A pretty disappointing season premiere, probably the worst non-second episode, definitely the worst season premiere. The episode dragged for the middle third because the case around the Thatcher busts isn’t particularly interesting. Where that is going is a bit more interesting, albeit still not great material for a detective story (even if that’s not solely what the show is about anymore). It is connected with Mary’s Past, which was inevitably coming and in itself certainly not boring, but the story itself wasn’t as intriguing as we’re used to: Codewords and secret agents do not cause the suspense I expect from good Sherlock episodes. Also, I felt the storytelling was very jumpy and also the whole episode felt like setting up the other two episodes of this season.
The most interesting aspect is the development of Sherlock’s relationship with John and Mary as fresh parents. Sherlock is very eager to keep his vow to protect them both, which gives us some warm moments between the three. Sherlock babysitting was pretty funny and John still continues grown to be a much more complex and fleshed-out character.
The last thing I’ll mention in this general, non-spoiler part of this text is that the finale is shocking and will probably have a huge impact on the series (some might and probably did say game-changing)
(because one of the lesser episodes of Sherlock is still good television)
After Sherlock has been solving crimes by texting the solution within minutes, almost seeming hyperactive and being on a winning streak (which usually foreshadows a downfall as seems the happy family image we get to see throughout), he gets to feel the consequence of his hubris. He just can’t stop embarrassing and provoking the old lady carrying a gun. So Mary sacrifices herself for Sherlock and catches the bullet for him. I’m not quite clear on her motivations why she did that. I guess she felt this danger for John due to her past will never stop (hence all the talk about the inevitability of death with the Samarra story). Maybe she also thought Sherlock’s quasi-second death might crush him after all, which would be a questionable assumption, given that they are fresh parents. She apologizes to Sherlock for shooting him and tells him they’re even now but I don’t buy that that’s the reason. As she describes her love for John before dying, Watson groans in a manner that made me chill. Mary’s death is shocking but not quite as devastating I think it could or even should have been. It feels slightly too easy for Gatiss and Moffat’s writing.
Sherlock understands his deep flaw and it will change him. He wants Mrs. Hudson to say the codeword ‘Norbury’ (the name of Mary’s killer) whenever he is being arrogant. John has completely turned away from Sherlock and this will leave a deep, deep rift between the two of them.
Mary makes Sherlock promise to save John Watson in a pre-recorded message but there is this weird after-credits scene where she angrily wants Sherlock to “go to hell”. Did she know her death will be Sherlock’s fault? Does she mean he will or should die during this mission?
Sherlock contemplates death and wonders if you can at least influence the manner of your own death if it is inevitable.
Moreover, there were some references to the existence of a third Holmes brother, which probably he means he is about to appear. I’m interested where that goes…
There was nothing on Moriarty’s “return”. It would not have fit into this episode at all but I hope they have a good second episode dealing with that.
Lastly, I wonder where that thing with the pretty woman on the bus and Watson is headed. I read in the Guardian recap that the cheating concerns Sherlock and not Mary. What you can definitely take away from that is that Watson, who is always so mad about being lied to, also has his secrets.
© by BBC, image taken from their website