His Last Vow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

"His Last Vow"
Sherlock episode
A futuristic building on the site of Swinhay Farm - geograph.org.uk - 1479271.jpg
The fictional 'Appledore' which Magnussen inhabits, in fact Swinhay House
Episode no.Series 3
Episode 3
Directed byNick Hurran
Written bySteven Moffat
Produced bySue Vertue
Featured musicDavid Arnold
Michael Price
Cinematography bySteve Lawes
Editing byYan Miles
Original air date12 January 2014 (2014-01-12)
Running time89 minutes
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Sign of Three"
Next →
List of Sherlock episodes
 
Jump to: navigation, search
"His Last Vow"
Sherlock episode
A futuristic building on the site of Swinhay Farm - geograph.org.uk - 1479271.jpg
The fictional 'Appledore' which Magnussen inhabits, in fact Swinhay House
Episode no.Series 3
Episode 3
Directed byNick Hurran
Written bySteven Moffat
Produced bySue Vertue
Featured musicDavid Arnold
Michael Price
Cinematography bySteve Lawes
Editing byYan Miles
Original air date12 January 2014 (2014-01-12)
Running time89 minutes
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Sign of Three"
Next →
List of Sherlock episodes

"His Last Vow" is the third and final episode of the third series of the BBC Television series Sherlock, which follows the modern-day adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The episode was first broadcast on 12 January 2014, on BBC One, and written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran with music composed by Michael Price and David Arnold. The episode is a contemporary adaption of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.

In the episode, Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman) take a case about stolen letters. This leads him into conflict with Charles Augustus Magnussen (Lars Mikkelsen), a "terrifying" villain; Magnussen was introduced as the main villain of series 3, "the one man Sherlock truly hates". Holmes and Watson try to get Magnussen arrested; but their attempt fails and Holmes shoots Magnussen to stop him blackmailing Mary Watson.

After its broadcast on BBC One, the episode received 8.77 million viewers, a 32.1% audience share. Although this was a drop from "The Sign of Three" and "The Empty Hearse", it was the most tweeted about single episode of a drama series in the UK. The episode received a positive reception from critics, and Mikkelsen's role as Magnussen was praised.

Plot[edit]

Magnussen was called a "terrifying" villain before the episode,[2] as series 3's main villain.[3]

Episode[edit]

John Watson, whose wife Mary (Amanda Abbington) is now visibly pregnant, tries to rescue his neighbour's son from a drug den, and he finds Sherlock high in the same place. With Molly, Anderson, and Mycroft's (Mark Gatiss) help, he attempts to force him to clean up, but Sherlock insists that he was undercover for a case. Mycroft realises Sherlock, on behalf of a senior member of the government, is trying to take on Charles Augustus Magnussen (Lars Mikkelsen), a newspaper owner who blackmails people ("the one man Sherlock truly hates"[4]), and warns him not to. Magnussen visits Sherlock to intimidate him and refuses to enter negotiations over his client's stolen letters.

John is also baffled to find Sherlock is now in a relationship with Mary's bridesmaid, Janine (Yasmine Akram), until he learns that Janine is Magnussen's personal assistant and the liaison a ruse. With her help, Sherlock breaks into Magnussen's apartment, where he is shocked to find Mary holding him at gunpoint. Mary shoots Sherlock, who harnesses all his mental powers to stay conscious. He is taken to hospital, where Mary warns him not to denounce her. John nonetheless begins to suspect something.

23–24 Leinster Gardens in London, which only exist as a façade, were used in this episode as the location of Sherlock and Mary's meeting.

Sherlock runs away from the hospital and arranges a confrontation with Mary, who confesses to having a past as a secret agent and assassin, for which Magnussen is blackmailing her. She also confirms she intentionally shot Sherlock in a non-lethal spot and called an ambulance, and she says she is desperate to keep John in the dark as she loves him. John, however, witnessed the conversation and is in turmoil. Sherlock points out to him he is addicted to a dangerous lifestyle and was most probably attracted to Mary because of her hidden past. Mary gives John a memory stick containing information on her, marked with her true initials. The stick is labelled "A. G. RA" (no full stop after the R or A). She also tells him the content will destroy his love for her.

After sitting on the memory stick for a few months, John decides to destroy it without reading it and to love Mary regardless, much to her relief. While the couple spends Christmas with the Holmes brothers at their parents', Sherlock drugs everyone except John and takes him to Magnussen's country property, Appledore, which is supposed to contain his blackmailing archive. During their confrontation, Magnussen explains his purpose in putting pressure on Mary was to arrive at Mycroft via John and Sherlock. Magnussen also reveals he was the one who had John abducted and hidden in a bonfire (in "The Empty Hearse") in order to confirm that John is Sherlock's "pressure point".

Sherlock offers to buy his information on Mary with the state secrets contained in Mycroft's laptop, which he has just stolen from him. Magnussen realises immediately Sherlock is setting up a trap: security services looking for the laptop will raid his vaults, find their contents and arrest him as a blackmailer. He reveals triumphantly this cannot work because his vaults are empty: he actually relies entirely on his memory and keeps no physical records. By giving Magnussen Mycroft's laptop, Sherlock and John are now guilty of attempting to sell government secrets whereas Magnussen cannot be charged with anything. To pass the time, until Mycroft's government forces arrive, he demonstrates his control over Sherlock and John by taunting them while repeatedly flicking John's face. When Mycroft and the police arrive, a distraught Sherlock shoots Magnussen in the head realising he has no alternative if he is to securely protect the Watsons from Mary's past, and save John from being charged with high treason.

Mycroft convinces the government to spare Sherlock a trial and, as an alternative punishment, press him into a highly dangerous MI6 mission to Eastern Europe. He is, however, recalled within minutes when TV screens all over Great Britain are hacked to broadcast a loop of Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) asking "Did you miss me?"

Sources and allusions[edit]

Production[edit]

Casting[edit]

In July 2013, it was announced that Mikkelsen would star in an episode in the third series, but it was not stated which episode.[9] He stated that when he received the script, his first impression was that it was "the best script I’ve ever read".[10]

Benedict Cumberbatch's real-life parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, play the parts of Sherlock's parents.

Filming[edit]

Martin Freeman (left) and Benedict Cumberbatch during filming of "His Last Vow" in August 2013.

Filming for "His Last Vow" began on 29 July 2013.[11] Some filming was in Cardiff,[12] and some in Leinster Gardens, where houses 23 and 24 were shown to be mere façades.[13]

Scenes set at 'Appledore', Magnussen's house, were filmed at Swinhay House in Gloucestershire, owned by Sir David McMurtry, boss of Renishaw engineering.[14]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

The last Sherlock episode of series 3;[15] "His Last Vow" was first broadcast on BBC One on Sunday 12 January 2014 between 8:30pm and 10:00pm GMT.[4] Overnight, the episode was watched by 8.77 million viewers,[16] a 31.9% share, which was down from 9.2 million (33.8%) for the opening episode of the series, "The Empty Hearse".[17] However, when final ratings were factored, it increased to 11.38 million, the same as "The Sign of Three", but still down from "The Empty Hearse".[18] The episode was later repeated on the digital channel BBC Three on Friday, 17 January 2014 from 9pm GMT.[19]

The episode was aired in the United States of America on 2 February 2014, on PBS Masterpiece.[20]

The British Board of Film Classification gave the episode a 12 certificate, for "moderate violence, drug references and one use of strong language".[21] The episode was released in the UK on DVD[22] and Blu-ray Disc[23] with the other episodes in the series ("The Empty Hearse" and "The Sign of Three") on 20 January 2014.[23][22]

Critical reception[edit]

"His Last Vow" received critical acclaim, with Louisa Mellor of Den of Geek said the episode was "as good a finale as Sherlock's ever had", and admired the plot.[24] Mark Jefferies of The Mirror called the episode "easily the best yet in this run", with a "fascinating" plot, he also praised Mikkelsen as "brilliant".[25] Josh Wilding, also of The Mirror, said the episode "was in many ways the best episode of Sherlock yet" and called it "simply one of the greatest TV shows of all-time", giving it 5/5.[26] Oliver Jia of The Punk Effect lauded the episode stating, "His Last Vow brings everything [from the series] full circle, with its themes of friendship, love, and deception... I’ve come to the conclusion that Sherlock is one of the greatest television series ever created. It uses the limitations of the medium to its utmost advantage, outshining some of the best Hollywood has to offer."[27] Serana Davies of The Telegraph called the episode "the best of the lot" and gave 4 out of 5 stars, calling Moffat "the superior Sherlock writer". Although her review was mainly positive, she criticised the show a bit for becoming "a little vain, rather a show-off". Lucy Mangan of The Guardian said the episode was "perfect", and a "ceaseless flow of wit, invention and intelligence".[15]

However, The Independent's Neela Debnath said that the episode was "trying far too hard and is coming across a tad foolish", and consequently "failed to hit new heights". However, she did praise Mikkelsen as Magnussen, calling his performance "sterling".[28]

Tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail claimed the episode was symptomatic of what they perceive as the BBC's "left-wing bias", arguing the episode's villain, Charles Augustus Magnussen, was portrayed as a capitalist, foreign-born newspaper baron, with similarities, they suggest, to Rupert Murdoch.[29] Media commentator Roy Greenslade, however, contextualised the criticism by suggesting the BBC is the Daily Mail's "real enemy".[29]

As of 26 January 2014 "His Last Vow" has acquired a 9.6 rating on IMDb with more than 8,000 votes.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "TV: Sherlock was a family affair for show boss Steven Moffat". Gloucestershire Echo. 12 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Jones, Paul (12 November 2013). "Sherlock series 3 finale to feature "more tears" than ever before". Radio Times. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Shrivastava, Anshu (27 December 2013). "'Sherlock' 3 Episode 3: 'His Last Vow,' Most Hated Villain to Bring Sherlock to his Knees". International Business Times. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b De Graeve, Nikki (13 December 2013). "Sherlock – 3.03 "His Last Vow" Synopsis". Entertainment Outlook. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Liew, Tim (10 January 2014). "Sherlock: His Last Vow – 11 spoiler-free finale teasers". Metro. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Liew, Tim (13 January 2014). "Sherlock series 3, episode 3 – His Last Vow: 10 references you may have missed". Metro. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Mellor, Louisa (12 January 2014). "Sherlock series 3 finale review: His Last Vow". Den of Geek. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Mellor, Louisa (14 January 2014). "Sherlock: His Last Vow Q&A with Steven Moffat, Amanda Abbington, Lars Mikkelsen". Den of Geek. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (29 July 2013). "'Sherlock' casts 'The Killing's Lars Mikkelsen as new nemesis". Digital Spy. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Interview with Lars Mikkelsen". BBC. 11 January 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Jones, Paul (3 September 2013). "Sherlock series 3 filming diary". RadioTimes. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Daly, Emma (2 August 2013). "See Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Mark Gatiss filming Sherlock". RadioTimes. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Edgar, James (13 January 2014). "Extraordinary London quirk uncovered in Sherlock finale". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Millionaire owner of Sherlock mansion opts for more modest dwelling". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Mangan, Lucy (13 January 2014). "Sherlock – TV review". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  16. ^ Eames, Tom (13 January 2014). "Sherlock concludes with 8.77 million for 'His Last Vow' on Sunday". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Sherlock: Praise for 'perfect' series finale". BBC. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Viewing Dat: Top 30 [select appropriate week]". BARB. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Episodes by date". BBC. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  20. ^ Lore, Kollin (29 January 2014). "‘Sherlock’ Advance Non-Spoiler Review of Sunday’s ‘His Last Vow’". Liberty Voice. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "SHERLOCK – HIS LAST VOW [Season 3,Episode 3]". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Sherlock Series 3 (DVD)". BBC Shop. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "Sherlock Series 3 (Blu-ray)". BBC shop. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  24. ^ Mellor, Louisa (9 January 2014). "Sherlock: His Last Vow spoiler-free review". Den of Geek. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  25. ^ Jefferies, Mark (8 January 2014). "Sherlock spoiler-free review: His Last Vow is thrilling, chilling and the best episode in series 3". The Mirror. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  26. ^ Wilding, Josh (13 January 2014). "Sherlock verdict: His Last Vow was in many ways the best episode yet". The Mirror. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  27. ^ Jia, Oliver. "Foxhounder Films: Sherlock Season 3: “His Last Vow” Review". The Punk Effect. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  28. ^ Debnath, Neela (12 January 2014). "Sherlock 'His Last Vow' TV review: A disappointingly desperate finale". The Independent. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  29. ^ a b Greenslade, Roy (13 January 2014). "Daily Mail deduces a case of left-wing bias in BBC's final Sherlock episode". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  30. ^ Sherlock – Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]