Instant reaction post: "Sherlock" S3, Ep2 'The Sign of Three'

Amanda Abbington, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Sign of Three"
Amanda Abbington, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Sign of Three’

*Spoilers ahead!*
Another great episode, preceded by a fantastic (and hilarious) opening that speaks volumes about the loyalty that Sherlock inspires in his friends. Lestrade drops a case he has been working on for months to respond to Sherlock’s SOS, only it turns out Sherlock was being his inconsiderate, self-centred arsehole. (I saw that coming, though it didn’t make it any less funny — the music sheets wafting through the air in the downwash of the helicopter that Lestrade called in his backup is a nice touch. I wanted him to punch Sherlock at that moment.) He would have been harder to forgive if he didn’t care about Lestrade — and you might think that, with him constantly not bothering to get his first name right — but as we saw in ‘The Reichenbach Fall’, that isn’t true.
Sherlock’s best man’s speech was interminable, but that is inevitable, with them making it a (clever) framework to work in all the cases through flashbacks and Sherlock’s “mind palace”. Love their ingenious way of figuring in Mycroft without him actually being at the wedding — and even Irene Adler (Lara Pulver in a surprise cameo! With a baby on the way for John and Mary, and Sherlock looking to be more alone than ever, I hope that means she’s coming back in Season 4.) And the actual speech itself, before Sherlock started to elaborate on the cases, was really sweet. As was Molly, Lestrade and Mrs Hudson’s concern for Sherlock having to make the best man’s speech. Molly is so fiercely protective of Sherlock, she stabs Tom’s hand with a fork when he suggests that Sherlock is drunk during that speech, which is cute.
The writers have done an amazing job introducing Mary. It’s a tough balancing act bringing her in when she’s needed, while not making her feel like a third wheel to John and Sherlock’s beautiful partnership, but they pulled it off and made her a character that you actually welcome into their lives (unlike John’s dates in Season 1). She’s the loveliest partner a man’s best friend could wish him to have: She doesn’t come in between them, she encourages them to be together, she cares about Sherlock too, and she can see through Sherlock’s emotional state — “I’m not John, I can tell when you’re fibbing.”
As for the case itself, I’m still not convinced that you can stab someone through a belt and not have him feel it — or, in reference to the previous episode, that a bomb would have such an easy “off” switch — but as long as it *sounds* like it could make sense, I suppose it’ll do.