8 Things We’ve Learned From Season 4 of ‘Sherlock’
BBC’s Sherlock has long been one of the best shows on TV, albeit with sporadic seasons that arrive once every other year on average. With just three 90 minute episodes in each season, each installment is almost like its own movie, giving audiences plenty to chew on by the time the credits role.
The fourth season of Sherlock is no exception. Every episode has been jam-packed with clues that point toward a sinister endgame for the popular series, so let’s dive in and figure out exactly what we’ve learned.
- Moriarty is well and truly dead
There was a good deal of doubt as to whether or not Moriarty, the Joker to Sherlock’s Batman, was actually dead. On one hand, we saw him shoot himself in the head at the end of Season 2. On the other, Season 3’s cliffhanger ending seemed to indicate that he was somehow still at large. We finally have the answer though, indicated first by the post-Season 3 Christmas Special, and confirmed by the first two episodes of Season 4.
While Moriarty’s trademark “miss me?” message has popped up in various places throughout recent episodes, it’s now clear that there’s no way he could have survived a gunshot wound through the back of his head. More than that, there appear to be larger forces at play (we’ll get to that soon).
- Sherlock’s drug problem
In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, his titular detective is infamously a drug addict. It’s a key character flaw that the BBC series has failed to address for the better part of almost four seasons, only now having it come into play. The second episode of Season 4, titled “The Lying Detective” had it act as the central plot point, with Sherlock purposely driving himself into a drug-fueled downward spiral, in a ploy to both put himself in peril, and to get Watson’s undivided attention. We of course later find out it was all an act, but it’s intriguing to see Holmes’ greatest vice realized in such a significant way.
- Mrs. Hudson is far more than window-dressing
Throughout Sherlock‘s run, Mrs. Hudson, the caretaker of 221B Baker Street, has continually insisted that she’s no one’s housekeeper. “The Lying Detective” was proof positive of that, showing her wrangle a drug-addled Sherlock into the trunk of her car, talking Watson into forgiving Holmes for the death of Mary, and generally demonstrating that she’s far more than meets the eye. It’s a welcome diversion from Doyle’s books, where Mrs. Hudson does little more than answer the door and fetch tea, as Sherlock‘s casting has made her the beating heart of Baker Street.
- Mary Watson’s spotted past
We’ve seen hints at Mary Watson’s mysterious past, but up until Season 4, we hadn’t been given much in the way of a full-on explanation. That all changed with the “The Six Thatchers,” which laid out her entire history as the leader of a for-hire assassin squad, who was betrayed by her handler and left for dead. She gave her life to save Sherlock which sent Watson into an abyss of grief and anger. Even after her death though, she continues to care for her husband, instructing Sherlock to throw himself into peril in order to force Watson to save him.