Sherlock – The Last Vow

This Sherlock finale has made me confused…not confuse about the story but about how to write a spoiler free review. From the beginning till the end, it’s full of strain of spoilers. I don’t know where to begin and how to dodge the spoiler.

So…here’s my (trying so hard not to spoil it) review.


“Sherlock, she loves you!”
“Yes like I said, human error.”

I am not going to say that Sherlock 3 is the best series of all because the others are also equally great, however I can say that Series 3 is the most complicated and most beautiful of all. Complicated because you can’t turn your attention away and then expected to still understand the story afterward, you have to follow the whole story to understand it, to understand the case to be precised. Beautiful because this series really shows everyone’s feeling toward the others. We can clearly see that Sherlock truly loves John and the cold Mycroft really cares about her little brother. There’s so much love here.

In His Last Vow, for the first time in Sherlock (BBC) we get to see the addict Sherlock, the Sherlock who uses drug. I LOVE the villain, I love him far more than Moriarty…to be honest, I always imagine Moriarty to be like him (NOT like the one we saw in Series 1 and 2). Charles Augustus Magnussen (played brilliantly by Lars Mikkelsen) is one of the most powerful men in the western world. He is powerful because he knows every little secret of important people. He uses his knowledge to blackmail them and because of that no one dares to stand against him…except for one man!

Sherlock is asked by Lady Smallwood (Lindsay Duncan) to help her out of the blackmail. The case grows broader, it’s no longer related to Lady Smallwood.

I have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE Charles Augustus Magnussen. He is the true match for Sherlock’s intelligent. To be honest, he is the best thing in this episode (of course apart from Sherlock and John). Magnussen is an amazing villain, so manipulative, arrogant, cool and classy. He is amazing. Lars Mikkelsen plays the character so brilliantly. He is by far the best villain in the entire Sherlock series.

Charles Augustus Magnussen
Charles Augustus Magnussen

If you haven’t seen this episode, I ADVICE you to look away, close this page…ignore it because here’s come the spoiler!! It’s nothing but spoiler from here on.

The reason why I can’t write a spoiler free review is because I have some complaints for this episode. It’s just TOO Moffat!! Just like what he did to Doctor Who Christmas special (which I am still unable to write a review) he indulges himself too much. It’s like he is trying hard to give a twist but in the ends he gives too much twist that ends up giving a sense of gratuitous.

I am NOT saying the episode is bad…but compared to other Sherlock episodes (from series one to three) this one is the least episode that uses the greatness of Sherlock deductions. I bet almost everyone who watch the series love it because of the way Sherlock deducts things, we’re not here to simply see the handsome Benedict (for me, he is handsome because he is great as Sherlock). I love all the sweet things in this series and fortunately the other two episodes also have the other things I like, the deduction! Unfortunately, His Last Vow lacks of that.

I did mention it in my review of The Sign of Three that the closing makes that episode great…because Sherlock really deducts something. This time he has a brilliant criminal who is as smart as him but he doesn’t do much deduction, he is only doing normal detective thing. I was very disappointed when I see it. And to top it all, he doesn’t even solve the case…he kills him!! It’s just too lame!!

And the cliffhanger? Oh don’t even get me started!! Again…Moffat forces things to an incredible extent. Moriarty showing up again? Like that’s going to make us curious. The two series have great cliffhanger, it kept us in the land of wondering for years…but now, when I saw Moriarty’s message, I was like WTF?? Really? This is how they create the cliffhanger? *raising eyebrows*

As I have said above, I am not saying that the episode is bad…I still love parts of it. I don’t mind they turn Mary into an ex-assassin. I have already figured out that she is not what she looks like. In fact, my favorite quote is from the conversation between Sherlock, John and Mary.

John: Is everyone I have ever met is a psychopath?
Sherlock: Yes. Good that we settled that.
John: Shut up! And stay shut up because this is not funny. Not this time.
Sherlock: I didn’t say it was funny.
John: You! What have I ever done? My whole life to deserve you.
Sherlock: Everything.
John: Sherlock, I’ve told you, Shut up!
Sherlock: I mean it, seriously! Everything, everything you’ve ever done is what you did.
John: Sherlock one more word you’ll not need morphine.
Sherlock: You are a Doctor who went to war, you are a man who couldn’t stand the suburb for more than a month without storming to a crack and beating up a junkie, your best friend is a sociopath who solves crimes as an alternative to getting high, that’s me by the way, hello. Even the land lady used to run a drug cartel.
Mrs. Hudson: it was my husband’s cartel, I was just typing.
Sherlock: and exotic dancing.
Mrs. Hudson: Sherlock Holmes if you have been youtube-ing…
Sherlock: John, you are addicted to a certain lifestyle, you’re abnormally attracted to dangerous situations and people, so is it truly such a surprise that the woman you fall in love with conforms to that pattern.
John: But she is not supposed to be like that. Why is she like that?
Sherlock:  Because…you chose her!
John: Why is everything always my fault?!

I also love the elaborate mind palace of both Sherlock and Magnussen. It’s nice to see what’s going on in Sherlock’s mind when he is inches from death. The appearance of Moriarty in Sherlock’s mind is perfect (he should have stayed there, not in the end of the episode) I also like the way he explains how he is going to enter Magnussen’s office to John. The visualization of their theory is interesting, we can it in plain sight.

Sherlock S03 E03c

And of course…the acting!! Again, everyone involved in this series played amazingly. All the actors/actresses are the perfect choice for the characters. They are all brilliant actors, BBC is blessed to have such talents in their show.

I am a fair fan, I don’t love something blindedly and automatically judge all the episodes as amazing. As much as I love Sherlock (anyone who knows me knows how much I love Sherlock) but I can’t say I like this episode wholeheartedly…in all 9 episodes of Sherlock, this is my least favorite of all.

Nevertheless, I am still eager to see Series 4…in fact, I miss all the characters already…for the past three weeks, they have been an important part of my daily life. It’s sad to know that the series is over and we all have to wait for another year or two to see them again. I really hope that the amazing writers of Sherlock will go back to the amazing Sherlock we first saw in series 1 without losing the sweetness that has been shown in this series.

Miniseries Detail:

Title: His Last Vow
Staring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs,  Mark Gatiss, Rupert Graves, Andrew Scott, Amanda Abbingtton, Lindsay Duncan, Lars Mikkelsen
Writer: Steven Moffat
Director: Nick Hurran
Air Date: January 12, 2014
Rating: 3,5 stars

Oh…so good to see Benny’s parents again in this episode 😉

Benny's Parent

And this is a nice photo to close my last review of Sherlock series 3 🙂 …see you again next year (hopefully next year)

Martin and Benny on the set
Martin and Benny on the set


  1. Good review. I thought this was a very good episode although I think I may like The Empty Hearse more. SPOILERS I liked the fact that Sherlock totally underestimated his opponent and was forced to use barbaric means to beat him. I loved all the mind palace stuff that ocurred – always stylish and Lars Mikkelsen was a really good villain. Like you I also preferred him more than the actor who portrayed Moriarty.

    1. Thank you Jason 🙂 Same here! I like The Empty Hearse the most in this series.

      I also like how Sherlock was surprised that Magnussen outsmarted them, I just wish he puts more deduction into his investigation…that’s what missing from this episode.

    2. Agree with you completely accept one thing; Even murdering Magnussen in cold blood, Sherlock didn’t beat him. Magnussen utterly defeated Sherlock at his own game and in murdering him, Sherlock proved Magnussen the better man and further cemented his victory.

      1. Hear hear!! I agree, he doesn’t solve anything…totally nothing. That’s why I don’t like this episode that much.
        Anything that ends with solving the problem by killing someone with gun is really not a great end…especially for detective movie/series

        1. You got that right. Also, in truth, Magnussen’s genius intellect is actually superior to Sherlock’s, rivaling Mycroft even. You can tell this by the difference in their Mind Palace mastery and construction. Magnussen was able to build a Mind Palace that allowed him to retain anything he stored in it and he didn’t need to delete things to make way for new info, whereas Sherlock did. Sherlock also takes a minute or two at least to find what hes looking for in his Mind Palace, whereas Magnussen finds what hes looking for in 30 seconds or less. Did you notice that too?

  2. okay, I haven’t watched this episode yet so I’ll have to come back. Thanks so much for recommending Sherlock to me. I love the series!

      1. I really enjoyed this episode. I won’t include too many spoilers for others and there are lots of potential spoilers! And the ending–loved it!

  3. Hahahaha!! I completely sympathize with you Novia! 😉

    It’s hard sometime to do a good review without the spoilers, especially if something you like or hate about a story involves something crucial and important. You want to give people a good feeling for whether or not they too should watch something but you don’t want to ruin the experience…. I usually lean towards including them because I expect most readers might want to go to the trouble of buying a DVD and would want to know if their money was worth the risk…. especially with import DVDs that can be expensive to buy.

    ….. and I notice you still haven’t reviewed the “Doctor Who Christmas Special”. I’m sensing you, fangirl that you are…. like me… were disappointed with that one too… 😉

    1. That’s why Benny (Benedict Cumberbatch) said that he wish everyone can see Sherlock at the same time because spoilers will be everywhere in the net and Cilli also mentioned about how the net often spoiled a movie. Many bloggers (or even anyone who uses internet) sometime find it difficult to share without spoiler 😉

      It’s hard to write this review because of my slight disappoinment on this last episode…if I don’t have any complain, it’ll be easier to keep spoilers away. AND YES!!! I am disappoited at Doctor Who special…poor Matt, he doesn’t have good goodbye moment (I’ll talk about it later when I finally manage to see it again and review it) 😉

  4. There are soooo…many things I want to mention!!!

    1. The dialogue between Sherlock and John after the revelation of Mary’s identity was my favorite part too!!! Interestingly, I felt like it was a slap in the face directed at ME! I guess it was because right until that very moment, I was sympathizing with John. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him since Mary turned out to be…not as he expected. But then Sherlock gave him a reality check and I thought, “Wow. That’s actually true! Spot on!”

    2. When they first announced that Sherlock’s villain for season 4 would be Magnussen, my first thought was actually, “I don’t think he’s going to last long”. I dont know why,it was just the first thing that popped in my mind. So I was surprised about how it actually turned out! Like I said in my Whatsapp text, I have mixed feelings about how Moffat ended things. However, I do have to say that I didnt really mind that Sherlock did what he did in the end. He is, after all, no angel. And I think he couldn’t stand watching his enemy patronizing John instead of him. I’m sure Sherlock had bullies when he was growing up, so he was used to people patronizing and making fun of him because he knew he was above them. So when this particular bully targeted John, he somehow didn’t know what to do to protect his only friend in the world and he just…lost it. But then again, I could be completely wrong. Even Moffat himself said, “humanize Sherlock at your own peril”.

    3. Was I the only one who got choked up & teary-eyed after they revealed who Blackbeard actually was??? That was one sweet moment!!

    4. “this one is the least episode that uses the greatness of Sherlock deductions.” >> this really is an interesting point because I honestly didn’t realize that there wasn’t any deduction scenes in this episode until I read your post! Maybe they did it in purpose so they could show how Sherlock’s mind palace actually works instead?

    5. OH MY GOD! I looooooveeeee Mycroft & Sherlock’s interactions this season!!! It’s the truest form of brotherly love one can expect from a couple of anti-social geniuses 😛
    PS: I read somewhere that young Sherlock was actually played by Moffat’s son. Thoughts? 😛

    6. Last but not least: Considering what Sherlock had to..umm…go through to get an access to Magnussen’s office (read: exploiting Janine’s so called “human error”), should Ms. Irene Adler not call him The Virgin anymore? 😛

    On that note, I’m signing off!

    1. 1. I already something is up with Mary…so it’s not a slap for me.

      2. I don’t mind Sherlock shot Magnussen because there’s no other way to protect him…I mind with the process.

      3. Not emotional enough for me.

      4. I realize that instantly because the deduction is what makes me love Sherlock.

      5. It could be, he does look like him a bit 😉 … and it’s British, it’s so common to see friends and relatives in one show

      6. Hahaha Janine is a lucky woman 😉

  5. I really enjoyed the last episode and I’m definitely looking forward to more Sherlock. While I await the next series I’ve returned to watch series 1 all over again! I think the episodes are even better second time around! 😉

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