Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and John Watson (Martin Freeman) had their lives turned upside-down in the first episode of series The Six Thatchers. This week, Sherlock finds himself facing a whole new set of challenges from both inside his head and also around him. As he deals with the events of The Six Thatchers, Sherlock also finds himself against the terrifyingly chilling Culverton Smith (Toby Jones), a man known for the good things he has done and the success he has achieved… but has a very dark secret…
The Lying Detective catapulted this series of Sherlock to greatness. As with other episodes, this one pulled from an original story called The Adventure of the Dying Detective. The biggest pull was in the name, but there were also some other connections with the original story. This episode dove into the depth of not only Sherlock and Watson’s friendship, but also the Holmes family.
First off, The Lying Detective is one of my favorite episode in Sherlock to date. The plot progression made a ton of sense and moved at a very nice pace. The episode began introspectively for Sherlock as he dealt with his demons, moves on to the game, and then Sherlock’s brilliant resolution.
The villain, Culverton Smith, was absolutely terrifying. Where Moriarty I thought dominated the world of creepy, Smith brought a completely different level of creepy to the show. His character brings up some interesting questions about villains in general. Couple a great character with a great performance and he goes right up there with Moriarty in the world of awesome Sherlock villains.
The relationships in this episode also made complete sense. Sometimes this was in a good way, sometimes in a heartbreaking way. Central to this episode is the relationship between Sherlock and John Watson. It is obviously going through quite a lot and this episode refocuses on this core relationship as central to the plot. Add in the Holmes family relationships that continues to get more details revealed about it, and this episode takes not only the characters on an emotional journey but also the viewers.
Finally there is the third Holmes child that added a whole new dimension to this episode and will presumably add more in the final episode of the series. I’ll leave more about this until the next episode but… I can’t wait!
I really don’t have much to critique in this episode. There are perhaps a few little things I could nit pick about but honestly… it’d just be petty. I have watched this episode twice and both times have walked away from it completely geeking out over how well done it is.
The Lying Detective is right up there with The Reichenbach Fall as one of my two favorite episodes. I haven’t decided if this one might be pulling ahead because it is newer or if it really is just that good. I absolutely love Moriarty as a villain and he is the best but Culverton Smith was also incredible. In fact, all the characters included in this episode (including the reveal) were purposeful and contributed to the story in powerful ways from their own angles. Everything combined to create an absolutely powerful TV that, at one point, had me actually yelling at the TV. This was an incredibly solid and entertaining episode. Oh, and by the way. I highly suggest reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories. They add so much depth to these episodes!
Moving forward I can’t wait to see what happens for the final episode of this series The Final Problem. In the books, this is where Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes took their great plunge. This story has already been pretty extensively covered in Sherlock. It will be incredibly interesting to see what exactly the problem is in this incarnation. It will also be interesting to see what is revealed in this upcoming episode and I, for one, cannot wait!
What did you think of The Lying Detective?