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Sherlock: “Many Happy Returns” Review

sherlock series 3 many happy returns

Reviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.

It has been far too long since Sherlock was on our screens but with 2014 just around the corner, we don’t have that much longer to wait. Head writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have written a delightful little ‘minisode’ to stave off the fandom’s thirst for their blood; the wait has been never-ending and it’s starting to get to some fans’ heads. Many Happy Returns is a bout of fun to please and soothe the fans who have been jabbing pins into their Moffat dolls for the past two years (ahem).

We start with a series of amusing cases that Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch, a man who, despite terrorizing Middle Earth/Starfleet Headquarters and heading up WikiLeaks in his spare time, appears to have been cryogenically frozen in the part and brought out after two years; he just hasn’t changed a bit) has been working from the sidelines. The New Delhi incident was a poke by Gatiss and Moffat at Sherlock’s astonishing ability to deduce things (like Seb Wilkes of The Blind Baker who made a similar gibe involving a hypothetical stain on his tie), this time from an ice cream, and the blonde woman in the Himalayas showed Sherlock’s desire to always get to the truth in spite of the doe-eyed ladies who get involved. Many Happy Returns also displayed the globetrotting Holmes has been doing since hit the kerb outside St. Bart’s in a puddle of strawberry jam. Somehow he’s managed to get out of the UK and travel to Asia, winding his way back through England to get back to Baker Street where he rightfully belongs.

In Cult Fix’s spoiler-free review of The Empty Hearse they said, “even Anderson gets something to do, something all the fans have been doing since 2012”. Seeing his unshaven form tell Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves is really very good) his multiple theories, it appears what he has been doing is some investigating of his own.

What was very fun to see was how Moffat and Gatiss had Sherlock ‘answering’ John Watson’s (a freeze-dried Martin Freeman who hasn’t changed at all despite battling Cumberbatch with a bunch of dwarves elsewhere) questions from the TV. Chyron, the now almost trademark onscreen text used in Sherlock, was a nice reminder of the unique style the show has and who else didn’t shiver when the DVD player played itself on its own accord and Sherlock gave us his cheeky wink.

Many Happy Returns is a wonderful bitesize chunk of action for Sherlock and co. and probably the best Christmas present I could receive from the BBC (considering half the planet are going to be snivelling wrecks after The Time of the Doctor tomorrow) but The Empty Hearse itself would be grand. Only eight more days left.

Verdict: 9/10

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  • mark27b

    Enjoyable but a bit repetitive.

    Another second Moffat minisode that starts with characters in red robes as with the recent Sisterhood of Karn in the Doctor Who The Night of the Doctor minisode that he also wrote.

    Another second Moffat two way conversation via DVD as with the Doctor Who Blink episode that he also wrote.

    Still good to see Sherlock, John and Lestrade again though.

    • Sharaz_Jek

      Well, the buddist monk adventure is obviously a reference to the time Holmes said to have spent with the Dalai Llama in Empty house, so I don’t think it’s really that repetitive. The “conversation” via DVD was very blink-esque, I have to agree, but then, that was 6 years ago

    • Wibbly-Wobbly is MOFFETT

      Not repetitive. Just a couple little easter eggs for the fans. :)

  • David Havers

    Not bothered by this sounds rather boring to me just like the show itself Sherlock is an overrated show that comes around every two years.

    • A_Persom

      Why are you commenting here then?

    • doctorwhofan1

      Boring? I suggest you watch the first series and see the performances of benedict and martin cos they put in some of the best performances and very well written episodes! i get its your opinion though

    • OlleDes

      Okay guys, it’s just en opinion.

      But it’s the wrong opinion.


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