Last night's 'Sherlock' episode, "The Sign of Three," saw the super-sleuth put aside his powers of deduction for a few moments to give a surprisingly moving best man speech at his friend and partner-in-crime John Watson's wedding to Mary Morstan.
'Sherlock' creator and "The Sign Of Three" co-writer Steven Moffat reveals to Vulture
that he never agreed with Conan Doyle's decision to have John and Mary get married "offscreen" (between adventures), because it meant missing out on what was sure to be a truly memorable best man speech. Fortunately, Moffat has now found himself in the position to change all that, and write that Sherlock Holmes wedding toast he had long been wondering about.
So important is this wedding toast that the entire episode is built around it, with breaks for flashbacks and some minor crime-solving, of course. Everyone from Sherlock's beloved landlady Mrs. Hudson to plenty of viewers at home likely thought that Sherlock would make a complete mess of this opportunity, but Moffat disagreed.
"I thought what Sherlock would do," says Moffat, "is he'd sit there and think, 'Everyone's gonna think I'm gonna make a right cock-up of this. Everyone thinks I'm going to screw it up. So I'm going to make them think that, and then of course I'm going to say something lovely.' And I always thought he'd do it well because he's a genius and he cares about his mate -- he wouldn't let his mate down. I think he paced all night to make sure it was moving."
And moving it was. While also making some typical Sherlock insensitive comments, ("Indeed, any reputation I have for mental acuity and sharpness comes, in truth, from the extraordinary contrast which John so selflessly provides."), he also had some truly sweet things to say about John's strength of character, and how much their friendship has meant to him.
Delivered to perfection by Benedict Cumberbatch, the speech elicited tears from some of Sherlock's biggest fans, both onscreen (Mrs. Hudson and Molly Hooper,) and at home, but the moment also made infrequent crier Moffat a little teary as he was writing it: "Sadness doesn't make me cry. I think a simple expression of devotion probably does." And who is more devoted than Sherlock Holmes to his best friend, John Watson?