Series 1 and 2 worked for me in a way series 3 never worked. I can try to explain but not sure I'll do a good job of it ;-)
Series 1 and 2 had a solid story arc, developing from ASIP till TRF and while I don't agree on any "jumping the shark" talk, I must admit that after TRF, the link to series 3 felt awkward. For my taste, TRF was to early in the series, but there is nothing to be done about it, I'll be forever glad BBC and actors agreed on new series, and that's that. But I get this feeling that series 3 wasn't planned in the same breath as series 2.
For me, with series 3 starts a new Sherlock chapter. Before TRF, it was Sherlock the consulting detective with John, the loyal friend. In series 3, loyalities are far more complex, and also the focus shifts away from detective work. Series 3 is Sherlock the human being, and John finally tries to get his own life going (it's the first time he really tries - when he meets Mike in ASIP, he is still in Afghanistan with his thoughts, and then his focus shifts to Sherlock, but he never really focuses on himself till he has to after TRF, imo).
The problem for me is that I really really love series 3, but I am not sure I love it as the continuation of series 1 and 2. I cannot explain that better. Maybe this way: series 3 feels to me a bit like three little Many happy returns episodes, or like three pilots. Like little stand-alones. Of course not that drastic, but I find it hard to fit them behind TFR, even if TRF already hints heavily towards the Sherlock character development, "not a hero", "most human... human being" etc.
I realise this when I do a Sherlock night, and I cannot stop the series after TGG, but I can easily make a break after TRF. It's a really harsh cut. The one thing I can hold in favour for this narrative arc is that it reflects real life, where development is seldom smooth but happens after we experience change, loss, etc.
I think series 3 is otherwise a bit similar to series 2, where Hounds neglected the Moriarty storyline, and the first and last episode told a story which was put on ice during the second episode. Series 3 feels similar to me. I find that TEH and HLV have the same sound of narration, while TSOT stands even more alone.
But this feeling of stand-alone episodes also makes it easy for me that yes, I think HLV is one of the best episodes throughout all series. Mostly it's just great television, but also characterization, visuals, the whole package is really impressive.
But is it now paradox to say: series 3 isn't my favourite but it contains my favourite episode?
Susi said she doesn't understand the disappointment about a "weak" Sherlock. I think that it's natural to loose some balance if something unpredicted happens and we have to adapt. I don't mind Sherlock being more human and less brainy. But I don't like the way it's shown... it's not like he fails from time to time or misjudges more often, but I get the general feeling that he is out of his depth. I dislike that he seems to be not himself most of the time. He is like John in series 1 and 2: trying to find himself again but mostly concentrating on others. I don't think that's character development, I think it's one step before. I hope series 4 will solve this.
About the meta: I think it has some points. But I disagree that Sherlock is paying during series 3 because of TRF. He messed with a friendship, and I agree that broken trust and forgiveness is a big issue here. But I don't agree that forgiveness needs equality. True forgiveness does not need it, that makes it so beautiful. So I'm really hoping the writers don't put Sherlock through all this just to make a reconciliation with John easier. I think what Sherlock needs to do (and in my opinion does or at least tries to do, if only subtle), is understand what he did to John, acknowledge it in full, and voice it. That's all.
I think John just fails to understand how he is still attracted to danger. He is trying to find himself, but still closes his eyes to what he really wants. Sherlock is spot-on there in the "domestic" scene in Baker Street, imo.
So all in all, I think both are still struggling to get themselve sorted. And I am not sure they can do it together with each other. I think they both needed their very own development.
I don't think that series 3 lacks domestic bliss. I feel that Sherlock and John still show strong connections to "their" place, even if they don't share it anymore. It shows again in the "domestic scene", when John admits that he still thinks of the room as the place where Sherlock and John do "their" work - listening to clients. He also admits in TEH how difficult he finds it to face the empty Baker Street without Sherlock in it. I think them not living together but still having such strong connections shows very clearly that their friendship is not build on flatsharing. Having my own experience of flatsharing, for myself I can say that only after leaving a flat it really shows if you were only flatmates or you have become real friends. Series 3 gives John and Sherlock an opportunity to realise that it's not about being flatmates in 221b, even if that was a big part of their lives. I think now that they have realised this, it doesn't matter much if they move back in together or don't. (this is written from my mostly non-Johnlocking point of view, if I may add this ;-)
Last edited by Whisky (September 18, 2015 4:19 pm)