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And so we're back with "The Lying Detective", featuring more non-linear storytelling, Sherlock acting whacky at least some of the times, some hallucinations and "did it or didn't it happen" scenes, and a case of the week.

The case of the week is Toby Jones (Wayward Pines, the Dreammaster on Doctor Who) as Culverton Smith. Culverton is a philanthropist who starts with a weird scene where he summons his closest friends and his daughter Faith, drugs them with a memory inhibitor, and then confesses that he's a serial killer. This is interspersed with flashbacks of Faith trying to write down what her father told her. Which... apparently didn't happen, so whose flashback are we watching? Or are they flashbacks?


John is meeting with a therapist and dealing with his grief while hallucinating his dead wife's ghost. Meanwhile, Sherlock is taking drugs again and seemingly in shock over Mary sacrificing her life to save him. Faith visits him and tells him what she barely remembers, and they go out on what consists of a date for Sherlock. Which involves his tracing a path across London to spell out something obscene to his brother Mycroft, who has his agents watching. Bill Wiggins (remember him) is also staying at Sherlock's kitchen helping him brew up drugs, although it took a minute for me to remember him.

Sherlock soon accuses Culverton of being a serial killer. Culverton incorporates the accusation into a series of cereal commercials that he's making ("cereal killer"), and invites Sherlock and John to meet with him. Along with this is a bit of someone racing a red sports car to the house of John's therapist. It turns out to be Mrs. Hudson, who has the best bits in the episode. She draws a gun on Sherlock to force him into the trunk of her car, she complains about both men, she tells Mycroft that he doesn't understand Sherlock, she initially refuses to let John borrow her car when John breaks his mourning character just a little to ask to borrow it. Mrs. Hudson also dresses Mycroft down later in the episode.


Culverton leads John and Sherlock through the hospital that he built a wing for, and taunts them with a series of cryptic comments about whether he is or isn't really a serial killer. He then brings in Faith... who isn't the woman that Sherlock met with, and claims to have no idea who he is. Sherlock has a breakdown and attacks him, John beats him to a pulp venting some frustrations, and they toss Sherlock into a hospital bed. John goes back to 22B and discovers Mycroft and his people taking the place apart. They find Mary's CD and we see the rest of it, where she tells Sherlock to endanger himself to save John.

Meanwhile, Culverton has snuck into Sherlock's room via a hidden passage he had built into the wing. He prepares to kill him, first with an IV drip and then with his bare hands when Sherlock takes his own sweet time dying. John arrives just in time and it turns out Sherlock got Culverton's confession recorded. In a dead-end plotline, Sherlock says that the recording may be inadmissible. But he says this after Culverton cheerfully confesses to Lestrade. So I'm not sure what the point of bringing it up was.


At about the hour-fifteen mark, Sherlock and John finally break down and have a heart-to-heart. Mary's ghost prods John into confessing his true feelings, he admits that he had a texting affair (but nothing else) with a woman, and Sherlock awkwardly hugs his friend when he breaks into tears.

And Smallwood invites Mycroft out for drinks. I sometimes get the impression that Moffat and Gatiss want to do a Mycroft spinoff.

We're still left with the question of who the first Faith was. Sherlock finds the note that she left, and discovers that it has the words "Miss me?" written on it in invisible ink. Meanwhile, John's therapist reveals that she's the woman on the bus that he was texting, She was also Faith. She's also the third Holmes sibling, named Euros. Which means that she's also the "Sherringford" that Mycroft has been keeping in touch with. She shoots John in the face, and the screen goes black until next week's episode.


The episode starts rather oddly, with Sherlock having hallucination-like scenes of standing at a railing in mid-air, walking up the side of his flat wall, and having a couple of mind-palace scenes in the middle of streets. He's also having trouble keeping up with his mind's own deductions. The episode settles down a bit after that, and there are several cute running jokes. People keep telling Sherlock to put on his deerstalker, and there's the question of who writes the Sherlock blogs: nobody believes that John does it.

Martin Freeman gets more to do this week, as he works through John's grief, chats with Ghost-Mary, and saves the day. It's pretty much a three-wayer between Freeman, Benedict, and Toby Jones. Mr. Jones is often pretty creepy, and writer Steven Moffat gives him full rein. He laughs, bares his teeth repeatedly, and makes what seems like several dozen innocuous-but-sinister remarks. He's played as such an obvious villain that I'm not entirely sure what the point is of demolishing Sherlock is. I'm not a big fan of the "The character is discredited at every turn until the final act" plots, and Moriarty already did that back in "The Reichenbach Fall."

Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson gets a bit more to do as noted above. Rupert Graves really doesn't do anything, and Molly shows up briefly. Everyone else pretty much fades into the background to let the Sherlock-Culverton battle of wills come front and center.


We're left with the Euros/Sherringford plot at the end. Presumably John will survive being shot in the face. But is she really connected to Moriarty, or is she doing the "Miss Me?" just to get Sherlock's attention like Mary did with her CD? Tune in next week for the season 4 finale, "The Final Problem."

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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Jan 12, 2017
There's no way she actually shot John in the face. I'm banking on her missing (purposely) his head and shooting the wall behind him. All that effort to get close to the both of them, and we're still not entirely sure what her motivation is. It's a fake out. I'm am very, very curious about the back story and the red boots and the Redbeard and the pirate thing though...it has officially come up too often to not be relevant...but most importantly-I assumed she was locked up somewhere-so how the hell did she escape from wherever she was without literal Big Brother knowing? That seems incompetent of Mycroft. then again I also assumed she was a he...so maybe I missed something or jumped to conclusions again.
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Jan 12, 2017
Well, no, I don't think John is going to die. I couldn't think of a better way to put "John survives being shot in the face." "Shot at in the face"?
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Jan 13, 2017
lol! no, I liked the wording..it was blunt-like the final scene itself. My comment was also tainted by the explosion on social media where people are seriously freaking out about John being killed. I was ruminating out loud. :)
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Jan 12, 2017
Thanks for this review. What bugged me the most about this ending was that Sherlock Holmes - Sherlock Holmes !- didn't even recognize his own *sister*. Was he that drugged out? Or maybe he'd never actually met her, maybe she'd always been kept apart from her family ?

Btw, the flashback of Faith writing down what her father had told her did really happen. Eurus said that Smith had kept his daughter's note and then given it to her... Which raises the question, what kind of psychopath is she, that Smith felt his own secret would be safe with her ?
More answers to come in the finale, I guess.
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Jan 12, 2017
Well, we don't know enough yet about Eurus to know how well Sherlock knows her. Were they separated as children? Did he see her a year ago?

Culverton didn't think his secret was safe with the real Faith (assuming he really drugged and confessed to her). He took the note, kept it, and then gave it to Eurus. But whose point of view is the flashback from? It's either Faith/"Eurus"'s viewpoint, in which case Eurus doesn't have one because she wasn't there. Or Culverton's... but he wasn't in Sherlock's apartment. But if it's Sherlock mental recreation or Eurus' description, why is all blurry and amnesia-like?
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Jan 09, 2017
Yes, I can't revise the review (including putting a "Spoiler" warning in) until TV.com fixes the editing tool for community starting posts.
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Jan 12, 2017
Can you at least revise the part where you wrote "Mary sacrificed HIS (really HER) life to save Sherlock"? 🙄
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Jan 12, 2017
Yup. I usually go through my reviews several times in the week after and check for spellling/grammatical stuff.

Thanks!
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