Yes, I know, the series finale was half a week ago. I know. But thanks to my long commute and busy weekends I’ve only just managed to sit down with enough brain power to fully appreciate this series. So here it is, my review of Sherlock’s fourth season.
Well it feels like a long long time since series three ended and left us all hanging, ans after what felt like a disappointing and slightly too confusing Christmas Special (really sorry Sherlockians but I really truly struggled to see the point of the 2015 Christmas special episode) I felt like series four needed to hurry up and it needed to be spectacular… But would it be so? The game was on.
And sadly, the first episode, for me carried on in the vein of the Christmas special in that, it didn’t grip me like previous seasons. For the most part I felt like it was lacking. It took me a while to figure out what it was lacking but I think I finally got it. For the most part, there was no real menace. No Moriaty to chase, his video messages kept playing out every so often but we’d seen that clip already, at the ens of season three and in the Christmas special and to be honest it had reached a bit of an over kill.
But until the latter half an hour there seemed to be very little danger or mystery to plague Sherlock. The episode was more about John and Mary and their new baby and if I’m honest I found it a bit dull.
That was of course until they reached the aquarium. Then all hell breaks loose and those final scenes did bring a tear to my eye I have to say.
And then we hit episode two. And boy were my boys back in full stride. The wit was sharp, Sherlock was at his manical prime. And, we had an incredibly menacing, creepy and clearly dangerous villain back in the mix. This episode was superbly written, as I have come to expect from Sherlock, and gave me two of the greatest lines I think I have ever heard Cumberbatch utter, “I’ve been off my tits for weeks” and “I’m a cock” delivered with the arrogant deadpan he does so well in this role. These two moments in particular had me cracking up more than I think Sherlock ever has.
And from here the show went from strength to strength.
If you’ve been watching for all four seasons, you don’t need me to tell you that Benedict does a great job at playing the arrogant sociopath that is Sherlock Holmes. Nor do you need me to point out the fantastic chemistry between him and Martin Freeman as John Watson. They work sublimely well together and make the most of what has always been my favourite part of the Sherlock stories, their relationship.
What might need pointing out, is just how superbly understated Mark Gatiss is. Not only is he co-creator of what is one of my favourite interpretations of the Holmes stories, he is also, undoubtedly, my favourite portrayal of Mycroft. His total ignorance to romantic advances, his subtle reactions to everything in Sundays final episode and the complete detachment that conceals just enough of his emotion have been fantastic. On more than one occasion, his relationship with Cumberbatch’s Sherlock actually outshone the Holmes and Watson dynamic and had me truly belly laughing.
A big shout-out must also go to Andrew Scott and Sian Brooke for their remarkable portrayals as Moriaty and Eurus. In the short period of time that Scott was on screen in that final episode I almost completely forgot my annoyance at the same clip being used for what felt like an entire series. Instead he reminded me of why he is not only my favourite Moriaty, but also my favourite TV villain of all time.
Brookes also delivered a fantastic performance. It can’t be easy to come in to Sherlock and stand next to some truly well established characters and still grip the audience. But she certainly did so. Her amazing revelation of vulnerability at the end, really topped off a wonderful performance and she deserves much applause for that scene with Cumberbatch alone.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the writers on one of my favourite endings to a series ever. There wasn’t a cliff hanger this time and there didn’t really need to be. Mary’s voice over, and the boys putting 221B back together and carrying on in their new lives was, for me, a perfect way to end. To show that whatever happens, life goes on and the stories of Sherlock Holmes and his Dr John Watson will always be around to provide comfort and a haven for those who need it. If ever I heard a perfect description of what these stories, and in fact all stories written, whether for page or screen or stage, can do for people, what they mean to so many, this was it.
And so, I’ll try to end this review in as close to a similarly apt way. To all of you with a story to tell, make sure you tell it. Whatever form or medium you tell it in, make sure it’s told. Because stories are what keep us all going. They’re what inspire me to write my reviews and even my own fiction. They’re what keep us going through long days in our jobs, and they’re what give us hope that there is more out there.
Simply put, cast and crew of Sherlock, thank you. Thank you for entertaining and inspiring.