Sherlock Holmes has returned to our screens with a bang. Series 4 has been eagerly awaited by the fans, and after the impressive Christmas Special last year, I was just as excited. Lots of spoilers ahead.
I was surprised over the first 15 minutes of ‘The Six Thatchers’ because everything was rather cheerful. Sherlock has escaped imprisonment for murder, and throws about some splendorous quips then eats ginger biscuits. The reintroduction of all the characters and the relationships were superbly executed. Moreover the cliff-hanger of the previous season isn’t shoved into our faced and wedged in. Instead Moriarty is being used as an obsession for Sherlock, and his quest for the unknown. If Moriarty did somehow miraculously fake his death. How did he do it? I’m sure Sherlock and he would love to share notes.
Moriarty was more than often used to remind us of a future threat. It was clear from the start that he wasn’t going to take the main focus of the episode, and the plot thread will most likely be picked up later on. However I can understand that some may find this annoying that the cliff hanger for the previous series was given the backseat for now. Instead we’re treated to a Sherlock is amazing and can solve cases montage. It felt somewhat awkward and unnecessary in places. But what I didn’t realise is that this piece of arrogant and happy-go-lucky Sherlock is unbelievably vital to the later parts in the episode. But I found myself very pleased once we got away from the montage and actually got into a real case to solve. And this is where the Sherlock format really impresses.
The second half the episode is where the tension and excitement really hits home, with the six Thatcher’s busts interconnecting into classic spy action with John’s beloved Mary once again. The dark mystery and independence of the character makes her incredibly interesting, and I really didn’t expect for us to see more of her intriguing past life. And it’s her past life that’s coming back to haunt her, after an old agent who believes she had betrayed him, comes back in attempt to kill her. Although focusing on Mary did fall flat in areas due for the constant need for exposition every time a new character is introduced to her back story, alongside an abundance of repetitive flashbacks.
Mary’s death in the end was extremely hard-hitting. The combination of Sherlock’s arrogance in many was causing her death, and John’s excruciating wails of pain will make this scene stick with you for a long time. What this episode does brilliantly is make you as arrogant and happy as Sherlock is at the start, and then bring it all crashing down on you. Considering John and Mary just had a child and Sherlock’s, now haunting, vow to protect the three of them, Mary’s death certainly wasn’t what I was expecting in the end.
The impressive manipulation of the audience, the thrilling spy action and Mary’s death are certainly highlights of the episode. Although it’s somewhat plagued with exposition, the reintroduction to the series is always going to be good fun. It wasn’t the greatest Sherlock episode of all time, but it certainly was memorable.
The Six Thatchers: 7.5/10
By Robert Anderson