Vlog: BBC ‘Sherlock’ Season 4

My thoughts on the most recent season of the show and if I have finally decided how I feel about a possible season 5!

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BBC ‘Sherlock’: Will there be a season 5?

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Some major and minor spoilers ahead! 

Article edited August 16.

After the atrocious, acid-filled rabbit hole that was season four of BBC’s Sherlock, there have been nervous questions and whisperings among the show’s fans on whether or not there will be a season five. Unlike most of the series’ season finales, this one didn’t end on an obvious cliffhanger that left many viewers wanting more. Instead ‘The Final Problem’ ended with Mary Watson’s posthumous message of pride and love for her “Baker Street Boys”, Sherlock and John seemingly raising little Rosie Watson by themselves like two proud parents, and loose strings (like Molly’s painful ‘I love you’) magically sewn together. The confusing whirlwind of all three episodes from the season really didn’t leave much room for speculation like in previous years.

Season one’s cliffhanger had fans waiting a full year for Sherlock’s terrifying arch nemesis, Jim Moriarty, to have his phone hilariously blare out the Bee Gees. The introduction to season two showed Jim dressed up in valuable royal garb, baiting Holmes into yet another challenging game. Undoubtedly, the best cliffhanger and possibly one of Masterpiece Mystery’s greatest lead-ins is that of Sherlock’s “death” from season three.

‘The Reichenbach Fall’ had Sherlock Holmes fans, both new and old, speculating on just how the genius had overcome Jim Moriarty – if he had at all – for months! In the two episodes dealing with Sherlock’s faked death, we received some analyses and major development in both the characters and plots that allowed us to get to know all the story’s players a little bit better each episode. It was revealed that Molly Hooper, someone fans initially thought Holmes could have cared less about, meant more to him than anyone knew. John Watson went back to therapy, grew an unbecoming mustache, had plans to get hitched, and live an ordinary life all in the span of the two years that Sherlock was gone. We also learned that Mycroft more than likely forced his baby brother into espionage missions which involved great amounts of danger, torture, and his skilled deduction and smug tactics.

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I could go even further on the plot developments, cleverness, and comfort the previous seasons and their finales afforded fans, but I’m sure you get the point! The reason I’m rehashing all that is to help you remember just what all of us had grown accustomed to as far as writing and direction from Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat – epicness. We were given story lines that had us talking amongst our friends in everyday life and the Internet for months on end while we waited for the next installment of our cheeky not-so-anti hero and his family of misfits and murderers. The cases weren’t fillers, each character felt real, and everything made enough sense to keep us salivating for more. Like any show there were, of course, flaws in some of the plots or cases, but they were enjoyable enough!

But season four?

Season four was more than a massive disappointment.

It was disconcerting, confusing, over-the-top at various points, and so outside of the realm of what we’d come to know as Sherlock that it left many fans feeling empty. The writers were even bold enough to leave plot holes that made some characters seem like they belonged more in an X-Men reboot than a real-world crime and mystery TV show.

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Eurus (not ‘Euros’!) Holmes, a character who, looking back on everything, had major potential to be a villain even greater than Moriarty, was one of them. Instead of this, Mycroft Holmes described her as some mind-controlling freak who only had to say a few words to someone to turn them into her puppet – no questions of real substance asked. (This leads me to a little inquiry that perhaps you can answer: If Eurus’ supernatural abilities are so powerful, why didn’t Sherlock end up under her thumb, too? He didn’t seem all that scared or more than marginally interested in his sister to me at first. Did I miss something? Was it the drugs still in his system?)

Out of all the things this very intelligent woman could do (the ability to escape her cell at will, pose as three different people in order to con John Watson and her clever older brothers, and attract Jim Moriarty’s respect, among other things), the writers ended up casting her off as some terribly lost, wretched little thing who, after decades, created these master plans just because she wasn’t included in childhood games with her siblings. They even created some elaborate plane-crash-metaphor-thing (that should have been figured out by the other Holmes kids within the first hour *eye roll*) to soften her and make her helpless! That makes a lot of sense, right? Honestly this bit ties into the accusations of the show’s female leads always seeming to need men to do the big stuff or save them from themselves, but that’s another story.

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Don’t get me wrong – Eurus was a great character (at first), especially in her disguises, and that scene with Sherlock hallucinating and walking through the city with her was brilliant writing and acting, but it was wasted in the end. Wasted potential, wasted writing, and a wasted actress. I’m not familiar with the actress, Sian Brooke, but the amount of talent she displayed in this season was outstanding and I can’t find a flaw with her portrayal at all. The fault lies within the material itself, not the actors, and it’s glaringly obvious.

Another pretty screwed up thing was using Jim Moriarty for ratings, leading us all think he was going to be alive this season. Instead what we got was a killer entrance only to be sobered by a ‘five years ago’ subtitle a few minutes later. I can’t even explain how irritated I am about that – I just can’t! Not right now.

There’s really a lot they could have done to continue the story line from season three, but this is what we got in its wake.

While watching YouTube thinkpieces and summaries on season four, I read the comments section of this video and spotted the following post from a user named Schane Flowers:

I honestly thought the big twist was that Mycroft was going to be the REAL big bad. Like a reference to how we thought he was evil in the first episode, but in reality, he was behind a lot of plots. And the sister was mad, but innocent. I would’ve loved that twist and then the next season was Sherlock, Watson, the estranged sister vs. Big Brother British Government Mycroft. Especially when the sister referred to a case about three siblings with one being the scapegoat. UGHHh

Like….the idea behind Moriarty was someone who was so bored with the world he reigned chaos and upset the status quo. Mycroft could have been the inversion of that: he’s content and revels in absolute control because he’s basically at the pinnacle of it without anyone to oppose him. He owns the government, holds influence worldwide and asks for nothing. Why? Because like Moriarty everything is accessible to him, but the twist is that he doesn’t have to break the law to do it. He IS the law.

His only frustration (and yet interest/amusement) is Sherlock and the sister. They are the only ones that can rival him in intelligence yet they are both still under his control. The sister directly and Sherlock unknowingly throughout the entire series (when you think about the times Mycroft was involved, somehow, in most of Sherlock’s cases it’s like a master giving a dog a bone to play with, right?). That finale could’ve shown that now that the sister can break out, and Sherlock sees Mycroft for what he really is, that they are no longer things for him to play with but a threat to his position. I really, really was hoping for that. I mean, see how angry Mycroft gets when things don’t go his way? Look at him in the finale! He’s so out of sorts because he thought he figured everything out.

You see that?

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This is from a fan who probably thought and typed this up on a whim – and it’s amazing! I would gladly wait another two years if the story of Sherlock’s season four had went along these lines. I don’t have anything else to say beyond stating the fact that like many other fans, Schane Flowers’ imagination has dreamed up a great piece of small screen magic (buzz kill ahead!) that can now only be captured via fan fiction or the comments sections of YouTube videos.

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Why can’t we have nice things?

Because the writers and actors have probably run out of juice. The usual gap year in between the season finales leaped to three years instead of one or two, both Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are very clearly focused on other long-term projects (*ahem* Doctor Strange, anyone?), and it seems like everyone has mentally moved on.

Except, of course, the fans.

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Which brings me to the big question you’ve probably been wondering if I’m ever going to answer: Are we going to get a Season 5 of the show?

The answer is that I still haven’t decided, but I’m leaning towards a no-show. There are so many possibilities swarming through my mind, and my heart and mind can’t seem to agree with one another. In a YouTube comment I wrote: “I love(d) this series so much, and to see it seemingly end this way? Big f#%king slight from the writers and even the actors and crew. In a way, I kind of wish I hadn’t gotten invested. I went from loving this show so much that I got my mother hooked on it, and now it’s almost like I’m regretting every minute.”

That’s a bit melodramatic, but it’s completely true! I couldn’t enjoy this season at all and to see the non-cliffhanger-having season finale end with some sappy dialogue about Mary’s beloved “Baker Street Boys” (yeah, I’m rehashing that because when the f^*k did she ever talk like that?) seems so final and….sad. It sounds like things came to an end without a proper send-off. We got a montage alluding that the game was back on with the two Baker Street (Backstreet?) Boiz, Rosie was being cared for, and Mycroft’s diet was still going successfully – all without us. So what are we supposed to assume when ‘The Final Problem’ broke finale trend and gave us…Whatever that was supposed to be?

I have no clue.

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So what if we do get a season 5?

How are they going to pick up where they left off after they ruined plot lines, left some gaping black holes open, completely botched one of TV’s greatest villains, and introduced one that still seems to mentally be a 6 year old little girl who likes to murder her brother’s friends? No idea. I can’t seem to come up with anything besides the show merging with the Marvel television universe, and I really don’t think Marvel would want to adopt this train that is clearly about to roll off the tracks – superpowers or not. There’s literally no plausible story line I can come up with that would help this show continue at least one more season, no matter how much I wish I could.

And….what if we don’t get a next season?

Then I can’t say I would be surprised. But I would be able to say that I’m hurt, irritated, and a number of other associated emotions. As someone who is a lover of television and film, I’ve come to acknowledge and expect that writers and actors (especially those of Benedict Cumberbatch’s caliber) give some sort of ending that won’t have fans looking back five or ten years from its ending not only still disgruntled, but puzzled by everything that had happened. There are a lot of issues the fans have been putting up with from the writers (instances of queer-baiting, misogyny, and even blatantly embarrassing certain fans via the show and in-person), but to have this… hunk of garbage as thanks and the possible untimely end of the show is….Incomprehensible.

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And you know what the biggest slap in the face is if, in fact, we do not get season 5? Neither the writers, nor the actors have been man enough to tell the fans this was it. If we get the sad news that they have given up trying, we probably won’t get that for another two years either. And I’m sure we’ll be able to make our own deductions based off of Benedict Cumberbatch’s schedule for the last two years.

You guys don’t know how much I wish Sherlock’s writers were as dedicated as Hannibal’s (NBC) creator, Bryan Fuller.

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But let me stop before I realllllly start ranting! If you managed to make it through this stream of words and jumbled thoughts, I have two questions for you!

001. Do YOU think we’re getting a season 5? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments section!

002. Did you like this long ass, incoherent blog post? This is the first time I’ve ever written up a think piece on anything so I’m sure there’s room for improvement. If you have any tips or general feedback (positive or negative!), it’s more than welcome 🙂