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By Lim Yi He
2017, for most marks the start of a new year. But for fans of the BBC show Sherlock, it also marks the start of a much-anticipated event – after three long years, Sherlock Season 4 is finally here.
Sherlock, a modern adaptation of the well-known fictional stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has gained popularity throughout the years. Premiering in 2010, the show is infamous for its long wait between seasons, mostly due to the hectic schedules of the cast and writers. One of the writers, Steven Moffat has been preoccupied with being the lead writer for another popular BBC TV series Doctor Who, whereas Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, the actors for Sherlock and John respectively are now blockbuster movie stars.
What stood out the most is that Season 4 is largely narrated by Sherlock himself. For once there was quite a number of inner monologues by Sherlock, showing an introspective side to him. It makes sense, considering the story has been typically narrated from John’s point of view right from the beginning (a parallel to the original Doyle works) but now the role falls to Sherlock instead as their relationship crumbles under the strain of mistrust and grief. The transition, which felt odd when left unrealised but intriguing when it is, offers a fresh perspective on what goes on in Sherlock’s mind.
There are only three episodes for the new season, as per tradition – The Six Thatchers, The Lying Detective and The Final Problem. Fans have commented that this season is different from the past few, being more action-packed due to the plot and increase in production budget, to which most have mixed feelings about. But I feel that despite the minute differences inherent in the new season, the writing itself is still superb as usual, perhaps even better. The reconciliation scene between Sherlock and John was touching, and I liked how John admitted to his wife about his faults – “I’m not the man you thought I was. I never could be. But the man who you thought I was, that’s the man I want to be.”
I love the show’s attention to detail. To be a detective story it must be so, but the writers Moffat and Gatiss take it onto another level. There are hidden meanings stored all around like Easter eggs to be found, and I particularly liked the allusion to 1984 with “Oh, Big Brother’s watching you.”, a jab at Mycroft’s constant monitoring of his brother. There are cleverly placed parallels throughout the episodes that blow your mind. Suspense is tucked in with simple but foreboding actions, some superb dark humour added to embellish the grim situation, such as Molly, the pathologist’s offhand comment of “I’ve seen healthier people on a slab.” to Sherlock. And as a person well-versed in videography, the way Sherlock is filmed makes me want to wax poetic about it. There’s a lot that I love about the show that I simply can’t fit in here.
Now it’s time for the long wait till Sherlock Season 5.