Season 3 Episode 2

The Sign of Three

Aired Unknown Jan 05, 2014 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
292 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


It's John and Mary's wedding day and Sherlock must give the Best Man's speech... and solve a murder.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Forgotten middle name

    I loved this episode and I am constantly watching the series over whenever I get really bored. One thing I noticed was the fact that Sherlock must have deleted knowing John's middle name. John specifically told him and Irene what it was in "A Scandal in Belgravia" when referring to baby names.
  • We need to talk about Sherlock

    Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat's Sherlock departs from its source material - this is a sentence without a lot of informational value, yet it remains remarkable how small a part the underlying Arthur Conan Doyle novellas sometimes play in the British duo's adaptations. "The Sign of Three" is one of those instances, in which a wedding just so happens to include a murder attempt because a bit of zest was called-for after Sherlock Holmes had held a speech for an estimated four days at a stretch. And although I enjoy Sherlock's humorous side, a little less of forgotten forenames and exposed bellies and a little more of suspense and Sherlock's genius would be an advantageous step for the programme - unless it is about to be rebranded as Sherlock The Sitcom for its fourth series.

    Presumably, the grounds for the Lilliputian presence of crime-solving in this episode lie in the writers' resolve to humanise Sherlock in this series. He does still openly ponder the ideal liquidation of the bride groom at weddings and is startled by the mention of 'mingling', but all of a sudden, the self-styled high-functioning sociopath also takes pleasure in ordinary activities such as dancing, considers John his best friend, and takes a vow to protect Mary, John, and their fetus (I'm confident that all parties involved would favour Hamish as its name, regardless of gender). It's an appealing objective considering his persistent buggeriness in social interactions, and Gatiss and Moffat manifest capability through realising it gradually and not without displaying the problems someone as, well, extraordinary as Sherlock Holmes has to come to terms with in the process, but it nonetheless affects the quality of Sherlock.

    Though the connection between the two is tough to spot, an extra drawback of "The Sign of Three" resides in a twist as shocking as the end of The Passion of the Christ, viz. it being exactly the two cases Sherlock referred to in his aforementioned speech that become significant in the final third. Whereas that would be excusable, the simplicity in all of that isn't; more precisely: if I can identify victim and offender before Sherlock does, the screenplay of the episode is unlikely to win any awards. Further corroboration for the poor script are one-dimensional supporting characters, more storytelling cliches than wedding guests, and how haphazardly the tranquil reception transforms into a matter of life and death.

    As an act of atonement, the episode's three writers (a number that is even more gratuitous considering that the paragons "The Reichenbach Fall" and "A Scandal in Belgravia" required merely one) have come up with excellent bits of humour that could easily prompt one to neglect the rest. Take John's stag night alone as an example, a sequence that had me launching into laughter more often than the majority of actual comedies. If only comparisons of such dimensions could be used to describe the writing and directing

    My detective scribblings:

    - Sherlock's efforts to grin seem to cause him more agony than the torture in "The Empty Hearse".

    - Amanda Abbington makes the most out of her little duties as Mary: just her reaction to the wine is wonderfully amusing.

    - Mark Davis's editing in the wedding dinner scene is stunning, his hasty cross-cutting as Sherlock and John arrive at the military barracks less so.

    - The most disappointing element of this episode was unquestionably the misleading acting credit for Lara Pulver, who appeared in only one scene.

    - There wasn't any evidence of Mr Lensman attempting to kill Major Sholto, and certainly, the New Scotland Yard can't apprehend someone for no other reason than Sherlock Holmes's words. Knowing that, no one intelligent enough to arrange a murder this meticulously would ever admit doing so, which makes this denouement another illustration of the chaotic writing in "The Sign of Three".moreless
  • he loves them, she loves them,

    "The Sign of Three" was warm, wonderful, and freakin hilarious. I got everything I wanted, and then some. Mary supports John and Sherlock's friendship. Sherlock supports John and Mary's love. In fact, he so desperately wants everything to be perfect for them that he both composes their wedding waltz, and watches YouTube videos on napkin origami. And solves a murder while giving the Best Man's toast; And Mary hoiks up her wedding gown and runs off to join the Boyz in the fun and excitement of the Solution. What Fun

    Glad to hear Gatiss, Moffat and Cumberbatch say they intend to do short seasons like this for a long, long time. The sign of Three is a new beginning of Sherlock with the three of them working together as a team and supporting each other. Brilliant.

    And once again Cumberbatch looks like the whitest White Man ever; I just know the Cumberbitches love that. - He certainly owns the screen.moreless
  • Question: What happens when Holmes gives a speech?

    I have not counted myself as any kind of real fan of Sherlock, in any of his incarnations. I began watching this series to understand my daughter's obsession. That said, this episode made me like Sherlock. He is human in this episode - more so than just Christmas with Molly or other minor instances. He is actually capable of being inept and showing real emotion. We finally see that he really values John and we see that Mary is just what the Doctor ordered for both of them. I hope to see more like this in future. I may turn into a fan yet.moreless
  • Wow. Just, wow.

    This is one of the most remarkable episodes of a TV show I have ever seen. It's very funny, it creates an involving mystery, and it explores Sherlock Holmes' deeper feelings in a way that avoids being maudlin. It is everything TV should be.
Amanda Abbington

Amanda Abbington

Mary Morstan

Guest Star

Vinette Robinson

Vinette Robinson

Sgt. Sally Donovan

Guest Star

Lara Pulver

Lara Pulver

Irene Adler

Guest Star

Una Stubbs

Una Stubbs

Mrs Hudson

Recurring Role

Rupert Graves

Rupert Graves

DI Lestrade

Recurring Role

Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss

Mycroft Holmes

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Sherlock: Why're you here?
      Mrs. Hudson: I'm bringing you your morning tea. You're not usually awake.
      Sherlock: You bring me tea in the morning?
      Mrs. Hudson: Well, where do you think it came from?
      Sherlock: I don't know. It just sort of happened.
      Mrs. Hudson: Your mother has a lot to answer for.
      Sherlock: Hmm. I know. I have a list. Mycroft has a file.

    • Sherlock: Your husband was executed for double-murder. You're hardly an advert for companionship.
      Mrs. Hudson: Marriage changes you as a person in ways that you can't imagine.
      Sherlock: As does lethal injection.

    • David: They're right about you. You're a bloody psychopath.
      Sherlock: High-functioning sociopath. With your number.

    • John: The best man.
      Sherlock: The best man?
      John: What do you think?
      Sherlock: Billy Kincaid.
      John: Sorry, what?
      Sherlock: Billy Kincaid, the Camden Garroter. Best man I ever knew. Vast contributions to charity, never disclosed. Personally managed to save three hospitals from closure, and ran the best and safest children's homes in North England. Yes, every now and again there'd be some garrotings, but, stacking up the lives saved against the garrotings, on balance I'd say...
      John: For my wedding. for me, I need a best man.
      Sherlock: Oh, right.
      John: Maybe not a garroter.

    • Sherlock: So why don't you see him any more?
      John: Who?
      Sherlock: Your previous Commander, Sholto.
      John: Previous Commander?
      Sherlock: I meant "ex."
      John: "Previous" suggests that I currently have a Commander.
      Sherlock: Which you don't.
      John: Which I don't.
      Sherlock: Course you don't.

    • Sherlock: The point I'm trying to make is that I am the most unpleasant, rude, ignorant, and all-around obnoxious arsehole that anyone could possibly have the misfortune to meet. I am dismissive of the virtuous, unaware of the beautiful, and uncomprehending in the face of the unhappy. So if I didn't understand I was being asked to be best man, it is because I never expected to be anyone's best friend. Certainly not the best friend to the bravest and kindest and wisest human being I have ever had the good fortune of knowing. John, I am a ridiculous man. Redeemed only by the warmth and constancy of your friendship. But as I'm apparently your best friend, I cannot congratulate you on your choice of companion. Actually, now I can. Mary, when I say you deserve this man, it is the highest compliment of which I am capable. John, you have endured war, and injury, and tragic loss. So sorry again about that last one. So know this: today you sit between the woman you have made your wife and the man you have saved. In short, the two people who love you most in all this world. And I know I speak for Mary as well when I say we will never let you down, and we have a lifetime ahead to prove that.

    • John: They all died, he was the only survivor. The press and the families gave him hell. He gets more death threats than you.
      Sherlock: Well, I wouldn't count on that.

    • Sherlock: There was one feature, and only one feature of interest, in the whole of this baffling case. And quite frankly it was the usual. John Watson. Who while I was trying to solve a murder, instead saved a life. There are mysteries worth solving and stories worth telling. The best and bravest man I know, on top of that he actually knows how to do stuff. Except wedding planning and serviettes, he's rubbish at those.

    • Sherlock: You look... well.
      Molly: I am.
      Sherlock: How's... Tom?
      Molly: Not a sociopath.
      Sherlock: Still good.
      Molly: And we're having quite a lot of sex.
      Sherlock: Okaaay.

    • Sherlock: But a word to the wise. Should any of you require the services of either of us, I will solve your murder. But it takes John Watson to save your life.

    • Sherlock: Murder. Sorry, did I say murder? I meant to say marriage. But, you know, quite similar procedures when you think about it. The participants tend to know each other and it's assuming they want one of them dead. In fairness, murder is a lot quicker, though.

    • Page Boy: Mr. Holmes, Mr. Holmes!
      Sherlock: Oh, hello again, Archie, what's your theory? Get this right and there's a headless nun in it for you.

    • Sherlock: Don't panic. None of you panic. Absolutely no reason to panic.
      John: Oh, and you'd know, of course?
      Sherlock: Yes I would. You're already the best parents in the world, look at all the practice you've had.
      John: What practice?
      Sherlock: Well, you're hardly going to need me around now that you've got a real baby on the way.

  • NOTES (3)