|Episode Length||90 minutes|
|Genre(s)||Crime, Drama, Mystery|
|Creator(s)||Stephen Moffat & Mark Gatiss|
|Leading Actor(s)||Benedict Cumberbatch
Summary and Review of the Episode
With so much anticipation after the first ten episodes of this adaption of Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon of the Sherlock Holmes, on New Year’s Day BBC One aired the first episode of the fourth series. Titled “The Six Thatchers” as a nod to the short story titled “The Adventures of the Six Napoleons”.
As with all episodes of this adaption, the story weaves with misdirection to create emotions through the full 90 minutes per episode. The episode begins straight after the end of previous episode and which sees Sherlock confirm to the cabinet office that he feels the death of nemesis James Moriarity doesn’t signal the end of his work to bring down our title sleuth.
After the title sequence, Sherlock starts to recite the fable of the Appointment of Samarra before we are thrown into the early stages of birth and baptism of John and Mary Watson’s daughter who they call Rosamund.
After a house call by Lestrade, Sherlock looks into the mysterious death of a wealthy couple’s young adult son. Solving the mystery within a short discussion, the detective is drawn to the shrine to Margaret Thatcher noticing that an item is missing – a bust of the former Prime Minister.
Reporting his findings to his brother Mycroft who is preoccupied by the Borgia dynasty’s missing pearl but despite this case, Sherlock seems demotivated by it.
D.I. Lestrade brings to Sherlock’s attention the fact another bust of Margaret Thatcher has been destroyed, therefore Sherlock pursues why this may have been.
In order to examine further, Sherlock uses a hacker’s bloodhound Toby however this leads Sherlock, John and Mary barking up the wrong tree. Returning to Toby’s owner, it is uncovered that the busts are a limited edition, only six were produced in the former Soviet Union state and country Georgia and bought by those interested in Cold War memorabilia. Another one is destroyed and the owner has also been murdered as a result. Causing Sherlock to guard the final one himself, as expecting the intruder attempts to get rid of the final bust.
After a James Bond styled fight scene, Sherlock overpowers the burglar believing he is working under Moriarty’s orders and destroys the bust hoping to solve the missing pearl crime but uncovers a memory stick similar to one he instructed Mary to hand over to John about her past before that was destroyed. The housebreaker wants revenge on the former assassin.
Meeting up privately with Mary, she confesses that she conned John in believing that the initials A.G.R.A. were her initials however they were for the first names of others in her squad and each had a memory stick with the same details so they could not betray one another despite the burglar’s belief that Mary (Rosamund) did so after an episode in the Georgian capital Tbilisi went wrong after a change of plan at the last minute triggered by the code word “Ammo”.
After letting Mary know that she wasn’t the only survivor of the coup, Sherlock promises to keep her, John and the baby safe however she flees after drugging the sleuth. Once awakened and alone Sherlock explains what has happened to Mycroft and despite Mary’s intention to bamboozle Sherlock, he catches up with her with John in tow. Also in pursuit is the destroyer of the busts, after a gunpoint stall. Sherlock encourages him to tell why he believes Mary should be made to pay for her betrayal however he says that his torturers kept taunting him about the English woman who made him pay.
Returning to London after the housebreaker’s death, killed before further is revealed, John shows frustration at Mary for holding secrets however it is discovered to the viewer that he had been flirtatiously texting a woman “E” who he had met on a bus while Mary went and tendered to the baby however called it off before it got too deep.
Sherlock unwinds and concludes that “Ammo” was not relating to ammunition but to the Latin root for the verb “to Love”. After a walk along Vauxhall Bridge Sherlock pieces to together the plot and interrupting John and Mary’s discussion about honesty telling them to meet him at London Aquarium.
It is there Sherlock unveils the evil mastermind behind the plot in Georgia, Vivian Norbury who had manipulated her way to use the assassin group and bought a nice place in Cornwall with the profits made from her operation. She narrates her take on the fable knowing she couldn’t outrun death herself. Sherlock exposes her life story in front of the now arrived Mary hoping that it would belittle Norbury however the demeaning pushes the elderly woman to fire her gun at the detective.
Mary decides to take the bullet literally for Sherlock, a late arrival of John is just in time for his wife’s final words where she thanks him for being a positive influence on her life and now feels she has repaid her debt for shooting Sherlock.
After the initial shock of losing his wife, John fiercely berates Sherlock for breaking the vow of keeping Mary safe and it appears their friendship is at an end.
A therapist scene tries to unhook Sherlock’s feelings to the loss of Mary however unable to do so, Sherlock shares a scene with Mrs Hudson before uncovering a DVD with the label “Miss me?” believing it from Moriarty he finds a video of Mary’s message to him asking him to save John in what could be his hardest case yet.
This episode was certainly full of the amazing level of detail to emotions portrayed by a brilliant cast and very well written by Mark Gatiss to adapt the fact that Mary had to pass on as she did in the original canon. Despite this it was still a very human scene for the viewer to witness and those involved did it justice.
It sent the viewer into all kinds of twists as all good detective series episodes do and Sherlock is certainly a series which plays on this well. Plenty of thrills, spills, with great moments of gentle humour to keep the pace. The depth that Gatiss and Moffat work upon to co-create and write this adaption keeps its strength and hopefully will see some further remarkable scenes in the final two episodes of this series and great television.
For those wishing to watch the episode (again) before next Sunday’s episode: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0881dgp/sherlock-series-4-1-the-six-thatchers