Last Sunday, one of my favourite TV shows finally returned for its fourth season, and it seriously delivered one hell of an episode! That’s right, Sherlock is off the plane, and back in London. Shock blankets at the ready, this episode is a thrill ride!
*WARNING – Contains spoilers for previous seasons – none for this episode.*
Written by Mark Gatiss, the episode takes its title, The Six Thatchers, from the Conan Doyle story The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, about busts of the French Leader being smashed around London. In the usual style of the show, Gatiss gives this tale a modern twist, substituting in busts of Margaret Thatcher, and supplying Sherlock with an enticing case and plenty of genius deductions.
This case is just a pre-curser for what is to come, though, with the busts themselves linking to the overarching story concerning Mary Watson/Morstan. We delve deeper into Mary’s past as a special agent, discovered during the final episode of season three, and learn more about the kinds of activities she took part in. And unfortunately, some of those activities and the people involved did not want to stay buried.
Clearly, Sherlock is a proper drama, and no episode has been quite as action-packed as this one. But all of its intensity and shocks and fight scenes and chases, just help to make those lighthearted, domestic moments all the sweeter. I really enjoyed the beginning of the episode, which was reminiscent of A Scandal in Belgravia and The Sign of Three, with the montage of cases showing the Baker Street boys being back in action, but also working around the domestic sides of their lives. That is where most of the comedy comes from, after all.
As for the amount of the action included in this episode, I can understand why many people felt it was too much and that it seemed to go more down the road of a spy-thriller. But people have to remember; Gatiss and Stephen Moffat are still Holmes traditionalists, and they will always keep the show a detective show about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Everyone knows that that’s why it works so well, and why the original stories were and continue to be so well-loved.
As for the conclusion, even though I sort of predicted what the outcome of the episode would be in some way, it was still completely shocking. The build up of events, and increasing tension that was laced throughout every step closer the characters took to understanding what happened on Mary’s mission years ago, kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through.
Unfortunately, Sherlock is only back for its standard 3 episode run, which means there’s just over a week left before it’s back on hiatus. But while it’s here, I am determined to enjoy every minute of it.
If you missed The Six Thatchers, there’s still time to catch up on BBC iPlayer, here, ready for tomorrow night’s episode. The second episode, The Lying Detective, airs on Sunday night on BBC1 at 9 pm.