“The Game Is On”: Steven Moffat Talks Sherlock Series Three

Photo courtesy of Digital Spy UK

Photo courtesy of Digital Spy UK

Shelby Arnold
Staff Writer

Sherlockians. Wow. Have you started breathing again from last night’s premiere? Wasn’t it great? For those of you who are in America or haven’t seen the episode, please refrain from reading this article as there may be spoilers.

For those who are all caught up: read on, my fellow deer stalkers.

Two years after “The Reichenbach Fall”, Sherlock Holmes lives. Yes, the titular character has made a triumphant return to the BBC, raking in an estimated 9.3 million viewers for the episode entitled “The Empty Hearse”. The episode was a cracker, if somewhat polarizing. Some praised writer Mark Gatiss (who also plays Mycroft Holmes) for his ‘fanservice’ episode full of plot building and, yes, how Holmes survived. Some, however, were left a tad underwhelmed.

No worries, said co-writer and producer Steven Moffat. The next two episodes are full of humour and, for Americans who are waiting dutifully for the premier on PBS, “The Empty Hearse” is “an absolute stormer”.

The episode is described by Moffat as a “reunion between Sherlock and [John] Watson, and the solution to the riddle. It’s hilarious and moving and fast-paced, and it’s got one of my favorite scenes ever written on Sherlock.”

So, either way you look at it, it’s likely to grow on you. It grew on me and I’ve since watched it three times. Yes, three. It’s a multiple watch episode because there are lots of things you may miss. But, I can’t and won’t talk about it. Just trust me on this when it airs on PBS on the 19th.

Moffat recently sat down with The Hollywood ReporterHe discussed the three episode run and what’s in store for our favourite Hat-man and Robin.

When asked what was the most exciting thing for the upcoming season, Moffat responded with: “We’re excited about all of it. Episode two is a very different episode, quite different from any other Sherlock we’ve ever seen: [Watson’s] wedding. It’s so unusual, and Mark and I were very thrilled by that. I don’t think there’s a mystery at all for the first half hour. We have a new villain Charles Augustus Magnussen, played by Lars Mikkelsen (Hannibel’s Mads Mikkelsen’s brother), and hopefully a heart-stopping finale. I would say that the heartbreak and the excitement remains the same, but it’s probably funnier. I think Benedict and Martin relaxed into the roles and it’s probably the funniest Sherlock Holmes has ever been.”

What about the reunion between between Watson and Holmes?

It’s been a debate for two years about how Holmes survived the fall but the flip side of all the fan theories and fantastical debates was just how Watson would take seeing the detective after two years. In the original stories, Watson fainted. Well, we all know this Watson doesn’t faint.

“That was a big thing. We talked about it endlessly about how we were going to do it. We both pored over those moments of how do you do it because it was a big missing link in the original stories, which is what does Dr. Watson think about this? It’s moving and it’s heartbreaking for John to realize he’s been absolutely played because viewed correctly, at the end of “The Reichenbach Fall,” it was utterly chilling because you realize Sherlock’s been outplayed by Moriarty and then in the last frame, you realize he’s outplayed everybody — including Moriarty, who was never even remotely a match for him, and using three old friends to do it. It might be a relief to see him alive … that man is coming back and he’s going to expect the world to be exactly as he’d left it.”

And things are definitely not how Holmes left them. You can catch the second episode of the series this Sunday at 9pm on the BBC. The third series airs behind Downton Abbey in the US on the 19th on PBS Masterpiece Mysteries.

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