The Super Bowl may was the main event on US television last night – that is until the game turned into a borefest and Moriarty made his shock return over on PBS. Yes, those silly schedulers pitted Sherlock against American football and, according to Twitter, at least, Sherlock won...
But Twitter users weren't the only ones having their say on the shock re-appearance of our favourite detective's arch-nemesis. The action-packed final episode, climaxing with Andrew Scott's deliciously creepy, "Did you miss me?" won over the American critics, too. And is it any surprise? His Last Vow had it all - Sherlock's girlfriend, a topless Cumberbatch, scary Mary, a deadly gunshot... We could go on - but this lot have it covered:
Writing in TVLine, Michael Slezak observed, "Where does one begin a discussion of Sherlock's series 3 finale?
"With our intrepid detective’s lip-lockin’, bathroom-gigglin’ encounters involving a certain plucky bridesmaid? With Mycroft’s heartfelt show of emotion for brother dearest? With Molly’s absolutely brutal (and seriously pissed-off) triple face-slap of Mr. Holmes?
"I mean, all of the above angles sound pretty juicy, and yet not a one of ‘em — nor “Sherlock found in a flophouse!” or “Supervillain licks a powerful lady’s face for sport!” or “Everybody passes out from poisoned punch at Christmas!” — can begin to match the Rated W (for WHOA!) plot developments of this particular(ly crazy) installment."
Over on ScreenRant, H Shaw Williams noted, "it's gratifying to announce that the game is finally back on in Sherlock's season finale.
“His Last Vow is undoubtedly the best episode of this season, and some might consider it the best episode of the series so far. Moffat’s penchant for slightly over-the-top melodrama is tempered by a healthy dose of dry wit and the performances of Sherlock‘s excellent cast, and despite some of the shocking events that take place the episode still feels nicely grounded."
But Alan Sepinwall, writing for Hitfix, didn't register such resounding applause for the series finale: "It all felt a bit like the climax of Man of Steel, in which a situation is contrived in which our hero has no choice but to take deadly action that goes against the things that have defined the character for decades.
"When Sherlock is at its best, you can't see the hands of Moffat or Gatiss manipulating people and events to get the desired result. Here, I could, even as I found Magnussen (played by Mads Mikkelsen's brother Lars) a very compelling villain to that point, and as I enjoyed the great new complexities of the Watson marriage now that we know Mary's true identity."
And finally, Collider's Alison Keene wrote, "His Last Vow combined the action and humor elements of the show’s earlier episodes, without tilting one way or the other too much (like some might say the first two of this season did). It still had in-jokes though (like Lestrade being at the ready to film Sherlock in his drug-addled state again), and plenty of fan moments (like more exploration of the Holmes family).
"Ultimately, it is what I believe every Sherlock episode is — a really good time. Sherlock is a great series, but not for the reason that other beloved, though heavy dramas, are. Sherlock finds drama in the positive and joyous as well as in the dark. It’s something that makes the show stand out, because it’s different. Just like Sherlock himself, and those he seeks to protect."