Sherlock returned last Sunday and it took us a little while to coordinate across time zones, but here we are at last with our discussion of the first episode of Series 4. Who knows if any of us will be alive to see the first episode of Series 5. Civilizations will rise and fall, whole continents will fall into the sea, cities shall turn to dust, and then, perhaps, Moffat, Gattiss, Cumberbatch, and Freeman will finally have a gap in their schedules to film a few episodes.
Join Jaden C. Kilmer (JC) and J.A. Prentice (JA) in our discussion of The Six Thatchers.
There are SPOILERS ahead.
JA: Overall thoughts?
JC: The best thing about the episode was that it killed Mary. The worst part was how.
JA: I thought the episode was “good,” but not Sherlock good. And definitely not waiting that long good. It was very predictable, which is not something I’ve felt about Sherlock before.
JC: Predictable how?
JA: We had the same twist as the previous not-a-special episode: it seems exactly like a classic Sherlock Holmes story but Surprise! It’s really about Mary.
The secretary twist was obvious to me from a mile off.
And Mary’s death was a cliché.
JC: Hence my comment sbout how she died being the worst part.
However it was also the best part of the episode because it rids us of the character who kinda single handedly made the show mortal
JA: Made the show mortal? I’m confused.
JC: Seasons 1 and 2 were peerless. Season 3 made it clear that the show was on fact run by mortal humans that were capable of flaws
JA: True. But this episode, in my opinion, is the most obviously written by mortals of them all.
I think it’s become increasingly obvious that despite all the interviews where they criticize Doyle’s treatment of Mary Watson and talked about how they want her to be an integral part of Sherlock and Watson’s cases, they never had any idea what they were doing with her really.
And just like Doyle, they eventually arrived at the laziest conclusion they could: killing her off.
At least they didn’t do it off screen.
JC: They should never have introduced her at all.
She threw the chemistry and rhythm Watson and Sherlock had out of sync
I do think that this episode was them finally admitting the mistake however
JA: Killing characters is the worst way to “fix your mistakes.” The worst.
I think that should be included in writer’s advice handbooks.
JC: Short of a time machine I dont see a better way here. She was a fundamental flaw in the show and I think they tried to sideline her already but she kept getting brought into everything.
This was ripping off the bandaid as it were
JA: The problem was that they decided to make her a superspy, which makes Watson a distant third to her and Sherlock. If they’d kept her with an actually reasonable human skillset, it would have worked.
Instead it was the Doctor/Amy/Rory dynamic but with Amy turned up to a thousand.
JC: I still think her inclusion at all was a mistake. Sherlock has only 5 hour long seasons and was stuffing their episodes full with just two leads. Adding a third just makes everything harder
Like, try to cut even five minutes from a study in pink for Mary’s lines.
JA: It’s a symptom of a larger problem: Sherlock has become increasingly more like a sitcom. Less cases, more the characters sitting around, talking about their lives, and saying very witty lines. It’s become too unlike Sherlock Holmes. The genius of Series 1 and 2 was that they were a perfect modern Sherlock Holmes. Now the series is starting to lose that.
JC: It’s also dipped WAY too much into fanservice and in jokes. That’s more a season 3 complaint though.
JC: You’re totally right that it doesnt really feel like a modern Sherlock Holmes now. But the killing off of Mary does hopefully provide a reset
JA: I also have an issue with on the grounds of it being incredibly hypocritical to have a special which is basically a feminist critique of Holmes followed by an episode where Mary dies so the others can feel sad.
JC: Ah, but you see this implies that you actually remember what happened in the special. Whereas I do not.
JA: I remember exactly what happened in the special because it was really, really great. Whereas this was less so.
JC: Well we’ve focused on the writing so far, which makes sense given we’re a writing blog. But we also pretend we know how to direct. Did you catch who directed this?
JA: I did not.
I thought it was really well directed though.
JC: Rachel “directed the episode of Doctor Who that broke our scales” Talalay
JA: Sherlock is always visually beautiful and this was no exception.
Rachel Talalay is my favorite.
I want her to direct the movies of my books.
JC: She’s far too talented to just do tv. Only a matter of time before shes making sci fi films I think
Or is that me wishing out loud?
JA: I think she seriously deserves a shot at it.
JC: I think she had one misstep however. Or it may have been the editors. Or writers… But I think it’s more a directing thing
JA: Go on because I don’t remember any missteps in the direction.
JC: Mary’s death is a cliche either way, but the way the scene is cut makes it look like she jumps AFTER the gun is shot. Which is just inhuman reaction time.
JA: I think that might be down to the script. And the way they made Mary into a superspy.
JC: Mary Sue being a superspy certainly made me think they’d just jumped the gun completely.
I mean Watson
JA: I think the twist initially worked a little in the Series 3 finale, but it was clear they didn’t have any better idea for where to go with “Mary has a dark past where she was some sort of operative” than “she’s super awesome. The awesomest.”
JC: Oh and she went and did the “I’m leaving you because i love you and its for your own protection and even though we’re married and you have my baby i cant tell you why” cliche.
I like how short the directing discussion was by the way, seeing as we’re back to the script
JA: I really don’t know enough about directing to say anything other than “it was pretty.” I loved the transitions with breaking busts and the shots of the shark.
JC: I pretend like I know know how to direct.
I think that qualifies me to direct a blockbuster these days
JC: I’m gonna take a guess as to your favorite part of the episode.
JA: Guess away.
JC: The “filler” story with the teenager and the car and what not
JA: Hmm. I’m not sure what my favorite part was, but I did like that bit a lot.
I just wish the main plot had been clever like that.
JC: It certainly was the most sherlocky feeling section
JA: I think the show went too far in the action movie direction for the rest. Every other episode has some clever twists and mysteries in the end, but this one was just a standard “it was the obvious person!” twist.
Oh. Except the first episode of Series 3. That was weak in the mystery department too.
JC: Guns did a lot of the talking this time.
JA: It’s almost like those horrible RDJ films.
I take that back. It was too mean.
JC: Lol yeah you crossed the line!
Sooo wrap up time?
JA: We should probably do that, yeah.
JC: It was good. I enjoyed it and am especially happy to see Mary no longer in the show. But it’s a less than the sum of its parts thing. Cliches and unSherlocky things kinda hamper it. It’s an OK set up, and the season could end up really good or awful. 7/10
JA: I enjoyed the episode, but found it disappointing compared to previous episodes. I felt the offing of Mary was lazy at best and sexist at worst and that the story was very much by the numbers. The direction was stunning, the acting was excellent, and there were many enjoyable scenes, but the whole thing does not hold together very well. 6/10.
I was really hoping you’d give it an 8 so we could finaly have a major disparity in ratings.
JC: I’m not married to my rating. It’s probably more accurate to say *shrug* out of 10.
JA: *shrug* is a decent summary. And I never thought I’d say that about Sherlock.
Will JA and Jaden ever disagree? Tune in next time for a Rogue One double review! Or maybe not. Idk. Who cares.