For a number of years, Masterpiece Mystery! entertains viewers with a contemporary adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. Originally created by a man named Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, the consulting detective Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson are an enigma that have never been seen quite like this.
The game is nearing its starting point. Or so that’s what Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) says when asked how he’d know the first sign. Returned to England after nearly being exiled for his actions murdering a government protected figure, Sherlock is needed to untangle the enigma that is Jim Moriarty. Only problem is, he’s dead. So Sherlock must discover who’s behind the “resurrection” of his mortal enemy and furthermore, why someone is playing the game.
Everything at 221 B has changed, and yet, somehow, remains the same. John (Martin Freeman) and Sherlock continue to occupy their time with cases as they await the arrival of John’s baby. Upon her arrival, Sherlock along with John and Mary (Amanda Abingdon) are quickly caught up in the Morierty mystery. Or so that’s what the deductions predict until they don’t.
Were I a person of few words or if I were asked to describe this series in one word, I’d reply as follows; brilliance. As is my usual choice, I did watch this on DVD, and without regret, did enjoy the three episodes in a weekend. During their airing on PBS, I saw a lot of hate for this series on Twitter which made me wonder what caused so much dislike.
As we all know I cannot end with one word, so below are some of my other thoughts which require entire sentences.
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I assume this isn’t an arc that closely follows the canon. However from my minimal reading, I have discovered that many of the issues the writers have given this Holmes follows Doyle’s Holmes. True, these things may be amped up to bring them into the 21st century, but they do plague Holmes. Because of this and a myriad of other reasons, I admire the heck out of this show. It earns my (TV show) respect time and time again without breaking a sweat. Or if it does, it doesn’t show it. This season is possibly its best yet.
The one caveat I will say is, I will confess to missing the “cozier” cases John and Sherlock solve in the early days. This kind of complicated arc that overwhelms entire seasons seems to be a trend in TV shows, and usually I detest it. It takes away from the characterization and tends to inspire lazy writing. With this, because the series’ are so compact (three installments), these problems don’t show to say nothing of the fact that this writing is anything but lazy.
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Since I cannot get off the script talk, let’s talk about it.All three episodes are tightly compacted and leave so many dangling threads throughout the entire show. What we think might be insignificant at the time winds through to the end of ‘The Final Problem.’ Everything comes full circle. This writing will make you laugh, cry, white-knuckle it and leave you with bittersweet emotions. That’s how good this writing is, which is, I’m afraid the best I can honor its skill.
Naturally, the acting is (again!) flawless. The depth these actors put into these characters never ceases to amaze me. Led by (the in demand) Cumberbatch right through to Mrs. Hudson, everyone is at their very best. While I wish I’d seen more of Molly (if that scene in the final episode doesn’t rip your heart out, I don’t know what will), I do discover my plus million reason why I adore Mrs. Hudson. As I type I’m fighting the urge to say more, but suffice to say, this woman rocks!
While there’s been no final word on the status of this show, this “feels” like an ending. Should it return for a fifth season, I will be front and center awaiting its arrival. If not, this is a satisfactory and “whole” ending that, in this fan’s eyes, doesn’t cheat us out of anything. It’s a rare storyteller that can do that.
There’s an East wind coming for The Boys of Baker Street. And the only person who can fit the pieces together is Sherlock Holmes.
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You can find Sherlock, series four digitally on Amazon Video