9 - Despite the show's best efforts, I just can't look back at this episode with anything but admiration. It's as taut and competently put together as any thriller released in the last decade, and "Sherlock" would never even approach its level of quality for the rest of its duration.
Probably my favorite episode overall, but it's been nagging at me for a while that this show is a couple of superb, lived-in performances among a whole host of silly, self-aggrandizing quirks that never coalesce into a satisfying or coherent whole. The ending here comes close, however, and that's all thanks to Freeman.
Marvelous -- the Holmes story to end all Holmes stories, told with wit and energy and style and real warmth. Arthur Conan Doyle is fuming in the hereafter that he didn't come up with this one. Moriarty fucks Holmes' mind good and solid, this episode does in less than two hours what it took Christopher Nolan three entire goddamn Batman reboots to try and fail miserably to do.
I am curious if the other people here were already familiar with the ending of this story before watching it. I knew roughly how it was going to end, and wasn't terribly crazy about the way it was done overall (wasn't bad, just not my favorite). Really enjoyed the first 3/4 or so though!!!
Limiting each series to three episodes is a savvy move; while the show is generally enjoyable--and the actors are all very good in their roles--it does not seem to rise much above the average television detective procedural; if they had extended it to even 7-10 episode seasons/series, I suspect this would show too clearly.