BBC’s acclaimed TV series “Sherlock” returned to its creative best in the 2nd episode of its 4th season, following a rather polarizing premiere episode which left the viewers demanding more from its creators.
AND THEY DELIVERED.
THERE ARE MILD SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. KINDLY PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
The first episode was focused much more on the chemistry between its 3 lead characters, Sherlock, John and Mary and how Mary’s death may affect the friendship of Holmes and Watson (the latter being a secondary plot in the 2nd episode as well), with John feeling guilty as well as holding a suppressed grudge towards Holmes by branding him responsible for his wife’s death.
In a rather stark comparison, this episode is based on what made the show popular in the 1st place, Sherlock’s pure brilliance and a MENACING villain, who’ll spare no expense in messing with Sherlock’s mind.
No, there’s no Moriarty in this episode but a solid reference is made about him by the episode’s end. Spoiler #1.
With the narrative now focused on John Watson attending therapy sessions and Sherlock overdosing on drugs and hallucinating majorly in his 221B Baker Street flat, the dynamic changes when the main villain of this episode, Culverton Smith is introduced and the character is portrayed BRILLIANTLY by Toby Jones.
The villain is just as sophisticated as Moriarty and Magnussen but twice more ruthless and methodical in his activities.
Mary Watson appears throughout the episode as ghost/hallucination/extended video from episode 1 in front of Watson and even though dead, plays a major role in the climax.
There are some heart-warming moments which may make you shed a tear as John Watson admits his guilt of text cheating (?) with the pretty girl on the bus and breaks down into tears, with Holmes comforting him.
References are also made to Irene Adler (the dominatrix from the previous seasons) who seems to text Sherlock on a regular basis and may have developed a fondness for him.
But what drives this episode is the brilliant character development which is focused on throughout the episode by the creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, with Holmes being the primary protagonist coming to terms with his issues, overdosing on drugs and MAJORLY hallucinating, John Watson coming to terms with his grief and the big bad wolf, Culverton Smith addressing his agenda in the most diabolical ways possible.
The climax is thoroughly engaging and ends on a major cliffhanger, with the revealing of the apparent 3rd Holmes sibling who had been messing with Sherlock and John’s mind all this time IN PLAIN SIGHT.
Now I won’t tell you who the 3rd sibling is revealed to be. That’s for you to find out.
From a critical perspective, this episode definitely makes up for the rather bizarre premiere episode and traces back to its roots, offering an engaging story-line, a dramatic twist, an emotional angle involving its lead characters (AND I MEAN ALL RECURRING CHARACTERS. Mrs. Hudson, John, Molly Hooper, you name it) and Benedict Cumberbatch in his glorious zone.
The cliffhanger may lead to mulitple interpretations with the presumed death of a major character (but I’m pretty sure that it won’t be the case) and a probable blood match between the Holmes family.
I am now genuinely excited.
The season finale of season 4 titled “The Final Problem” comes out next Saturday!
THE GAME IS ON.
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