WARNING: Contains spoilers

As a diehard Sherlock fan, I bear no shame in admitting that the airing of The Empty Hearse was one of the most anticipated events of my life, and for good reason. Writer and co-creator Mark Gatiss not only knocked it out of the park, but sent it flying through the window of the village shop, taking out at least three shelves.

The new series picked up where it left off at the end of series two, on the roof of St Bart’s Hospital where our hero apparently jumped to his death, but somehow survived. After two years of waiting, mad theories and hysteria we finally, finally, know how Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) defied the laws of gravity to survive his fall. Or do we? No, really, do we know? I have no idea. We saw three versions of the fall’s solution, but got no definite answer. But oh well. The rest of the story was so exhilarating that there was barely time to dwell on it anyway.

Fast-forward to two years later, and John (Martin Freeman) is getting on with his life. He’s got himself a new flat, a new moustache and a new lady friend, Mary – played by the absolutely adorable Amanda Abbington – and though he doesn’t seem to be totally over his best mate’s “death”, he’s doing alright for himself. That is, until said best mate decides to make his big “I’M NOT ACTUALLY DEAD!” entrance in the middle of a dinner date, resulting in one of the best and most entertaining scenes in Sherlock history so far.

It’s not long before we are whisked away into the meat of the episode involving a plotted terrorist attack on London, which pays homage to conspiracy thriller V for Vendetta, complete with high-speed chases, deductions and a whole lot of trains. It all comes together beautifully for a very satisfying finale, in which we get a cheeky little taster of what’s in store for the rest of the series.

The Empty Hearse is funny, warm, exciting and action-packed and, best of all, Sherlock and John are back together as a team, fighting bad guys and solving crimes. Ahhh.

Sherlock returns Sunday 5th January for The Sign of Three. Watch the latest trailer below.