After only three years of waiting – a fair time when considering each episode is feature-length – Sherlock has finally returned to our screens. Last we saw of him – other than the mind-boggling Christmas Special The Abominable Bride – our hero had just been called back to London after Moriarty hacked the country from beyond the grave. With new evils rising, don your deerstalkers for the best detective (sorry Batman) ever – Sherlock Holmes.
For those without a Sherlock their own, there will be spoilers.
A Clean Slate
There is just one slight snag before we can return to 221B Baker Street. Sherlock might have shot a man in the head to keep John and Mary safe and the government tends to frown on such things. In a startling display of brotherly antics – such as wrestling Sherlock’s phone away from him – Mycroft has doctored footage to change events. During this supposedly secret event (which Sherlock is tweeting from), there is some delightful plot setting. Even though death keeps him out of reach, Moriarty has put into motion a plan to befuddle even the mighty Holmes brothers. But not just yet. First, there is a new face to meet.
Even a meager five minutes in, Cumberbatch shows the endless breadth of his acting capability. There is indifferent phone use (and lots of it), maniacal joy and that particular type of despair that comes with trying to teach infants anything. Mycroft shares his view but with a weird wider crowd – ‘humans’. Even as unique and special as they are, the brothers are still very much human. A better word might have been ‘people’ but we digress.
Uncovering a new (head)case, Sherlock reveals a normal – almost mundane for him – reaction of subconsciously stumbling across a clue in his latest puzzle involving busts of Margaret Thatcher. And although we all know his endless pride, Sherlock takes events to the extreme when a civilian client irks him. Instead of simply revealing a cheating spouse, he decides to taunt the man with an impossible plot involving mind control, the US President and World War III. Seriously, you have to see it for yourself.
Next stop is old pal Craig (you might know one of his lists) to borrow a hunting dog. There is some witty banter between the Watson family which feels – in light of Freeman separating from Amanda Abbington – a bit awkward. For those who don’t know, they were together for sixteen years and parted ways in March 2016 but remain friendly. As luck would have it, their trail goes past a butcher and the scent is lost, leaving the consulting detective delighted at the disastrous turn of events. Going back to Hacker Craig, Sherlock tracks down the last head and intercepts the thief in time to find the item hidden inside – an A.G.R.A. memory stick.
Secrets and Lies
Ever since Mary burst onto the scene and shot Sherlock, fans have been wondering what her story is. Six years ago, she was part of a special unit with three other members – A, G and A, each with their own memory stick. One of the ‘A’, was caught and tortured but overheard about an ‘Englishwoman traitor’. Setting a very gloomy scene, a hooded Mary meets Sherlock in an abandoned crypt during a storm. Finally going back to his logical ways, Sherlock read it and asks Mary for confirmation. With Ajay determined to kill her, Mary runs.
It’s very maternal of her. Had she stayed, her family would have been in danger. Using dice (though that might have been a metaphor, it is somewhat unclear) to randomly move about the world, Mary happens to encounter a very familiar pair in Morocco – Watson and Holmes. Once again, Witty Sherlock Silly Holmes pulls a fast one involving ‘the mathematics of probability’ and ‘infinite outcomes reduced to the smallest feasible variables’. It might be slightly out of character but this new Sherlock is hysterical. In another awkward conversation about couples working through things, Mary reconciles with John in time for Ajay to reappear one last time before getting shot by a policeman.
Returning to London, Sherlock deduces the identity of ‘Ammo’, the A.G.R.A. traitor. As the Latin for ‘Love’, it is a form of Lady Smallwood’s code name from his trial. This is where events get slightly unrealistic. For any sensitive operation, code names are changed upon completion. A.G.R.A. died six years ago. Smallwood would not have been called ‘Love’ ever again. After Mycroft clears his coworker, his little brother realizes that it was her secretary. As we all know, secretaries secretly run the world. Cornering her in the London Aquarium, Sherlock oversteps himself and goads her into action.
Even with the police present, Vivian tries to shoot Sherlock. Only Mary – leaping in the path of the bullet – saves him. With Mary Morstan originally dying from pneumonia, there wasn’t going to be a long part for her. She hangs on long enough to say goodbye to John before dying. Excuse me, there’s something in both eyes.
With Mary gone, John continues to care of Rosie. In an unexpected twist, Sherlock actually seeks out a shrink – the same one John had in A Study In Pink – to help him manage with events. Going back to his functional flat, Mycroft sees a note on his fridge simply labeled ‘13th’. Dialing a number, he asks to be put through to Sherrinford. For those not eager enough to Google, Sherrinford is the eldest Holmes brother.
Sharing his grief with the motherly Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock asks her for a favor. If he ever becomes overly confident or full of himself, she is to say ‘Norbury’ to him. This is a big step for the recluse. It marks his first real point as deliberately wanting to change. Uncovering a ‘Miss Me?’ DVD accidentally given to Mrs. Hudson, Mary has given Sherlock his hardest case for when she dies – save John Watson. Considering the message he gets when trying to talk with his best friend – that John would rather have anybody else – this might be more difficult than facing Moriarty.
- Quite embarrassingly, John is trying to edit his blog through a picture. For a show that pays so much attention to detail, big accident there.
- Sarcastic/Funny Sherlock is the best. Hopefully, we can skip a lot of the grieving process to get back to this version.
- Following Mary around the world is easy enough. To a town is possible, a road plausible. But how did Sherlock and Watson know to wait in that exact house for her? The mind boggles.
- Sherrinford was first mentioned at the end of His Last Vow when Mycroft deflected concerns of being brotherly by mentioning ‘you remember what happened with the other one’.