Sherlock 3×03: His Last Vow

John and SherlockThe Sherlock series 3 finale answered some questions while simultaneously throwing a whole new slew of them at us. Here’s our spoilerfied review of a tumultuous episode that promises to hold a fandom hostage for the next two or so years. ‘His Last Vow’ kept you guessing, tying in hints from the first two episodes of series 3, throwing the audience for a loop more than once. Moffat’s writing did seem to overreach slightly but Cumberbatch, Freeman and Co sold it so well I barely noticed.

Do we have to discuss Charles Augustus Magnussen being interrogated by Lady Smallwood about possible links with the British Prime Minister straight away? No not right now- because I’m not here for Magnussen’s predator/terminator-style observations/displays of information, or his utter creepiness. Lars Mikkelsen’s cold dead stare really sells it, you make a formidable foe sir. Let’s look, instead, at this doozy of a reveal.

Had Sherlock missed it? No, but for the sake of his best friend he seemed to overlook it. From the get go when we first notice ‘Liar’ in his deductions to further hints like identifying a ‘skip code’ off the bat. Sherlock let it all slide, and it led to this. Remember in ‘The Sign of Three’ when Sherlock reads out the telegram from CAM, how Mary’s face seemed to falter at the message? We chalked it up to her being an ‘orphan’ but upon a second look, the expression on Mary’s face wasn’t really that of grief. That’s fear, or at least a calculated expression and miniature freak out as Mary (not her real name) immediately figured out where the telegram came from and started thinking of ways to ‘take care of the problem’.


She was interrupted by Sherlock as she was just about to ‘take care of the problem’ in this episode as she was about to take Magnussen out, however, Mary couldn’t shoot Magnussen in the head once she realised Sherlock was there with John. She couldn’t run the risk of having John implicated in Magnussen’s murder. Like Sherlock, Mary’s actions were propelled by the need to protect John. For the people condemning Mary’s actions, I have one thing to say. Human Error.
Human Error.

Sherlock points this out to John after he reveals that his relationship with Janine leading to a ‘spontaneous proposal’ as a way to gain access into Magnussen’s office. Human error can make extremely intelligent people do some wildly stupid things, like love someone so much that they make a split-second decision to do something that would compromise themself. Yeah I’m talking about both Sherlock and Mary at this point. Even Mycroft has a pressure point that could be chalked up to human error. In the end what makes these characters innately human, their so-called errors, are what saves them all in the end. Their errors redeem them; we love Sherlock our high functioning sociopath, who points out the flaws that come with human attachment, but when he acts in a way that indicates his own emotional attachments to someone we love him even more!

Sherlock shot Magnussen to protect Mary, in order to protect John; what’s the difference between that and Mary shooting Sherlock? She didn’t kill him, just incapacitated him. You’re all right, Mary wasn’t trying to save Sherlock…she was trying to save John.

Speaking of which, did anyone else feel a bit punched in the gut at John’s face when he finds out about Mary? Enough to send anyone away into their mind palace for a bit.

As far as Mind palaces go, Magnussen had a pretty good one. A neverending storage warehouse of secrets. I understand how damaging the printed word can be, hell even the idea of a scandal could see people whose lives are in the public eye go a bit mental. (Anyone watch Scandal? Hell, think back to series two ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’.) It was a nice thought, but if you really think about it- Magnussen’s mind-palace was kind of useless in the end, as proved by Sherlock’s headshot. With Magnussen dead, all the information he had stored in that palace of his is lost. The ‘terminator’-type way we viewed things when shown Magnussen’s perspective, fooled both Sherlock and the audience into thinking he had ‘Google-glass’ or computer-contacts, what a bit of a let down to realise Magnussen was kind of a chump, really.

But Sherlock’s mind palace continues to be a thing of beauty.

Molly’s in Sherlock’s mind palace, the visual metaphors are glorious. I do like that Molly, outside of Sherlock’s mind palace, continues to develop. Now that she’s split from her fiance can we just shove her and Lestrade together already? (You can’t stop this shipper from shipping!) Uh, back to the mind palace, Molly’s his internal doctor, Anderson’s part of the think team and Moriarty… Moriarty’s the part of himself he keeps changed up in a padded cell in his head. The implications!

But what calms him, however, is Redbeard. What we had theorised was some job that defined Sherlock or something rather was in fact Sherlock’s childhood dog that was put down. Mycroft mentioning Redbeard to him during their phone conversation in ‘The Empty Hearse’ makes sense now, sidenote Louis Moffat’s portrayal of youngin’ Sherlock was rather adorable. But Mycroft and Sherlock’s sibling relationship, again. Mycroft’s pressure point is, and always has been, his little brother. I have to admit it was a close call there at the end when Sherlock was about to be sent off to the 6-month long undercover job that would have ended in Sherlock’s demise. Granted with Sherlock I really doubt he would have let himself die after the job. Nor do I really believe Mycroft would have let Sherlock die, I’m not entirely convinced that Mycroft didn’t have anything to do with Moriarty’s appearance at the end there.

Speaking of our favourite Irish villain, Moriarty. I’m not buying it. Sherlock watched Moriarty shoot himself in the head. So this ‘return’ of sorts doesn’t add up. Sure they won’t give us how Sherlock faked his death and I’ve sort of come to terms with that, but then to bring Moriarty back? No way, I smell a rat. I’m thinking Moran, Moriarty’s lackey in the source material? But he was mentioned in ‘The Empty Hearse’, or Moriarty’s brother, just a couple of guesses plucked from canon.

And now we wait for the next two or so years, hopefully it’s only one but with Sherlock you never know. We’ll continue to post news and further theories as we all, once again, turn into Anderson for the duration of the hiatus. If you have any to share with us now, don’t be shy. Hit us with your best theories.

Honourable Mentions:
– It makes complete sense for Sherlock’s mum to be a mathematician. The Holmes family Christmas though- complete with Sherlock’s ‘protégée’ Billy.
– Yeah so there was a bit of this from our leads this episode.

First John, then Sherlock. At least for John it was someone he didn’t know. Sherlock on the other hand…

– However Sherlock wasn’t exempt though, was he? I mean, not only did he get slapped about by Molly, he got shot.

– I’m just glad no one died. You know, that we care about.


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