Doctor Who: Cold War (7.2.3)

Cold War

BBC Doctor Who Site

Viva Las Vegas!

Hair, shoulder pads, nukes. It’s the Eighties. Everything’s bigger.

This episode, written by Mark Gatiss, combines elements of Das BootAlienThe Thing, and probably other films I don’t know about, into a gripping cold war thriller. The setting is claustrophobic, a Soviet nuclear sub under the Arctic ice in 1983, during the height of the Cold War. The Doctor and Clara burst out of the Tardis expecting Las Vegas, only to find themselves in the sub’s control room, disrupting a training exercise in pushing the button for WWIII.

The Russians are understandably peeved at the interruption, particularly the gung-ho second-in-command, whose name I didn’t get. I have a thing about Russian names, my brain won’t process them properly. Never mind. He shall be known as General Ripper, from Dr. Strangelove. The Doctor and Clara are suspected of being spies, and it doesn’t help that the Tardis swans off on its own, leaving them in a dire situation. It gets worse. The sub hits a submerged reef and plunges out of control until fetched up by another reef. Then there’s the specimen the civilian professor on board has discovered trapped in ice, while searching for oil. A crewman, for inexplicable reasons, decides to melt the ice it’s encased in before they get back to Moscow. Revealing a thoroughly pissed-off ice warrior. And not just any ice warrior – this one is Grand Marshal Skaldak, a proud leader and a hero to his people. You insult him at your peril, because he will take out your entire planet to avenge the dishonour.

You could also apologise nicely and hope he’ll forgive you, but that’s no longer an option when General Ripper attacks him from behind with a cattle prod. They have to chain Skaldak up for everyone’s safety.

The rest of the episode is taken up with how Skaldak gets free and tries to launch a missile to start WWIII, because he thinks his brother ice warriors aren’t coming for him and he has nothing to lose. Being frozen for 5,000 years, he knows his daughter is “dust” and mourns her. General Ripper is also keen to start WWIII, offering to collaborate with Skaldak, who gets all the information he can out of Ripper and then kills him. As he does to another crewman to find out what his enemy is made of. Literally.

But he loves his daughter and can feel some empathy for these humans. Once again, it’s Clara who reaches out to the threat and neutralises it. She reminds Skaldak of what it is to lose someone you love (multiplied by billions where the Earth is concerned), and he disarms the weapon before flying off with his rediscovered brothers. True, the Doctor is prepared to destroy the sub and Skaldak’s ship in the Arctic version of a Mexican stand-off, but it’s hard to say which has the most weight in affecting Skaldak’s decision.

I like it that Clara is an equal in these adventures: “Saved the world then. That’s what we do.” This after a spontaneous hug with a slightly embarrassed aftermath. Clara is actively trying to live up to what she imagines as the Doctor’s expectations, seeking his explicit approval. And he trusts her to negotiate with Skaldak.

There are the usual grace notes in this as in most Moffat episodes. Great supporting characters, with the professor standing out as an Eighties pop music-loving, avuncular figure, who takes an interest in Clara and worries about her feeling unhappy after seeing the crewman’s body. I enjoyed the way he wanted her sing Hungry Like A Wolf, by Duran Duran, and she was too embarrassed to do it. Except at the end when everything depended on Skaldak changing his mind. I had to google it, but the song adds something to my appreciation of him.

Skaldak is a superb character. Not a villain or a monster, but a lost, proud, lonely ice warrior, stressed beyond measure and forced to the greatest dishonour of all, being seen without his armour. This is where the new series is so much better than the episodes from the last century. Aliens get some respect as characters and some money spent on their portrayal. With his armour, Skaldak is troubling enough. Out of it, he becomes downright scary. First we see the hand, with its long, scaly, probing fingers, then the glowing eyes in shadow and a suggestion of mouth. Finally, in response to the Doctor’s taunt, “Look into my eyes, Skaldak, face to face,” we see the whole head. But he’s also allowed to be more than his features suggest.

I have a couple of niggles. Clara’s accent seems be wandering between northern and RP. I hope she settles on one or the other. Then there’s the Doctor’s pronouncement that “History’s in flux. It can be changed, rewritten.” Pompeii? Why couldn’t the Doctor get more people out, as Donna wanted, when Vesuvius erupted?

Beyond that, I think this episode is superb, one of the high points of the season. Perfect ending, too, with Clara making the Doctor admit that his tinkering with the Hazard Avoidance Detection System has sent the Tardis to the South Pole. Never mind, the sub will give them a lift.

Doctor Who: The Rings of Akhaten (7.2.2)

The Rings of Akhaten

BBC Doctor Who Site

This episode by Neil Cross is a welcome change from the enjoyable, but bloated, The Bells of Saint John. A proper alien location and much more focused. Touch of the Bondian theme in the business with the moped that nicely mocked the grandiosity of the previous episode. I’ll be looking out for a motorcycle/moped motif in the next one. Enjoyed the market, which is fast challenging the ubiquitous quarry in the classic series for favourite location, and loved the chocolate box selection of brilliant, unique aliens. As a nod to the 50th anniversary year, the Doctor reveals that he once visited the Seven Planets with his granddaughter. So that would be the original William Hartnell Doctor, with Susan.

This week we got a closer look at Clara’s past, with the Doctor becoming even more stalkerish, and investigating Clara’s parents in an attempt to solve the mystery of her apparent regeneration. The leaf on the first page of her book, 101 Places to See, is explained as the leaf that blew across her future dad’s face and almost got him run over in 1981, only to be saved by Clara’s future mum. Lovely scene, that. But the Doctor is no closer to solving the mystery – “She’s not possible” – and Clara explicitly warns him off: “I’m not a bargain basement stand-in for someone else. I’m not going to compete with a ghost.”

The Rings of Akhaten is all about stories and memories, which the Doctor equates with the souls the Old God wants to eat. One of best monsters yet, a stellar vampire feeding off the lives of those on the Seven Planets, who have evolved a religion where it’s sung to sleep by the choristers and the Queen of Years. To make Mary a child, lost and afraid like Clara was at Blackpool, comforted by Clara as an adult as she was by her mum, ties their stories together in a very satisfying way. Even the local currency is psychometric, any object of emotional significance that’s laden with stories.

But stories are more than about what’s actually happened, they’re also about what might have happened. As the Doctor says, “There’s an awful lot of one and an infinity of the other. And infinity’s too much.” This is what destroys the Old God. Clara, never one to walk away, goes to the Doctor’s rescue after the Old God drains him dry of his Time Lord memories. Her weapon is the leaf that brought her parents together, which also contains the life that might have been if her mum hadn’t died. Clara’s infinite yearnings are there, so many they can buy salvation from the monster who’s been holding the population in fear for millennia. A thoroughly satisfying way of defeating the Old God, much more so than anything the Doctor could have done with a sonic screwdriver or a spot of timey-wimey jiggery-pokery.

This episode is saying something interesting and paradoxical about religion. On the one hand, the Old God is a “parasite,” compelling worship in case it should wake and drink their souls. Yet the religion that evolves around it is extremely beautiful. The music is glorious, and the feeling in the arena one of awe and wonder. I think Moffat and Neil Cross want us to recognise the cognitive dissonance and think on.

There’s also an echo of the Great Intelligence from last week’s episode, a being who craves minds stuffed with stories, its food source being the social media. While the Great Intelligence is also a vampire, the festivals of offering it feeds on are rather more tawdry.

This is grown-up writing. I want to see more of Neil Cross’ work.

Doctor Who: The Bells of Saint John (7.2.1)

The Bells of Saint John

The Bells of St. John

Gay go up and gay go down
To Ring the Bells of London Town
“Oranges and Lemons” say the Bells of St. Clements
“Bullseyes and Targets” say the Bells of St. Margaret’s
“Brickbats and Tiles” say the Bells of St. Giles
“Halfpence and Farthings” say the Bells of St. Martin’s
“Pancakes and Fritters” say the Bells of St. Peter’s
“Two Sticks and an Apple” say the Bells of Whitechapel
“Maids in white aprons”say the Bells at St. Katherine’s
“Pokers and Tongs” say the Bells of St. John’s
“Kettles and Pans” say the Bells of St. Anne’s
“Old Father Baldpate” say the slow Bells of Aldgate
“You owe me Ten Shillings” say the Bells of St. Helen’s
“When will you Pay me?” say the Bells of Old Bailey
“When I grow Rich” say the Bells of Shoreditch
“Pray when will that be?” say the Bells of Stepney
“I do not know” say the Great Bell of Bow
Gay go up and gay go down
To Ring the Bells of London Town

– Nursery Rhyme

First you should see the prequel to Clara’s proper introduction to the series.

It sets the scene for the main episode. The Doctor is holed up in a 13th century monastery, apparently prompted by young Clara’s suggestion that he go off somewhere quiet for a think, to help him find his lost friend. It all ties in with the image of the bells, which directly link the episode to London through the old nursery rhyme. The conceit is also effectively used as the windows of the houses chime alight to represent the captured minds being activated later in the episode.

I’m a little disappointed and not quite sure why. It has the wonderful Clara, who I have been waiting for since The Snowmen, her previous, inconclusive encounter with the Doctor. And it’s stuffed to the gills with brilliant Moffat inventions and allusions.

We have London in general, and the Shard in particular, showcased in a piece of mega product placement, along with a classic Triumph motorbike. The action sequences have a Bondian feeling, with the Doctor riding up the sheer face of the Shard to confront the soul-stealers in their office. There’s a nod to Amy in her novel, Summer Falls, and a spoonface is created out of the creepy little girl on the cover. Clara even refers to the Doctor’s regenerations in her comment on the chapters – “Eleven’s  the best. You’ll cry your eyes out.”

The idea of the Great Intelligence hoovering up the minds of internet users through their wifi connection is utterly contemporary, and not so far from the truth. I particularly liked Clara’s take on it – “Isn’t that basically Twitter?” This reflects Moffat’s animus against Twitter in real life. There’s also an ironic appreciation by Celia Imrie’s boss lady of the Great Intelligence’s love for his stolen minds, ending in “No-one loves cattle more than Burger King.”

Entertaining as all this is, the threat-of-world-domination plot is slight and the Great Intelligence easily vanquished. The real business of the episode is the bonding of the Doctor with Clara. No smooth sailing here, what with Clara being a little skittish about this strange man who so obviously wants her to run away with him. Quite rightly, she won’t get into a cramped police box, even in the face of danger. Nor will she fly off in the Doctor’s “snog box” when all is explained. But she’s attracted, and the flirting is very enjoyable. You can’t blame her, really, given that the Doctor comes across as a bit of a stalker. He even changes his clothes for a smoother image, which I don’t entirely approve of. That tweed jacket was a classic look.

So we’re left with the Doctor essentially told that Clara’s washing her hair that night, but he’s welcome to try again tomorrow. And off he goes to ponder her mystery: “Right then, Clara Oswald, time to find out who you are.”

I think my reservations spring from there being so much good stuff jammed together in this episode that it was hard to get a handle on it. I can understand why Moffat wanted to knock our socks off, including a revamped opening sequence and music, plus a Tardis that looks like Changing Rooms was given a free hand in the make-over. But it comes across as an extremely entertaining dog’s breakfast.

Presumably things will settle down and get a bit deeper as the relationship between the Doctor and Clara develops.

Doctor Who: The Snowmen (2012 Christmas Special)

Doctor Who - The Snowmen

The Doctor as Scrooge? Why not? Steven Moffat pulls it off perfectly in this cracking Christmas Special, with the Doctor living in a cloud of his own misery, reached by a retractable ladder and an ornate, circular iron staircase (“It’s taller on the inside”). In keeping with his mood, he’s dressed in shabby Victorian clothes, dented top hat, and sans bow tie. The TARDIS could do with a lick of paint as well.

It is, of course, because of losing the Ponds – “He suffered losses which hurt him,” as Madame Vastra explains to Clara, who has a more down-to-earth take on it, “Mad.” The Doctor is indulging in a massive sulk, refusing to help humanity, until Clara appears like a force of nature to get him up and running.

While the Doctor still has loyal friends – Madame Vastra, her wife, Jenny, and Strax, the Sontaran warrior brought back from the dead – only Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) is able to break though the scar tissue and enlist his help against the Snowmen. They are intelligent crystals who mirror human thoughts, given form by the lonely, bitter mind of a boy who decides he doesn’t need anybody. Grown up to be a lonely, bitter man, he colludes with the snow to destroy humanity.

This Doctor Simeon is another Scrooge, sharing the Doctor’s bitter loneliness. But the Doctor has Clara to save him. Mostly by irritating him till he has to recognise her as his new companion. And because he starts to care about her, he can care about the world again.

It takes time. The catalyst is Clara’s one word answer to Madame Vastra, encapsulating the problem – “Pond” – which cannot fail to attract his attention. To the extent that he subconsciously puts on a bow tie before dashing off to rescue the Latimer’s from a dead, frozen, vengeful Governess. To make sure Clara is the one, he tests her by asking what his plan is, while being pursued by the Governess. Clara gets it, and also sees through the subterfuge.

From then on, the Doctor is committed, perhaps in love. There’s a fervency in the way he offers Clara the key to the TARDIS: “I never know why. I only know who.” And he’s devastated when the Governess snatches her away, just as things are turning out right. So he fights even harder to save the world and her. Perhaps he tries to bargain with the universe.

The world is saved, but it’s through the tears at Clara’s death, which fall as salt rain to melt the Snowmen and destroy the globe that controls them. And yet, maybe that bargain has been struck after all, because the Doctor recognises her name from the gravestone – Clara Oswin Oswald. He remembers her as Souffle Girl, who though a Dalek herself, saved him and the Ponds from the Daleks. As she lay dying, he again gave her the key, saying, “I don’t know how. I only know who.” So now he dashes off to find her, on the principle that three times is a charm, and in this case death doesn’t seem to be an obstacle. The last scene shows a modern Clara, standing by the gravestone in an overgrown cemetery. Of course we know she’s the new companion, but it’s good to have the mystery about how it could possibly happen.

I’m delighted with Clara. She’s intelligent, sexy, independent, exactly what the Doctor needs to keep him on his toes. Looking forward to the new season. I also enjoyed the return of Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. Madame Vastra had one of the best lines in the show, with “Good evening, I’m the Lizard Woman from the Dawn of Time, and this is my Wife.” Glad to see Strax alive and well – you can’t keep a good Sontaran down.

A superb Doctor Who Christmas Special, made more powerful by allowing the Doctor to reveal his dark side.

The Moff Taunts His Fans, and Associated Divagations*

Steven Moffat, the evil genius behind Doctor Who and Sherlock, today revealed in a Guardian interview that we’ve all missed a vital clue showing how Sherlock escaped death in the fall from the roof of Barts. There’s a theory going round that it was Moriarty’s body in a Sherlock mask, and I have given some credence to the idea. I’ve yet to watch The Reichenbach Fall for a third time, and Moffat appears to knock the theory on the head. But who knows? He’s a cunning bastard who likes to mess with our minds, what little of them is left after trying to work out what just happened in his shows.

It takes at least a couple of viewings, usually three, to properly enjoy all the subtleties of a Moffat production. The first is to get the basic plot down and a general idea of the profligate whizzing-by of sharp dialogue and witty cultural references. Then, knowing whodunnit and why, I can watch the episode again to catch the clues and foreshadowings, while paying more attention to the dialogue. Third time is usually just for pure, unalloyed pleasure, but this time I need to work out how Sherlock dunnit.

The same goes for Doctor Who. All that time I could have been writing a novel.

The interview itself was very interesting. I didn’t know Moffat had written Joking ApartChalk, and Coupling, the first of which I haven’t seen. I spent the Nineties and Noughties in America, that televisual black hole, sporadically illuminated by BBC America. No, I’m being unfair – there’s a lot of good stuff on cable. But everything else is dire. It’s the equivalent of devaluing the currency to have so many television channels chasing too few good programmes. The crap is bound to swamp the airwaves and leak in through the television screen.

Anyway, to get back to the point, I saw the brilliant Chalk and Coupling on BBC America. I particularly enjoyed David Bamber as the headmaster in Chalk. He was also the best ever Mr Collins in the BBC’s 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice, kicking up the SQ (Smugness Quotient) dial to 11. Here he is proposing to Elizabeth Bennet.

Where was I? Yes, the Moffat interview. It was also illuminating to discover that, in order to write Sherlock, he broke a contract with Stephen Spielberg to write three scripts for the Tintin film franchise. No contest as far as I’m concerned. I saw The Adventures of Tintin, and while it has all the Hollywood production values, it doesn’t have a heart.

While we’re on the subject of Sherlock, I just discovered The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson, a cleverly put together recreation of the character’s thoughts arising out of his experiences in the show. It has comments from his sister, Harry (Harriet), Mrs Hudson, Molly, and Sherlock, as well as a few others, one of whom is probably Moriarty. It starts just before meeting Sherlock in the first episode. There’s also a link to Molly’s blindingly pink blog, which has some back and forth with Jim Moriarty when he’s worming his way into her boyfriendhood.

I thoroughly recommend both the blog and the Moffat interview. Apparently the scenes that show how Sherlock escaped death have already been filmed, but there’s still plenty of scope for speculation while we wait for the 3rd series.

Or I could get a life.

My reviews on Series 2:
A Scandal in Belgravia
The Hounds of Baskerville
The Reichenbach Fall

* For divagation, see my definition here.

Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall

I may be on the side of the angels, but don’t think for one second that I am one.
– Sherlock

A fine, moving conclusion to the series that brings out the best in Sherlock, without laying a finger on his reputation for “being such an annoying dick all the time.” No mean   feat. I’m assuming everyone reading this has either seen the episode or doesn’t mind spoilers. So I’m not going to attempt a detailed summary (even if I could do it proper justice), and focus instead on the elements that interest me.

In The Reichenbach Fall, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ take on The Final Problem, Sherlock is utterly humbled and destroyed in the eyes of the world. Three major cases, and the success of John’s blog, have propelled him to celebrity status. The deerstalker has come back to haunt him. At this apotheosis of Sherlock’s fame, Moriarty begins to cut the ground out from under his feet, by staging three audacious crimes at Pentonville Prison, the Bank of England, and the Tower of London. Without releasing a single prisoner, or stealing any gold or Crown Jewels. It’s all done by iPhone (there’s an app for each one) as he breaks into the glass case containing the Crown Jewels, and sits down to wait for the guards, crowned, orbed, and sceptred.

Sherlock’s a witness at Moriarty’s trial, managing to get himself banged up for contempt of court, a predictable outcome despite John urging him not to be himself. The real surprise (well, perhaps not) is that Moriarty is acquitted, after sending death threats to all the jurors through their hotel televisions. All of which he cheerfully admits to Sherlock, when visiting Baker Street for tea afterwards. So it’s game on to solve “the final problem,” as he proceeds to cast doubt on Sherlock’s genius, honesty, and even whether there is such a person as Jim Moriarty. As opposed to Richard Brook, an actor hired for the occasion to stand trial in place of this character who Sherlock has invented. In short, he has both committed and solved the crimes written up by John, using “Moriarty” as a scapegoat.

And it works. Everyone is convinced except for the only people Sherlock can call friends – John, Mrs Hudson, Lestrade, and Molly, who carries such a torch for him it could light up the sky at midnight. It would be nice to include Mycroft in this list of friends, but he is fatally compromised both by family history and a recent disclosure of Sherlock’s life story to Moriarty. Done with the best of intentions, to get information in return about the supposed computer key code Moriarty possesses, which can be used to break into any computer system. In so doing, Mycroft gives Moriarty all the genuine information he needs to buttress the Big Lie, and make it thoroughly convincing through Richard Brook’s tell-all story in (what else?) the scumbag Sun.

With Sherlock on the run from Scotland Yard, it comes down to a battle of will and intellect with Moriarty on the roof of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, where Molly works. Knowing he is marked for death, Sherlock has already asked Molly for help. “What do you want?” “You.” Not only is Sherlock in danger, so are John, Mrs Hudson, and Lestrade, targeted by assassins in case Sherlock will not enact the punchline to Moriarty’s fiction of a disgraced, fraudulent detective who commits suicide.

The final problem, it turns out, is staying alive when only intellectual challenge can make life worth living. Hence the endless need for distraction, which has turned Moriarty to crime and Sherlock to detection. They are two sides of the same coin. As Moriarty says, “You’re me,” in an epiphany that still allows him to blow his brains out rather than allow Sherlock to win by finding out the recall code for the assassins aiming at his friends.

So Sherlock has to decide whether to jump from the roof or allow them to die. He chooses to jump and, when John appears in the street below, chooses to own the story constructed by Moriarty, rather than endanger them. This is above and beyond Conan Doyle’s Holmes, who dies a hero and saviour of his country. Sherlock demonstrates  extraordinary heroism in destroying his life’s work to protect his friends.

Of course he doesn’t die. Quite how, I don’t know. Obviously, John being knocked down by the bike was part of a plan to prevent him seeing the body with all his faculties intact. As a doctor, he might have spotted something wrong with the situation. We know Sherlock had arranged a contingency plan with Molly. Again, what it was we don’t know. Someone else certainly got buried in Sherlock’s place. But how would he survive the fall? No doubt we’ll find out in the next series.

We learned a lot about John and Sherlock in this episode. John’s affection for his friend is deep and heartfelt, as shown by the opening scene at the therapist’s office, and his inability to tell her at the end about “the stuff you wanted to say, but didn’t.” It does come out at the grave, when he gets a chance to talk to Sherlock alone. “I was so alone and I owe you so much…Don’t be dead.” That awkward pat of the gravestone, as if it were his friend’s shoulder, was incredibly moving. Then marching off, heartbroken.

As for Sherlock, he knows he has friends, and is prepared to sacrifice everything for their safety. Definitely a hero, as John called him earlier, as well as an annoying dick.

I’m really chuffed there’s going to a third series.

Sherlock: The Hounds of Baskerville

A very satisfying adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Mark Gatiss gives us two beasts for the price of one, only one which actually exists, while whittling down the Baskervilles to a singular MOD weapons research establishment on Dartmoor. The real Hound is H.O.U.N.D., a similar establishment in Liberty, Indiana, of which Dr Frankland is an alumni, specializing in induced fear, paranoia, and hallucinations. When it’s closed for politico-ethical reasons – turning their test subjects into killers rather defeats the object of the exercise, and it’s rotten publicity – Frankland brings his research back to the UK, where he can surreptitiously work on it.

All the familiar elements are in place, rearranged and transmuted for a modern audience. Sir Henry Baskerville becomes Henry Knight, an unassuming chap who rolls his own, someone you wouldn’t imagine was rich till you see his house. Dr Mortimer switches sex and specialization to become his therapist. Jack Stapleton swaps sex and amateur naturalist status to become a scientist at Baskerville. The Barrymores are now Gary and Billy, mine hosts at the Cross Keys, and owner of one the Hounds. Bought to drum up trade after watching the documentary in which Henry talks of seeing the beast.

No Selden, though. The escaped convict is replaced by doggers, their location given away by car headlights dipping up and down in response to the internal bouncing. Looking very much like morse code when parked just below the brow of a hill. An inspired touch.

Sherlock starts to unravel in this episode. When he first appears, covered in blood and carrying a harpoon, you think that might be an indication of something wrong. In fact, it’s the successful conclusion of a case, one that you wish John would write up for us. No, it’s the nicotine wot done it, or rather the craving, which can only be assuaged by another case. So the Baskerville problem is lucky for him, until he sees a huge Hound, glowing black with red eyes, in Dewer’s Hollow. At first he denies seeing it to Henry, then throws a wobbly in the pub when John presses him on the matter.

The crux of course is that Sherlock is so supremely rational, yet what he saw with his own eyes was impossible, and that is shaking him to pieces. He repeats the famous Holmesian axiom, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth, as a sign of his distress. A perfect plot mechanism to dig deeper into Sherlock’s psyche, and come up with the admission that he has no friends, but he does have a friend. Definitely a bromance, given the shit John puts up with.

The solution to Sherlock’s conundrum is fairly obvious to a modern audience – the Hound is a drug-induced hallucination – and I’m sure it wasn’t just me who twigged what was happening quite early on. Any mention of a top secret government weapons research establishment has to set the alarm bells ringing. The MOD was testing LSD back in the 1960s. I blogged about it here. Never mind. It was a pleasure to watch the plot unfold.

It’s interesting that Arthur Conan Doyle always went for the rational solution to a probem in the Sherlock Holmes stories, yet he was a supernaturalist at heart. He supported Spiritualism and was completely taken in by the Cottingley Fairies hoax. His creation would have gone through that claim like a hot knife through butter.

All this, with admirable pacing and the usual witty self-references and grace notes, made it a worthy successor to A Scandal in Belgravia.

The final scene is quite intriguing. Jim Moriarty, banged up by Mycroft, is freed from a cell. To reveal the word, “SHERLOCK,” written all over the walls, a prelude to The Reichenbach Fall. Whatever happens in that, I think we’ll all be clamouring for Sherlock’s return in a new series.