Probably the most anticipated series every time it returns, one of the BBC’s biggest shows returns for its fourth series.
We return to the world of Sherlock for yet another case to solve.
Personally I can be a bit up and down with Sherlock but I quite liked this episode. Whilst I still think nothing will ever touch the brilliance of the first season this episode at least had flashes of that old spark.
The story of the Six Thatchers is quickly solved, Moriarty’s return is both important but unimportant whilst the lives of John, Mary and the extremely changeable Sherlock once more takes center stage.
I love Amanda Abbington as Mary and find her interactions with Sherlock to be extremely refreshing but at times the amount the episodes focused on her got on my nerves so to see a slight end to her story, or at least another slight end to her story, left me both happy and sad. She was by far the most compelling part of the story and not just because it focused on her, as I never could enjoy a single scene with Lara Pulvers Irene Adler in it, but because you never felt safe to believe her whilst at the same time believing every word that came out of her mouth. Mary was such a wonderfully lovely character and fit into the relationship of Sherlock and John so perfectly that you just loved her but you always knew that the Not Mary part of her was dangerous and you could never settle on whether or not she’d end up being the villain of any given piece about her.
When I said Moriarty was both important and not important I meant in so much as his threat is there always mentioned and focusing Sherlock throughout the episode but it never actually turns up. Even to the very end we think “ahh here comes the Moriarty story” just for another twist to happen. The faster we get rid of this story in this series the better, I don’t think I can go on longer with the “is this Moriarty, oh no its not Moriarty” story without wanting to hit someone.
The opening up until the end of the Six Thatchers story was the best part of the episode. Really enjoyed the case about the boy who died in his car which lead to the Thatcher bust mystery and thought we were in for some real Sherlock action but it was over too quick. After that it wasn’t so much as solving mysteries or doing anything of importance and more trying to show just how clever both Mary and Sherlock are whilst John gets whisked away in some strange affair that made little to no sense and didn’t go anywhere. As much as I love the series and do enjoy the majority of episodes it does feel like the continued theme is the “humanizing” of Sherlock, something that would be interesting if he didn’t return to his arrogant and childlike manner the very next episode just to have something even more sad happen to him to remind him he’s human and we get the next installment of humanizing happening. Is there a balance they can achieve? Yes of course, there was no need for the whole Margaret Thatcher joke or for him to no longer remember people’s names, its nice to see him going over the top and always fun to see him become a complete ass hole to those he doesn’t know but I feel the time has long passed for the baby jokes and balloon Johns. For me it was just re-hashing of a story they’ve been telling since Series 3 without anything new, every episode it feels like Sherlock’s growth as a human is wiped out to be retold every episode and it isn’t like we have that many episodes in a series for it to not feel old hat.
Not enough time was given to Lestrade (Rupert Graves), Molly (Louise Brealey) or Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs) who all stole every scene they were in. Molly telling off Sherlock at the Christening, Lestrade’s banter with John and Mrs Hudsons presence in general being highlights of the episode. I do forever hope that Molly will be utilized more as Louise Brealey is a outstanding actress who always brings so much emotion to a character who is at the mercy of Sherlock’s whims much more then John ever has been. The emotional gut punch just of the tiny scene of her relaying John’s message to Sherlock at the end showed once more how she is just a gem of a actress. I miss the trio of Mrs Hudson, Sherlock and John just spending time together and guess we’ll never see that dynamic again but its always nice to see her. There also wasn’t enough Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) even though he was actually in it quite a bit! There is never enough Mycroft, his squabbling with Sherlock at the very beginning was so funny I had to pause the show to stop laughing and I do love his uncaring tone as he goes back and forth with his little brother. In fact sometimes I find myself wishing we’d see more of Mycroft and less of Sherlock.
By the end of the episode I was gripped though the ending didn’t really leave as much as a emotional impact on me as it did others. I can’t wait to see where the characters go from the ending though for some reason I’m weary when anyone dies in this show now, it didn’t take long for Mary to go from dead to a video recording, less time then it took Moriarty, and it feels like we haven’t seen the last of her. She’s left Sherlock to “Save John” but what that actually will mean we’ll have to wait and see, sometimes I feel like to save John you probably need to get him away from Sherlock who seems to bring him nothing but heartache.
I do believe the long waits for new episodes doesn’t help for me. Whilst others crave it I seem to get less and less interested in it the longer I wait. Hoping this series at least packs a punch that I don’t think the last one did.