By Ariel Kohane
Warning: Contains Spoilers for Sherlock Season 4
“The game is on!”
All fans of the BBC’s smash hit Sherlock have been waiting eagerly for the past two years for the release of its fourth and (maybe) final season. “High-functioning-sociopath” detective Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his partner-in-solving-crime, Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman), are back in London awaiting evil mastermind Jim Moriarty’s (Andrew Scott) return. Even though seeing the dynamic duo back in action is enough to make fans happy, season four was a bit of a let down. Here’s why.
I’m not saying that the final season wasn’t been incredible– because co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat certainly never cease to amaze their audience– but after two years of waiting, many “Sherlockians” (myself included) looked to season four as its redeeming grand finale. However, all three episodes of season four seemed disjointed. Although, Sherlock is notorious for implementing over-stimulating visuals, erratic editing techniques, confusing plot-lines, impossible twists, and “clever” camerawork, there comes a point when “clever” becomes “overdone.”
One example that sticks in my mind is Sherlock’s drug trip in episode two. It made the plot almost impossible to follow by blurring the line between reality and insanity, causing audience members to wonder whether trying to keep up with the action was even worthwhile considering it was nearly impossible to understand. Of course, deep down, we know that Sherlock is right– he’s always right– but that’s still no excuse for the writers of the show to dice up their stories in a blender and mix them back together like a word soufflé.
Let’s not forget about Mary Watson’s (Amanda Abbington) death. Was that really necessary? Sure, when she was first introduced to the show, fans thought she was a tad annoying, but she grew on us. We came to love her wit, charm, and sense of humour. In my opinion, her death served no point except to throw Watson over the edge and cut himself off from Sherlock.
Which brings me to my next point: why does Watson go back and forth between loving and hating Sherlock? It’s been a common theme for his character, but after a while it gets really, really old.
At the end of season three, Sherlock’s brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) mentions that he has no sympathy for him, which should be obvious by his treatment of “the other one.” ‘The other who? There’s another Holmes brother!?’ fans asked themselves. As it turns out, Eurus Holmes (Sian Brooke), is Sherlock’s long-forgotten and terrifyingly intelligent younger sister who has been locked away in a high-security prison since she was five. While Eurus is by far the most intriguing Holmes sibling, her introduction was very sudden. It’s been two years, and most fans are likely to have forgotten Mycroft’s cryptic mutterings at the end of season three. This probably confused many viewers. My main problem with her story is her ability to manipulate others and get in control of her entire prison complex. I don’t care how cinematic it is, that should be impossible.
Though the writers might have gotten a little lazy and a lot carried away with some of the plot devices, there were many ways in which the show was worth the wait.
First of all, Watson and Mary’s daughter Rosie is adorable! She brings so much joy and fun to the show, especially in the scenes with her and Sherlock. Despite his icy demeanour, he plays very well with the little baby and shows her nothing but love and kindness. I especially love the scene in which she knocks the rattle out of his hand.
As I mentioned before, Eurus Holmes is by far the coolest Holmes. Her appearance is spooky, and it makes her look like the girl from The Ring. Even though she was completely insane, her intelligence was enjoyable to watch. I especially liked watching her puzzle unfold. Everyone loves a twisted family backstory, and I like the unconventional way that Gatiss and Moffat approached it. Typically, family trauma in TV and film is initiated by the parents, not the siblings. It was interesting to see a brother-vs-brother-vs-sister conflict. I also noticed that many of her mannerisms were similar to those of Mycroft. This is awesome work on Brooke and director Benjamin Caron’s parts.
I love Mycroft, Sherlock, and Watson’s dynamic. The actors are incredible and they do such a wonderful job of making their characters feel like real people. The back-and-forth insults between the trio are always entertaining to witness. One of the best scenes is when Sherlock attacks Mycroft’s house with a bunch of clowns (you have to see it to understand it).
Finally, my favorite thing about the show was the ending. Even though there were loose ends and impossible stories that were told, Gatiss and Moffat did a stellar job wrapping it all up. Even though the Holes family was visiting Eurus in prison, it was still very sweet to watch her and Sherlock play the violin together and smile at each other. Mother Holmes grabbing Mycroft’s hand at the end was also a nice touch. I loved seeing the Baker Street flat’s reconstruction montage. We not only got to see the revival of a beloved headquarters, but we also got to see all of our favourite characters come together and rebuild a new life.
The ending sequence with Sherlock and Watson solving crimes paid homage to some of the most memorable of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories but also reminded us of the real reason why we watch Sherlock. We watch it for the unbreakable friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. The game, my friends, is finally over… or is it?