Sherlock, now in it’s fourth season on the BBC still has plenty of ground to cover but while Conan Doyle was not encumbered with a cohesive plot and millions of online critics. The 21st century Sherlock has a lot more people to answer too.
The concept of prestige TV has always been an interesting one. You’re given more space to explore a story but the catch is you have to keep your audience interested over years as opposed too hours. Which is why you get plot twists, some good and some bad…
The death of Mary Watson felt like a bad plot twist.
It was hollow, a plot point that felt reverse engineered or just not set up as well as it could have been and tarnished with John’s affair.
Arguably her presence of Mary in this episode feels better written as she follows a grief stricken John Watson from his house to his therapy appointments. The gulf between Sherlock and John visible on screen.
The disembodied Sherlock Holmes remains interesting, accepting a flawed antihero side to Sherlock provides us with an unexpected dimension too who Sherlock is. Maybe it’s because we’re not seeing him through John Watson’s rose tinted glasses.
It’s good, it’s a proper episode after the convoluted shit of last week, this is a really good mystery. And it’s Benedict Cumberbatch at his best, there are moments he feels miscast- a little too Bond- but running into Watson’s house he’s incredibly Sherlockian.
And Toby Jones playing the creepy villain perfectly fits into the near Sherlock landscape. As the charitable billionaire balances that line between cartoonish evil and reality TV show judge we don’t question why we see him on a multitude of screens.
As the antagonist of the episode Culverton Smith is a rich, smart ‘cereal’ killer who enjoys confessing his crimes to his drug addled colleagues. Although there seems to be no mention of the nurses administering the drugs and whether or not they hear him confessing.
But we’re presented with Culverton Smith’s daughter whom asks Sherlock too help her solve the murders she heard about in her half drugged state. Although she’s not the only one, Sherlock seems to have been enjoying some party favours of his own.
As a mirror to the dead Mary Watson we’re quickly led to believe that the Smith daughter isn’t actually there with Sherlock as they eat chips and move around London in a very elegant ‘Fuck Off’ pattern. Again, it’s the idea that Sherlock is too far gone a Sherlock that’s just a little bit too vulnerable and needs John Watson.
Which where Mrs Hudson comes in, the underrated and criminally underused character delivering the best line of the episode”I’m a widow of a drug dealer, I own property in central London and I’m not your housekeeper” brings Sherlock to Watson’s therapists office.
Our gruesome twosomes uncomfortable reunion is one of the better parts of the episode. Emotionally charged without the need more expedition and it’s suitably interrupted by Culverton who calls him too one of the hospitals he owns.
Culverton Smith is brilliantly evil, not taking his kills too seriously while easily expressing his power over the people around him. He’s a little bit Moriarity and a little bit Magnussen. Uncomfortably Saville.
Everything seemingly fits into the ‘Dying Detective’ storyline on which this episode was based off. From Culverton Smith’s confession too Sherlock peddling himself full of drugs for an actual reason.
The end throws itself into a hasty truce with Watson moving in and Culverton Smith in prison. Mary is honoured in a way that doesn’t feel tacked on and things develop from the story.
Overall it’s a great episode, with a properly Sherlock feel (he even wears the hat) the glossing over of the Third Holmes pretty much guaranteed the ending would involve her. I don’t think they’re being particularly edgy by making the Third Holmes a woman but all I know right now is that I’m itching too see next weeks episode.