Season 4 of Sherlock opened with a bang. After a long hiatus, it was wonderful to jump right back into the brilliant minds of Gatiss and Sherlock and enjoy a romp, that ended up breaking hearts. This review will break down episode 2, The Lying Detective and will be full of spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t caught up, what are you waiting for?
In the last episode, viewers got to watch John and Mary start their family. Mary’s assassin past came back to haunt them and Sherlock stepped in to save her. Until she stepped in to save him, by taking a bullet to the chest. Episode one left John, Sherlock and the crew a mess with broken hearts and misplaced anger and guilt. The episode closed with a DVD of Mary asking Sherlock to save John.
This week we have an episode helmed by Moffat, which always warns me to expect some sort of twist. A still heartbroken, guilt ridden John is seeing a new therapist. Though he is choosing not to disclose his constant interaction with the figment of his dead wife. Sherlock seems broken, mainlining cocaine and throwing himself deeper into the pit than we have seen him to date. When the daughter of the wealthy, powerful and super creepy Culverton Smith, shows up at 221 B with the mystery du jour, supposedly the game is on.
This episode had its good moments, but it mostly fell flat for me. Benedict Cumberbatch shined as the brilliant Holmes in a blasted out of his mind on drugs, sort of way. Even high as a kite, Sherlock is 3 steps ahead of his companions. So, he manipulates things and has John by his side, accusing Smith of being a serial killer. The man has conferences with his nearest and dearest where he drugs them with medications that addle the memory, so that he can confess without ever being caught in his crimes. He donated a wing to a hospital, so he could arrange secret rooms and corridors, all to make killing easier and his favorite room is the morgue. So Culverton Smith is the bad guy, no big shock. Personally this guy felt like a villain to me, but more like a creepy pedophile than a serial killer. The scene in the kids wing didn’t help with that.
Finding out that Sherlock has thrown himself down the deepest darkest pit, so that John would pull him out because it was Mary’s last wish, was a kick to the heart. She knew the men and how they would handle her death and she knew they needed each other. When John reveals that he feels he wasn’t a good man and never deserved her, I felt some vindication about the bus girl text relationship. The emotions have peaked and the boys are buddies again, role credits, right? Did you forget Moffat wrote this?
After all is said and done, John returns to his therapist. Twist and shout, she’s not a therapist at all. She’s a Holmes. A hint at a third sibling, assumed brother, was sprinkled through the episode. Who else could trick Sherlock into thinking he had it figured out and leave him confused, then a sibling. Apparently, the Holmes parents had the uber brilliant genes, because it looks like they pumped out a third genius and this one is the psychopath to Sherlocks sociopath. As Sherlock pieces together that he missed something and we get another jolt of Moriarty mystery thrown in as a tease, Euros Holmes has John at gunpoint and pulls the trigger. Role credits. What wait, we can’t end two episodes in a row with dead Watsons, that does not please me.
This episode was not my favorite but it was a decent one and it fit well with the last. The final sibling twist at the end detracted from the story for me. Two subtle hints that Moriarty was involved, Miss me on the note and Euros mentioning she had been connected with Culverton Smith by a mutual acquaintance, keep the Moriarty Mystery in the air as we wait on the third episode of season 4, but it felt like a gimmick that was not really needed. Honestly, if they had saved the reveal for the next episode and just let sleeping dogs lie, I would have been happier with the conclusion of this episode. It didn’t fit the flow for me and having the reveal wait, while we mulled over the therapist, as we mulled over bus girl for the last week, would have amped up the expectations of the final episode.