Spoilers Sherlock Series 4 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Emh, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    After three years, with a brief respite a year ago, Series 4 has finally arrived!

    Fortunately, aside from the trailer, I've avoided all spoilers, so I really have no idea what to expect, including who Toby Jones is playing. That alone has me excited.

    That and the look on Sherlock's face in the above photograph.
     
  2. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Except for the episode titles -- and I only know the title of tonight's -- I don't think there are any spoilers out there. I have no idea who Toby Jones is playing. I don't think the name of his character has been released.
     
  3. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That was... average with a surprisingly predictable exit.
     
  4. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I enjoyed the 2nd half very much... well, save for the John-thing. Expected the exit. The 1st half was a bit all over the place, and Sherlock a bit over the top even for him.
     
  5. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    I really enjoyed that, shame about a certain event near the end of course but overall very good imo
     
  6. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    The character's name has been widely publicised. He's playing a character from a Doyle story - as you'd guess, one who's almost a match for Moriarty, Moran and Milverton, in Holmes' reckoning.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    By the way, Elementary isn't on tonight, but on the 8th and the 15th, Sherlock and Elementary will be airing directly opposite each other in the US, respectively at 9:30-11 on PBS and 10-11 on CBS. So we'll have head-to-head Holmeses (Sherlocked in competition!). That's never happened before. The closest the two shows' US airdates have ever been before was four days (for the last 2 episodes of Sherlock series 3).
     
  8. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Well, that was a strange episode, even by Sherlock's standards. The episode was less mystery (one which I solved pretty quickly thanks to One Hundred and One Black Cats by Quentin Blake) and more espionage and drama. Granted, The Reichenbach Fall and His Last Vow are as well, but the aesthetic of the episode felt different here. I can't quite put my finger on it, but after doing a marathon of the whole series the last few days, this episode stands out in contrast from the rest.

    Honestly, I wasn't surprised at all by Mary's death. Somewhere in the middle of the episode, after it became clear she was the focus of the episode, I began to notice how different the dynamics of the show played now as oppose to the past and figured there would be some kind of return to status quo. Not completely, of course, because of Rosie, but I sensed there would be some kind of return to form. The question now is how long will John's resentment against Sherlock last this time?

    As for Mary's background, I'm a bit disappointed Moffat and Gatis decided to reveal it and so "quickly" (narratively, speaking whereas it's been three years for us). I would have preferred to leave her history a mystery. Not that what we learned was disappointing in itself (although it does feel a bit weak against Mary's claims of "you will hate me"), but I'm not certain if we would have gotten a satisfying history to fit the mystery. On the other hand, people thought the same about Garak and A Stitch in Time and I think most people agree that worked out pretty damn well. So maybe the writing here wasn't up to snuff.

    One thing I did love very much and I hope we see more of: Sherlock having a session with John's old therapist.

    On a side note, I was taken a little out of the episode when Mary, John, and Sherlock went traipsing all over London with Rosie but Mary and John didn't have a baby bag with them. :p
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  9. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Funny, just thought about that myself when I read your post. Yes, this episode seems very straight-forward, not many (if any) sidesteps, it leads straight from A to B to C... which I'm not really used to in Sherlock (save for TRF and HLV as you mention). But given that those 2 were the final episodes in their respective seasons and this one's the first, I'm suspicious that not everything's quite as it seems (which for some parts I really hope).
     
  10. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    I very much doubt
    Mary is somehow alive. Unlike Sherlock's return from death, her survival would be a huge cheat and would be a disservice to the show.
     
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  11. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No, definitely agree with you on that - especially since it would be a "been there, done that"-thing. I just think that there's more to the case than this straight-forwardness (is that a word?), some background-information that got lost. Moftiss love to play with the timeline within an episode, so I still wonder if there are any sideplots that aren't really clear yet and only get addressed in the coming episodes.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sherlock has never really been a mystery. It's a character-driven comedy-drama about people who happen to solve mysteries. I've felt for years that the mysteries were obviously the part Moffat and Gatiss cared least about and only paid lip service to. For instance, the biggest "mystery" in the Irene Adler episode was what her phone password was, and that turned out to be just an excuse for a bit of Moffatian wordplay.
     
  13. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Not much to say about this one, really. It wasn't bad, but it didn't make much of an impression either. The event at the climax was hardly surprising, but then interviews with the cast have been alluding to that happening anyway. I see a couple of story threads I'm guessing will be explored further in the coming episodes. It had the usual witty one-liners, mostly in the first half, but I don't know. As far as Sherlock premieres go, this is probably the weakest. Hell, even last year's special, as weird a mindfuck that it was, left more of an impression than this. This was just there. Sure, it was entertaining, and a quick 90 minutes, but in the end all it really triggered from me was a shrug.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I thought the resolution of the cliffhanger was clumsy. They pardon Sherlock and bring him back and go through all this black-ops rigmarole so he can deal with the urgent threat from Moriarty's organization, and then Sherlock just... waits and goes back to status quo until something happens, which stretches out for over a year, and there's still no trace of Moriarty's plan because everything here turned out to be connected to Mary instead? But then, it's more the fault of "His Last Vow" than this. I always felt the ending there was badly done. Why have Sherlock kill the guy in the first place if the plan was to eradicate the consequences of that act five minutes later? It was shock value over substance, and the fact that it had exactly zero impact on the story here (except for giving Gatiss an excuse to introduce the minor character in the opening scene who'd turn out to be the killer at the end even though she was totally absent from the rest of the story) just confirms the total gratuitousness of doing it at all.
     
  15. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agree with HLV - the "solution" to the Magnussen problem wasn't worthy of Sherlock's intellect and ressourcefulness. And the fabrication of the video material shows that it could have played out just like that in reality - or Magnussen really gets shot in the leg and taken away to some underground basement (perhaps the one Mycroft's office and his fridge are in). No reason to get Sherlock's hands dirty with outright murder.

    But Christopher, where did you get the impression that a year went by in TST? There were a few cases before the baby's birth, okay, but then it all happened quite quickly (the only variable being Mary's departure and catching up with her again). Definitely didn't get any impressions of Christmas anywhere in the episode (which would make it a year since Magnussen)... But perhaps I missed something?
     
  16. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder if any resolution to the cliffhanger would be anything but clumsy. I understand the impulse for Gatfat to say, "Let's do something outrageous and write outselves into a corner that will be so difficult to get out of that everyone will think it's impossible!" That kind of cliffhanger, the "OMG, how are they going to get out of this?" clifhanger, keeps people talking. Unfortunately, the cliffhanger they chose -- Sherlock pretty publicly shooting Mangusson in the face -- is a box that's pretty difficult, if not outright impossible, to get out of cleanly.

    I felt that the resolution to "His Last Vow" was more Moffat than Gatiss -- ignore the cliffhanger entirely and skip any realistic consequences to the characters' actions. At the very least, the government not putting a minder on Sherlock and just letting him go free was insane. Oh, I can think of justifications -- Mycroft saying things like, "MI-5 can put a tail on him, but we all know he'll escape" -- but even then, those are just excuses for lazy storytelling.

    In a strange way, by the midpoint, the story felt very much like an old-school Doctor Who companion departure story -- "Let's characterize Mary and explore her past, because she's leaving and it's our last chance!" The ending felt very much like a fridging to me, just so that John and Sherlock can both have Manpain(TM). I've seen people on social media justify it with, "Well, it's in the Canon," which I think is nonsense masquerading as a reason in an attempt to sound like it had to happen. It didn't have to happen; at this point, Sherlock is as divorced from the Canon as its American cousin, Elementary. And if we're going by Canon, it should happened off-screen before "The Empty Hearse," even though "The Sign of Three" hadn't happened yet.

    I was really hoping that the girl on the bus would have been the mastermind. I would have preferred that to Watson-the-playa, even though I know that Canon-Watson is an inveterate skirt-chaser. In retrospect, it's obvious why the opening scene spends all of that time on Sherlock's inane conversation with the secretary.

    I agree largely with Paste's review of "The Six Thatchers," that Sherlock has become a show that thinks it's more complex and interesting than it really is.
     
  17. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was going to ask the same thing, but I think I may see his reasoning.

    When last we saw Mary, in the ending of the Christmas special, she wasn't obviously pregnant. She could have been, three or four months maybe, but she didn't show. Over the course of this episode, we see Mary have at least the last five or six months of her pregnancy, and then the baby ages to about four or five months.

    So, a year from the beginning to the end of "The Six Thatchers" is reasonable.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's not just that, though. The problem is that they reversed it in the same episode. Sherlock shoots Magnussen. Oh, no, now he's in deep trouble and he's being exiled, oh, whatever will become of him? But then, just moments after his plane takes off into exile, the Moriarty videos surface and he's immediately called back, his exile over before it begins. They couldn't even bother to commit to an actual cliffhanger resulting from the homicide. They swept its consequences away entirely before the episode even ended. That's just crass, lazy writing. At least they could've kept us in suspense for the two years between "His Last Vow" and "The Abominable Bride," but they didn't even have the patience to let the threat of consequences stand for five minutes. And if they had no interest in Magnussen's death having consequences even within the episode where it happened, then it was a completely terrible and unnecessary storytelling choice to have Sherlock kill him at all.


    Exactly. I didn't feel any sadness when Mary sacrificed herself, just a sigh of disappointment that they fell back on such a predictable cliche. But then, Elementary has always had a clear advantage over Sherlock in its handling of female characters. I guess I shouldn't have expected anything better.

    Also, why does Watson blame Sherlock for Mary's death? Sherlock invited both Watsons; Mary and John mutually agreed that she should go while he stayed behind to arrange a babysitter. If they'd chosen differently, it could've been John who took that bullet -- or who stood by helplessly while Sherlock was shot down. So there's really no reason for John to hate Sherlock for this, and it's really extraordinarily sexist to ignore Mary's own independent choices as a capable, responsible adult and assume that it's somehow Sherlock's fault for failing to live up to his manly manly vow to protect the frail womenfolk (even though, of the two, Mary was the far more capable protector). Not only is it obnoxiously patriarchal, but it's a contrived excuse to create a gratuitous rift between Sherlock and John for the sake of manufactured drama.

    Not to mention the stupidity of having Sherlock somehow able to watch the bullet's approach in slow motion and Mary suddenly tapping into the Speed Force and being able to move to intercept it after it was more than halfway to Sherlock's chest. An average bullet travels at around twice the speed of sound -- it would've hit Sherlock before Mary even heard the shot. At the distance shown, the bullet would've hit him maybe less than 5 milliseconds after being fired, and the fastest human reaction time for movement ever recorded is more than 100 milliseconds. Okay, maybe we can assume that what we saw was stylized, that maybe we were in Sherlock's "Mind Palace" thingy and he anticipated the shot before it was fired and Mary actually started moving before the gun went off -- but as presented, it's cartoony and ridiculous. This show has always valued style over sense, and it's just getting more so over time. The canonical Holmes disliked the way Watson placed dramatic flair over factual accuracy in his Strand stories; he would have utterly deplored Moffat and Gatiss's approach.

    One thing that I almost complained about was that the secretary was able to pull out the gun and get off a shot when there were a bunch of cops all around her. Why didn't they shoot her before she fired? But then I realized -- oh, yeah, it's England. The cops aren't armed as a matter of routine. They would've had to call in the special weapons squad.


    Yes. Canon is a starting point for an adaptation, not a straitjacket. Sometimes departures from canon can be improvements on the original, as with Elementary's innovative handling of Irene Adler and Moriarty. And it's not like the canonical Mary Morstan was an ex-mercenary.


    I think it's been that for years.

    The sad thing is that the mystery of the week-old dead body found in the car was actually a pretty clever one, but it was incidental to the story as a whole. I guessed right off that the kid had been in the car and the call from Tibet had been faked, but I couldn't figure out the rest. (Also, I never expected a reference to the Power Rangers to appear in a Sherlock Holmes story. Appropriately, it was an action figure of the Mighty Morphin Blue Ranger, aka Billy Cranston, who once dressed up as Sherlock Holmes for a Halloween episode.)

    I'm not as disappointed by the Thatcherized update of "The Six Napoleons" being dealt with so casually, because that mystery plot has become a bit too well-known by now. Both the '40s radio show and the '50s TV series of Superman did episodes based on the same mystery setup, criminals inexplicably smashing a series of statues.


    Exactly. I was just guessing when I said "over a year," but it seemed likely based on the pregnancy and the age of the baby. More basically, though, it's been three years in real time since "His Last Vow," so I assumed the montage was meant to account for at least a fair portion of that interval. I mean, heck, Martin Freeman has visibly aged between HLV and this. They couldn't just go on pretending it was still 2014.
     
  19. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Erm... the wedding was meant to be in May (the invitation in TSoT clearly says so), but I think that got retconned with HLV (and John's blog) to August so to better fit in Sherlock's recovery with Christmas (at least that's my explanation for this obvious inconsistency), and at Christmas and the tarmac scene in HLV Mary was pretty obviously far along. I'd say she was due in February, March at the latest. TAB got ignored in TST, there was not a single reference - the oblique one about Sherlock's drug use right in the beginning could also refer to his drug use in HLV...

    But I get the point on Freeman - yes, he aged, but in a sense this time it was less obvious than in the beginning scenes of TAB, maybe due to previous exposure (but the flashback scenes to Christmas really highlighted that). But don't get me started on that hairstyle change... Incidentally, I thought back then that Cumberbatch has aged visibly between season 2 and 3, but now in season 4 he looks roughly like in season 2. *lol*

    About the death scene, John's anger:

    My take was that John just blamed Sherlock because he's a convenient target. He was about to confess to the affair (however far that went), he's still angry about Mary's lies, and now he enters the room *after* Mary was shot. So he wasn't privy to Sherlock's goading Norbury into shooting anyone (although I think she was about to shoot Mary regardless, Sherlock just made her rethink her target). So I'll buy that immediate anger - but not the protracted one. That's absolutely hypocritical, given that John took a vow as well... and apparently broke it.

    The other major issue I still have is that Mary's practically turned into a heroine... she's an assassin for hire, she shot Sherlock point blank. He died (and crawled back to life). Granted, we have the few glossed-over months in HLV, but then John took her back without questions or even looking at the thumb-drive? And Mycroft, big brother who's threatening and bribing anyone, doesn't interfere? Even Lestrade apparently knew it was her who shot Sherlock as he didn't seem surprised... Are there no consequences for anyone's actions (save for ill-conceived anger and thrown rattles)? IMO, Mary's past caught up with her and at least she finally had to face the consequences of her actions; Magnussen, despicable man he was, died because of that past, her former partner died because of it - how many people should have died just to protect her secret?

    I thought it strange that there's no real interaction between Sherlock and John, the only meaningful one being off-screen when they together decided to bug the thumb-drive. But I absolutely enjoy the scenes with Sherlock and Mycroft. My regard for John has fallen with season 3, just as much as Mycroft's has risen. And he wrote himself... er, had some of the best lines.

    I'll reserve final judgment till the end of the season. In some parts, this episode just comes across as unreal, as though it's a dream (Sherlock under water in the end, some of the cuts between scenes), that's why I think that not everything's as it seems... but if they just come back explaining the whole thing with mind-palace or some such nonsense I'd be seriously reminded of Dallas... and that's not an association I'd want to make with Sherlock (a show which I still love to bits for TGG, ASiB and TRF, for its one-liners and Sherlock's abrasiveness). *g*
     
  20. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored Hurray for Hollyweed! Moderator

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    John says he blames Sherlock for breaking his vow, but if I were him I'd be more angry about the fact that Sherlock seemingly provoked Mrs Norbury into pulling her gun and firing by saying she acted out of jealousy and by mocking her alcoholism, loneliness, and predictability. So she tried to be "unpredictable" by opening fire, even though it wasn't really unpredictable at all. Mary kept trying to tell Sherlock to stop, but he wouldn't listen.