Previously on Sherlock, “The Abominable Bride”
This review will contain spoilers for the season four premiere of Sherlock.
As expected, the mystery surrounding Moriarty’s possible return from the dead takes a backseat in Sherlock’s season four premiere; the answers most likely to be revealed in the season’s finale in two weeks. Still, his presence was still felt as Sherlock waited for his arch nemesis’ plan to reveal itself and assumed his involvement in the title case, “The Six Thatchers.”
After his murder of Charles Augustus Magnussen is covered up by Mycroft, Sherlock tweets his way through several cases, and the birth and christening of Watson’s and Mary’s daughter, Rosamund. When Sherlock and Watson work a case involving the death of a young man whose body was found in his car outside of his parents’ home, they stumble upon an even bigger mystery involving smashed busts of Margaret Thatcher. While Sherlock may have been surprised that the case wasn’t connected to Moriarty, but to Mary instead, the audience most likely wasn’t.
It was unlikely that the ex-spy/assassin’s past was completely behind her, and it catches up to her (and Watson and Sherlock) in the form of an associate who assumes Mary betrayed him six years ago. He’s out for blood and this sends Mary away, hoping to keep John and Rosie out of danger with her absence. Sherlock and Watson track her down and convince her to come home, the former insisting on honoring his vow to protect the Watson family on his home turf.
If you’re familiar with the fate of Watson’s wife in the books, then you know how this turns out; and it promises to have a long-lasting effect on Sherlock’s relationship with Watson, who, in his grief, lashes out at his best friend. Despite John’s efforts to push Sherlock away, a posthumous message from Mary in which she implores the detective to save John from himself and his grief ensures that his attempt to do just that will take up a significant portion of the rest of the season. Plus, John’s been keeping secrets of his own and that is bound to play a part in his actions and where he places blame.
The long break between seasons is torturous, but when Sherlock returns it’s always greatness and this premiere was no exception. Under the skillful direction of Rachel Talalay, “The Six Thatchers” had everything we’ve come to love about the series: impossible cases solved with impossibly fast and smart dialogue, Mycroft’s complete and utter contempt for… everything and everyone, clever misdirection, seemingly inconsequential scenes you shouldn’t brush off, and the undeniable chemistry between Sherlock and the Watson family – that last bit will certainly be missed. The show is simply in a class all its own.
Everyone involved with Sherlock has made these roles their own, but special mention needs to be made of the work Martin Freeman puts in as John Watson. It’s always been a depth-filled role, what with his experiences in the war and his quiet desire to seek out danger and adventure, but Sherlock’s death, his resurrection, and the revelations about Mary in seasons 3 and 4 have really allowed Freeman to show off his acting chops.
While I’m still dying to know what Moriarty has/had planned, I’m content to soak up the twists and turns until we get there.
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"The Six Thatchers"
Sherlock – S4E1 – “The Six Thatchers” | Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves, Mark Gatiss, Louise Brealey, Amanda Abbington, Lindsay Duncan | Written by: Mark Gatiss | Directed by: Rachel Talalay