By Dustin Cabeal
It’s a new year and finally the return of the beloved Sherlock. The show has been away so long that it opened with a history lesson which wasn’t as helpful as the producers probably intended it to be. There’s speculation that this is the last season of the BBC’s Sherlock and you can’t blame them. The show has become insanely popular and launched Benedict Cumberbatch’s career and made Martin Freeman a very busy man. Weirdly enough there’s a chance both actors could meet again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which I’m sure will be a joke and make fans shit their damn pants. We’re not here for that, though.
The episode was okay. It was a solid return, but in a way, it spoiled its own charm. While the episode deals with many things and produces consequences for the characters, the true nature of the episode is revealed at the end. Sherlock finds himself asking Mrs. Hudson if he’s become too full of himself, too overconfident and the answer is a resounding yes. It takes the entire episode to get to this point and admittedly I was put off by the way Sherlock was coming across at the beginning of the episode. It seemed more like a fan fiction version, rather than the polished and brilliant character that had come before. It’s with intention that Sherlock comes across this way. His arrogance and cockiness is his downfall.
After showing us how Sherlock gets off the hook for committing murder and how Mycroft buries the truth, it’s back to business for the team until they get an interesting case. If you recall the rapid-fire case solving from previous seasons, well crank that to eleven and suddenly it’s not so clever and rather annoying. Again, this is intentional as it’s building up Sherlock’s destruction and not necessarily there to amuse the audience.
Once the Thatcher’s show up it starts to get interesting, but then quickly becomes mundane. Mary’s mostly ignored past comes up and then all too prematurely ended. At least the part with the statues. The end, end of the episode was solid. It was great character development, and it frankly made the most sense for the series, even if it wasn’t perfect. No spoilers here.
What was suspiciously missing was that bond, that heart between Watson and Sherlock. They seemed very disconnected which again was intentional and part of the story, but that’s not the first time the series has addressed that and still shown that it’s there. Far be it from me to pretend to know where they could have improved their relationship while developing the rest of the story, but it was missing none the less and made for an awkward fit at the end of the episode.
Visually the series looks the same and continues to be great. The way text messages were incorporated was brilliant, and I hope that every other show out there steals it because if I have to see one more goddamn apple bubble pop up with that sound, I’m going to shoot my TV. There were three particularly great shots that I would like to mention. One was Sherlock having a premonition of sorts and water overlays his face (a call back to the opening of the episode). It was great because they didn’t break from the scene and felt as if we were actually in Sherlock’s shoes for a moment. Another was much the same as part of the Thatcher statue overlaid his face as well. The third shot was far more subtle and yet likely to the most direction as Sherlock and Mycroft hung up their phones and both walked out of the scene, but Mycroft walked into Sherlock’s outline. Deeper meaning? I won’t pretend to know, but it was visually impressive. As much as people like the acting and the writing, I would argue that the visuals play a huge role in why people like this show so much. They frankly don’t get enough credit.
The episode’s ending is the biggest reason to watch the episode. The rest isn’t bad, but it’s all just build up to the ending. The problem being that it doesn’t build towards it very well and the results wouldn’t change if they did. The cases aren’t that interesting, and there’s no Moriarty. He’s teased a lot but never shows up. We’ll see what the next episode holds.
Sherlock S.4, E.1 – “The Six Thatchers”
Run Time: 1h 28min