Una Stubbs

'Sherlock' Season 4: 'The Final Problem' Recap

Benedict Cumberbatch is all brooding in this shot. (Photo:  Courtesy of Laurence Cendrowicz/Hartswood Films & MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Sherlock: Sherlock went on a massive drug bender and staged an elaborate case to catch a serial killer, all so that he could give John someone to rescue and somehow help him process his grief over his wife’s death. It turns out that Sherlock and Mycroft have a heretofore unseen secret sibling who, surprise, is actually a sister, not the brother everyone thought . Her name is Eurus and she’s a little bit…well, crazy is probably the best word. She staged an elaborate ruse, involving multiple disguises and fake identities to both pose as John’s therapist and also as the woman who managed to get him to engage in an emotional affair. Why? No idea. Oh, and she also pulled out a gun and shot him at the end of last week’s episode.

Man, a lot of weird stuff happened this season. If you need a recap of last week, you can catch up on "The Lying Detective" here

“The Final Problem” is, like much of Season 4, a mixed bag. There are several intriguing smaller riddles, along with a few plot threads that make absolutely no sense. (And one rather large plot thread that makes no sense either.) The insertion of Eurus in this story still feels strange, and at times too new to hang the crux of the season on. And, for better or worse, the show officially seems to have crossed the line into pure soap opera territory. There are a few twists and character moments that would probably make Days of Our Lives’ infamous Stefano DiMera proud. 

'Sherlock' Season 4: 'The Lying Detective' Recap

Things are tense between Sherlock and John this week. (Photo: Courtesy of Ollie Upton/Hartswood Films & MASTERPIECE)

Previously on Sherlock: Sherlock and John investigate a case involving shattered busts of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. It turns out to be connected to Mary’s shady past as a killer for hire, and she ultimately ends up being killed by a bullet meant for Sherlock. John blames his best friend for his wife’s death, and is clearly transferring some anger that should be more accurately directed at himself, since he’s been having an affair. For more info, check out last week’s recap here.

“The Lying Detective” is a really great episode from a character perspective – both Sherlock and John are given some great moments, together and separately, and it actually feels as though there are consequences from last week played out in a realistic way. As a story, it’s entirely too convoluted in places and Toby Jones could probably build a house from the scenery he chews through in every one of its scenes. Oh, and the twist at the end is…weird. Perhaps it’s one of those things that we won’t be able to fully judge until the end of next week’s episode, but on first impression: it’s real weird.    

'Sherlock' Season 4: 'The Six Thatchers' Recap

Benedict Cumberbatch in "Sherlock" Season 4. (Photo: Courtesy of Hartswood Films and MASTERPIECE)

Finally! After what feels like a million years but is actually only three, Sherlock is back with a proper full series. (I’m not counting the Victorian one-off special that aired during early 2016 in this, if only because that episode was really weird, and didn’t actually advance the story of the show at all.) It’s been a while since we’ve spent some quality time with the boys of Baker Street, and Season 3 was both controversial and rather tumultuous, so who knows what to expect in Season 4. Anything, apparently.

“The Six Thatchers” kicks off the new season in style – it’s very intriguing to look at, and it features star Benedict Cumberbatch at his absolute manic best. But is it a good episode? That’s…a more complicated question. In some ways, “Thatchers” isn’t what we expect from a Sherlock episode at all. The “case” as it were, is paper-thin, and serves only as a cover for the character issues that the show wants to explore around it. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but it doesn’t always work. There’s too much time here spent on flashbacks and the primary story edges a bit on the side of soap opera. Maybe there was nothing that could live up to the expectations we as viewers place on new episodes of Sherlock, but “Six Thatchers”, despite several bright spots, was a rather disappointing return.

Why? Let’s talk about it. 

'Sherlock' Series 3: Let's Talk "His Last Vow"

 

Previously, on Sherlock: John got married, though since most of the episode consisted of Sherlock and John affirming the epic and lifelong nature of their relationship, you might be surprised to find out it was to Mary. Sherlock gave the best Best Man Speech in the history of time, complete with soppiness, awkwardness, and an attempted murder. Everyone lectured Sherlock about how Marriage Changes Everything at every possibly opportunity, we all got sad, and now we’re a bit anxious about what the future will look like for our boys. Especially since Mary’s pregnant and Sherlock left the wedding reception early and alone, because he couldn’t figure out where or how he fit in at the party.

Sadly, as soon as it seems we’ve got Sherlock back again, it’s over. Yup, His Last Vow is the Series 3 finale and then we’re all back on hiatus again even though it feels dreadfully unfair. But, first we’ve got to get through this episode. And there’s an awful lot to talk about. Let’s get to it.

'Sherlock' Series 3: Time to Talk 'The Sign of Three'

Previously, on Sherlock: The great detective’s back from the dead, even though we never find out for sure how he faked his death and John never gets told that Sherlock did it to save his life. But, that’s okay, because the boys make up by the end after Sherlock fakes a bomb scare so they can get sentimental and say soppy things for a minute or two, even though that’s an extreme jerk move. John proposes to his new girlfriend Mary, Lestrade has an awesome new hair cut, we learn more about Mycroft than ever before and also meet the Holmes parents who are really the Cumberbatch parents (INCEPTION!). Oh and also John gets kidnapped and stuffed in a bonfire because of some unknown reason by some unknown creepy man with intense glasses. Oh and there was some plot to blow up Parliament again like Guy Fawkes but it legitimately does not matter at all.

So, Sherlock’s back. We’re talking about it. Here comes The Sign of Three.

'Sherlock' Series 3: Let's Discuss 'The Empty Hearse'

Previously, on Sherlock: It’s been two years, everyone’s become suitably obsessed with the central mystery heading into Series 3- the great Sherlock Holmes was forced to fake his own death in order to protect the lives of John Watson, Greg Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson after his arch-enemy Moriarty shot himself in the head. We knew he survived. John does not. How’d he do it? Well, hopefully we find out tonight.

Yes, it’s true. After two years of waiting – two years of Benedict Cumberbatch starring in approximately 87 other projects, fandom freak outs and the release of a completely different Holmes show – it’s finally here. Sherlock is back. Really really really. Not a drill. Not a joke. It is time.

So, take a deep breath. It’s time to talk about The Empty Hearse.