Sherlock Season Three, Episode 1: A hooker in training

Network: BBC One

Air date: Britain: January 1st, 2014,

PBS: January 19th, 2014

Creator: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss

Mrs. Hudson: What’s his name?

John: It’s a woman.

Mrs. Hudson: A woman?

John: Yes, of course it’s a woman.

Mrs. Hudson: You really have moved on, haven’t you?

John: Mrs. Hudson, how many times… Sherlock was not my boyfriend.

Mrs. Hudson: Live and let live, that’s my motto.

John: Listen to me: I am not gay!

Overview: This is most definitely a spoiler post. But wait, don’t click off! If you’re looking for a general, friendly overview of “The Empty Hearse” you can check out my spoiler free post on Sherlock Season 3: What’s all the hype for?

So now that everyone has legally been able to watch the season premiere of Sherlock, let’s have a look.

Background: “Sherlock” is based on the mystery stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The BBC One crime drama is set in a modern London, though it incorporates some of Conan’s most notable characters: Moriarty and Irene Adler (I love saying her name) to name a few. In the modern adaptation Sherlock Holmes is still a detective with an abnormal sense of observation and deduction. The show teases with the relationship between Sherlock and his sidekick John Watson, hinting at something more than their professional partnership.

What’s New?: The editing for this episode was painfully amazing. The scenes between Sherlock with his clients and John with his patients were so well written, as if they were speaking from a single script. The transitions between as they worked was flawless, merging the two men into one fluid person.

Multiple theories are proposed by various characters as to how Sherlock was able to fake his death. The theories were creative, seeming quite feasible with Sherlock’s reaches and homeless network. When I saw Sherlock sitting beside Moriarty on the roof I was confused. Then the two leaned in towards each other and I was very confused.

Moriarty is alive? Moriarty and Sherlock are kissing? Sherlock betrayed John?

The bullet through Moriarty’s head was final, yet I couldn’t help hoping the villain lived.

Other than that, there really wasn’t anything significantly different about “The Empty Hearse,” though Sherlock and Watson do get physical (the swings and head butts were well deserved), and Watson becomes engaged.

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed the episode, it was like being reunited with an old friend after a two year separation. Both sides are eagerly waiting, trying to anticipate how they’ll be received. However, like in any relationship, after the hugs and kisses have finished and the smiles have faded, you realize just how much the other person has changed. Some changes you smile at, and others you cringe and pull away from.

Please, do not expect me to believe that a major terrorist organization planning to blow up an iconic building in London, who goes through the trouble of meeting in an unused tube, is going to put an off switch on their unattended bomb. It would have made more sense and been more believable if Sherlock had found a way to unwire the bomb.

After the initial bewilderment fades, you recognize the traits, mannerisms and quirks that hold unchanged. Sherlock is still quirky, touching, enraging, and visually dazzling, and for that the last two episodes deserve a watch.

Was this a successful return for Sherlock? How do you think Sherlock pulled off faking his death? Will you be watching the last two episodes? Or have you already watched them because you are British or have illegal connections we won’t probe?

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Sherlock Season 3: What’s all the hype for?

Sherlocked: Season 3, The Empty Hearse

Network: BBC One

Air date: Britain: January 1st, 2014,

PBS: January 19th, 2014

Creator: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss

John Watson: There were times that I didn’t even think you were human. But let me tell you this, you were the best man and the most human…. human being that I have ever known, and no one will ever convince me that you told me a lie. And so … there. I was so alone and I owe you so much. Please, there’s just one more thing. One more thing. One more miracle, Sherlock, for me. Don’t be… dead. Would you do that, just for me? Just stop it, stop this…

This is not a spoiler post. You can tread safely into this blog without fear of being exposed to any major plot point. I promise. Now that we have some trust established, let’s have an overlook of Sherlock’s Season 3 premiere, episode 1.

I haven’t longed for the return of any show more so than that of Sherlock. Besides the cleverly constructed plot, and the undeniable bromance between Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman), I think many people love the show simply because it is shot so well. The show is visually delightful to watch. The shots, the editing, the scene transitions, the software needed – so much goes into filming this stylish mystery drama, and we really see this in a three second scene of a train pulling in and out of a station in London.

Can we forgive BBC for making us wait so long for another season? Some of us have been waiting as long as two years for the addictive drama, but that seems like nothing compared to John’s two year wait. Grief disfigures its host, twisting, tormenting and morphing (that moustache ages you John) its captor.

There are so many more things I would like to talk about – Sherlock’s faking his own death, the theories surrounding Sherlock’s death, John and Sherlock’s relationship (if there even is one) – but alas, I made a promise, so we will wait until January 19th, 2014.

In the meantime, all I have to say, or show, is this:

Final Thoughts: In anticipation of the January 19th PBS premier, expect my following posts to be Sherlocked in some way.

What are your theories on how Sherlock faked his own death? Was he right not to tell John, letting him grieve for two years?

My Music Picks: Peaky Blinders

If a picture paints a thousand words, a lyric evokes a thousand images.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand

The acting and dialogue make the show, but the poetic tunes in Peaky Blinders deserve some credit too. The theme song by Nick Cave &The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand, is not what I expected the theme song to be. I anticipated a sadder tune, something more reminiscent of the horrors of the war, but I was wrong; this definitely works. Picture Tommy Shelby walking slowly through the streets of Birmingham, cold eyes lifeless and unfocussed, while wild eyes stare in fear from dumpsters, street corners and windows. The images that the lyrics suggest are so forceful that I can’t help but associate them with Tommy in his flat cap, crisp collar and black slicked shoes. Though only the first two minutes or so of the song are used, they are distinct and memorable.

Jack White – Love is Blindness

Not again. We’ve all heard this song used in a trailer, show or movie at some point, and it may seem overused, but that’s a testament to the greatness and versatility of this song. If a picture paints a thousand words, a lyric evokes a thousand images, precisely why this song suits so many different texts. Easily recognizable after the first few notes, the electric, new rock sound compliments the exciting season finale perfectly.

Some Other Great Peaky Blinders Tunes:

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – Martha’s Dream

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues

The White Stripes – St. James Infirmary Blues

The White Stripes – I Fought Piranhas

The Raconteurs – Blue Veins

Tom Waits – Time

Dan Auerbach – The Prowl

Final Thoughts: I could write a novel on each song, but I won’t, this post would never get published. You need to check out the entire soundtrack, for you will thank me when you do. You’re welcome. Head to BBC, they have all the tracks listed by the episodes they appear in.

What are your favourite tracks from the show? Does it annoy you when you hear different sources using the same tunes? Do you automatically compare the succeeding uses to the first time you heard the tune used in a text?

Peaky Blinders: Yup, this is definitely a hooker

Network: BBC Two

Originally Aired: September 12th, 2013

Creator: Steven Knight

Grace: You think I am a whore?

Tommy: Everyone’s a whore, Grace. We just sell different parts of ourselves.

Background: Peaky Blinders? Yes, that’s right, but don’t rule it out for its quirky title. This historic crime drama set in 1919 Birmingham gets its unique title from an actual gang that sewed razors blades on the fringes of their caps. Whether or not the original Peaky Blinders were a single gang or a title for rowdy, violent youth is debatable. The show, however, settles on shadowing the lives of a single gang family: the Shelby Family.

Overview: Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy), the bookie and brains behind the Peaky Blinders, is a cool, clever man with eyes as chilling and morbid as death. After returning from the war, like many men, he is changed. Tommy takes up the business that his aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) ran for four years while he was away at war. Despite the past that dogs him and the enemies that swarm him, Tommy slaves to bring power and legitimacy to his family name. His plans are tested by Inspector Campbell (Sam Neill), a ruthless man sent from Belfast by Winston Churchill to retrieve stolen weapons.

What’s New?: While watching the show I had to rewind at many places; the shots and settings amazed me (though admittedly I also rewound a lot to catch the words of the characters, one probably led to the other). The shots are stunning, and the scene transitions are seamless, effortlessly merging different plots into dynamic montages.

It is hard to define something because the moment that we do we limit what it can be. Peaky Blinders is more than its drama, dazzling shots, striking characters and dynamic plot. It offers a new take on period dramas by changing the dialogue. The conversations in this show are fresh and new, not relying on the typical quick exchanges of overused clichés found in most gangster-cop dramas. The writers and editors put time into crafting the utterances of every character. For this, the characters seem authentic, so many of Tommy and Campbell’s lines can stand alone as iconic quotes. We can believe that Tommy is cold, fragmented, sincere, conflicted and intelligent and not feel conflicted by this knowledge. Inspector Campbell is creepy, terrifying, and menacing all at once, with his overbearing stalk. Campbell cannot be summed up as good, nor Tommy as bad; these characters and their motives are too complex to be described in a single word.

Aunt Pol is a provocative female character, but not in the expected sense. She is neither the hard-ass woman nor the needy woman, she is simply herself. Strong female characters are sometimes defined by their ability to be like men and shake off “female tendencies”, but in her actions, Aunt Pol works against this convention. She cunningly uses her sex to advantage herself (her scene with Campbell is brilliant). Those who demand respect from others, often receive fear instead; Aunt Pol doesn’t demand it yet is respected and feared nonetheless.

And then there is Grace (Annabelle Wallis), not to be ignored with her angelic, sad voice. She is beautiful, and seemingly out of place in the dirty, rough slums of Birmingham. But there is more to her than her controlled, calculated actions let on (that’s all I will say).

Final Thoughts: There is no doubt in my mind that period dramas will continue to be conceived, developed and birthed by major networks; bastard drama offspring produced from a single mother plot. But Peaky Blinders varies from the main stream current, daring to give audiences a new take on historic dramas, conventional characters and character dialogue.

What makes you hooked on Peaky Blinders? Why do you think modern audiences have such a preoccupation with historic dramas?