John is getting married. Aw. Sherlock is baffled by wedding tradition. Aw. He and John love each other. Aw. And that’s it for about 90 minutes, with a few lightning-speed mystery morsels chucked in just to give everyone a break from smiling at each other.
It’s quite adorable at first, in fairness. But then it gets monotonous. And frustrating. So frustrating. Because, instead of saving the speech and the heartwarming for the last five minutes of the ep, and bringing a well-earned tear to everybody’s eyes, they short-changed all the potential plots at their disposal (and there were many) and instead turned the entire episode into an extended exercise in “awwwwwing” at the John/Sherlock relationship. Guys, I’m the sappiest person I know, and I absolutely adore their relationship, but for the love of God, we know how they feel about each other, we only get three episodes every two years, and a 90-minute love-in is just a complete waste of one.
As an attempt to pull off the same trick as The (also plot-light) Empty Hearse by focussing on the characters – and I am completely in love with these characters, so I suspect I’m an easier mark than many when it comes to that type of thing – The Sign of Three failed miserably because a) we did that on Wednesday and b) Hearse replaced plot with knowing wit and sophistication and this didn’t. It was all too simple, too obvious and too sitcommy; more like a feature-length episode of The Golden Girls with Dorothy or Sophia finally declaring that she actually loves Rose. On a LOOP. We could – and did, many, many times – have covered all that in one (lovely) scene, but instead we went on and on and on…. There were some very sweet moments, there were some mildly funny moments, and the Mayfly Man could have been a great mystery if we spent more than 20 seconds on it, but we didn’t, so, for me, anyway, this was a huge disappointment.