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Well, with "The Six Thatchers" Sherlock is back for the first time (minus a Christmas special) since January 2014! And this time, he's… really, really chipper, I guess.


The first half of "Thatchers" on Sherlock has Sherlock acting like Benedict Cumberbatch sat through Matt Smith's era of Doctor Who on DVD. He eats cookies, cuts up in front of a British government board, tweets like he's a 16-year-old who just got her first iPhone, and is generally all over the place. Sherlock is almost... flighty here. There's a few moments of foreshadowing, which are conveyed by doing flashforwards to events later in the episode. Like Sherlock checking out the sharks at the London Aquarium. And 2-3 references to the story of the Merchant of Samarra, or whatever it's called. The one about the guy who sees Death in a market in Baghdad, goes to Samarra to avoid him, and finds Death waiting for him.

But the first half of the episode is pretty much the warm-up to the second half. Sherlock waits around for Moriarty to follow up on his "Miss me?" message at the end of last year's Christmas special, and solves cases. Lots of cases. He breezes through them as usual, while we also get introduced to the idea of John and Mary having a baby daughter. If you're looking for Sherlock humor, this is the funny part. Sherlock tweets during the baptism and has the baby throw a rattle in his face after lecturing it about failing to exercise its powers of observation. There's also bits and bobs about Lestrade and John talking about how baby-like Sherlock is, and Sherlock failing to remember Lestrade's first name. The usual.


Sherlock is also breezing through several easy cases, until we come to the main event of the night: the death of a cabinet minister's son. Sherlock figures that one out pretty quickly, and who knew you could buy fake vinyl seat covers to disguise yourself as a car seat? Some people have way too much time and money on their hands. But this leads to the real case, which is that the minister's bust of Margaret Thatcher was destroyed. Sherlock has an intuition this is connected to Moriarty and off he goes.

A few more cases of Thatcher bust destruction follow. Sherlock eventually learns that the busts were a collector's edition manufactured in Russia, and goes to the home of the last owner. He fights the bust-destroyer, Ajay, and discovers that Ajay is looking for something inside the busts. It's always the last place you look, and it turns out that the bust content is... a memory stick like the one that Mary had. Ajay escapes, and Sherlock confronts Mary. It turns out that she and Ajay were members of the same kill squad, Agra, which is also what was written on the stick. Agra was captured except for Mary, who escaped. Ajay was tortured and heard that an Englishwoman betrayed Agra, so he assumes that Mary did it. All of this is to get the stick so that he can find Mary. Which is a little odd, since a) she hasn't exactly been hiding (he later finds her in a wedding photo with Sherlock), and b) we're shown that Mary has dozens of cover identities.


Mary leaves John, travels randomly to Morocco, and finds Sherlock and John waiting for her. After rambling on about probability feasibility, Sherlock admits that he put a tracer on the stick. Ajay follows Sherlock and after a shootout where he explains all of the above, a policeman shoots and kills him.

Back in London, Sherlock suspects that Lady Smallwood, one of the board members from the opening bit, ran Agra. It turns out that she's innocent and the transcriber, Vivian, set the whole thing up. Sherlock and Mary confront her at the London Aquarium, and Sherlock insults her so much about her lack of a real life that she shoots him. Mary leaps in the way and takes the bullet, John arrives in time to comfort his dying wife, and everyone is very sad.

In the aftermath, Sherlock is seeing a psychiatrist. John is angry that Sherlock didn't keep his vow to keep them safe, and decides to leave Sherlock. And Mycroft calls "Sherringsford."

The back half of the episode is pretty sober as writer Mark Gatiss lays out the whole "Ajay is after the stick to kill Mary" plot. Which Sherlock somehow all connects to Vivian the secretary, although I'm not sure how. But I'm not Sherlock Holmes.

The first half up to the point where Sherlock does the whole probability feasibility speech has Sherlock as much more whimsical. Basically the whole thing is a tease just to get a reaction out of Mary. But earlier he does much the same, like in a scene where he more or less taunts a client by claiming that his wife is a spy who plans to start World War III under the orders of Moriarty.


One gets the impression Cumberbatch is "doing" Sherlock, rather than being Sherlock. If that makes any sense. As if the actor is playing more to the stereotype of the current incarnation of the character, rather than just doing the character. That isn't necessarily bad, but is a slightly different approach to the character.

Martin Freeman has the thankless but subtlety impressive role of playing the everyman. He gets in a few jibes at Sherlock, and there are a few other bits like him leaving a balloon with a face painted on it to substitute for himself (and Sherlock not noticing for several hours) that are cute.


Everyone else is pretty much on form. Rupert Graves as Lestrade is still good. As is Mark Gatiss as Mycroft, who is just as much the egotistical jerk as ever. Mrs. Hudson and Molly wander through but don't do much. There's also Eleanor Matsuura as DI Hopkins, who I'm not sure who she's supposed to be. She brings an Interpol case to Sherlock, and everyone acts like she's been in the show before. But... she hasn't, has she?

As for the last half, it's all very sad as I noted. Presumably Sherlock and John will get back together. If this is the last season as some vague hints have suggested, I could see one of them dying for the other as some kind of redemption. Or maybe both of them dying ala Butch and Sundance.

There's no sign of Moriarty, and no indication if Sherlock is correct and the busted busts are connected to him. The whole bit from "His Last Vow" of Sherlock killing Magnussen is pretty much swept under the carpet in the first few minutes thanks to some government jiggery-pokery. The episode is tied more to Mary's secret past. Which hopefully is over with now that she's dead. Although the last bit, with Sherlock wonder if death can be avoided, makes one suspect that there is some kind of fakery going on with Mary's death. Given Sherlock's fake "death" at the end of "The Reichenbach Fall" featured much the same thing. Everyone remember that from two years ago?


But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?
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This episode wanted to much of everything. Instead they got ADHD. It's not picking up speed, it is on speed. Jumpy, and not in a good way. Mary's death looked somewhat put on. Oooh noohoo, he can nohot die (But Mary, you have a baby! i don't care! The series must go on!!!). Self-sacrifice. The end. Next episode. Which hopefully will be better.
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Hm, I'm not sure you watched the episode more than in passing... No comment about John's texting, the duplicate scenes, the way the story isn't told in linear way, the question why a mere secretary would be in a top-secret meeting when there are no notes to be taken, John's reaction at the end blaming Sherlock etc. Not to mention you got your facts wrong: the busts came from Georgia, and the "Miss me"-part was from the end of HLV.

And Cumberbatch just "did" Sherlock? Sorry, but I disagree here, I thought this was one of his best performances yet, so many nuances from over-excited/insufferable in the beginning to devastated in the end.

But I agree on Hopkins... who's she?

I think there's more going on than is obvious right now, Sherlock's obsession with Moriarty, his tying Moriarty to the busts, his blind spot Mary, John, the dream-like scenes of Sherlock being under water, the sharks having been a motive in HLV already, Sherlock's therapy session in an office where the walls don't meet the floor... no, there's more going on.
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As I said before, I "saw" the John texting scenes. But without more context, there really isn't much to review about them. When they're (presumably) clarified down the road, and there's something to review, I'll review them.

Vivian was transcribing the meeting for the government records. and I don't think she was a "mere" secretary. Her presence at a top-secret meeting, and her ability to contact a freelance kill squad on the sly, suggests that she had top-secret clearance. Also keep in mind that Sherlock is the only one who refers to her as a secretary, and he's deliberately being insulting.

Didn't they repeat the "Miss me?" bit at the end of the Christmas special? Checks, yes, it gets said at least three times, albeit twice when Sherlock is in his memory palace. That was the last bit aired, so it was what I referenced since I figured it would be fresher in viewers' minds.

Georgia was part of Russia (or at least the USSR), so I'm not sure what you mean by specifying they were made in Georgia. I specifically said Russia so that American viewers wouldn't think I (and the producers) was referring to Georgia the U.S. state. European viewers are more likely to associate it with the Eastern European country, yes. And if TV.com was a European-based website, I wouldn't have made the clarification.

I think Cumberbatch settled down eventually. But particularly during the opening board hearing, he seemed way over the top. Early on, Sherlock seemed less like someone who doesn't grasp social niceties, and more like a 16-year-old with a new phone acting out.
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Well, keep in mind that Norbury was Lady Smallwoods secretary and used *her* code word, she didn't have her own.

And another thing: If you're waiting for the rest of the season to review important scenes of this episode... why not just wait with your whole review until the end of the season instead of writing an incomplete one?
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I'm not waiting for the rest of the season to review important scenes. I'm waiting for something to be determined as important before reviewing it, in the episode where it's determined to be important.

We don't know what Norbury's exact relationship was to Smallwood. We have only her initial transcription duties, and Sherlock's "trying to be insulting" comment that she's just a secretary--"For a secretary"--to determine that she's just a secretary. Norbury "stole" the codeword ("But I sent another one to the terrorists, with a nice little clue about her code name, should anyone have an enquiring mind") , that doesn't mean she was merely a secretary.
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Sherlock is a guilty pleasure of mine. Is there such thing as a 'bad' episode? to me.. nope. We all knew that Mary was going to die and I pretty much clued in that this was the episode. I will tell you that there is NO way Moriarty is alive. But you gotta wonder at the legacy he left behind. Who is picking up from where he's left off. That's the question.
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I'm behind on Sherlock - but wanted to post here anyways in support of Gislef doing these reviews - since the staff here have abandoned us. Once I get caught up, I'll comment on them - thanks for doing these.
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While it may be a minor plot point I see you did not mention Watson's almost, sort of, affair. But this plot point could be a very big part of Watson wanting nothing to do with Sherlock and could come back in the next 2 episodes because of his own emotional guilt. Anyway, I enjoyed the episode and while I understand some of the complaints, I do not see it the same way others do. The humor seemed off in the first few minutes but then it just kind of felt right for what was going on and I figured the episode would get darker and I thought it was a decent story and a lead in to future events.
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I'm not sure we know enough about John's affair (or lack thereof) to review it at this point. If it plays a bigger part or becomes clearer what happened, I'm sure I'll mention it in any future reviews.
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Really not a very good episode.
The plot was all over the place. And Sherlock's insight about the Thatcher bust came completely out of nowhere.
The whole thing seemed to be more about Benedict than Sherlock.
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I'd like to think that they won't repeat a trick twice, espcially since this time Mary's body was left in John's arms for him to feel her dying.
I'm glad you mentioned Matt Smith. I thought of him as well. I love Matt Smith. I love his acting as Eleven. I don't like the Sherlock that was established so far in this series being like him.
Vivian was connected to AGRA because she betrayed them to the terrorists in order to get rid of an ambassador who was among the hostages and knew about Vivian's doings.
Also, just because Putin likes to confuse Georgia with Russia doesn't mean the rest of us should.
I expected more and obviously the ending was unexpected, but maybe it's because it's Sherlock. And I expect too much. Espcially from a show that has three episodes per two years.
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