The long wait finally came to an end with the start of the New Year. Sherlock, is back with a bang – quite literally.
But we’ll get into that later. Needless to say, this review will be plastered with spoilers, so beware.
The first episode of Season 4 starts where we left off in the last special – television Marmite, some hating it and some loving the new take of Sherlock in the time it was written. The overall point of that episode was to prove that that things aren’t always as they appear to be. Just like the ‘dead’ woman in that episode – Moriarty seems to be pretty dead, the only possibility of him being alive would require a serious betrayal from Miss Hooper. So, we can assume he’s dead and has left behind a whole mess of madness to catch Sherlock.
The start is light hearted and funny, Sherlock suffering from munchies and some pleasant banter with a delightful, old secretary. It is revealed very early on that they’ve covered up the shooting of Magnussen. A bit disappointing that such a fantastic last episode was so easily brushed under the carpet, but none the less, lets us go full steam ahead into a fresh topic.
Sherlock seems to be ignoring his life and everyone around him by solving cases and not moving his eyes from his phone (Easter egg alert. All the cases are linked to real short stories. The title of the episode itself, The Six Thatchers is inspired by The Adventure of the Six Napoleons – in the original, the bust had the Black Pearl hidden inside, Dusty Death is a reference from Sherlock Holmes and the jeweller of Florence [about not being able to out run your past – linked with Mary, not being able to escape her past] and many more short stories from Doyle.) Whilst the cases are being solved, John, Mary and the baby are continuing with their normal lives.
The story officially starts with a murder of one boy, the son of a rich family (the owners of the first Thatcher) the death of the boy is solved very quickly, but it’s the smashing of the bust that grabs Sherlock’s attention. More Thatchers are broken until Sherlock manages to corner the culprit and incite a confrontation. Though, he is once again caught off guard by Mary and her past as the wrongdoer is revealed to be an old friend and colleague of Mary’s. A memory stick similar to the one destroyed by John is found inside rather than the Black Pearl (like in the six Napoleons.) We find out that he wants her dead and a British Lady is to blame – Irene Adler? Lady Elizabeth Smallwood? No, someone else, someone we never expected.
The episode doesn’t focus on John at all, other than his apparent affair with a lady he met on the bus. We’re unsure how serious things got and whether or not they are still going. We know John tried to break it off, but again, nothing is confirmed. There is certainly no sense of romance or passion between Mary and John throughout the episode. It was also revealed that the couple had broken off their 16 years of marriage in real life, so that may have added to the tension. Sleeping at the opposite sides of the bed, the possible cheating, the lying… we were surprised that John made the effort to follow Mary after she stole the USB and left her husband and new born to run off on an over-dramatic venture around the world that made very little sense. At this point, all the attention is on Mary and it started some alarm bells in our heads; this is perhaps going to be the last season of Sherlock, as the rumours go anyway. Someone is obviously going to die. Mary has fulfilled her purpose and to be blunt, no one is watching for her; secretly, we were actually hoping she would be the one to take the bullet – and she didn’t disappoint!
It turns out the secretary, Mrs Norbury was the one to blame for the betrayal (the phone call that ruined the last mission Mary and her 3 colleagues took part in) it could have just ended there with a clean capture and clap, but no… Sherlock being Sherlock had to show off. Taking every hit he could at the guilty lady standing opposite him. Mary even warns him to stop, which he ignores. This throws Mrs Norberry over the edge and makes her so angry that she attempts to shoot Sherlock, but Mary, paying Sherlock back for shooting him, jumps in front of the bullet. She dies very quickly – so fast we don’t even have time to get upset. The only tear jerker was John’s reaction – the heavy, pained noise he made afterwards… oh that got us.
John , through gritted teeth, reminds Sherlock that he broke the vow he made and he’s then blanked, turned away from seeing John and his baby later by Molly. He surprises us by asking Mrs Hudson to stop him if he ever gets carried away in the future and is in therapy as John was at the start of the first season.
Can they go back to the good old days of solving crimes together and having a jolly good time? Or has too much happened now?
Now, for our opinion.
Honestly, it felt far too rushed. There was so much going on, multiple cases and not so much of the friendly, sarcastic banter we’ve always adored. Sherlock and Watson are the reason why we fell in love with the show, the personal lives of the two just made it over complicated, awkward and distant.
There were a lot of unanswered questions in this one:
Was the shark at the start a sign that Magnussen is not quite finished? Who or what is AMMO – Adler, Magnussen, Moriarty and a future ‘O’? What is the significance of 13? Does Sherlock keep the dog? Was it really necessary to have Mary be the focus of the episode? She was never a focus in the books and to have John as a background character was not very entertaining for us. We’re excited for the next two episodes, now we know it’s going to be heavily focused on the two we’ve always tuned in for. Mary, we lost interest in you a long time ago, did anyone else sigh when they played the CD saying ‘miss me’ and her face popped up?
It does seem like the future is going to be Sherlock attempting to heal John, he’s going to be depressed about losing his wife and the mother of his child. Does he also feel guilty about seeing the bus lady? John has always been the good guy with the clean slate. The only infallible one. So, showing that he’s not perfect was an interesting choice, not something we were a fan of to be honest – yes, proving that he has faults was a good way to go, but John, a cheater? It doesn’t seem like his character at all. Unless the theme of all things not being as they seem resides through the entire episode.
To sum it up, it was certainly darker and didn’t give us the same fuzzy feeling we’re used to with a new Sherlock episode. It was a great episode in some ways, but compared to the past – disappointing, muddled and much too fast paced, it was as if they were trying to squeeze in as much as possible. But, classic Sherlock (well as classic as a modern day Sherlock can be) it was the people around Sherlock that changed, not so much him. The entire thing seemed to be a filler episode, mostly Easter eggs and clues that will make sense in future. It’s just not as clever…
Overall 3/5. What did you think?