Review of Sherlock SE4 Ep1

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

The first two seasons of Sherlock count among my favourite in television. Not only did the series introduce Benedict cucumber Cumberbatch I felt like the show did both justice to the source material while still modernizing and creating a unique story without being too fanfictionish. And that ending to season 2 – OMG.

Season 3 was good, and certainly carved a shocking ending both in regards to Sherlock’s choices and the return of a scary villain.

So I think it pretty fair to say a lot of people were looking forward to the return of Sherlock in season 4 myself among them. Unfortunately I finished the episode unsatisfied. Sure there were some really funny bits (Watson trying to remind Sherlock of Lestrade’s first name) some really sassy parts and a couple of cool Mycroft interactions.

But lacking was the strong characterization, instead of decisions and plot arcs, everyone just seemed to do whatever was most ‘cool’ and daring and surprising which probably sounds great, until it becomes the core story rather than being grounded in the actual characters. Watson seems virtually absent, his new family life cheapened by gags about who gets to caper around and who has to babysit.

(reminder big spoilers)

Probably what bugged me at first was the authors chose to explore Mary’s past catching up to her, rather than the more obvious choice of Sherlock’s murderous decision at the end of last season which is literally photo-shopped over. I thought that the ending could have provided some moral tension perhaps plaguing Sherlock who despite his aloof demeanor could show that still doesn’t do wrong.

What bugged me second most is that Sherlock for all his genius completely stuffed up the final confrontation with deadly consequence, but without any apparent flaw or reason. After 3 seasons and a movie Sherlock somehow fails an interaction with a retiree cat lady who successfully fires a shot while, Watson, Mary, and a squad of police all stand around staring with little more to say than ‘Don’t be silly.’

LAST WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD

Finally as a comparative the end of season 2 was superbly edited, written and acted particularly by Martin Freeman. Fast forward to season 4, and we get a scene with horrible cliche dying dialogue finalized by possibly the worst grief acting from the very same Freeman, honestly what the hell happened? I know that sorrow can present oddly that people don’t always cry with perfectly angled tears and polite sobbing but Freeman’s emoting sounded like death cries of Atari video game monsters.

I will of course keep up with the series, but I fear that like so many original television series the gold is in the early work and now we’re getting the drawn out material that lacks the simplicity and passion of the beginning.

OR maybe just the good stuff is being saved for the rest of the series – I’m hoping for the latter…

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