Sherlock Season 4


Theo Fehr and Sam Youkilis

After a 3 year hiatus, Sherlock (BBC) returned January 2017. With exception of the 2016 special, “The Abominable Bride”, this has been the longest hiatus to date, usually being 2 years long. Every fan has eagerly been awaiting at the return of this beloved show, waiting for the resolution of a twist, showing his arch nemesis Moriarty’s return. Amid many twists, Sherlock certainly excites, even if this season is not necessarily the best in the show’s run. As always, there are 3, 90 minute episodes in this season. Benedict Cumberbatch reprises his role as Sherlock Holmes, with Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson, as well as the cast of other characters in this season.

The first episode, “The Six Thatchers,” served to tie some of the loose ends of the last season. The title is based off the Arthur Conan Doyle story titled, “The Six Napoleons.” The episode is as dramatic as can be expected from Sherlock, but it has simultaneously been criticized for being too action-packed. Many critics are drawing parallels to another British icon, James Bond, a comparison that does not sit well with many Sherlock Holmes fans.

One of the general weaknesses of Sherlock is the “brushing off” of many of the twists that it presents. One such twist, and the focus of the episode, was the real identity of Mary, John Watson’s wife, which was ultimately summed up to not really matter all that much. Or the fact that Sherlock murdered Magnussen in the last season, and the writers simply wrote it out of existence. Or even the fact that John Watson may be more of a womanizer than his previous character development would suggest.

Despite the drawbacks, it is ultimately okay, with sufficient tragedy and twists to make the episode interesting. However, it leaves many questions, creating a desire to see the season through.

The second episode, “The Lying Detective,” ultimately makes right all the wrongs of the first episode. The title is a play on “The Adventure of the Dying Detective,” another classic Doyle story. This episode returns to many staples of Sherlock, drug addiction, solving big mysteries, and Watson having to re-learn to trust Sherlock. The episode consists of a lot of hallucinations, showing that Sherlock has fallen back into a drug addiction, upon the loss of his friend John Watson.

This makes solving the mystery confusing, and disorienting even for the viewer. Though ultimately, Sherlock solves the case and Watson and Sherlock rekindle their friendship. It is an episode that shows Sherlock’s belief in sacrifice, and shows that he may pretend to be an antisocial alien, but he truly acts in the best interests of those who he considers family, and of humanity in general.

With a great mystery to back up these themes, the episode satisfies any Sherlock viewer, showing exactly what the show is meant to be. As always though, it ends with a large twist to lead into the last episode. As always, the showrunners always find a way to create suspense until the next episode.

The third and final episode, “The Final Problem,” taking the name directly from a Doyle story of the same name. By far the most suspenseful of the three episodes, this is an episode full of twists and turns to satisfy the cravings of any Sherlock viewer. Focusing on a character from Sherlock’s past, the episode really dives deep into his psyche, trying to show the formative events that made Sherlock into the strange creature that he seems to be. It is semi-successful, but ultimately the twists lead to confusion in the end.

With the suspense of a little girl, alone on a plane that seems to be crashing, family secrets that get deeper and more complicated with every explanation, and enough twists to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat, the episode is successful. It wraps up the cliffhangers from the prior season, giving reasonably satisfying answers to some questions. Furthermore, revealing the truth behind the Holmes’ family life, and the truth behind Sherlock’s childhood dog Redbeard, the episode turns out to be tragic.

Ultimately leaving the season open ended, allowing for the BBC to decide to renew it for a fifth season as there is no large twist at the end, the fourth season of Sherlock is action packed, full of mysteries, and as tragic as any viewer could ask it to be. If it is the ending of the acclaimed series, it is certainly an ending worthy of Sherlock.