Holmes’ abductive methodology, through which an observed inference is arrived at through considering the known facts, may prove useful in understanding the crime at work within the Sherlock series four opener, “The Six Thatchers”: namely that the episode is really quite terrible.
It’s the first episode of Sherlock where I wanted the story to end a good 20 minutes before the conclusion and, after said dénouement, wished I had just turned the TV off and buried it in the garden, leaving a greater mystery for future detectives (my partner and my therapist) to solve.
One breadcrumb in this great unpacking might be that we’ve become so apparently inured to the spectacular nature of Holmesian detection that the viewer now has to be given an amplified barrage of data, which seems to be a visualized representation of the detective process, but ultimately serves very little function within the show. “Oh look, Sherlock is using his phone an awful lot. What a rude sort of fellow, yet one can’t help but find some kind of empathy with a man who, when finally caving in to cultural expectations of the digital era, uses it in a deliberate attempt to negate actual social responsibility. Clever Cumberbatch. In this way we’re all a bit like Sherlock … hang on, what’s the actual point of this texting-during-a-Christening scene?” I don’t know either, but how cute was the pointlessly included bloodhound? At times, Sherlock feels more like it should be called ‘Houdini’, given how much misdirection and diversionary showmanship, signifying nothing, is involved…
The full 1,000 word version of this review is published at PopMatters.com, where you can read the rest of the article for free.