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Sherlock Series 4 Premiere The Six Thatchers – Is All As It Seems?

The New Year has kicked off wonderfully with a new season of BBC Sherlock and, true to its reputation, the show has once again sent viewers into fits of frenzied speculation.

the game is on sherlock

The third season aired three years ago, and although we got a Christmas special in between, we didn’t really see any significant plot development in The Abominable Bride. Therefore, it would be fair to say that fans of the show have waited three years to put on their deerstalker hats and exercise their powers of deduction.

To satisfy that need, this episode was full of enigmatic events which demand to be broken down and examined.

If you haven’t yet watched the episode, read no further; this article contains MAJOR SPOILERS! You have been warned.

balloon john watson

People have already started writing fan fiction about Balloon John Watson.

Here’s a list of 5 of the most pressing issues about The Six Thatchers that we need to talk about.

The Third Holmes Brother

After years – literally – of speculation, we finally heard the third Holmes brother being mentioned in the show, in the last few minutes of episode one.

Where is Sherrinford? Why is he so important that Mycroft would agree to wait for him to answer his call?


When was the last time Mycroft Holmes agreed to wait for someone?

John’s Affair with the Bus Lady

This plot twist didn’t sit too well with me. It’s out of character for John Watson to be disloyal to his wife. It was also shown in a very disjointed manner, leaving the depth and intensity of John’s relationship with this mysterious “E” to guesswork.

I hope John didn’t cheat on Mary, because that would be preposterous. At first I thought they were showing this just to make Mary’s character more sympathetic, but that doesn’t seem likely.

They didn’t even try to make us understand John’s reasoning behind it – say, for example, was he still angry with Mary? Was he feeling distanced, excluded, perhaps? Nothing as such was made clear. And that makes it very hard for us to believe that all is as it seems.

The Significance of E’s Character in this Series’ Plot Arc

We can all agree that we haven’t seen the last of E. There is more to her story. She might be working with Moriarty.

Or, given that she was shown sitting next to an advertisement showing the face of the series’ villain Culverton Smith, she might be connected to him. Or, even better, maybe she’s connected to both!

Culverton Smith

Most viewers spotted this clever little easter egg.

Mary’s Death

Without further ado, let’s address the elephant in the room – possibly the saddest plot twist in the history of BBC Sherlock – the death of Mary Watson.

It would be dishonest to say that it was unexpected. Everyone had guessed that Mary might die in this season of Sherlock, and when the creators endorsed it as the “saddest series yet”, we braced ourselves for the freight train. Nevertheless, we got hit pretty hard.

There’s been a lot of grief, denial and theories doing the rounds on the interwebs. Many believe that Mary isn’t really dead. One of the explanations that are being offered is that Sherlock was still trippin’ throughout this episode.

Personally, I believe Mary is dead for good, but you never can guess with writers like Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss as showrunners.

John bewails

What the BBC subtitles called “bewailing” sounded surprisingly like Chewbacca noises.

One other thing that’s become a hot topic is John Watson’s reaction to Mary being shot. Not only did he completely forget that he’s a doctor while his wife bled to death, he also made dying whale noises when she finally stopped breathing. I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but why so extra, John?

Go to Hell, Sherlock.

Sherlock thinking the CD he got in the mail was about Moriarty and then the whole thing turning out to be about Mary was basically the whole episode in a nutshell.

Mary’s message wasn’t just a sweet goodbye; her exact words were “Save John Watson”. Now, that could just mean saving him from his own anger and grief. But are things ever that simple when it comes to Sherlock?

As if that weren’t cryptic enough, we see the end of the clip with Mary’s last message after the credits stop rolling, in which she says, “Go to hell, Sherlock.”

Viewers were, undoubtedly, confused – first she shoots Sherlock, then they get all chummy, she takes a bullet for him, tells him she likes him, and ends her message with “Go to hell”? Mixed signals, much?

But, could it be some sort of clue? “Save John Watson. Go to hell.”

Mary's message to Sherlock

Sherlock had earlier told Moriarty he would meet him in hell. Is Mary asking Sherlock to save John by confronting Moriarty one last time, undoing his last scheme? Gah, I don’t know!

The season premiere has garnered mixed responses from viewers, but let’s reserve judgement until all three episodes are out.

What did you think about this episode? Let us know in the comments.

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