SHERLOCK fans know all about waiting. Series 3 of the show aired back in 2014 and aside from a single Christmas special, fans have been waiting years for series 4. And the premiere episode delivered on the circle of life — from birth to death.
We began with Sherlock Holmes having returned home to England after the death of Magnussen. Mycroft, as it turns out, managed to clear his brother’s name with some clever editing of security footage from Magnussen’s house. Sherlock was also dismissive of the Moriarty threat, convinced that he had orchestrated a posthumous game for Sherlock.
Back at 221B Baker Street, Mary was very pregnant and working with the boys as they went through their newest cases. All of that was interrupted with the birth of Mary and John’s baby daughter, Rosamund Mary. Soon the sleep-deprived parents settled into their new lives as Sherlock bonded with the baby, but cracks appeared in this perfect new life as a pretty woman caught John’s eye on the bus.
Lestrade soon brought the boys a case involving the mysterious death of the son of a Cabinet Minister. Something interesting in the parents’ house caught Sherlock’s eye: a little shrine for former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The parents revealed that someone had broken in and smashed a bust of Thatcher. Sherlock quickly explained the boys’ death, but it was the smashed bust that held his attention.
Sherlock headed off to see his brother and told Mycroft that he suspected Moriarty might somehow be behind this Thatcher smashing — or, at the very least, he was convinced something bad was coming. Soon more busts of Thatcher were behind smashed and even Lestrade was convinced something strange was going on. “The game is on,” Sherlock declared.
With the help of a hacker, Sherlock determined that all of the busts were manufactured by a company in Georgia, but the case turned even more curious when the latest bust owner was killed. Knowing that one more buyer had yet to be targeted, Sherlock staked out his house and then confronted the vandalizer. A knock-down fight ensued, but he soon learned that all was not as it seemed. After smashing the bust himself, Sherlock found a familiar USB drive hidden inside — the one Mary had given John containing information about her past. The vandalizer insisted that Mary had betrayed him, but Sherlock was flabbergasted at this turn of events. “Tell her she’s a dead woman. She’s a dead woman walking,” the man said.
Then we flashed back to Georgia, six years earlier. A long-standing hostage situation involving an Ambassador and her husband was interrupted by security forces, who were then shown to have the initials “A.G.R.A” over their heads. The same initials on Mary’s USB drive, because both Mary and the vandalizer were part of the security forces. As we soon learned, the vandalizer had hidden the USB drive in one of the Thatcher busts years ago before being arrested and beaten and now he was coming after Mary for revenge.
In confronting Mary about the USB drive in the present day, Sherlock learned that she had been part of a group of four agents: Alex, Gabriel, Mary (with an “R” name) and AJ. They each had a memory stick with information on the others in order to ensure trust. During a coup in Georgia the British Embassy was taken over and the team went in to rescue the Ambassador. But something went terribly wrong and Mary believed she was the only one who made it out. But Sherlock informed Mary that she wasn’t the only one — AJ (the vandalizer) had survived as well and now he wanted her dead.
She soon drugged Sherlock into unconsciousness and then headed out to deal with the situation on her own. Sherlock immediately headed to Mycroft to update him on the AGRA situation to see if the Brits ever hired the team. Mycroft admitted they had used the team before, but that stopped after the Georgia fiasco. As Mary headed off on a plane, she had left behind a note for John explaining that she had to leave in order to protect her family. But Sherlock and John soon found her and John told her she shouldn’t have run. AJ quickly interrupted the touching reunion and revealed that he had been tortured and kept prisoner for six years until he escaped. But before he did, the hostage-takers (who had kept him prisoner) had consistently told him that the “English woman” had betrayed their team, which is why he was coming after Mary. Unfortunately, AJ was killed by the local police and Sherlock and Mycroft suspected that Lady Smallwood had betrayed the AGRA team. She, however, denied it.
We also learned that John was keeping a secret of his own — he had flirted with the woman on the bus, who passed along her number. But instead of throwing it out he kept it and then texted her. And kept texting her, suggesting that the two may have had an affair (at least an emotional affair if not physical)
Meanwhile, Sherlock called both Mary and John to the London Aquarium, but Mary headed out first. And we learned that it was actually Smallwood’s assistant (Ms. Norbury) who had betrayed AGRA because she had been selling British secrets and wanted to keep that from getting out. Norbury quickly pulled out a gun and shot at Sherlock, but Mary took the bullet for him. John arrived in time to say goodbye to her before she died.
And Mary Watson was no more. Furious, John turned on Sherlock, saying he had sworn to protect Mary and their family and had failed. Thus, a chasm had appeared between the two men.
John was buried in his sorrow, but it was also clear that Sherlock was despondent about Mary’s death. And she had sent Sherlock a video to be played upon her death, telling him that she was giving him a case — save John Watson. Unfortunately, John wanted nothing to do with his old friend.
In episode 2 we’re going to be introduced to SHERLOCK’s newest villain, played by Toby Jones. Don’t miss the next episode airing on January 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.