Sherlock Holmes and The Empty Hearse

I love Sherlock. It’s a fantastic show. It knows how to please its audience, three 90 minute episodes a series spaced out over, on average, 2 year gaps. Now after waiting 2 years it’s finally time for its 3rd series, and the reveal of how the great Sherlock Holmes faked his death at the end of the previous series.

I love Tumblr. It’s full of people who think and act just like me, who sit on a computer talking about things they love with others. You can share your passions and experiences with people of the same generation and feel comfortable because it’s an online community that offers genuine love and support to anyone. On the surface level it’s about fandoms and people sharing their love of Film and Television, or Games, or Books, anything really. Depending on the type of blog you follow, mine are mostly fandom related, you will likely see a lot of related content to popular TV shows. As well as Doctor Who and Supernatural Sherlock has the single biggest and most rabid fanbase. Essentially a lot of people being excited about something they truly love.

Unlike any other show Sherlock has given it’s fans the longest wait between series especially with a huge cliffhanger to resolve. So naturally the return of the great detective was going to be a big thing, for the fans I see every day on Tumblr and for adults among others who watch it at home and don’t see the amount of love I see for the show. Thus the first third of the third series of Sherlock had a massive amount to live up to, and even though the answer to ‘How did he fake his death?’ is still possibly shrouded in mystery, in the end the fans just wanted an episode to entertain them, to thrill them, to make them laugh and cry. I think it succeeded.

But i’m here to talk about one scene in particular. A scene that had to do only one thing…awe us. It didn’t disappoint. In fact the first 4 minutes of ‘The Empty Hearse’ was heart pumpingly, pulse poundingly, goosebump inducingly fantastic that I think actual cardiac arrest was the only possible thing that could have tore my eyes away from the telly at that moment.

Basically it’s exactly what I wanted to see.

After 2 years of speculation, of ardent fans on Tumblr giving extremely brilliant and detailed theories on how he faked his death, nothing real, nothing cannon could ever live up to it. Yet Mark Gatiss (The episodes writer) and Stephen Moffat (Executive producer) gave us no definite answer, not yet. Instead we got three, 2 are over the top and hilarious scenarios dreampt up by characters who wanted to believe something fanciful, the other, Sherlocks own telling of the daring escape, but which is left in considerable question by other characters.

Sherlocks own telling is a more obvious explanation and ultimately a let down because of it’s brazen “Is that it?”ness, whilst the second is a fan fiction of real proportions, a fictional Sherlock fan dreaming it up almost in a daydream, Mark Gatiss giving one of many winks and nods to the fans who are the shows true supporters. Yet it’s the first explanation that opens the episode and the one that is most important.

The Empty Hearse begins with the shows usual style and flare, quick editing, smooth swift camera work and a foreboding thump of a soundtrack in the background. The episode starts just where we want it to, back on the rooftop of St. Barts as Sherlock calls John Watson. The scene is set, the players are in position, Moriartys body lies dead on the roof next to Sherlock and the audience know where this is heading. Then comes the extra layer.

The first beats of a new pumping soundtrack break into the scene like a bulldozer, Moriartys body is carried away by unseen faces as Sherlock attaches a bungee rope to the back of his coat. The mysterious men attach a prosthetic duplicate of Sherlocks face to Moriartys as Sherlock throws his phone down and John rushes forward. For the first time in two years the answers we have been after are being given to us in a scene so incredibly exciting, The music is thrilling and the editing shows us what we need to see and what we want to see. Every shot is a taker of breath, each beat pushes the audience to the edge of it’s seat.

The way that this is presented to us, with hard strength and confidence is dynamic and opens a new series with open mouthed excitement. Derren Brown turns up to hypnotise John, it’s a daft ploy and reality begins to mix with fiction, but at that moment disbelief is suspended as everything pulls together as John gets to the body. As Sherlock walks away down a corridor from the scene we cut to Lestrade and Anderson, revealing this was the latters theory the whole time. An audacious opening, an incredible scene.


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