The following is a spoiler episode review of Sherlock: Series 3, Episode 3 – His Last Vow
In His Last Vow, Sherlock seeks to mediate a negotiation between a media mogul and a member of Parliament. The media mogul in question is in possession of powerful stolen letters between the spouse of the member of Parliament and a fifteen year old girl. This all sounds very simple, but it would turn out to be one of the most difficult cases ever for Sherlock Holmes.
What was Sherlock’s last vow? In The Sign of Three he vowed to always be there for John and Mary, and this episode tested his resolve. What Sherlock found out would change his relationship, but only slightly. The series 3 antagonist was an obstacle, and he was a very particular foe for our protagonists. Never before had we seen such knowledgeable foe, and knowledge definitely was his power.
Meet the great Danish actor, Lars Mikkelsen, the brother of the most well-known Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal; Casino Royale; Jagten etc.). Lars Mikkelsen has had a great few years. One year after starring in Sherlock as Charles Augustus Magnussen, Mikkelsen would go on to star as President Viktor Petrov in Netflix’s House of Cards. But I would argue that this role, Magnussen, really propelled him onto Netflix’s radar. Mikkelsen plays Magnussen splendidly.
The writers clearly decided to allow the actor to fully recreate Charles Augustus Milverton as a Dane. They never try to fool us into thinking otherwise, and the fact that he is foreign really helps the show greatly. For he is also very different for the show – he is no James Moriarty.
Charles Augustus Magnussen is a disgusting bully, very different from the scary, startling James Moriarty. Lars Mikkelsen does a really good job here, and the writers are perfectly comfortable making him less present in the series arc (which, I admit, did bug me initially, as I had hoped to see him in more scenes with our protagonists), knowing that he will be the most important outside character of the entire third series due to his stunning hostile persona.
Magnussen is as different as Holmes is, they are both show-offs, but they are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to their use of information. Magnussen uses information in his mind-palace as power. To Magnussen knowledge is power, but for Sherlock knowledge is simply just knowledge. Sherlock has never been all too complicated, he has always been on the side of the angels. But while Sherlock claimed he only sided with them, and wasn’t one of them, in The Reichenbach Fall – His Last Vow once again confirms that he has always been John Watson’s guardian angel.
-I’m Jeffrey Rex