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BBC’s Sherlock, from co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, is without question the preeminent adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous character currently on any medium. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes and Martin Freeman’s Dr. John Watson have even better chemistry than Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in Guy Ritchie’s period set Sherlocks, and even though it’s a bit unfair calling it sight unseen, I can’t imagine CBS’ rival show, Elementary (which also uses a modern spin, not to mention a lady Watson), will come close in quality to the soon to be nine 90-minute episodes of the BBC series.
Speaking of the upcoming third series of Sherlock, showrunners Moffat and Gatiss, just revealed ‘three key words’ at the Edinburgh TV Festival that hint at what’s to come. This isn’t the first time that the pair have offered up clues for the coming season, as Moffat, before announcing that three more would be revealed today, was kind enough to remind us, via twitter, that they played the very same game in Edinburgh last year giving fans the words ”Woman, Hound, Fall.” In true Sherlockian fashion, it was then up to the fans to decipher their meaning and come up with some possible threads for the second series.
And, as we now know, those clues actually ended up being rather revealing with “Woman” hinting at the one and only Irene Adler (who stole the show during her appearance in Episode 1, ”A Scandal in Belgravia” based on “A Scandal in Bohemia”), “Hound” referring to perhaps the most famous of all of Sherlock’s cases (Episode 2, ”The Hounds of Baskerville” based on “The Hound of the Baskervilles”) and “Fall” subtly suggesting what turned out to be stunning conclusion, or should I say cliffhanger, to an already fantastic season (Episode 3, “The Reichenbach Fall” based on “The Final Problem”). Now. Back to those aforementioned, brand new words revealed hours ago in Edinburgh.
Last night, Gatiss (who also plays Holmes’ older brother Mycroft) figured he’d get the jump on the highly anticipated announcement and decided to spoil the fun last night by ”revealing the ‘three words’ for S3 early. Pipe. Slippers. Bed. There you go.” Using my keen investigative sense, I deduced that the tweet was likely a joke and that we would have to wait until morning for the real key words. Soon after the event itself, Moffat turned to his twitter account to share the news that ”the three tease words for the next run of Sherlock… Rat. Wedding. Bow.”
Hm. Rat. Wedding. Bow. These are three hints as to what classic Sherlock mystery Moffat and Gatiss will use for their modern spin on the Doyle stories. The most common deductions from the clues so far, thanks to Google, are ”The Giant Rat of Sumatra,” ”The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor” and and “His Last Bow.” Before briefly explaining the stories, let’s reiterate that this is all speculation based on three words and a bunch of surfing (as well as basic knowledge of the books). Being as clever as ever, the selection of “Giant Rat” seems right up Moffat’s alley since it’s not even technically one of Doyle’s Sherlock stories but merely an aside of an untold adventure mention by the detective to his doctor pal in “‘The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire.”
“Noble Bachelor” concerns a case of a disappearing bride at a high society wedding (but the clue could hint at Watson’s nuptials with Mary Morstan since he could have been more than a little lonely without Sherlock around). Finally, “His Last Bow” is a collection of stories as well as the title of one of the installments which is not only the last for the character chronologically but also the only story not written by Watson in the first person. Curious. Whatever else the key word might signify, I’d say it’s almost a certainly that it’s announcing that the third series will be the last, understandably since the stars, Cumberbatch and Freeman, are going to be even more famous with Star Trek 2 and The Hobbit on the horizon. Plus Moffat’s got Doctor Who to occupy his time.
Sherlock is expected to return for the fall of 2013. It's likely to premiere in the UK on BBC a few months before airing on PBS.