My enjoyment of BBC’s “Sherlock” has been sporadic over the years to say the least. I’ve often been frustrated by how by-the-numbers it became as it grew in popularity or how every time Sherlock said something like “The game is on!” (or some other catchphrase for the audience) he would flail his jacket like Batman does his cape and walk towards the camera in slow motion as his main theme would play, though these kind of annoyances were typically balanced with style and (some) substance.
Series 4 has negatives out-weighing the positives. I appreciated two or three moments and a really well constructed sequence in episode 2, however of the 4.5 hours aired over the past few weeks I should be praising more than a couple of moments and a single sequence; especially after a 3 year wait since series 3’s cliffhanger, and yes I am ignoring last years special due to it’s irrelevance to the arcing story, though I definitely think it’s development hindered series 4 in some way based on the results we’ve received these past couple of weeks.
As this is a Quickie review, here’s some brief thoughts on series 4;
Episode 1 “The Six Thatchers” tried to go Bourne in a scene which I unfortunately found the dullest, is there really any threat to Holmes in the first of three feature length episodes?
Episode 2 “The Lying Detective” while visually interesting for a period and easily the strongest episode, it lacked anything we haven’t seen in the series before, and as much as I love Toby Jones I found his role as the mid-series antagonist to be less than entertaining with predictable behaviour. Kudos to the trainspotting style drugged up mind palace scene though.
Lastly episode 3 “The Final Problem” was a mess of strange tonal shifts with some cheap emotional manipulation, not to forget more than a few eye rolling twists and gratuitous call backs and an ending that felt rushed, as if the writers were told “5 more minutes” and just wrote the first thing that came to mind in a hurry.
Throughout this series I was constantly irritated by the overuse of the Hollywood trope “quick knock someone out or drug them and have them wake up in a different place to advance the plot”, this is one of the laziest transitions from one plot point to the next that a film or TV show can employ and over the past 6 years Sherlock has racked up a substantial number of these moments.
Overall series 4 was contrived and labyrinthine to the point of face-palming and is guilty of soap opera-esque plot twists; both in their frequency and at times their ridiculousness.