Sherlock is back. While Moriarty’s presence, alive or not, looms large, the season so far has focused on the other characters. The last episode, focused on Watson and Mary, ending in tragic circumstances and affecting his and Sherlock’s relationship. Of course they would still be together somehow and will hopefully set-up a big reveal in the finale. At least the finale’s episode title hints at this. As always, beware of potential spoilers below.
Synopsis: Sherlock faces one of the most chilling enemies of his long career: the powerful and seemingly unassailable Culverton Smith, a man with a very dark secret indeed. (IMDB)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and Toby Jones.
Writer: Steven Moffat
Director: Nick Hurran
Running Time: 88mins
Those looking for any more buildup for the Moriarty reveal will have to wait until the last episode. That doesn’t mean this episode did not have any excitement to be had because it did. Continuing with the events of the last episode, Watson and Sherlock are still reeling. Watson doesn’t speak to Sherlock anymore and spends most of his time with a therapist until he is interrupted by a red sports car. He still hasn’t gotten over Mary’s death but she is still in the picture as he is still followed by her spirit. Sherlock was dealing with it in a different way as he chose to spend his time isolated in the loft, under the influence of various drugs.
The main villain of the episode, so to speak, was an entrepreneur and philanthropist named Culverton Smith (Jones). At least you couldn’t tell that at the beginning of the episode as he held some sort of a board meeting where he shared a personal secret, something he thought was holding him back. He thought he needed to kill someone, not someone in particular, just anyone. In order to cover his tracks, he had his witnesses, including his daughter Faith, injected with a substance that took away their memories.
Now two years later, Faith appears in the loft, asking Sherlock to take her case. Sherlock isn’t exactly in the best condition as he was currently high on drugs thanks to Bill Wiggins (Tom Brooke), who happened to be in the loft with him. Faith remembered that her father wanted to kill someone a few years ago but didn’t know who or if he ever did it. She said one name changed her life, the name of the person who her father wanted to kill but she couldn’t remember it. He initially sends her away for her case being too weird but he then calls her back after noticing something about her. They spend the evening together until she just disappeared.
Sherlock kept hearing the word “anyone” all around him and figures out that the name of the person Smith wanted to kill was anyone, leading him to believe that he was a serial killer. This was the climax of the sort of first half of the episode where we saw Sherlock at his worst. The episode followed his drug-induced mania, moving at a sometimes uncomfortable pace and throwing a few too many effects which made things hard to follow at times but this got better. At the height of his mania, Mrs. Hudson manages to subdue him and we learn that the earlier interruption was her in her car with Sherlock handcuffed in the trunk.
In her desperation, she asks Watson to examine him. He shares his theory on Smith but of course people are skeptical because of his current state. Even so. they then jump into a car and head to a studio where they watch Smith filming a commercial where he proclaimed himself a “cereal killer” for whom Sherlock thought was witty but also true. They follow him to a children’s hospital where Smith puts on a face in front of the cameras. He and Sherlock go back and forth where he tries to incite Sherlock and Sherlock tries to get him to confess to what he has done. This was most evident when they got to the morgue and Smith began to show his true colors. We also see Faith again who was not the person who Sherlock saw earlier. Though their exchanges, he appeared to vaguely hint at the things he may have done. This was fun to watch but we already kind of knew the truth.
After attacking Smith, Sherlock was in the hospital, giving Mycroft and his associates the opportunity to clean up Sherlock’s loft. This uncovered Mary’s video to Sherlock which Watson watched. Mycroft also let it slip that he and Sherlock may have a secret sibling. This was when we learned that the case wasn’t really a case after all. Mary asked Sherlock to save Watson but in order to save Watson, he had to put himself in danger for Watson to save him. This made things more anti-climactic.
That was the point of why Sherlock did what he did. A little too elaborate but it got the job done. This felt like a copout and took away from the case even though it wasn’t much of a case since Smith’s guilt was fairly obvious from the start and that they were going to catch him inevitably. Jones was great as Smith but he did feel wasted as they didn’t give his character much of a chance. He was merely a means to an end which was to get Sherlock and Watson back together, which was going to happen anyway. This didn’t take away from the moment, however, as it was still an emotional moment. The sibling reveal was surprising but not that surprising.
Overall, this was a better episode, continuing to buildup to something big in the finale. I hope that it will be more about Moriarty than the secret sibling as it would be a cheat and unfair.