I’ve been a fan of the show, as I’ve mentioned for about 4 years now, coming onboard fully during that long gap between Seasons 2 and 3. And this most recent episode of Sherlock, The Lying Detective, was the best written/acted/made episode since The Reichenbach Fall of Season 2. Season 3, I liked, but much like the episode that started off this season, a lot of the episodes felt very padded, a lot of fluff material to keep the stories an hour and a half each to justify the fact that we get three of these things every 2 years.
But that was decidedly not the case with this episode, Toby Jones’ Culverton Smith was a fantastic Sherlock villain, a serial killer who also happened to be rich and powerful and therefore could hide in plain sight as a villain, a monster in our midst, that could get away with it, if not for those meddling “kids” Sherlock and Watson, well mostly Sherlock. I’ve seen a lot of Toby Jones’ work from Zola in Captain America to the voice of Dobby in the Harry Potter movies and this was one of his best performances, this is his Hannibal Lecter.
There were no filler moments this week, which was great to see. Everyone’s story was compelling, and felt necessary. It really felt like the plot really needed every minute of the episode to unfold, which are the best stories, in any medium really. There are stories that are written where, you know the main characters are going to come out okay, because they’re the main characters. This episode really felt to me like it was one of Moffat’s best ones, everyone was in danger here, even, and especially Sherlock, I really thought they might kill him off here and I was hooked, on the edge of my seat the entire episode.
It does seem that the Moriarty return tease at the end of last season was indeed just that, a tease, and we’re never seeing that great Sherlock villain return again in the series, but the final scenes of this episode, revealing the true mastermind behind most of Sherlock and Company’s troubles this season was none other than Sherlock and Mycroft’s hidden sibling, not a brother as many have speculated on, but in fact an evil sister, plot twist truly blew my mind. It even made sense and made better the John having a textual affair with the woman from the bus plot from last week relevant and made it more than just the filler I thought it was.
At first I thought Moffat was going to do a Master/Missy thing all over again from Doctor Who and reveal that Moriarty was still alive, but now a woman. This twist is even better than that though, and it sets up for an exciting climax for next week’s episode. And then after which we either wait two more years til next time or maybe this could even be the series finale as Moffat has hinted at before. I hope not though, because I’m always onboard for more Sherlock, however long we have to wait in between seasons.
Final Episode Grade-A+