Sherlock 'The Sign of Three' TV review: Bromance is in the air

The super-sleuth gave an unforgettable best man speech and managed to solve a murder at the same time

Following on from the hysterics of Sherlock’s "resurrection" on New Year's Day, things were decidedly lighter - well, as light as it gets on this show. It was John and Mary’s big day and Sherlock was charged with the role of best man. Sherlock Holmes and weddings. Who would have thought it? 

Unlike the usual open and shut case, this week was made up of a compelling series of vignettes told via Sherlock’s unorthodox best man speech. All the strands were delicately woven together by writer Stephen Thompson to create a strong story.

Thompson previously penned both The Blind Banker and The Reichenbach Fall. Just like those two instalments, the murder mystery elements were done well and kept viewers and wedding guests on the edge of their seats until the end.

The Sign of Three melded comedy with drama wonderfully, seguing from murder to matrimony with any disconnect. One moment a toast was raised to the happy couple and the next John, Mary and Sherlock were trying to talk Sholto out of killing himself. 

Watch: Sherlock finale 'His Last Vow' trailer

Benedict Cumberbatch played the high-functioning sociopath super-sleuth with aplomb, treating viewers to an inebriated version of the detective – complete with falling asleep on a client’s rug midway through an investigation before vomiting on it.  Yes, even world class consulting detectives get a bit squiffy sometimes.

The dubstep remix of the Sherlock theme simply added to the overall skewed, beer goggled effect.  It was not his finest hour but if Sherlock ever went to Ibiza, this is probably the state he’d end up in or worse given his history with drugs.      

Sherlock the drunk was a welcome change to the usually slick, unshakable detective. But wait, there was more. The bromance hit an all-time high, even if it was John and Mary’s big day. In a Sherlock first, John admitted to loving his best friend albeit in a platonic way – those hoping for the Watson/Holmes hook-up may be waiting a while yet. Plus fans already saw the Moriarty-Sherlock snog.

Despite his revulsion to any sort of sentiment or nostalgia, Sherlock’s speech was at times quite touching and he revealed just how much John means to him. This is the most we have seen the pair express their feelings for one another, usually they are too busy saving the day to let something as trivial as emotion get in the way. Only Mrs Hudson really picks up on their deep friendship and comically misreads it.   

While it is not the strongest story of the Sherlock saga, the writing is just as sharp and fresh, with the mind palace element toned down a few notches. The Sign of Three was packed to the rafters with wit and comedy. There was plenty to leave viewers howling with laughter, mainly thanks to Sherlock’s general apathy towards humankind.

With the sunlight hitting his face, Sherlock looked positively corpse-like and out of place among all the festivities and smiles. Sunshine and happiness are not his strong points, unless it’s a piercingly bright winter sun and a wry, knowing sneer with a curled lip.

It was relief to see Sherlock don the coat once more, pull up his collar and return to Baker Street. After this brief, bright-ish interlude, the tone will no doubt darken again for next week’s finale.


Arts and Entertainment
Loading individual letters on to an original Heidelberg printing press
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'