Sherlock Recaps

'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.