Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Review of Sherlock's 4x02: "The Lying Detective"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Nick Hurran

Eurus (to Watson): "My parents loved silly names like Eurus or Mycroft or Sherlock. Oh, look at him. Didn't it ever occur to you, not even once that Sherlock's secret brother might just be Sherlock's secret sister?"

No, but considering that the very last scene of this episode played out similarly to Missy as the Master reveal in Doctor Who's Dark Water it really should've done. So, Sherlock and Mycroft have a 'secret' sister named Eurus and like Moriarty, she's a fan of hiding in plain sight as she demonstrated in both this episode .... and the previous episode.

Yes, credit given to actress Sian Brooke who previously appeared as Watson's potential mistress/the woman on the bus from last week while this week donning the guises of both Faith Smith and the therapist that Watson had been seeing. I say credit, because I genuinely didn't cop to the fact that it was the same actress in each of those roles.

In fact going by the reaction online, many people similarly fell for it and Eurus herself gives a great lines about how people don't always look at faces, which was why she was able to hide herself so clearly for both Sherlock and Watson. One thing I am intrigued by though, why it was Watson that Eurus chose to reveal her identity towards instead of Sherlock and/or Mycroft though?

I guess it doesn't matter anyways as the finale will undoubtedly give the three Holmes siblings plenty of moments together. Eurus also revealed that she was the East Wind rising and there's clearly going to be someone else that Sherlock will have to face again that the media already leaked.

Giving Sherlock and Mycroft a secret sister would've been more shocking had we not seen Moffat pull similarly stuff in Doctor Who the last few series with the likes of Missy and the General. The reveal is a nice moment though and I can't wait to see all three (or is there a fourth one waiting in the wings?) Holmes siblings interacting with each other.

Because of the big reveal, I nearly forgot the main nuts and bolts of this episode and that was Mary (pulling in ghostly appearances) trying to reunite Sherlock and Watson from beyond the grave. Of course to save John Watson, he needed to be placed into a position where he needed to save his best friend, so Sherlock resorting to putting his own life in danger to achieve that felt pretty apt.

Pitting Sherlock against cereal killer (and actually a serial killer)/ celebrity guy Culverton Smith was another masterstroke in reuniting the estranged pairing. Toby Jones is a magnificent actor in most things and here he was served pretty well, playing a genuinely horrifying character who delved into some real life celebrity scumbags for good measure. I loved the cat and mouse antics between Sherlock and Culverton throughout the episode and there was something really unsettling in seeing Culverton's glee in getting caught for his crimes as well. For a guest villain, he's definitely one of the more memorable ones.

Also memorable in this episode was the wonderful use of Mrs Hudson. She's always been a great character but this week, Una Stubbs came so close to stealing the whole episode (only slightly pipped to the post by Sian Brooke and Toby Jones) as we saw Hudson play her part in getting Sherlock and Watson back together but the icing on the cake was her dressing down of Mycroft in one of the most satisfying scenes I think the show has ever done. Needless to say but the more Hudson, the better.

- Though dead, Mary made appearances as Watson was talking to her/himself this week. I think she'll be back for the finale as well.
- Both Lestrade and Molly were a little underused this week. We also got another reminder of Irene Adler being alive, though this time with Watson being aware of it.
- Mycroft and Lady Smallwood? Well, that rules out one theory. Meanwhile the real Faith was played by Gina Bramhill.
- Chronology: A good few weeks since the events of The Six Thatchers. The ratings for this episode took a bit of a big dip sadly.

After something of a disappointing opening episode, I'm glad to see the series bounce back magnificently with The Lying Detective. A brilliant adaptation on the tale (even if some moments were a bit too trippy at times) with some brilliant character moments, a truly satisfying guest villain and a brilliant final scene.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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