After the quite average episode of Sherlock’s season premiere, episode two made sure to hit you right in the face with shock, despair and utter disbelief. Addressing a lot of concerns and questions from last week, episode two titled ‘The Lying Detective’ put Sherlock right back on previous seasons’ form and made it an episode filled with suspense. Even with all the commendations, Sherlock is still plagued by a not so great villain and a few other flaws. Without a mention of Moriarty, will there be another villain worthy enough of Sherlock’s time?
As expected, the episode opens with John trying to open up to a new therapist. He is constantly plagued by visions of his dead wife and cannot bring himself to forgive anybody at this point. The other half of the dynamic duo finds himself acquainted to a random junkie, with a scene very reminiscent of Trainspotting; the visual effects and transitions were like nothing ever seen before in the show. It was highly enjoyable and took you on a ride, even if the random junkie was used extremely poorly. Last episode was poor to address last series’ reveal of Sherlock’s drug addiction, and this was a fantastic resolution to the ordeal.
As almost every other case, Sherlock’s new mystery starts off with a person of interest visiting 221B Baker Street in hopes to solve the case. A young woman is concerned that her father, a famous television celebrity Culverton Smith (Toby Jones), has killed someone. With an extremely strange encounter, Sherlock, in his drug-induced manic state, decides to go on a journey with the woman, where he deducts that her father is in fact a serial killer.
Jumping back straight to the middle of John’s therapy session, Mrs. Hudson, using her wits and charm, forces John to help Sherlock. Unsuspecting, Mrs. Hudson had Sherlock in the boot of her fancy sports car, causing John to quickly fulfil his promise. A scene filled with hilarity and Mrs. Hudson’s devastating force, Sherlock reveals that he planned every single moment, two weeks earlier. It was almost as if the writers just wanted to one-up the Sherlock antics, and whilst everything was explained, it was still a bit of a stretch. The addition of the pre-arranged taxi to visit Culverton Smith on set and John wanting a second opinion (Molly) on Sherlock’s supposed drug addiction was all way too fortunate, like they were confused about which strange Cumberbatch character they were writing about.
Molly soon confirms that Sherlock is in fact on the verge of overdosing, following Culverton’s introduction shortly. If anybody had a magic 8-ball and asked if Culverton was a serial killer, the answer would quickly be shown as ‘all signs point to yes.’ With his twisted teeth, asking Sherlock about how to catch a serial killer in front of dying children, owning a hospital, having a favourite room inside a hospital, and that room being the morgue, the ambiguity of any innocence he had was removed.
The highly drugged Sherlock, who is present in the morgue with Culverton, his daughter and John, is about to break down in a moment of panic. He tries to take stab at Culverton with a scalpel, but John quickly disarms him and beats him up in the process; a much needed moment of reconciliation for John. Culverton then offers one of his ‘favourite rooms’ for Sherlock.
With an extremely clear villain right from his introduction, there was very little satisfaction to the resolution of this crime. The minor twist of Sherlock purposefully drugging himself so much so that John will save him was not very heartfelt. Sherlock somehow manages to pre-determine every single scene, even putting a recording device inside John’s old cane that he knew John was going to give him in the hospital was the tip of the iceberg.
Although Toby Jones’ made an eerily captivating creepy performance, with the lack of seeing much of a murder, the resolution was only satisfactory at best. You can give no higher praise to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman for their outstanding performances every week, but this week’s award has to be given to Una Stubbs (Mrs. Hudson), who absolutely stole the episode.
However, just when the episode was about to end, the giant reveal made us remember why Sherlock was such a brilliantly crafted show. There was an additional twist, the existence of a third Holmes sibling, a sister named Eurus. She had been deceiving everyone, as last week’s flirty texter, and this week’s damsel in distress. Connecting sub-plots and revealing a larger foe was the essence of this episode, its moments of genuine disbelief like this that make Sherlock so grand.
Sherlock Season 4 continues on BBC One on Sunday 15th January.