The game’s afoot once more in “Sherlock” series 4

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[Disclaimer: This review contains series 4 episode 1 spoilers.]

Surprise deaths, huge twists and heartwarming conclusions: catch all these and more in the long-awaited fourth series of BBC’s critically-acclaimed crime thriller, “Sherlock.”

In what has become “Sherlock” custom, series four aired its first of three episodes on New Year’s Day after a long hiatus – series three aired back on New Year’s Day in 2014 – interrupted only by a Christmas special on Jan. 1, 2016. However, series four was well worth the wait. “The game is afoot” once more for Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), Dr. John Watson (played by Martin Freeman) and Mary Watson (played by Amanda Abbington).

The first of the three episodes in the series, titled “The Six Thatchers,” is rich with misleading clues, engaging montages and unexpected outcomes around every corner. Mary’s valiant sacrifice reveals her true colors and serves as a conduit for serious character development in the subsequent episode.

Mary’s unexpected death remains a subject of great conflict between Sherlock and John in the second episode, “The Lying Detective.” The detective-doctor duo engages in a battle of wits with not only the latest villain, deeply troubled entrepreneur and philanthropist Culverton Smith (played by Toby Jones), but also each other, as a rift grows between them regarding Sherlock’s lack of self-control.

A surprise twist at the end of episode two leads right into episode three, “The Final Problem,” which both resolves the increasing tension between Sherlock and John and provides an interesting conclusion to series three’s equally surprising ending back in 2014 – the impossible return of antagonist James Moriarty (played by Andrew Scott) that the special “The Abominable Bride” so artfully explained. The episode confirms Sherlock’s suspicions from “The Abominable Bride,” though with an unforeseen circumstance, and goes on to resolve many of Sherlock and John’s internal and external conflicts.

The series is neatly wrapped up with a montage of the main characters returning to normal life, voiced over by Mary, who took a turn for the worst in episode one. It seems to mark the end of “Sherlock” as a whole, but as Holmes himself points out in episode two, people always seem to stop looking after three. This quote has prompted many viewers to hope for a secret fourth episode in the near future, or even a fifth series a bit farther down the road. Writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (who plays Mycroft Holmes in the show) discussed plans for a fifth series years ago, but it is unlikely given the conclusiveness of “The Final Problem.”

Whatever the case, The Post will be on the lookout for any “Sherlock” surprises. The game is afoot!


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