Sunday, February 23, 2014

"His Last Vow" (2014)

(Source)
Wow.  I actually don't have a lot to say about this episode.  I disliked it intensely.  We watched it Friday evening, and I had anxiety dreams all night long afterward.  I kept waking up with either Moriarty or Mycroft laughing at me.  I was uneasy all day yesterday, with scenes and images haunting my mind.  I wrote most of this review last night, which at least helped me sleep better (instead I kept dreaming about Armie Hammer.  Odd-but-cheerful change).

(Spoilers from here until you see a list.)

It's not that I mind Mary being a rogue ex-CIA assassin.  It's not that I mind Sherlock killing someone.  It's not that I mind they changed Charles Augustus Milverton's last name.  I think mostly it's that there were too many things going on this episode.  If we'd only had the reveal about Mary, or only had the supposed return of Moriarty, or only had Sherlock killing someone, I could have dealt okay, I think.  But this episode was like getting punched repeatedly in the solar plexus, to the point that I wanted it to just please be over already when there was still twenty minutes left.

Honestly, I don't have a coherent review for this ep.  I've spent a lot of yesterday and today thinking about it and wishing I wasn't, and... feeling kind of cheated.  Because Sherlock shot someone in the head, and yes, that someone was evil, but Sherlock did it knowing full well what the consequences would be.  He did this magnificent thing, basically threw away his own life to save Mary and John and a lot of strangers from lifetimes of fear and grief.  And then, hey, guess what!  Doesn't have to go into exile after all!  Ha ha, just a 4-minute slap on the wrist and you can come save us from the supposed return of Moriarty.  No consequences.  And so this sacrificial act of Sherlock's becomes... inconsequential.  And that angers me.

I guess I'll just end by saying that here's how I rank all 9 episodes of Sherlock, from favorite to least, just in case you wondered:

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

Overall, I do still love this show.  I just hate one episode, and honestly, there's at least one episode of every show that I could do without, or hate outright.  It happens.

22 comments:

  1. That's a shame you didn't like this episode...I though it was brilliant, especially the mind palace scene! To each his own, as my mom says.

    Oh, my sister just got a blog: http://www.thefarsideofforever.blogspot.com/ and she's a Shakespearean lover like you.

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    1. Yeah, I've been reading a lot of glowing reviews of it, but to me... it's kind of like they broke everything that was so cool about the previous two episodes.

      I'll be sure to check out your sister's blog! More Shakespeare is always a good thing :-D

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  2. oh, I'm sorry you disliked this one! It was actually my favorite of this season. I agree that sometimes it can be difficult when there's a lot going on in a single episode, but I didn't feel that way about this one. It kept me quite on the edge of my seat, and I missed that feeling- the first two episodes of season 3, while enjoyable, just weren't as fast-paced and mystery-driven as the previous episodes, so I felt that "His Last Vow" felt more Sherlock-y ( the only Sherlock episode which really caused me anxiety/disturbed me was "The Great Game". At the same time I thought it was a really good one, though, despite the fact that it freaked me out)

    (although I do admit I feel the same about Sherlock being gone in exile for only 4 minutes. It did seem to lessen his sacrifice/consequences...but at the same time, I didn't want to go through another Sherlock separation from London and John and the other characters, so....yeah. I'm not really sure how else they could have ended it.)

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    1. Oh, I love action- and plot-crammed episodes/movies/books/etc, but this one didn't let you recover from one emotional gut-punch before they tossed another at you. Which may have been their intention, but I found it distasteful.

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  3. I think that out of the three episodes from season three this was my least favourite.
    There was just so many things I didn't like about it, sure it had its good points but it just was a bit too much with Sherlock having a girlfriend and Charles Augustus Magnusson was a creep!

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    1. The girlfriend part didn't bother me quite so much because in the canon story this is based on, "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton," Sherlock Holmes used that very trick to gain access to the blackmailer's house. So I just found that part amusing.

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  4. I'm sorry it gave you nightmares. :(

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    1. Not exactly nightmares, but anxiety dreams for sure. All better now, at least! Thanks for the sympathy :-)

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  5. Aww, sorry for the bad dreams. This season is by far my favorite and I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it as much. :(

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    1. Well, as you can see, "The Empty Hearse" is my absolute favorite ep of all, and "The Sign of Three" is just kind of in the middle, not one I quite disliked. So the season averages out to be not detestable :-)

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  6. Sorry about the bad dreams Hamlette! :( *hugs*

    This was kind of a shocker episode... I think I sat through the whole thing with my jaw on the floor... They packed a lot of punches into Season 3! But overall I quite enjoyed it... I do feel as if I need to re-watch S03. After such a long time of waiting, it seemed like it was over too fast. :(

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    1. At least they only lasted one night! I was a little worried, but they haven't returned. Whew.

      And yes, shocking episode. I think I might try to rewatch "The Empty Hearse" quick before it disappears from the PBS site, just to wash HLV out of my memory.

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  7. I didn't like this episode as much as the other two of this season, but it does sound like it bothered you more than me. I definitely see why it bothered you so much. Although, who knows, maybe there will be consequences for Sherlock in the next season. My main annoyance with it is at Moffat for playing with us like that. ("Mary's a bad guy!" "Just kidding!" "Sherlock is going into exile!" "Just kidding!" "Moriary's alive!" I bet I can guess what comes next. :P ) I had weird dreams after this one too.

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    1. As my friend Deb Koren pointed out, it's got a lot of lazy writing in it. The "just kidding" stuff that you pointed out, for one thing. And the truth is, it is very hard to write ordinary people interestingly, and until this episode, they had been succeeding in making an ordinary Mary interesting. But it's very easy to write an exciting person interestingly, and they seem to have decided to go the easy route.

      How fascinating that it gave you odd dreams too! Hmm.

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  8. I actually enjoyed the episode for the same reason you disliked it: the continual sucker punches. For me, I kind of prefer this type of plot with the rapid twists and turns, but I can see why for didn't like it.

    Interesting thoughts on the lack of consequences, and I think you are right, unless next season mentions it somehow, he does not have to pay for what he did, even if it was the right thing to do.

    -James

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    1. Yeah, I can see how that sort of down-and-dirty style could be appealing, but for me, just didn't work.

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  9. This is my least favourite episode of the series too, mainly because I wasn't crazy about the non-linear storytelling. They did that in 'The Sign of Three' as well but in that episode the non-linear storytelling made sense for the wedding speech context and it added to the humour. Here that storytelling felt unnecessary and I think it broke up the flow of the episode. Apart from that I still really enjoyed this episode but I can understand why you didn't :)

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    1. Hmm, yeah, I can see how that could be annoying. I've never been particularly bugged by non-linear storytelling (I love Catch-22, for instance), but I know it doesn't work for everyone. And it can seem gimmicky.

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  10. I didn't like this one very much, either, it took me 3 days to recover from how disturbed and distressed I was after it ended. I did watch it a second time with my friend though, and it wasn't as bad when I knew what was coming, but I still didn't enjoy it. "The Empty Hearse" was definitely my favorite, too. I can't wait for the next season, now!

    If you're interested, I would like to nominate you for the Sunflower Blogger award tag... I know some people don't like doing tags, so if you'd rather not, that's fine, I won't be offended! If you do decide to participate, would you please drop the link to your post in the comment section of my post: http://hopefulaspiringhomemaker.blogspot.com/2014/03/sunflower-blogger-award.html

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    1. I think it took me a good two days to recover from. I suppose I'll watch it again sometime, but I'm in no hurry.

      And thanks for the nomination! Victoria of "Hope Writer" nominated me too, so I'll do one post accepting from both of you, how's that?

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  11. It's true, there was kind of too much in this episode. I acted pretty insane afterwards. :P There was also more content than usual-- I watched it with my best friend, who skipped certain scenes, but the language seemed cranked up to a higher degree even than is normal and I was reeeeally wishing for ClearPlay. Haha.

    But anyways, I am in hopes that they will still deal with the murder later on... (okay, the guy deserved it, but it was still murder :P) as to the consequences and all that. Just because he was called back to deal with the Moriarty thing doesn't necessarily mean they are going to pretend none of it happened. I think that was part of the cliffhanger to make you want the next season, haha.

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    1. Yes, I'm hoping that in season/series 4, they do a really good job dealing with all this, and that Sherlock doesn't literally get away with murder. Fingers crossed!

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