(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.