The game, Sherlockians, is on! On August 2, BBC Sherlock fans got their first glimpse of the hit drama’s long-awaited third season after a rerun of “The Reichenbach Fall” in the UK. The trailer hit the interwebs not long after, sending shockwaves through social media sites such as Facebook and Tumblr. Only 25 seconds in length, the preview leaves fans with more questions than answers, but what else could we expect from the
evil bastards people who made “Reichenbach?” I honestly can’t say I’d be able to handle it if it had been any longer. It has been over a year and a half since the last episode of series 2 aired, after all. Best to ease back into it slowly. Like drugs. The teaser shows us several favorite characters and no new faces, but several that have changed over the three year gap between Sherlock’s departure and his return.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, and before you get too impatient, allow me to address the one thing most glaringly obvious about this trailer: John’s pornstache. I admit, I couldn’t help but steal a glance at a spoiler or two over the past several months (even I have my weaknesses), so I’ve known about the Johnstache for some time. It’s a nice throwback and nod to the original stories (and does look better on screen than in paparazzi shots), but I know we’re all wondering the same thing: John Watson, what are you doing. I mean talk about a midlife crisis. Either Mary has a serious thing for men with outdated facial hair, or any influence from Sherlock’s sharp sense of fashion fell off the roof of St. Bart’s with him. Now before you panic, the mustache is almost definitely not Martin Freeman’s real facial hair, and it is evident from set photos that John does in fact shave not long after his reunion with Sherlock. Sorry to disappoint, hipsters.
Other notable elements of the clip include some familiar characters that we have grown fond of over the series’s six episodes. Poor Mrs. Hudson looks like she could use an herbal soother, and Molly, even though we can’t see her face, is probably not as surprised as some would be by the reflection in her locker mirror. Inspector Lestrade is sporting a new haircut and looks dashing if not a bit worn down, and Mycroft looks as unamused as ever. And in all of these split-second clips, we get hints that these are the people to whom Sherlock first reveals himself, and also people who will play (or played) a key role in orchestrating his return.
But sentiment and fangirling aside, I can’t help but notice how creepy all of these encounters are. A darkened hallway? A dim locker room? Even going so far as to break into Mrs. Hudson’s kitchen? You couldn’t have, say, given them a ring first (“Oh hey, by the way, not dead”) or even left a note (“Stopping by your flat, I’m alive, please don’t actually kill me by bashing my head in with a frying pan”)? I know you’re all about theatrics, Sherlock, but maybe this is a bit too much. However, the teaser has been confirmed to not use any actual footage from series 3, so it’s difficult to make any solid analyses at this point. We all know how much writers Moffat and Gatiss love to play mind games with the fanbase, and that’s exactly what they’re doing here.
Speaking of messing with the fanbase, in the final scene of the trailer, the camera falls upon a raw and red-eyed Benedict Cumberbatch before going to black. From here, the theories are endless. Is he approaching John? Interrupting the dinner at which John plans to propose to Mary Morstan? Or discovering that he is already too late? Was the dinner a setup by Sherlock, or are the two shots pieces of completely different scenes? Unfortunately, we won’t know the answer until the next trailer release (or the first episode of series 3 itself), the wait for which will be no less than painful.
The first episode of Sherlock series 3 will be entitled “The Empty Hearse,” and will be loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “The Empty House.” An air date is not yet set, but rumors hint and fans speculate that it will be released late this year or in early 2014.