I never thought that I will have to write one. There were several things I was looking forward to in 2017, Sherlock being one of them. I watched the other 3 seasons only last year and wrote about why I enjoyed the series, along with how the special episode wasn’t up to expectations. Well, the start of 2017 turned out to a letdown but thankfully, XXX: Return of Xander Cage improved it.
What went wrong and right?
I waited till the last episode was aired, ’cause I just hate the idea of holding onto cliffhangers, one of the reasons why I don’t watch TV series. 😛 I watched the last three seasons back-to-back last year. If you ask which is my favorite episode then it definitely either “a study in pink”or “hound of Baskervilles” as they had the flavor I enjoyed about this show.Then, I sat down to watch the three episodes when it was re-telecasted, one after the other. The first episode started where the “abominable bride” was left off, only that in latter Sherlock was convinced that “Moriarty is back and what he is going to do next“. He was proven wrong. Sherlock seems to follow the undying cycle of making mistakes since “his last vow” as opposed to being a narcissistic prick who pays no heed to other’s feelings, yet he cares for them. When I watched the season trailer I predicted several aspects which turned out to be right.
Mary Watson’s past comes back to haunt her, taking up all of the time in “six thatchers”. I loved the way, the whole scenario was developed. Her former teammate Ajay, hides his Pendrive inside a bust shaped like Margaret Thatcher and tries to reclaim it years later. Only that there were 6 busts located in 6 different places and one of the owners had to pay a minor price; Sherlock’s first case was that. The episode stuck to the core essence; quick montages, developments, twists and above all, humorous contexts backed by Benedict’s versatility and Martin’s ability to show-off apt facial expressions. But then, the problem was with the climax itself. Sherlock was threatened at gunpoint but Mary jumps in front of him and takes the bullet. After confessing her love for John and admiration for Sherlock, she succumbs to her wounds. Sherlock fandom has reacted in the form of “shock” and “pain” as it started a drift between Sherlock and John. To me, it felt like a burst of a balloon which took a lot of time and patience to be inflated. The thrill of the whole setup was ruined and expectations were not met, not even Martin’s wailing could compensate that though I enjoyed Benedict’s final narration, with ecstasy. Dude’s got a hell of a voice.
As expected the following two episodes turned out to be more melodramatic. That’s problematic element. Moffat and Gatiss tried to justify it by saying that they wanted to enhance Sherlock’s humanity. But, as the show went on, I began to miss the narcissistic high functioning sociopath with that swag, from the first two seasons. In a nutshell, this season was about Mary’s death, how Sherlock and John tried to cope up with it, and the entry of third Holmes sibling, something that was hinted earlier in “his last vow”.
Lying detective was the best episode from this season solely due to the fact that Sherlock actually solved a case as opposed to the whole family affairs. It is nice to include all that, but hello? We are looking at Sherlock and Dr Watson, the one who solves crimes and other blogs it for a living. That being said, BBC stopped updating John Watson’s blog, something I enjoyed personally, in spite of it being in “six thatchers” where John is shown updating all the cases. Until the climax of the show, Sherlock was shown in a manner we don’t want to see. Benedict nailed in terms of portraying drug induced psychosis and withdrawals. But, as I mentioned earlier, the sudden shift from a fast paced suspense thriller to a grim tale is felt. Seemingly, Sherlock is taking the drugs to cope up with Mary’s death, but I found it difficult to accept that from a high functioning sociopath. As right as I was, Sherlock was only putting himself in danger’s way because Mary wanted him to save John Watson by creating a situation where they could repair their relationship. It does raise several questions, like what if John didn’t watch that tape of Mary’s? He wouldn’t show up in time and Sherlock would have been choked to death by our antagonist. John himself accentuated that, enhancing on how Mary is responsible for whatever positive developments were there in his character. This is more disturbing to me as a viewer as Sherlock and John were inseparable friends who would take bullets for each other. This is visible in the previous three seasons. Sherlock should simply have left him clues to lead to nailing down the target as opposed making himself a pathetic figure in order to lure John in, this too, after his theories were disregarded as words ‘from a junkie’ and being beaten by a very agitated John. Mary’s passing was indeed traumatizing for John, but come on! I would have preferred it better if he forgave Sherlock without the necessity of third person’s persuasion. The one aspect I enjoyed is Una Stubb’s performance while she confronted Mycroft and John by saying that Sherlock is quite “emotional”.
“The final problem” is currently the most controversial part and I can’t blame the fans being pissed off. The first half had the same familiar flavor where Sherlock and John did their ‘show off’. The trio made a massive escape from death and a better entrance. It all went downhill in the form of a melodrama. Even die-hard fans couldn’t digest this hazy conclusion, especially if it is the last season. The new Holmes sibling is revealed to be Mycroft and Sherlock’s psychopath sister who could manipulate and brainwash those around her. She was able to brainwash John Watson into “liking” her. She brainwashed Sherlock into believing that she was a hallucination, though he was high at that moment. She made a puppet out of a whole institution to finally give the Holmes brothers and Watson their final game. Why? James Moriarty’s posthumous revenge. *sigh* Moffat and Gatiss did the same with Adler’s character by making her a ruse in Moriarty’s big game. We are far from having a deathly female villain without her own aim and agenda.
If you analyze the three previous episodes, yes, Sherlock has made mistakes and faced severe setbacks, but the at the end, it was his plan all along and did the final deduction in order to reach a conclusion. He had the strong upper hand all the time thanks to his slick cleverness. Here, Sherlock is a lab rat. He is tested, broken, and made to feel the dejection as the finds out the truth about “Redbeard”. An epiphany was hidden amidst Eurus’s words, gives him the final motivation and watching Sherlock getting the upper hand was a huge *sigh* of relief. And the ending reminded me of the kind of disappointment I have had after reading “Harry Potter and the cursed child“. A villain who is so slick, manipulative and clever is subdued easily. Delphi wanted to see her father again (that’s all) while Eurus, someone who killed 6 people including Sherlock’s best friend who was left to die, just wanted a hug from her brother. *please*. But then, overall the episode could be enjoyed as a suspense thriller where you will be the edge of your seats till the end, but one scene ruined the whole show for me. And it is, unfortunately, the creator’s favorite scene:
Eurus gives Sherlock a test. She said that she rigged Molly Hooper’s house with explosions and in order to save her, he has to make her say “I love you“. Molly Hooper loves Sherlock but she is friend zoned by him to a painful degree. Sherlock calls her and tries to but not before she urges him to say the same as if he meant it. The end of Sherlock season 4’s second trailer showed Sherlock looking straight into the camera with words“I love you”. I knew it then that he was saying it to Molly Hooper and that it was some trick. Fans who shipped Sherlock and Molly hated the fact that their relationship was not properly mended as opposed all the things Mycroft confessed about Eurus. I am not a shipper *chuckles* and believe that Molly deserves better. Sherlock is shown to be having a soft corner towards Irene Adler but the way he looked at Molly before kissing her on cheeks in “an empty hearse” could give a possibility. They have feelings for each other but in their own ways. But, this scene was too bleak and it killed the charm of the whole show.
Overall, I would be lying if I say that I didn’t enjoy season 4 altogether. It was thrilling and had the elements of surprise and intrigue. Most of the credits should go to the performances notably by Benedict, Una Stubbs, and Mark Gatiss. I just hope that this is not the final season ’cause if it is, then it’s anti-climatic. The cliff hangers are not visible and the show changed a lot since the first episode. I had to watch “a study in pink” and “blind banker” to wear off the disappointment.