The Abominable Bride - It’s nice to see Holmes, Watson and all the other characters in the Victorian era, especially a Sidney Greenstreet-inspired, obese Mycroft Holmes. There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot to keep it interesting in it the first two acts blending past and present, but it seems to fizzle out in the third act turning it into a PC extravaganza though there is a nice Peter Cushing/Holmes/Hammer moment in the underground scene. Gatiss and Moffat could have taken a hint by making it more of a mystery by reading the book by Guy Adams Sherlock Holmes and the Breath of God, where Aleister Crowley, Carnaki and Julian Karswell (the occult character from Night of the Demon) to keep the story in a more supernatural setting, yet proved to be something else that is explained.
The Six Thatchers - A major missed opportunity and logic thrown out the window. The Mary Watson/secret agent storyline should have been laid to rest last season, but now it’s like beating a dead horse. John Watson’s somewhat ‘infidelity’ is out of place and not keeping with his character. Holmes’ solving of one case leading to another was a brilliant idea, but the revelation ruins it. This could have been one of the best, romantic endings for Mary if the writers would have been more thoughtful in detail showing lazy writing. An obscure film that would have been a better story they could have borrowed from which would have been the 1932 film Six Hours to Live. It deals with a man who is killed and brought back to life but has one six hours to live to find his murder knowing who he is until he has to be rejuvenated again for another six hours ad infinitum to keep him alive. Using this plot device, Holmes (the brilliant chemist as he is.) and Watson, the doctor, frantically must come up with a solution to keep Mary alive, yet they are not God. Moral dilemma and John’s love for Mary while finding her killer, which I would have revealed to be Colonel Sebastian Moran, (Moriarity’s right-hand man and why he was never used in the series is beyond me) would have set the story and with Mary’s passing, there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house setting up a confrontation between Moran and Watson in the final episode.
The Lying Detective - The best of the season where philanthropist, Culverton Smith (played with gusto by Toby Jones) takes Holmes and Watson on a rollercoaster ride of playing cat and mouse games with them that he may or may not be a serial killer. Jones’ Smith character is charming, but vicious and ugly, which proves to be a formidable foe for our heroes. Watson has become depressed after the previous death of Mary blaming Sherlock and is seeing the ghost of Mary and Sherlock’s guilt causes him to spiral downward into his 7% solution drug addiction. This episode shows the emotional connection between the two characters at its high point. Though there is one flaw in the storyline. Watson’s new psychiatrist remarkably looks like Culverton Smith’s handicapped daughter. Here, a missed opportunity in the story whereas Smith could have had twins (the revelation that Holmes always says: it’s never twins.) could have been a major factor in this whereas one twin could have been chemically lobotomised for knowing too much about her father’s evil deeds and the psychiatrist twin would have sought out revenge against her father for what he did to her and others.
The Final Problem - With an impressive grabber of an opening sequence of a locked room scenario on a jetliner (a MAJOR missed opportunity if I ever saw one where this could have been a great set up by Colonel Sebastian Moran executing the dead Moriarity’s plans) the story quickly begins to leap into a black pit abyss of no return. Logic and story are completely butchered and thrown out the window with the baby and the bathwater to create a nonsensical version of Holmes’s past. What about Holmes’ parents and ‘Redbeard’s’ parents? Wouldn’t they have kept an eye on the kids playing? Wouldn’t they know that ‘Redbeard’ was missing? It’s as if the writers were too were busy taking their own version of the 7% solution and decided to come up with this mismatched fiasco homage to SAW. There is no way that Holmes’ ‘sister’ (note to writers: Holmes is not Luke Skywalker, by the way) could have mind control over people and the characters in the story do things that are completely out of balance. What’s next? An appearance by Davros and the Daleks, the Care Bears and Godzilla in a Benny Hill skit. Complete rubbish and a good way to kill the Golden Goose that so many fans were attracted to when the series began. The Batman and Robin superhero freeze frame ending is ludicrous and about as stupid as one could get. Shame on you Gatiss and Moffat for destroying this wonderful franchise everyone so enjoyed and the characters that were near and dear to them.
SHERLOCK SERIES 4 / CERT: 15 / CREATORS: MARK GATISS, STEVEN MOFFAT / STARRING: BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH, MARTIN FREEMAN, UNA STUBBS, ANDREW SCOTT, MARK GATISS, LOUISE BREALEY, AMANDA ABBINGTON, TOBY JONES, RUPERT GRAVES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW