The following is a spoiler episode review of Sherlock: Series 3, Episode 1 – The Empty Hearse
The return of Sherlock Holmes! Just like in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, Sherlock returned after the events of the Reichenbach Fall. Finally – almost 24 months after the end of series 2 – we got to find out how Sherlock survived his apparent suicide attempt… Or did we?
Not really, no. The writers of Sherlock had put themselves in an awkward position, having to now explain how he would survive the events at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. Sure, they left a lot of clues in The Reichenbach Fall, but not nearly enough that we were certain of the specific events.
When I first watched the episode, I was really happy to see how Sherlock addressed Molly. Moriarty’s mistake was underestimating Sherlock’s friendship with Molly Hooper, but the fact that Moriarty didn’t realize he had to threaten her life too was kind of weird. Moriarty had used her to get close to Sherlock in series 1, he clearly knew their relationship – but I digress.
My favorite moment, I remember, was seeing Lestrade’s reaction to Sherlock’s return. It doesn’t matter that Holmes called him Graham. Lestrade is just so happy to see him alive – a man his department helped ruin. Interestingly, again, the story isn’t what we remember from this episode. We remember the touching moments between the characters, and Sherlock’s behavior when he chose to surprise John. I’m not going to say the story was a failure though, due to the fact that the events brought John and Sherlock closer together, and, I’ll add, finally presented the future Mary Watson to us!
Jonathan Aris was back as Anderson, and it was great to see him obsessing over how Sherlock could survive. He played our part. I do wish that we had seen Donovan, but that wasn’t the case. Ultimately this episode is about believing. The writers clearly knew that no explanation would be good enough for us, and they showed it through Aris’s character. We couldn’t really believe in any of the stories. But that didn’t matter in the end. They knew that, ultimately, we believed in Sherlock Holmes.
-I’m Jeffrey Rex