I am a fan of innovative television shows that are constantly improving how they tell stories. BBC’s Sherlock is one of the best shows at it today. I first saw it in 2010 when I was visiting England. I was talking with my aunt, and she told me I had to watch it because it was soooo good, so I did. And I’m still watching it today.
I really enjoy how Steven Moffat (yes, that Steven Moffat from Doctor Who) and Mark Gatiss tell Sherlock’s stories in modern times and how they make it relevant. Both Moffat and Gatiss also brought some great characters to the show, like Mrs. Hudson. She is Sherlock’s landlord who seems like his housekeeper. But she’s really pretty badass. She’s the widow of a drug dealer who owns property in central London as well as an Aston Martin. Pretty much the ultimate landlord or friend or acquaintance even.
The show format is also a little bit different. Each season has only three episodes, of which each are almost 90 minutes long. Some people might have thought this was a weird idea that wouldn’t work, but the BBC is known for its shorter seasons with strong stories.
Fast forward about seven years, and Sherlock is in the midst of its fourth season. Up to this point, viewers have seen a lot — Moriarty terrorized the city, Sherlock successfully faked his death for two years, and John Watson married a retired assassin with whom he started a family.
I mean what more could they have done??? Well, they did it.
(Big spoilers below – you have been warned)
This fourth season is the show at its best, and Gatiss and Moffat continue to tell the smaller stories and larger overarching one in new and innovative ways. In the first two episodes of season four, the intricate story told shows that John and Mary had a baby girl but Mary’s past as an assassin has come back and ultimately takes her life. Sherlock cannot protect any of them, and Mary is killed protecting him. And that’s just the first episode!
Like I said in the title … WOW!!
The second episode is Sherlock trying to save John, per Mary’s posthumous request that came on a DVD titled “Miss Me?” (Which we all know as Moriarty’s catchphrase that continues to haunt Sherlock). It’s told in a constant flashback where as soon as the story reaches the present, it flashes forward and tells what happens in the intervening time.
Like most things in the show, even though Sherlock baits a world known philanthropist, Culverton Smith, who he believes is a serial killer. It looks like Sherlock is in dire straits but of course, he’s in control. Turns out he baited the guy per Mary’s request to save John. The story looks like it’s going to be nicely tied up with as happy an ending as possible with a man recovering from the loss of his wife. There is, however, one little loose end that is so subtle you really do not even know it was there. It surfaces at the end when John is in a session with his new therapist.
Earlier in the show, Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, implied that they had another sibling when he was talking to John. John assumed it was a brother. Turns out it’s not a brother, but a sister who actually has been several different characters throughout the show. She, Eurus Holmes, pretended to be the daughter of Culverton Smith, who set that whole serial killer accusation in motion. She was also the girl on the bus with whom John cheated on Mary (yes, he isn’t the perfect person some people see him as), and she’s also his new therapist. She appears to shoot him right as the episode ends.
As revealed in the third episode — The Final Problem — Eurus is also a highly functional psychopath whose mental capabilities make Sherlock’s skills look elementary. She didn’t kill John. Rather, she shot him with a tranquilizer.
She can control people by just talking to them and has been locked away since Mycroft, Sherlock, and she were children. Sherlock does not remember her at all and his brother fills him in. Turns out, Mycroft has known about her and her abilities of which he lied to their parents and said she died in a fire, so they would not see what she was.
Eurus was sent away when they were kids after she killed Sherlock’s dog. Unknown to Mycroft, Eurus had the entire staff of her prison under control and had been planning her long game for five plus years. The episode then turns into the ultimate cat and mouse game between all three siblings and John. The game includes death, confession, and Sherlock’s realization that he never had a dog. Instead Eurus killed his best friend when they were kids and is planning to kill John in the same way. But she doesn’t after Sherlock solves the riddle of where John is being held.
Even though he saves the day, the story isn’t over. Eurus was returned to her prison, and Mycroft told his parents the truth about their daughter. Needless to say, they are very upset at him. Rather than step in and try to help resolve things, Sherlock heads to the prison to see his sister. They bonded over playing the violin when he was there before, and he thinks he may be able to reach her again that way.
In the closing minutes, Sherlock’s plan seems to work, and Eurus plays the violin with him. It is touching when his parents and Mycroft are able to see them play, too. It was a very human touch for someone who can come across as un-human at times. In fact, the whole episode Sherlock seems much more human. It could be because his sister comes across more un-human than he ever was, but who knows.
All in all season four is Sherlock at its best. The show and characters keep you guessing and crying and wondering what else Mrs. Hudson has in her garage (besides the Aston Martin). You also see how much Sherlock and Watson care about each other. They’re brothers. They have arguments and times when they don’t want anything to do with the other. But they also have great times and are there for each other.
It’s friendship at its finest.
A fifth season of Sherlock has yet to be confirmed, so The Final Problem could be the last episode ever. If so, I’d say it ended on a good note. Both Sherlock and John are still solving cases. Sherlock is helping him raise his daughter, and Mrs. Hudson is there helping, too. The Baker Street Boys (as dubbed by Mary on a DVD sent to John, titled “Miss You”) are back in action and doing what they do best.
Sidenote: Season four also sees the return of Moriarty – even though he is most definitely dead.