Previously on Sherlock, “The Six Thatchers”
This review will include spoilers for “The Lying Detective.”
As I suspected on last week’s podcast, Mary’s instruction that Sherlock “go to hell” was in reference to just how far he’d have to go in saving John Watson from his grief. And, as Sherlock is wont to do, he over-achieves on this one. Hard.
Faith Smith seeks Sherlock’s help in remembering a confession her father, Culverton Smith (Toby Jones), made while she was under the influence of one his amnesia drugs. He said he was going to kill someone, but who? Trying to remember has driven her to depression, isolation, and self-harm. Convinced Culverton is a serial killer, Sherlock publicly provokes the rich and famous man until it leads to a very public meeting between him, Culverton, and John; the latter only in attendance because Molly confirms Sherlock is using again and Mrs. Hudson promises bloody hell to pay if he doesn’t.
Because Sherlock is so brilliant, his nemesis needs to be equally so – it’s why Moriarty was so intriguing. While Culverton is creepy – thanks in large part to Jones’ portrayal that flipped on a dime from jolly to icy – you’re never really concerned that he will get the best of Sherlock. In the three weeks that passed between Faith’s initial visit and their confrontation, Sherlock set several wheels in motion, knowing exactly where his friends would be (and need to be) in order to expose Culverton, who himself predictably played into Sherlock’s plan.
However, the one thing Sherlock didn’t see coming is the mega-twist delivered at the end of the episode, which promises an amazing finale. The woman claiming to be Faith Smith was, in fact, John’s new therapist, and the woman he’d been texting, and Sherlock’s and Mycroft’s secret sister, Eurus (Sian Brooke).
The series has hinted at the existence of a sibling, and most (like myself) assumed it would be a brother (possibly Moriarty). In season three, Mycroft said, “I’m not given to outbursts of brotherly compassion. You know what happened to the other one.”
And in this episode Mycroft defends himself against John’s claims that he uses his position in government for personal family drama as such: “Sherlock gone rogue is a legitimate security concern. The fact that I’m his brother changes absolutely nothing. It didn’t the last time, I assure you it won’t… with Sherlock.”
Given her penchant for disguises and subterfuge, it’s clear Eurus is just as smart as her brothers, and just as dangerous as Moriarty seeing as how the episode ends with her firing a gun at John. But also, let’s not forget the story Mycroft used to tell Sherlock as a boy: “The East Wind takes us all in the end. It’s a story my brother told me when we were kids. The East Wind – this terrifying force that lays waste to all in its path.”
Eurus is Greek for “East Wind.”
Once again, I must call special attention to Martin Freeman’s performance. John spends the entire episode speaking to Mary, who coaxes him to repair his relationship with Sherlock. Her presence is also greatly felt this week since it’s revealed her final message to Sherlock was to save John by forcing John to save him, hence putting himself in the crosshairs of a serial killer. When John finally admits to his best friend that he knows Sherlock didn’t kill Mary – she chose to jump in front of that bullet – he also admits to his dead wife (and Sherlock) the emotional affair he’d had and how he wasn’t the man she thought he was, but that he was trying to be. I’ve watched the episode four times and I cry at that part each time.
Next week’s finale, “The Final Problem,” could very well be the series’ finale as it shares the name with the final story of the books, but I truly hope it’s not. Still, Sherlock confronting the existence of a sister who shaped the man he is today isn’t a bad way to go out.
Other Bits of Note
- Mycroft and Lady Smallwood? I ship it.
- After his slip to John, Smallwood asks Mycroft if he still talks to Sherrinford, and he replies, “Sherrinford is secure.” Is Sherrinford an institution where he assumes Eurus has been? He also has a note on his desk to call Sherrinford.
- OR is Sherrinford a person (connected to Moriarty, perhaps)? Eurus told John a mutual friend put her in contact with Culverton, which was how she was able to pose as his daughter. So, that implies there’s still someone else in play.
- How amazing is Mrs. Hudson? Extremely. The answer is extremely. This show gets a lot of criticism for its use (or lack of) of women characters, but this week Mrs. Hudson proved she is smarter than everyone has given her credit for – and she’s delightfully manipulative.
- The Woman is still texting Sherlock. Will she make an appearance in the finale?
Leave your thoughts on the episode below and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast.
"The Lying Detective"
Sherlock – S4E2 – “The Lying Detective” | Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves, Mark Gatiss, Louise Brealey, Amanda Abbington, Lindsay Duncan | Written by: Steven Moffat | Directed by: Nick Hurran