The following is a spoiler-filled episode review of the Sherlock: Series 4, Episode 1 – The Six Thatchers
In The Six Thatchers, Lestrade has a case for Sherlock. A young man was found dead in his car outside his parents’ house in Britain, but their son was speaking to them from Tibet via Skype the day he died. Sherlock quickly figures it out, but he soon discovers another mystery – one involving multiple Margaret Thatcher busts – that he believes has something to do with Moriarty’s ‘return.’
Sherlock is back, and the game is on! And, um, I’m pretty sure the show-runners aren’t fond of Thatcher. We sure got to see a lot of busts break in this episode. Some hearts broke too, though, as we, sadly, had to say goodbye to Mary Morstan and, by extension, Amanda Abbington.
The Six Thatchers was all about predestination. Morstan’s past profession, which had retired many people, would be the end of her at some point. It was an almost poetic ending for her, as she now got a chance to take a bullet for Sherlock, after firing one at him in His Last Vow.
That, however, seems to be the only thing the show-runners remembered about His Last Vow, because The Six Thatchers didn’t just undermine and effectively undo the great final moment from His Last Vow – it also recycled some other moments. We were once again treated to seeing Mary and John argue about her being untrustworthy, for example.
Great character moments between Mary and John could’ve helped this episode greatly, but what did we get? We got a montage of scenes in which an almost always spectacularly self-absorbed Sherlock was the focal point. The christening was really about him, and when Mary was having her baby, it wasn’t really a moment for John and Mary.
Sure, Lestrade and John pointed out that Sherlock, himself, was a bit of a baby, but that’s not anything new for the show. We know their dynamic. We know how their relationship works. And what did we get instead of moments that could’ve solidified our love for John and Mary? We saw Mary running away again, while John was thinking about going out with another woman. It’s not necessarily out-of-character for Mary to run away, but John wasn’t himself in The Six Thatchers.
And maybe that is why the big moment – when Mary took a bullet for Sherlock – didn’t work for me. But no, that isn’t the only reason why it didn’t work. It was poorly executed, and also very cliché for Mary to take a bullet for him. It wasn’t smart, it wasn’t clever, it wasn’t Sherlock.
“Being Mary Watson was the only life worth living. Thank you…” – Mary to John.
And so The Six Thatchers ends up being probably my least favorite regular series episode since The Blind Banker. The big moments didn’t work and the episode as a whole felt largely recycled, surprisingly restless, and curiously confusing. I also strongly disliked that Mary was just becoming a cheap plot device. Usually these episodes work better in context, though, and therefore I do have hope that episodes two and three in series four will help this episode.
There were bright spots in the episode – like Sherlock’s Bond-like fight scene in the pool and seeing Sherlock, Mary, and John with Toby the dog – but The Six Thatchers ended up being pretty underwhelming. More Sherlock is always worth the wait, but this wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be.
– Jeffrey Rex