Studying Sherlock: “The Sign of Three”


There’s no doubt in my mind that Sherlock is quickly becoming one of my favourite TV shows. My Sherlock journey has only lasted just over a week, so I can’t say it means a lot to me yet or that it’s an all time favourite, I imagine that with a few re-watches and a bit of time, I will be comfortably able to join the show’s fandom. That being said, I do think I have watched enough of the series to say that I love it. Not as much as a lot of people, I’ve only known it a few days, but all this time I have been (metaphorically) bashing my head against the wall asking myself why I didn’t start watching this series earlier. Better late than not at all, and I’m so glad that I did start to watch this show, as I have fallen in love with it.

There are three main reasons for this. Firstly, the characters. Characters are what this series is built on, it’s the relationships which fuel the stories and the drama. Secondly, the cleverness. I don’t want to throw the word genius around like it’s a coin in a fountain, but this show really is intelligent. Finally, the comedy. The witty relationships, the one-liners, and the constant jokes, Sherlock is definitely one of the funniest shows on TV. I laugh so much each episode, as well as impressing me, and scaring me sometimes, it also makes me feel good.

There probably isn’t an episode more suitable than The Sign of Three to explain why I have fallen in love with this series. It really is a summary of the fantastic experience I have had with the programme so far. Besides that, it’s probably also the most conventionally enjoyable episode to date.

So, let’s start with the characters. While this episode is based at the wedding of John and Mary, it is the relationship between John and Sherlock which takes the main focus (as with every episode). Sherlock’s best man speech more or less summarises the complicated but brilliant connection these characters have had together so far. It’s quirky, it’s a bit bolshy and obnoxious at times, but there’s genuine love in there. While Sherlock may be incredibly rude to Watson throughout his adventures, he does respect him and loves him in his own little way. Moments like that throughout the series, such as “I don’t have friends, I only have one” from The Hounds of Baskerville have always been the show’s sweetest and most touching, so to get a full episode exploring that side of the relationship is a treat. The chemistry Cumberbatch and Freeman have is never shown better than it is here, and their level of respect for each other, as well as the bickering and the anger, is a joy to watch.

Clever plots are something which you could almost expect from Sherlock, but here, I must admit it impresses me. This episode could have easily been written as a clip show, Sherlock could have talked about his meeting with John in A Study in Pink, locking him in a room in The Hounds of Baskerville, or the carriage bomb in The Empty Hearse. Most shows probably would have done that. What really impresses me is that we have three separate plots here, all of which tie together in the most genius way at the end. While I wouldn’t say this case “kept me on the edge of my seat”, it certainly intrigued he, and the clever resolution to how everything tied together surprised me in a brilliant way. I love how everything connected, what seemed to be three unconnected cases was actually one massive case. That and I was really impressed with the solution. Definitely one of the most thought out and intelligent, and despite this being the lightest episode so far, one of the most thrilling too.

As this is the lightest episode so far, this episode does rely a lot on the quirky humour this show is also founded upon. Most of the humour does come from the relationships, but there’s also some really good one-liners and observational comedy here too. Pretty much from the beginning, where Sherlock phones Lestrade to help him with his speech, I was laughing hard. Every scene with Mrs Hudson and Molly were a joy as usual, and I alps really enjoyed all the moments Sherlock and Watson were drunk. You can tell here that both Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are brilliant comic actors, their timing is stellar, and their expressions are pitch perfect.

This episode was just highly enjoyable really. All of the cast looked like they were having a great time, particularly Amanda Abbington (Mary) who is wonderfully charming and so happy to be there, despite not being the most developed character at this point. It kept a good pace throughout, and anything which features December 1963 by The Four Seasons deserves extra points. I also really enjoyed the ending.

Production wise, brilliant as usual. Stunning direction, music, and costume in this one too. Everyone looked great in their wedding attire.

Overall: Contains all three signs which drew me to this show in the first place. Really enjoyable and fun, with some great humour and lovely character focus. Stellar.


Episode Ranking
1. The Reichenbach Fall
2. The Sign of Three
3. A Study in Pink
4. The Great Game
5. A Scandal in Belgravia
6. The Hounds of Baskerville
7. The Blind Banker
8. The Empty Hearse


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