At the end of the day, though, these episodes are a wonderful ride the first time or two but then start to become boring. There aren't those moments that made me want to shake my computer monitor to keep the characters from doing what I knew they were going to do, like when Sherlock is teetering on taking that pill in ASIP. I don't get to wonder, just for a second, if maybe John isn't Moriarty. There's no teetering on the edge of doubt after Sherlock saw that hound in Baskerville, no Sherlock getting ready for his own arrest (*wibbles*). There is no meat in those first episodes, and it's because at its most basic they fail to actually tell a story.
[spoilers for HLV]If anything, "His Last Vow" has the exact opposite problem. It has plot in abundance, and quite lovely plot at that. The trouble is there's too much plot; you feel like it's one thing after another. And again, parts of it are simply lovely. But I don't really have any sense why magnussen is supposed to be such an awful man. I have to work out for myself rather than have shown why Mary's shooting of Sherlock was the best possible outcome, if that's even true. I have to make sense of all the family stuff, all the Mary stuff. There's simply so much up in the air that it feels at the end of the day like I've been hit by one too many revelations and am simply left disoriented.
These problems were avoidable. In fact, avoiding them would have alleviated them. HLV's problems would have been fixed by more build-up over a longer period, which could have been the plot TEH + TSOT so desperately needed. I have so many ideas of how you could have given those episodes some real depth, even some casework, without it really detracting from those lovely moments that make those episodes so much fun. Sadly, BBC didn't ask me. Perhaps Moffat should consider taking a few plot lines from Tumblr? I'm sure they wouldn't mind sharing.
[Speaking of Tumblr, I'm slowly crawling back onto that site. Just original thoughts, no sharing at least for the moment and probably only things that are already native to that site. I'd laid off a while back, but with the new episodes I want to be able to make quick comments about fannish things there.]
The odd thing is, I still love Sherlock, both the BBC character and the Doyle original. I want to read great fanfic. I want to write it. I want to reread the Doyle stories. I want to trade crazy theories and attempt Sherlock-level deductions on the show. I'm not nearly as eager for the actual show to come back, to be honest. Originally the BBC was talking about a Christmas release for series four, but a recent Moffat interview says it will most likely be two years and I'm... strangely okay with this. Hiatus isn't so bad. I'd appreciate it if Moffat would lay off insulting the fandom in interviews and (increasingly) in the scripts themselves, but if he doesn't approve of what I'm working with I'll find a way to work through the pain.
The timing on all this is really kind of shitty, though. I've written about 10,000 words (majorly slimmed down to about 6k and feel like I'm finally seeing the end of a HLV gapfiller fic I'd been working on, and it's leaving me with a serious case of the meh's. The original story doesn't quite seem to support what I'm trying to do with it, and as a story series three isn't really inspiring me to want to comment on it, at least not in quite that way. I want to play with the character dynamics, but not so much the events themselves. That's okay, I guess, and I do have other ideas, both for Doyle-fic and BBC-fic. But it's just... disappointing at some level. Maybe my frustration is flowing as much out of that effort as anything, because there's a reason I don't really do well with longer stories. I'm just better at doing that story essence boiled down to a single flash rather than a prolonged fic.
Anyway. Still love Doyle. Still love this version of Sherlock and Watson. Still love hating Moffat. But I'd be lying if I didn't say there was stuff going on here that left me more than a bit disappointed.