By Matt Spaulding
It took three long years, but "Sherlock" finally returned this past Sunday night!
It's pretty hard to review a "Sherlock" episode without giving things away. So much happens in each episode, but I'll give it my best shot.
The beginning of the episode picked up pretty much right where last season left off, with the mystery of Moriarty's apparent return from the dead. This fact pries at Sherlock's brain for a bit of the episode, but not for too long because other problems soon arise.
The start of the episode also finds Mary and John expecting their first child, which arrives pretty quickly to drop them into the roll of parenthood to serve other plot lines that arise later.
The main thread of the show arises when Sherlock takes a case to solve the death of a client's son but ends up finding another case at the scene that he finds more interesting and believes to be tied to Moriarty's postmortem plan to get at him. It involves a smashed bust of Margaret Thatcher. He soon discovers more like it are being smashed all over and we eventually learn it ties back to Mary's past as a secret agent.
Meanwhile, we find John dealing with parenthood and going down a rather surprising path for the character, but not one I was unhappy with.
That's about the extent of the plot details that can be shared without ruining the plot. The end of the episode was a huge surprise and one that's going to drastically effect Sherlock and John moving forward and I can't wait to see how it plays out.
Overall, I really loved this episode. It was great to be back with old friends. That said, though, I have to say that I have a small quibble with this episode that carried over from season three: the show just feels different from the first two seasons. It's kind of hard to describe, but it's pretty noticeable. The first two seasons were some of the smartest television I've ever seen, if not the smartest. They focused heavily on the mystery and the tying together of story threads and explaining Sherlock's process. In series three, those sort of took a back seat. They reappeared here, but most of the episode was closer to Guy Ritchie's almost James Bond style Sherlock Holmes than the show "Sherlock" was in the first two series. Based on the end of the episode, I hope it gets back there, though.