things Sherlock loved as a boy and the insecurities his brother built inside him, even the incessant chatter of Molly Harper’s broken little heart. It was all packed into the moments Sherlock took to explore his options in order to save himself and Watson. And John Watson forever continues to be the one guiding factor that justifies his moves.
But our fallen angel goes steps further. From a junkie detective to the world’s best crime solver and back and forth again, Sherlock’s life swings in jeopardy in the hands of Charles Augustus Magnussen- a worthy foe because when you see his secret and learn how he guards it, you understand why he deserves to beat Sherlock, even if Sherlock does get to have the last say. Magnussen is delicious as an opponent- slimy, uncharacteristically eccentric and bursting with self-importance. He is a bit of a disappointment when it’s all said and done because somehow, you felt, more was to be expected from him. But the way he presents himself as a villain and the things he does create an aura of disgusted awe around him which made him repulsive but interesting at the same time.
Mycroft’s role continues to miff me slightly. The way in which I enjoy Molly’s continual revival is the same way that makes me roll my eyes at the Mycroft of it all. He is unnecessary in many places, though you could justify his presence in Sherlock’s brain by talking about the impact he’s had on his little brother. And since I absolutely adore every instance where we delve into Sherlock’s mind, I’ll let that pass.
Mary Watson came through to- the wife who wasn’t, her secret personality will come to cast a shadow across further episodes (and let’s raise a glass and hope it does), because her past agendas continue to be fuzzy. But in the same breath we traveled with John Watson from love to hate and back again, because love is just blind when it comes to a hopeless like Watson (he loves Holmes, for goodness’ sake). Some brilliant scenes between the two were quite the highlight of the episode.
But the build up to the ultimate Sherlock climax was the real wonder- I was thinking, oh no, not again. Are we supposed to spend another year (or two) believing Sherlock walked off to his own death, only to find out he didn’t quite? Even when Lestrade’s face rolled in and the screens started to go fuzzy, I wasn’t quite expecting the unexpected- because, seriously, how many twists can one episode have?
But when the phone call got through to Sherlock a mere two minutes after he’d been in air, calling him back (because nobody can solve crimes like he does and broadcasts can never be posthumous so that justifies the impulsive act of banishing your brother’s banishment), I was watching wide-eyed as Jim Moriarty flashed back on screen.
Did you miss me?
Notes: 1) I simply adore Watson. I feel everything he feels and not only does Martin Freeman do a most delightful job, every single John Watson quirk makes me happy!
2) I cannot help but overlook any errors that crept through the Sherlock episodes. I mean, try as I might, Sherlock seems to deliver nothing less than perfection for me. Maybe because very few T.V. series seem to have this much innovation in every frame. Sometimes you spot something that makes you go, oh that’s such a gimmick, and I try to put my critic-spectacles on but even if I go over Sherlock with a fine-tooth comb, I’d end up pushing the lint back under the table. As of now, Sherlock’s minor errors do not seem even slightly close to suicidal and as long as these twists keep coming, I’m all for it! Our favorite villain is back, let the fireworks go crazy!