So. My immediate reaction on seeing the writing credits wasn't "yay, a different Steve!", but "this is a mini series and you couldn't be bothered to write all the episodes, Moff and Gatiss? Really? Really?"
And the thing is? It totally shows. Because although I thought the overall plot was better formed this week --- in that it wasn't telegraphed within a minute of the set-up --- the characterisation that had been established only last week suddenly got whacked upside the head.
It can be summarised oh so very easily.
1. What happened to Watson?
No. Really. What the fuck happened to him? One episode he's super stoic, sliiiightly confused and in denial but on the whole incredibly intelligent, capable and, you know, a badass soldier, who lives for danger whether he likes it or not, and has found himself on this wild and awesome ride. This week he's a fumbling grocery-shopping failure that LEAVES THE PERSON HE'S MEANT TO BE PROTECTING, shows absolutely no backbone when threatened, and on the whole, bumbles around obliviously like an ineffective tosser. No. No! He was excellent last episode. Don't change him!
Much as I love Martin Freeman a whole, WHOLE lot, the thing I really liked was that he was playing against type. And this episode he was back to being a) Arthur Dent's less brave, less resourceful second cousin, b) Mike's less hardware capable, less amusing third cousin, c) Ed Robinson's more confused, lonelier first cousin, and d) not getting nearly as much
It frustrates me.
Other annoyances I had were:
a. Lestrade and his team not being there. Why establish all of that conflict with one team, only to bring in another DI with a host of others (who are mysteriously invisible, for the most part.) Over time, yes, but straight away? You only have three episodes to play with, is that really wise?
b. Sarah being introduced so early. Sherlock and Watson barely know each other. Watson needs to have his bromance before he gets a romance. This is a personal preference thing and based only on "eee, boys!" because Sarah was actually completely awesome and I'd want to date her were I not straight.
c. How 'exotic' it was trying to be. That doesn't work any more as a fictional device, and it shouldn't work any more as a fictional device. I find it frankly creepy and diminishing.
d. The ending, which was very tacked on.
I feel very much like the first episode was a pilot and these next two commissioned based on it being received well by testing audiences (with a few, minor caveats --- such as "oooh, that Watson fellow's fairly equal to Sherlock, in't'ee? You should dumb him down so as he makes Sherlock look a proper genius.") Can anyone tell me if that's the case? It would explain a lot.