Critical Condition: Sherlock

Sherlock (TVNZ 1, 8.35 Sundays)


“It’s fair to say that the Season 4 premiere of Sherlock was met with a good deal of criticism. The first modern-day adventure of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes and Martin Freeman’s Watson in three years was hailed by some critics as disappointing and even cringe-worthy, with shocking plot twists that felt deeply out of character even to fans.” — Vanity Fair.

“Begins with an episode called The Six Thatchers, based on the Conan Doyle story The Adventure of the Six Napoleons. As in the story, someone is seeking out and breaking plaster busts of that titular historical figure. It’s a transitional, fragmented episode built around narrative red herrings. The mystery of the busts is reduced to a storytelling convenience, and there’s some inconclusive business regarding Holmes’s nemesis, Moriarty (Andrew Scott), who was supposedly killed off last season.” — New York Times.

Mark Gatiss’s story was a dizzying triumph of complex plotting (although the much-talked-about demolition of six busts of Margaret Thatcher was an unnecessary piece of iconoclasticism) and beautifully choreographed action scenes. A showdown between Holmes and a shadowy figure (played by Sacha Dhawan) in search of the last Thatcher bust in a Le Corbusier-style home was like some sleek reinvention of a martial arts film.” — The Telegraph.

“The Arthur Conan Doyle story on which Gatiss based his script has busts of Napoleon being smashed by an intruder. Here, the French emperor’s replacement with the former British prime minister has led to some muttering about the BBC’s supposed leftwing bias. But the point, as Sherlock immediately realises, is that the vandal has no political motivation: he’s looking for something hidden inside a head. In one respect, Gatiss has even depoliticised the original, which is filled with references to immigrants and refugees, ‘the outcasts of Europe’.” — The Guardian.

“Crushing inevitability can be a powerful tool in drama. Just because you know something’s coming, that doesn’t mean the moment of arrival has to be robbed of all power. Instead, foresight on the audience’s part can allow you to play on a sense of menace, a mood of sickening tension. For much of its comeback hour, Sherlock does just that – and to great effect … But then, the episode takes an unexpected turn. It’s an an attempt to throw us off guard, but it’s a twist that robs the story of much of its momentum.” — Digital Spy.

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2 Responses to “Critical Condition: Sherlock”

  1. I thought season 4 was pretty good, certainly much better than the last season of the over-rated Black Mirror. Now that was truly cringe-worthy.

  2. With only 2 more episodes of my Sherlock Blu-ray boxset to watch I’m really enjoying it, it’s interesting watching it from series 1 to 4 with the many twists and turns and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are so darn brilliant 🙂

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