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"But why would you not let me near you, since there was in truth no infection?" [DYIN] 

[Editor's Note: this is the fifth in a series of reviews we'll be sharing on Series 4 of Sherlock. And in case you haven't been following, we have spoilers.]

I’m not one for dream sequences. The psychedelic when portrayed in television tends to often muddy the context behind the story and focus more on the fact that what you’re seeing on the screen is what it may be like to be high. Well, if this episode of Sherlock is accurate in its depiction of being under the influence I’ll continue to live a life away from it. Far, far away.

Sherlock’s fourth season has stepped up in a big way and I think that’s in part due to the evolving fame of Cumberbatch and Freeman. The production value of the show has improved year by year, season by season and episode by episode but if anything has been evident so far it’s that the show finds itself as intelligent as it’s subject. Has our beloved PBS/BBC Sherlock gotten a little too avant garde?


Don’t you do it! If you keep reading, all will be lost. The mystery, the fun. Or you probably watched it and in that case, enjoy my friends!

Quickly we see again that Dr. Watson has taken the company of a new psychiatrist, this one almost as forgettable as the first couple or maybe not (we’ll get to that) and he’s been having visions of his beautiful wife Mary carrying him through his days acting as his conscience. I don’t want to like this John Watson. All I could think about while watching this fractured relationship between Sherlock and John was the recent article from a couple issues ago in the Baker Street Journal regarding what we want from Watson and Holmes. For me, I want them doing what captured a younger me many years ago, wowing me as the best crime solving duo ever assembled. I’d be more angry if Martin Freeman wasn’t such a fantastic actor.

Honestly, I loved the parallels between "The Lying Detective" and "The Adventure of the Dying Detective" and how intricately woven the plot was to mirror its source material. The “Miss Me?” video left behind by Mary to ensure that John needs some help from his own demons, his own personal illness and Sherlock needed to put him onto it by essentially making a sacrifice. The play on that as it relates to Holmes in the actual written story, Holmes starving himself for days and claiming the disease infectious, was modernized and quite well in fact. The cane left behind signifying the hiding Watson of the prose was a nice touch. Let’s talk a bit about Sherlock’s spiral. I did not care for the trippy drug induced part of the episode mainly for its convoluted nature and wildness. The scene in the middle of the road with Sherr—I mean Faith, wait the psychia— no, well the girl in the red dress, was just too much. For me the fan of the show I said to myself, okay guys, we get it. You’re creative.

We can’t get this far into the review without at least mentioning Toby Jones as Culverton Smith. To this villain I say, you sir are a run of the mill crime drama almost prime time serial killer. Nothing compelling there for me and this really didn’t translate from prose to screen as well as some other elements have. Smith isn’t a villain of say Magnussen or Moriarty but I was expecting something a bit more with him given the publicity we’ve got with the new season. Don’t get me wrong, Jones was creepy as Culverton but the cereal killer story beat? Nope. No thanks. His line, “What’s the worst thing you could do to your best friend?” There we go, that gave me the willies. I may have not been the biggest fan of him as a character but he definitely upped the creepiness needed for the episode. For all you Marvel fans and Harry Potter fans out there I will only ever be able to see or hear Toby Jones as Arnim Zola or the voice of Dobby the elf.

I have a confession to make. Most people reading this will know more about Sherlock Holmes as a whole than me. Having said that, who the heck is Sherrinford Holmes? I did my research and I found a copy a couple years ago of Baring-Gould’s Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street (how dare someone get rid of that at a garage sale?) and I’m aware of the inclusion of Sherrinford in that text but just why? Why in the show? This would be a good time to point out what I think may be obvious, I recognized the impostor that met with Sherlock at Baker Street and I recognized her as the psychiatrist. I’m not that clever (I think it was that obvious) and I figured something sinister was coming with her, especially given the fact we were going to spend time with that character in the closing minutes of the show when clearly we could’ve spent it elsewhere (did anyone else want the episode to end with Sherlock and Watson’s embrace?)

Some things I loved:
  • “I’m Sherlock Holmes I wear the damn hat” 
  • H.H. Holmes, murder castle done right” (any other Erik Larson fans out there? Please read Devil in the White City if you haven’t already) 
  • "The game’s afoot!" as opposed to the oft-used "the game is on!"
  • John cheating? I’m looking at you, borderline sexting! 
  • Mrs. Hudson doing her best Fast and Furious impression 
  • Mrs. Hudson calling Mycroft a reptile (I always thought he looked more like a dinosaur or a weird exotic bird) 
  • Mrs. Hudson in all matters and scenes of this episode 

A few things I didn’t care for:
  • Trippy scenes 
  • 85% of Culverton Smith 
  • New psychiatrists 
  • Needles 

I had three family members watch the episode with me tonight that had not seen the show before and have minor knowledge of our shared interest and they all had different responses. I think we’ll end with those:
“Why’s that guy playing with the dead woman's mouth?”
“Wow, that guy plays Doctor Strange and Sherlock Holmes?”
“I wish I had one friend like Dr. Watson. I just hope they don’t punch me in the face that many times.”

Now, everyone picture the hug between Holmes and Watson from late in the episode. Let’s call it a night. Bring on Sherrinford? Also, I do indeed, miss him. I didn't hate it, I didn't love it.

It simply is what it is.