On the one side we have rapture; on the other side what can only be described as revulsion.
Once again I'm in the middle. I found it gripping until the end but there were bumps in the road.
We began the episode with Sherlock in a drug induced frenzy. Apparently this was brought on by his separation from John who refuses to see him. He picks a fight with Culverton Smith - played superbly by Toby Jones - and John is dragged into it.
The original Smith was a tropical disease expert. Here he was quite clearly modelled on Jimmy Savile. Charity work hiding a man who delights in killing for kicks.
Ultimately, Sherlock's winding up of John throughout the episode was all part of a plan to bring the two of them back together. This is where the revulsion comes in. During the course of events John beats Sherlock up and the latter lets him do it. 50% of the online fandom went ballistic with rage. The other half just appeared to take events as they came and moved on. I found the scene uncomfortable, against the characters I know and I can see the arguments on both sides but I'm not moved to the rage shown by some. It was especially interesting, in the aftermath of the broadcast, to see people on social media, who were usually of similar opinions, finding themselves on opposite sides in relation to this particular scene.
It occurred to me that life was imitating art as the episode drove a wedge of sorts between allies on social media in the same manner in which the previous episode drove a wedge between its lead characters.
Returning to the episode, the chain of events turns out to be Sherlock carrying out the late Mary Watson's request (delivered the previous episode) designed to bring the two men back together.
John also confesses his text only relationship with the woman from the bus stop. He does this to the imaginary Mary he has been hallucinating about throughout the episode. I think this confession was as much for the angry fans from episode one as much as it was for everyone else.
We end with the team back together in time for the finale. Are all the rifts healed. ...? I guess we'll see.
Many of the cast barely appeared in this. There was little of Molly or Lestrade but we did have a brief and welcome return of Wiggins. I hope he will feature in the finale.
The female force of the episode is Mrs Hudson who really moves this story along. She finally escapes 221B and shows some of the skills she acquired in her life prior to becoming a London Landlady. I suspect Una Stubbs rather enjoyed filming this one.
Finally we get to what the tabloids have been calling the shock twist. In fact it was nothing of the kind. We'd been set up to expect a third Holmes since the end of series three so that was hardly a shock. The fact that it is a sister rather than a brother is the thing that is supposed to have rocked our world. Well for me it didn't. Setting us up to expect a man and delivering us a woman is something Steven Moffat has done before.....The Master anyone?
At this point I'm not entirely convinced that there is another sibling. It has not been explicitly confirmed. Just because a character claims to be a Holmes doesn't mean they are. There is plenty of room for the writers to wriggle out. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here