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"Sherlock" The Six Thatchers (2017)

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114 out of 139 people found the following review useful:

Sherlock is back, but the show we know and love isn't

4/10
Author: ryanjmorris
1 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watching Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' Sherlock evolve from the superb "The Reichenbach Fall" to tonight's season four premiere has been like watching a car crash in slow motion. Season three on the whole would represent the moment you lose control of the car and everything starts turning pretty grim. Last year's Victorian-But-Not-Really- Victorian one-off special "The Abominable Bride" didn't help matters but at least, like a car in mid air, there was a bizarre kind of spectacle to it. And now, with "The Six Thatchers", the car has come crashing down to the ground with barely a shred of anything left from before. This episode alone represents everything wrong with Sherlock as a show, and for all of it to be crammed into a singular 90 minute instalment made for some pretty unfortunate viewing. Shall we start at the start?

The first half hour of "The Six Thatchers" was good. I'd go as far as saying it was great. Aside from a wobbly cold opening - one that once again shows little understanding of how to keep Sherlock cruel and careless but still a likable on screen presence - things moved quickly, and it felt like season one again. Lestrade shows up at 221b Baker Street, gives an exciting case to Sherlock, and the three of them set out to solve it. "It's a doozy" says Lestrade, and he's right. The little case we're introduced to is filled with exciting prospects and potential alleyways to mysteriously swoop down. From here, Gatiss (who penned this episode) buys us into this case well and I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear. After a season that essentially gave up being a detective show, it was terrific to have this element back again. And then Sherlock solved the case. Just like that, it was over. "Hang on, though" I thought. "Maybe this will be like 'The Great Game' in that we'll have lots of little cases to follow!". Well, I can only hope, right?

We start to follow a new thread, a new kind of case emerges, and then, right as it's about to get really exciting and give us our first piece of real evidence, it throws it all away and makes the whole thing about Mary. This is where things get complicated. Amanda Abbington is a terrific actress, and she plays Mary very well, but Mary is a deeply flawed character. Her history is meaningless in respect to who she is in the show's present. I understand Sherlock's desire to flesh her out and give her a backstory, but a backstory that makes us doubt every word she speaks is entirely counterproductive when we look at who she represents. Just when we think we might be okay to trust her, the show turns it against us again and reveals more of her lies, and then it expects us to care when she sacrifices herself for Sherlock at the episode's close? No. That is not how storytelling works. You cannot give a character a backstory for the sake of giving them a backstory, and then repeatedly use that backstory as a way to trick the audience. By trying to flesh Mary out and create a more interesting female character, Sherlock has instead turned its lead woman into a plot device.

There are lots of other issues with the episode too - it lurches from scene to scene with barely anything connecting them, the entire subplot of John and the woman from the bus is meaningless and and frankly stupid, and the episode's final showdown is so devoid of emotion in such an important scene that the whole thing verges on pastiche - but it's this key misunderstanding of every component of what Sherlock should be that lets this episode down. Sherlock Holmes is a detective. He detects. That is his story. I understand that Sherlock can't do the same thing every week, and I understand that shows must grow and develop across time, but when they grow and develop in a way that threatens to leave behind all that made the show so special in the first place, it's really not good. It would be like watching all of the Parks & Recreation characters turn into unpleasant people, or watching Game of Thrones throw all of its characters together and halve its budget, or if Breaking Bad decided to make Walt and Jesse part ways just two seasons in. Yes, it is development, but at the cost of what made that show so exciting in the first place. Sherlock was a superb show for two of its seasons, and some of its early material is phenomenal, but it's straying so far now from what it needs to be that I fear we've lost it for good.

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65 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Mary Watson strikes again: bland, boring and ill-conceived spin-off

1/10
Author: Vladislav Velizanin
2 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am not going to unpack every detail of the episode because it just failed to catch my attention. Briefly: it's not a Sherlock game anymore, and it's a disaster.

As a Sherlock fan I am really disappointed with the episode being about Mary Watson instead of Sherlock Holmes. This unlikeable ageing blonde was annoying enough in Series 3, yet now she's back, unconvincingly pretending to be cooler than ever. I don't know if this is a neofeminist trend or a fanservice of kind, but the show notably goes to great lengths to boost Mary's importance and proficiency as an "agent". Even the show's most prominent sociopath, Sherlock himself, figuratively kneels before her with his new mantra "I promised to protect them". Then there is Dr. Watson, who has been called "a third wheel" by other reviewers, and that feels like the most fitting description. In "The Six Thatchers" he becomes a fully marginalized, spineless cameo. Remarkably, the show itself acknowledges his transition and cracks a few jokes about his uselessness while not taking any issue with it. This definitely is not Sherlock I used to love anymore.

Something is also odd about the quality of production. This episode overall felt somewhat cheap, stuffed with fillers, meaningless scenes, poor dialogues, annoying flashbacks and cheesy action like fight in a swimming pool. The overall plot logic seems to deteriorate as scenario shifts from relying on Conan Doyle's work to dull improvisation of modern day. In the end that looks lazy and unprofessional.

So in conclusion, I didn't come to see Sherlock the guardian of a failing family. I didn't come to see Mary Watson the new Sherlock. I came for a well-done intellectual feast and the show didn't deliver. Therefore my suggestion is to avoid this steaming pile of garbage.

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64 out of 81 people found the following review useful:

Should be called the Mary Watson show

1/10
Author: mebarc from Sheffield, England
2 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really enjoyed the earlier seasons of Sherlock but this episode is all about Mary Watson again!!!!! If I wanted to see a story about relationship problems and trouble finding a babysitter I'd watch EastEnders!

Season 3 ended with the threat of Moriarty coming back. We see Sherlock get increasingly frustrated waiting for something to happen, right there with you!

Thankfully they killed off Mary, so there's a chance Sherlock might be about Sherlock again! Although in all likelihood the next episode will focus on a grieving Watson struggling with being a single parent and dating whilst struggling to forgive Sherlock.

We want to see Sherlock and Watson fighting crime and foiling Moriarty. Please let Sherlock be about Sherlock again!

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45 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Poor

4/10
Author: s-hicks
2 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hard to empathise with any of the characters here - after a 15 minutes I was asking myself did I really care what happens next.

The plot is full of holes - a glaring example being how did the agent hide the memory stick in the bust? He seemed to just place it loosely in a hollow part of the base. And indeed why would secret agents carry on their person a memory stick full of compromising details? There are many more - if you like your Sherlock logical don't bother with this. It will drive you nuts.

Of course the writers et al can carry the story where so ever they wish but they will not carry me with them. Its a pity really - a modern day Sherlock could provide so many opportunities for situations provided by today's connected world yet still be logical and believable.The current story arc is neither of these.

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36 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

An almost incoherent mess.

5/10
Author: jzathajenious from Adelaide Australia
3 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This show has declined to such a drastic degree it breaks my heart. I adored the first 2 seasons of Sherlock, whose episodes ranged from simply entertaining to jaw droppingly brilliant. Season 3 had its work cut out for it following the masterpiece that is The Reichenbach Fall. Ultimately it was a disappointment, with a horrible first episode, a fun but essentially flimsy second episode, and a decent but not brilliant third. Part of the problem was the introduction of Mary Morstan, Watson's lady friend with a shady past. Personally, I feel Amanda Abbington is not a bad actress at all, but was awfully miscast as a bad-ass cold blooded retired killer-for-hire. It's quite obvious she got the gig because of Martin Freeman's influence.

And this brings us to the crux of the problem with The Six Thatchers. It's all about Mary and her past. Gone are the days of solving brilliantly complex mysteries and battling wits against psychotic cabbies, seemingly supernatural hounds, and of course the singular Moriarty. OK, there is one mystery that is solved in like 2 minutes, but then the next 80 minutes are mystery free.

Without going into too much detail, basically some guy from Mary's old hit squad team wants her dead because of some alleged betrayal, which is never really made clear. Anyway, he soon dies and its discovered someone from the government was the betrayer. Turns out it was some secretary we met at the beginning of the episode, whose sole motivation was getting money to buy a cottage (oh, and jealousy of her superiors apparently). Secretary decides to pull out a gun and shoot Sherlock, but Mary jumps in front of him and takes the bullet, because apparently Sherlock's life takes precedence over her new born baby and husband. And then the ridiculous cherry on top of this laughable sundae is that Watson is furious at Sherlock for some reason??? And that's pretty much how the episode ends.

Sorry Mark Gattis, but that is some God awful writing. Full of improbable turns, glaring plot holes, plots threads that make no sense (Watson's bus lady???) and it plays out as a second rate Jason Bourne thriller starring a middle aged woman who looks more suited to being a primary school teacher than a black ops assassin.

On a positive note though, she dies. So can we get back to solving mysteries now pretty please?

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73 out of 117 people found the following review useful:

Awful.

3/10
Author: Vasyly D'yaconov
1 January 2017

How absolutely dreadful to see a cult series like this to fall under the knife of terrible directing, unstructured scenario and horrible production. This episode is useless. It fails to tell a consistent story, it fails give a focused view, it ruins the series's integrity and leaves the viewer in confusion. Though I wouldn't say it was unexpected. Last year's episode had questionable qualities too, but being branded as a 'special' it had delivered at least a semi consistent experience and had integrity on it's own, as a 'special'. My most pessimistic expectations were that this sort of season beginning would mark the start of a lackluster chapter in Sherlock's story, more commercially oriented and rushed. But certainly not to the extent that this episode came to be. My expectations were low. But even in spite of this this episode was a complete and utter failure. The quality of 'The Six Thatchers' is more comparable to a mid season episode of Dr. Who, rather than an earlier Sherlock episode. Probably it's time to give Elementary a try.

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56 out of 84 people found the following review useful:

Pathetic

2/10
Author: yevhenyia
2 January 2017

The creators of the show definitely lost their touch. The show speculates on the success of the previous seasons. Some of the story lines were too predictable. Moreover, in the middle of the scene, I saw a shotgun microphone hanging right over Cumberbatch's head. The production is extremely sloppy and the story is overwhelmed with constant repetitions from the previous seasons, like Sherlock is searching for a new case and cannot find one, solving ordinary police cases brilliantly. Watson, as always, serves as a third wheel, while his wife solves cases together with Sherlock. The ending is just stupid and extremely banal. We all have seen the similar scenarios million times in multiple movies. It is very disappointing :(

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61 out of 94 people found the following review useful:

Lacked a focus

7/10
Author: Knife Fork from United Kingdom
1 January 2017

I was so hyped for this season of Sherlock, after all it's been years since the last present-day episode. But this one was not anything like what I expected, and not in a good way. First of all, it takes a long time for the plot to get moving, with many irrelevant scenes, which while funny are obtrusive in what's supposed to be the darkest season yet. And the plot itself is convoluted, lacking a clear focus. It's mainly about Mary's backstory, which is annoying as it requires you to recall details from Season 3 which was about three years ago. There's also not much of a sustained sense of threat, very little tension expect in a few scenes. There's no traditional murder case to solve and it feels like a generic thriller rather than a Sherlock episode. And one other thing- that action movie-style fight in the pool is unintentionally goofy and silly, which I would not usually expect from a Sherlock episode.

That's the bad, but the episode is still clever and fast-paced, despite lacking a clear focus. The ending sets the tone for rest of the season, marking a clear change in Sherlock's personality and explaining this season's tagline 'This isn't a game anymore'. So not the best Sherlock episode, but the sets the scene for the rest of the season.

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34 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

A proof that the show has long lost its initial brilliance

1/10
Author: fairdraconica
1 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The episode is another piece of rubbish that has little to do with Sherlock Holmes. What kind of adaptation makes John Watson a side character, who barely has any screen time? Worse... What kind of adaptation makes John Watson a useless, helpless appendage, completely deprived of what was established for his character?

Oh, and don't worry, Mary(-Sue) isn't dead. Mary(-Sue) will be back to show off even more of her forced 'cleverness' and 'brilliance'. This was another staged 'death'; there are plenty of evidence of that. But, even if it wasn't staged, the season has already been ruined by all the unnecessary, and not exactly passable, stuff that has paved the way for the rest of the season.

I was hoping to, finally(!), see more of Sherlock Holmes and his best friend Dr Watson solving cases together (because this is what the whole thing should be about), but, apparently, it's no longer trendy and fashionable. Pity.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Season 3 problems continues!!!!

6/10
Author: sanyamkhetarpal
3 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was a big fan of Sherlock when i watched series 1 and 2 but post season 3 the show's quality has gone down significantly.This episode continues the trend in a big way and there were a lot of problems with this episode

1)Lack of Focus-The episode never really comes together as it wanders round and round through plot lines with significant lack of focus you're never fully invested i was waiting for that moment when everything clicks but it never came

2)Style over substance-Post season 3 the makers of Sherlock seem to be to much into showing off how cool they are instead of focusing on the story and telling a solid story.Dialogues like the game is on and the final stage which felt cool in series 1 and 2 feel contrived here

3)Lack of any payoff - Sherlock seems to have forgotten that its a crime mystery show the Christmas episode had the worst resolution and this episode also wants us to be surprised or be amazed by the end but i just couldn't care less

4Major Death??-First of all i saw Mary's death a mile away but it all feels like a gimmick i was never really invested in her character and the fact that John for some reason started a affair with a random girl just before her death dint particularly made any sense to me.

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