Below is a spoiler-free review of Sherlock season four (though it does spoil prior seasons). If you’ve seen this season feel free to delve into the spoiler section after the review.
Ahh Sherlock, the Steven Moffat & Mark Gattis adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. That is quite the mouthful. I see why they shortened it. It’s been a year since the Christmas special but two years since the last continuation of the story. Well, since the Christmas special, The Abominable Bride, was all a drug-induced Victorian dream inside Sherlock’s head.
The release schedule is one of the more interesting parts of the show. Just when you think it’s gone, BOOM there’s a three-part-series in the New Year. That’s a long time to jump straight back into the fray, with Sherlock moping about Moriarty, who despite being dead, keeps making an appearance.
Episode one, The Six Thatchers, gets the season off to a rocky start, diving into Mary’s spy – sorry – assassin past. And Sherlock comes across as some kind of Jason Bourne fighting dudes in apartments. I love the actress, Amanda Abbington (also Martin Freeman’s now ex-partner believe it or not), but everything here just makes her look silly. Frankly this episode makes everyone look silly.
I would say skip this episode entirely. Something major does happen at the end but you’ll be caught up in the next one.
Episode two, The Lying Detective, is my favourite of this season. We have a pretty much stand-alone episode with a new villain. A wealthy blonde-haired Englishman that reminds me of Donald Trump and how he plays celebrity, but this one actually has cunning. It’s a real Sherlock & Watson introspective episode, looking at their relationship. And the baddie is just so calculating and evil. It’s great.
Episode three, The Final Problem, is good for the most part, with Sherlock, Watson, and Mycroft trapped in a series of deadly escape rooms. But Steven Moffat is back to playing clever and not always the good kind. You will be fooled again and again, and some of his methods are just downright mean. You can’t believe what you’re watching because everything that appears before you could be a trick. So your mileage may vary. It also delves heavily into a retconned backstory for Sherlock and as with most retcons it just doesn’t gel. But it’s certainly a blockbuster finish to the series, I mean season, Freudian slip.
So Mary’s gone. That didn’t take long for them to write her out of the show. I haven’t read any of the books (sorry!) but apparently she dies there too, rather offhandedly. Her appearance as a ghost/figment is the best use of her character yet. Sad that they could only do it after killing her off, but at least it was a better send-off than that god awful standoff in the aquarium.
Sherlock and Mycroft’s sister, Eurus, surprised me as John’s psychiatrist. I didn’t see that coming. And somehow she is so smart she has mind control? Okay… Sian Brooke was amazing though. So creepy. That closeup of her on the blackened screen is as haunting as anything.
So that bloody plane problem was a metaphor? God! Don’t let it get to your head Moffat. I know the show is supposed to be mind bendy but who would’ve been able to guess that?
And that awesome Moriarty entrance to Queen’s I Want to Break Free when Five Years Earlier flashes on the screen halfway through. Now that’s just cruel.
There is some really good wig and disguise work in this show. Euros, and who would’ve guessed that sailor was Mycroft under all that beard??
That’s that for another year. But who knows if Sherlock will come back in 2018… Oh, he will? Never mind, it’s already been plotted and Cumberbatch is signed on for a fifth series. Sherlock will be back in Sherlock and The Baby Watson (yes, I made up that horrible title).