Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for his stories about the one and only consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. In 2010, Mark Gatiss and Steven Mofatt brought Holmes and his companion, Dr. John Watson, to life. Since then, the crime drama has been a hit.
The highly anticipated fourth season of the mini-series premiered on January 1. This season was advertised to be different than any other season of the series so far. It was to be darker, with twists and turns that would leave fans on the edge of their seats. This season as to be the season where character development was at the forefront. I have to say that this season definitely held up to what was expected. It provided twists and turns. It provided the character development that I desperately needed not only for Holmes, but also Watson. This season showed sides to both men that have never been seen before.
“The Six Thatchers” was the first episode of the season. It uncovered the past of Watson’s wife, Mary. It also showed how much Holmes cared for, not only the safety of his best friend, but also his best friend’s wife. He put his life in the line for her in order to do what was right. Sadly, Mary’s past catches up to her and Holmes cannot save her this time. He is often depicted a psychopath, getting called that by several people throughout the run of the show. He has referred to himself as a “high functioning sociopath” and has said that he loathes sentiment on more than one occasion. However, this episode showed that Holmes does, in fact, have a heart.
The next episode, “The Lying Detective”, takes place a few weeks after the first episode. Watson is mad at Holmes after what happened with Mary. Holmes is very broken up about the hindrance in their relationship. Watson is easily Holmes’ only friend, he’s his best friend, in fact. So, Holmes goes down a path of self destruction in order to gain the attentions of Watson. This episode was easily the best one of the season because it not only had the very important character development, but also introduced one of the most maniacal villains to date. His name is Culverton Smith, which is scary enough. “The Lying Detective” highlights, again, how important Watson is to Holmes and how he does, in fact, feel things and experience sentiment. Holmes is actually a very emotional character (which was pointed out by Mrs. Hudson in this episode). The best part of this episode is when Holmes and Watson come back together again, because in reality, both men need each other. One keeps the other grounded.
The final episode, titled “The Final Problem” (very appropriate), was not the best season finale in the show’s history. It revolved around Holmes defeating his greatest adversary, which ended up being his long lost sister, instead of Moriarty. This episode contained twists, as well. However, I feel as if it tried too hard to wrap everything that happened this season into one episode. Sometimes, one 90 minute episode cannot wrap up a season. The ending of the episode was the worst, not in the sense that it was bad, but in the sense that it felt so final. Sherlock is a series that can go on for a long time, actors willing, because Doyle created this amazing universe where Holmes is the unlikely hero. “The Final Problem” made it seem as if the Sherlock universe was done. It was hard to watch this episode because I do not want to accept the fact that Sherlock could be over.
In all, this season was very well done. I felt as if I learned more about my favorite high functioning sociopath, which made me like Holmes’ character even more. This season also gave a glimpse of Watson and how his character has more secrets than originally thought. Watson is not the perfect man that everyone deems him to be. He, too, has flaws and is just as human as Holmes was proven to be in this season. Season 4 of Sherlock painted a better picture of the world’s only consulting detective and his doctor.