Last night saw the premiere of the fourth (and many assume final) series of Sherlock on Masterpiece Mystery. Perhaps its a repeat of my thoughts on Doctor Who‘s Christmas special, where absence has made the heart grow fonder. I can’t help but admit, though, that I really enjoyed “The Six Thatchers.”
The Title Mystery. It took a while for the title’s meaning to work for me. And while it’s sort of unfortunate that the mystery involved a main member of the cast (always tricky when there are so many other stories to tell), it was enough to keep me guessing. And while the mystery ultimately transcended Mary, she was its ultimate victim,
The Return of the Tech. Part of what made the initial premise of Sherlock so interesting was the idea of a detective immersed in the modern world of blogs and tweets and information-on-demand. While that theme might have always been there, it was once again a pronounced part of the storytelling. And, for the most part, it worked. I didn’t totally buy into Sherlock’s use of it as the episode opened, but then things evened out. I always like the text message overlay, which “The Six Thatchers” used quite well.
Lady Mary. As good as it was seeing Cumberbatch and Freeman back in the game, Amanda Abbington’s Mary was the real acting high-point for the episode. She played it so well, the fine line between loving present and violent past. I quite liked her scene on the airplane and even, yes, at the episode’s end. It’s a shame that we didn’t see more of Mary on the job. She plays others well.
Pulling at the Loose Threads. This episode also reminded us that the show’s main three might work like a well-oiled machine but that they also have nuance and weaknesses. I particularly liked the scene between Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson when he confessed his arrogance and gave her the power to keep him in check. It was painful seeing Watson’s dalliance throughout the episode. I imagine his “you made a vow” cry at the end was as self-directed as anything Sherlock did or did not do. The question of Moriarty still hangs over the show. I like how Mary subverted Moriarty’s “miss me.” Nice touch of self-awareness for the show. I still imagine that Moffatt and friends have a deeper story to tell. I’m just not sure that Moriarty is the crux of it.
Here’s the trailer for next week’s episode. Toby Jones plays villains brilliantly, so I expect to be at least a little creeped out.
(image from metro.co.uk)