Fourth season of “Sherlock” falls short of prequels

Actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return as characters Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, respectively, in the fourth season of the crime drama series “Sherlock.” To no surprise, the series offers a great modern adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes. However, this season is much different in style and plot from the previous Sherlock seasons, focusing more on action and not so much on the classic detective plot. I would even go as far as to call this the worst season of the entire series.

The plot begins quite slow at the beginning, with Sherlock solving a simple case, yet ramps up to an overarching plot involving Watson’s wife’s past. The complications result in some shocking character developments and plot changes. However, the first episode, “The Six Thatchers,” seems quite unrelated at all to the rest of the plot of Season Four, in retrospect. In fact, this episode, when being evaluated with the rest of the plot in mind, seems actually misguided and can be even called useless. Furthermore, when looking at “Sherlock” as a whole, this episode seems to lack in quality. The first case that Sherlock encountered in the first episode was interesting, but the lackluster development of the overarching plot made it much worse for me personally.

Sadly, the second and third episode aren’t that noteworthy either. The holistic plot in these two episodes are actually connected yet completely unrelated to that in the first episode. The plot felt more like an action drama you would see in other movies, lacking the charming “Sherlock” mystery unique to the first three seasons. There are barely any “a-ha!” moments in the fourth season, which I personally loved experiencing in the first three seasons. In fact, it felt like a drag to watch, and this barely felt like the “Sherlock” TV series at all. Despite the addition of a new antagonist in this season, the character did not feel as dynamic or powerful as the others. If a new antagonist were to be added to the series, the audience would have to feel the villainous aspect of the character, which was done brilliantly with Sherlock’s arch-nemesis Jim Moriarty. In short, the plot felt shallow and overdramatized throughout the season.

In spite of its disappointments, the newest season does have its upsides. Benedict Cumberbatch returns to impeccably play his role of Detective Sherlock Holmes, which helps to bolster the dynamic between all the actors. Martin Freeman brilliantly plays John Watson, accurately portraying his character’s brother-like relationship with Sherlock. The cinematographic angles and shooting style were on par, and the complex CGI and editing made the viewing experience much more enjoyable.

Aside from the lackluster plot and the overplayed conflict of Moriarty’s return, the fourth season is worthy of persuading viewers to continue watching the series for the sake of keeping up with the newest episodes.

Written by Brandon Win, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of BBC, Baker Street and IMDB

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