Nope, we do not need another Sherlock season. We don’t even want it.
I hope I am shocking you, fans, as much I was shocked when I realised it : Sherlock’s glorious days are gone. The latest statements of Martin Freeman about the filming being not fun due to expectations of fans only thwarted the fandom too. (Really, Martin Freeman? Fans enthusiasm and expectations is the reason why you did not enjoy doing it? The fandom gave you stardom and the Hobbit. BTW, wouldn’t you say that it was rather due to poor writing? If fans could have their words and can participate in the writing, please, Mr Moffat, contact me at once, I have some ideas I’d like to pitch to you!)
Now, I have to admit, Season 1 had turned me into a huge fan from the first 5 minutes on. I wrote about it here, talked (a lot) about it, I profusely praised the series in the column I’ve been writing for 5 years… yet the wonder and spectacular scripting of the first episodes faded a bit, as time went by and as seasons were sparingly released (I meant to write : and exasperatingly awaited.)
Sherlock, the unapologetically ubercreative, witty, fun and addictive TV series landed like a UFO in the streaming service world and onto our screens. It revolutionized our idea of the good ol’English genius sleuth and his faithfull-even-when-betrayed partner in crime (pun intended) the good Doctor Watson. It propelled their relationship in the dimension of cyber bromance, verging on being a potential romantic affair, thanks to the numerous queerbaits the audience was fed to fuel feverish speculation about them, and to keep the watchers and fans falling for the show, hook, line and sinker.
Those hints or sometimes heavyweighted assumptions served as a formidable springboard for the tremendously creative, graphic, and/or suggestive fanfiction and fanart (I must admit I have indulged in fanart too, and drew this, John slumped in his armchair, watching an ep of Doctor Who, drunk & feeling empty 2 days after Sherlock’s “death”, see below) that stemmed from the show shortly after it aired. (Crazy fab fanart out there around the internet, just google “Johnlock fanart“)
The queerbaiting in Sherlock was a master coup of Gatiss and Moffat, of course, and addressed (while non-adressing it frontally altogether, in a sheer paradox) simultaneously the seemingly non-existent interest of Sherlock for romance and his asexuality, and the weird position of Watson, straight at heart and in his carnal desires and attractions but perceived as gay by others, placing him in the ambiguous zone of bisexuality, a thing rarely exosed in a TV series. Most of the audience fell for it, and shipped Johnlock. (fandom jargon expressing that fans liked the idea of a relationship between John Watson and Sherlock).
Because, let’s face it : the whole show is a romantic show, disguised as a mystery show. It’s all about speculative thinking : Sherlock, Molly and their interaction ; Watson, Sherlock and their interaction (and they do interact like old married couples, being bluntly honest about each other’s qualities but mostly defaults) ; Sherlock, Irene and their interaction ; Mary, Watson and their interaction, Moriarty, Sherlock and their interaction (probably the most fascinating, yet clumsily dealt with after Moriarty’s suicide)… As for me, I would have liked a more complex ambivalence layered admiration/exasperation between Sherlock and Lestrade.
Nontheless, one relationship remains the most important of all : Watson, Sherlock and their interaction with us, the audience. The poor audience whose hopes and dreams have been toyed with and crushed, resurrected and crushed again. We have been manipulated, tricked, cheated, shocked, made to laugh and hooked. And we have liked it.
Well, up to the moment where it began to make no sense at all and Mrs Hudson almost crashing sportscar on Watson’s nose fails to mend it. Loopholes were already noticeable in Ep 02 in Season 1, The blind banker. How on earth would the book of yellow pages drenched by the rain outside Soo Lin’s building make anyone link it to a possible smugling of ancient artifacts by Van Coon or the journalist and a potential place for the murder to hide? The writers here took a shortcut and it shows when you rewatch it. Similarly, how could Soo Lin been oprhaned so young, and immigrate to the UK so easily from China, not a country known to issue passports to each of its citizen? Through human smugling? Maybe. Yet, it’s not said and that too falls into the gray zone of laziness.
Facts are here, since the end of season 2, it’s been a slow downward spiral to mild disappointment due to easy writing (what happened, Moftiss? Too much resting on your laurels?) and bizarre construction of the narrative, culminating in the improbable inner changes of Sherlock (who all of a sudden “cared”, thus becoming at the same time a consumate empath and the ghost of himself), while Watson “toughtened” up (or maybe he just got bored and cared less), to the point of desenchantment. For him and for the audience. Or maybe it was just that the chemistry that was so enjoyable in the first 3 seasons between Cumberbatch and Freeman had been snuffed out like an candle under the blades of Moriarty’s helicopter… The decrease of the brilliant use of data being displayed on our screens while supposedly typed on a phone, or the analysis Sherlock makes in two seconds being plastered on the image of the person he analyses is also something to be sad about, because it was so enjoyable.
At the time of the last season, an odd thought crossed my mind that maybe the personnal lives of both actors, hitting a major milstone, had changed quite dramatically their mindset and their perspective about their near future : (ATTENTION : TABLOID MOMENT) Cumberbatch getting married and about ot become a father, happily engaging in family life, and Freeman having left or leaving his partner (Abbington) of 15 years and mother of his 2 children, thus desenaging himself from family life. I remember thinking that certainly the convos during coffee breaks on the set would have been quite odd, one being so happy and cheerful about his relationship, and the other two only miserable about theirs. In any case, the gloomy atmosphere in the relationship on screen of Sherlock and Watson seemed to reflect the gloomy falling apart of Abbington and Freeman’s couple and the distance between the main male actors. And in an eery way too : shortly before the death of his wife Mary Morstan, Watson flirts with another woman and detaches himself. I dunno, it was just a thougt I had at the time.
Yet the epitome of weird narrative is encapsulated in the so-called Eurus mystery. Seeds have been planted all along to bring us to swallow this Everest of no-sense of Eurus being the “other sibling” devilishly more evil and smarter than her brothers (“The East wind is coming” S03E03, “I’m not given to outbursts of brotherly compassion. You know what happened to the other one” S03E02 (please note the neutral-gender used by Mycroft, a hint that it might be a she), “RedBeard” S03E02, etc).
I don’t know for you, but if Eurus can escape, anytime she wants, her highy guarded prison to trick Watson and impersonates the skrink he sees and the girl on the bus he secretely dreams of having an affair with , then why would she stay stuck in this prison? Makes no sense.
And if she is cleverer than the Holmes brothers together, how can she be needing Moriarty’s help? Makes no sense ( unless you want an anthologic scene with him dancing and being his best villainish self.)
Makes no sense either to see Sherlock painfully blabbing the dreaded words to Molly, as asked by Eurus. It’s painful to watch because the writers have stretched this moment of unease for both protagonists up to its breakpoint, rendering the whole thing just artificial when it could have been more subtle and effective. It’s difficult also not to think of it as a wink to all those who ship Sherlolly. Which is both a blessing and a curse. As it infiltrates the narrative, the show lost a bit of its soul in that moment. This concession to fans may have been “the expectations” that Freeman said killed the fun of it. Yet it is lovely to see that the creators wanted to acknowledge the huge following of the show and in a way, thank them for their loyalty. Not sure it served the show. Once again, Sherlock becoming sentimental, caring about others’ feelings and state of mind, and becoming compasionnate is just plain weird.
So we were left to see Sherlock and Watson reunited once again, “Here are my Baker Boys” ( was it a hint at the 1989 movie the Fabulous Baker Boys? Will Moftiss make a movie out of the series?), exclaimed a videotaped Mary Morstan. From that moment on, Watson is expecting to blog, Sherlock to be bored again, especially now since all the horrendous villains are dead (each being more despicable that the precedent, if you remember, even if we have never heard about any of them in previous episode). Or maybe it could be the other way round, Watson getting so bored he kills himself, and Sherlock could blog about it while raising Baby Rosamund Mary, with Molly, why not…
So, Mofftiss, Gatat, don’t inflict another season on Sherlock’s fans world, please. That’s enough.
Moriarty’s dead, after all.