Sherlock Season 4 Sucked

sherlockWell, we have reached my Batman v Superman. You know how last year Batman fans were so disappointed with Zack Snyder’s latest film? Well, I’ve never been that big on Batman so I wasn’t that disappointed that it sucked. What I have always been is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and as such I was eagerly anticipating season 4 of the BBC show Sherlock. Boy was I let down. Actually that’s not strong enough. Sherlock Season 4 sucked so bad I can hardly believe I sat through it.

I have been a big fan of Sherlock since way back in 2011 when it first aired in the US. I wrote about it on my other blog- I normally don’t like modern retellings of classic stories but this managed to keep true to the spirit of the Conan Doyle books and characters and so I fell in love with it. Plus, it introduced me to Benedict Cumberbatch who we have all grown to love as one of the great actors working today.

Since then we have gotten 2 more seasons that were solid but season 3 started to feel a little bit gimmicky with Sherlock escaping death and them never explaining it. I should have known because season 4 took that path and went off the deep end.

Spoilers ahead!

So why does season 4 suck so much? Let me count the ways.

Episode 1

Episode 1 started out with some promise as it was focused on an actual case involving the disappearance and death of a young man. There are busts of Margaret Thatcher being destroyed at homes across town, which totally seems like classic Sherlock Holmes style storyline.

Then they have to tie it back into Mary and her being a super spy, a plotline I hated from season 3. I really could care less about Mary as some secret spy and then the melodrama keeps getting piled on.

And worst of all THEY MAKE JOHN A CHEATER!!!  John Watson who is the moral center of the series cheats on his wife and daughter for no discernible reason at all (not that there is ever a good reason to cheat). It seriously goes nowhere the cheating plot. Urgh!!!

And then Mary dies and we are supposed to feel bad about this but I so didn’t care. Plus, knowing this show I felt it wasn’t a real death so it didn’t really move me the way it should have.

Episode 2

So I was very annoyed by Episode 1 but little did I know that episode 2 was going to be even worse.

In this episode they abandon the simple case all together and have it be focused on a murderer named Culverton Smith played annoyingly by Toby Jones (and his teeth are so gross!). Then the episode becomes a cat and mouse game between the two of them with one cheap reveal after another.

We get tons of fan service in this episode with lines like ‘The game’s afoot’ designed to appease hard core Sherlock fans- which I thought I was. In between you have groan inducing gimmicks that are supposed to shock the viewer but just made me angry instead.

There is nothing smart about what Sherlock does to solve the problems. He kind of just survives the melodrama. And of course we have more Mary sentiment thrown in to annoy me.

Episode 2 was also shot poorly and felt like a cheap M. Night Shyamalan knock-off.

Episode 3-

How could it get worse than episode 2? Well, step right up to episode 3 my friends.  Oh my gosh. I just can’t believe how awful it was.

This episode leans on every tired and boring horror movie cliche. The last hour I felt like I was watching a Saw movie not an episode of Sherlock. Again, they dilute Sherlock down so that everyone is smarter than him and they spend the entire time in a room basically getting tortured.

The fact the torturer is his secret sister is just more annoying than anything else. And we see people shot and kill themselves and tortured with nothing interesting to say about anything and no character development for anybody. It was horrible. Occasionally they would show Moriarty laughing to titillate fans I guess but it was just annoying. I didn’t feel fear or tension or anything but mindless gore.

There’s some gay baiting that is lame. It’s just all lame.

We also get this lovely bit of special effects…

sherlock2I just can’t believe how bad it was. The dialogue was horrible. The stories were plodding, melodramatic garbage and the episodes weren’t even well made.  It was first class junk!

I can’t overstate how much I disliked Sherlock Season 4 and what a complete disappointment it was. If I wanted to see a lame gimmicky horror movie I could go see The Bye Bye Man in theaters this week. Not watch Sherlock. They manage to ruin all of the characters especially John Watson and focus on Mary, a character I could care less about.

I’m very annoyed and very upset right now. Garbage. Total junk.

48 thoughts on “Sherlock Season 4 Sucked

  1. I really don’t understand why so many people online have been raving about this series. I didn’t hate it for the most part but it marked a severe drop in quality from Series 1-3. Episode 1 was OK, apart from Mary’s death coming off as more silly than anything else. Episode 2 was frustrating and uncomfortable, and the final twist felt like too much.

    I was certainly tense during Episode 3, and Eurus had some good moments. But then there was still a lot of silliness in the narrative: I found it hard to buy the idea of Sherlock having repressed memories, or Moriarty recording all those little messages, or Eurus enslaving anybody she speaks to. The twists were the same (“Oh by the way, this is five years ago. PSYCHE!”) And the final resolution felt like a massive anti-climax.

    There was also a #SherlockLive on the BBC One Twitter this week where Sherlock invites readers to solve a mystery that he provides the clues to. Even that was quite silly as it asked us to believe a man would hate his wife and brother for having an affair so much (especially when he was also cheating himself), that he would kill himself to frame them for murder. (I know there’s an actual Sherlock Holmes story that features that twist, but it’s handled better there.)

    1. It’s a classic example of a property forgetting why people loved it all along and trying to be too clever. People dont want you to up the ante. People want what they love with small meaningful changes. I just thought this was horrible. I’m so disappointed

  2. Season 4 has been the worst Sherlock season yet. It seemed that Gatiss and Moffat were trying to make things too complex and clever for their own good. They should have kept the formula that made the show successful. Solve cases (through intellect, not James Bond methods) and the season finale is the culmination of all these cases being connected somehow to something spectacular. That worked so well before. This season has been too clever for its own good. The amount of plot-holes and false dawns has been laughable. The end of episode of episode 2 is Watson being shot in the head. Oh wait…it was only a tranquilizer gun. LMAO!
    Here’s my (less critical) review, if you are interested…

    1. Very well said. I think I’m just so angry that this is more of a vent than a real review but I completely agree with what you are saying. The writers forgot what the real appeal is. I liked the case of the dead boy with the broken statues. That’s the Sherlock Holmes I like. I’m sure down the road I can find value in it but tonight I’m just very upset. 3 years for this! LOL. 😝. Thanks for sharing your blog. I will totally check it out

      1. I felt like venting too, mainly in response to the huge amount of fangirls/boys that love it without question. I’m the same, I think if I watch again I’ll enjoy it more. 🙂

      2. Have to agree. Gave Ep. 3 a chance after I hated #2, but deleted it half way through. Such a massive disappointment after eagerly waiting 3 YEARS! By all means Mr Gatiss and Moffat, feel free to all go your separate ways, Sherlock is dead…..(We Hope!)

  3. I actually enjoyed parts of episode 2…the actual case and the reunion…and the editing in this one was divine.

    But yeah, overall, this season sucked. Hope if there is another one, they will go back to the roots.

    1. Amen. I hope they go back to the roots even for a special or something just to end it on the right note

  4. I agree with everything said here. The gimmicks were awfully annoying. A total piece of junk. The 3rd episode was the worst. A secret sister so smart she can control people with her voice? Wtf?
    She controls a world-class high-security jail with her voice. At least make it believable? was plainly idiotic.
    I was rollin my eyes at the end of it.
    Huge let-down. I hope there isn’t a season 5. I’m glad there isn’t.

  5. I guess I’ll play the devil’s advocate and mention what I liked about this series, lol!

    Regarding Episode I, it just felt natural to me that they would return to Mary’s spy history. Regardless of how one feels about making her a spy, I feel it would have been more of an obvious plot hole had they never mentioned the fact again! And they had to kill off Mary to stay consistent with the stories to get Watson back to solving crimes w/Sherlock. Yes, there were hokey moments in it like how pointless the scene was with Mary running away only to just be found by Sherlock 5 minutes later (in episode time, of course). And yes, John cheating did seem to kinda come up out of nowhere, but at least they didn’t make him go all the way to make us hate him even more. Maybe it was meant to be shock value that just didn’t pay off or just show us how human he is as Sherlock explains later on.

    I also enjoyed some of the fan service in this episode. My fave Sherlock Holmes story is ‘The Adventure of the Yellow Face’, the only story where Sherlock gets it wrong. It’s the story where he realizes that sometimes he does get too cocky for his own good and ends up coming to the wrong conclusion. It involved a particular case in a town in England called Norbury. And it ends with one of my fave quotes where Sherlock tells Watson that should Watson ever see that Sherlock is becoming too cocky, he should whisper the word, “Norbury”, to him and he’ll be grateful. And to see that quote worked its way into the episode, especially since it’s not a well-known quote, I was excited about that.

    Regarding Episode 2, I thought it was well-made. How do you catch a criminal whom you know is a criminal, but have no physical proof/evidence? (Hercule Poirot himself had to deal with that predicament in his last book too). In the modern world that ‘Sherlock’ takes place in, the types of criminals that exist are of different strains than the ones we know in the stories, the biggest criminal strain being the “serial killer”. The first modern “serial killer” to be known in society was H.H. Holmes who created the Murder Castle and was hanged in 1896. Heck, the episode even references him and is somewhat inspired by him. It only makes sense to me that a serial killer of that sort is a villain that Sherlock would have had to face sometime in his life had he been alive in the present-day.

    Another aspect that this episode focuses on is the idea whether or not someone is too big/powerful to be above the law. Toby Jones’ character (whose performance I loved, btw, especially his using a Northern English accent rather than the traditional London one) represents this and was based on Jimmy Saville. Jimmy was a famous UK presenter and raised a lot of money for charity, but after he died, it was discovered that he molested so many kids throughout his career and that people knew about it, but didn’t do anything about it. The episode does bring up great points about who will be brought to justice or let slide. Even the Queen….if she committed a crime as big as can be, would she be brought to justice in this day/age? I’m doubtful of it, but the episode does make one think.

    And about Sherlock having a sister? Yes, it’s not canonical, but since Series 3, we were expecting to hear about another Sherlock sibling since they did hint at it. And I feel it only makes sense that the sister would share in the mental capabilities of her brothers. So, I have no problem with her existence.

    Moving on to Episode 3, yes, I’ll grant you this seemed more like a “Shutter Island”-type movie rather than a Sherlock Holmes story. But again, if Sherlock has a sister who’s as mentally deranged as Eurus is, I honestly wouldn’t expect her to react in any other way than she did in this episode! I do feel that Eurus would put her brothers and Dr. Watson to a test of wits, game theory, mental prowess, and emotional hijinks. Yes, the episode has many plot holes (how the heck did she get the boy at the bottom of the well) and laughable effects (like Sherlock and Watson jumping out of the flat amongst the flames), but the spirit of the episode does represent (to me, at least) what Sherlock fighting a deranged mental genius would look like if Sherlock happened in the present-day. And again, that was the whole purpose of this show: to place Sherlock Holmes in the present-day.

    Phew, anyway just my thoughts!

    1. You make some good points but honestly I’m just so irriated by the whole thing right now to see the positives. I will eventually but man was I disappointed

      1. I guess I just can’t understand the extreme negative reaction that many in the Sherlock fandom seem to be having towards this new series. I mean, yes I can understand not liking it and yes, you have the right to make it your least fave series of the show so far, but I just don’t even fathom how people seem to make it seem like it was Norm of the North or something like that.

        I wonder if this is how Good Dinosaur apologists feel like, lol! I was w/the majority in that who readily disliked it and now in this case, I seem to be in the minority who likes this, lol.

      2. I think Good Dinosaur is probably a good comparison. There are different kinds of bad. Sometimes bad is well made and glossy and sometimes it is incompetently made like Norm of the North. This series pretty much every choice they made irritated me and that final episode was hard for me to finish. I really felt like I had stumbled into a Saw movie instead of Sherlock Holmes

      3. The choices they made were increasingly more irritating as the series went along for the reasons I laid out. Is it too much to ask for Sherlock Holmes to be solving cases? Evidently not. We get melodrama and cheap reveals that did nothing for me. And then episode 3 brought out every horror movie cliche. They even had the scary clown. All the stuff with his sister I could care less about and the Mary as a super spy plot never interested me. I just got increasingly annoyed with each attempt to shock me over good storytelling

      4. But that’s what I said. It took ways the series was going in season 3 that I didnt really like and went full on melodrama and no cases. That finale was completely ridiculous and very frustrating for me at least. It’s not Sherlock Holmes to me

      5. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t really have expected this season to go in any other direction than the same direction that Season 3 was going in as that’s where the roots of the problems were laid. I guess that’s my point.

        And I guess I never really felt any of the entire show has been “Sherlock Holmes”-ish; rather it seemed to just be the answer to the question, “What would it be like if Sherlock Holmes lived in the 21st Century?”. Like I wasn’t expecting them to update certain cases w/21st Century plot points like new technology or whatnot, but instead to literally just follow the life of a Sherlock Holmes living in London in the 21st Century and seeing what that’s like.

        I guess this season is going to be divisive anyway and we’ll all have our opinions. But, discussion is good in the end, lol.

      6. Yeah discussion is good and I appreciate you expressing a different point of view. I guess for me they took where season 3 dabbled in and went full out for it. I feel the first 2 seasons were more case based. Anyway I’m glad some fans enjoyed it. It was not for me

      7. Yeah I have a feeling like a lot of things some will make excuses for it now (not you but blind fanboys) and then realize over time it isnt very good

      8. I guess take this post with a grain of salt. I was more venting than anything else.

      9. I just hate movies or shows where I feel manipulated more than almost anything else

  6. The directors and crew are beginning to think that everything they do is golden and beyond reproach and the viewing audience will go along with whatever is shown them. Boy, are they are in for a surprise when they find out that the audience won’t go along with what they are doing and they will lose favor with the fans and the fan base will move on to the next offering. The series will be redeemed when they return back to what made the series great in the first place. If not, then they are doomed and the series will eventually die and reruns will be eventually be sold through budget DVDs in grocery, tourist convenience stores, and discount marts.

    1. Sorry, my dad actually wrote that comment above by mistake, but he definitely agrees with your disappointment. I actually had a more accepting reaction, though I’ll admit this was the weakest season of them all. I thought the first two episodes were quite good, for all the reasons The Animation Commendation mentioned. I like Toby Jones so I thought he made a memorable villain, and the cliffhanger at the end of episode 2 was a great reveal.
      Sadly, I agree about the third episode. With all the possibilities of that reveal, I was disappointed they opted for psychological murder games that strained belief, to say the least, and that explosion effect really was awful. They went overboard with the hallucinogenic editing too, and the ending was way too rushed.
      I suppose this is how defenders of Batman v Superman feel. They’re clearly trying to like the movie where others felt disappointment, and I feel sort of torn between those two feelings. I still like Sherlock, but I hope someday they end it on a better note.

      1. Glad to have both you and your Dad’s thoughts :). I was so excited after waiting the 3 years and I think a lot of people were in same boat. I just felt like they were continually trying to shock me instead of telling a good story. I was very frustrated but I appreciate other points of view. Episode 3 really was a train wreck

  7. I must admit that I’ve still never watched a single episode of Sherlock. I keep meaning to get around to it, but I figure that I should first watch the movie (also still on my mental to-do list). I’m sorry to hear that a show you’ve enjoyed has apparently jumped the shark after so few seasons. Maybe luck will be on your side, and the producers will hire a fresh team of writers to turn things around. It has happened with The Simpsons, among other struggling shows, in the past, so maybe there’s a chance.

  8. Thank goodness, I’m not going crazy. I was so excited for the new series! We waited, what, 2-3 years? Loved the characters as portrayed in previous series.

    Then, the very first episode, is all about Mary? And, what? Oh gawd. She was tolerable when she was just a minor side-character, but I guess since she’s Martin Freeman’s real-life wife, he wanted her more involved. The entire episode was so much cheap bs.

    Then, just when I think we’re free of Annoying Mary, she pops up as a ghost/figment in Episode 2? ARRRRGH. I am not even looking forward to Episode 3 now. They should just rename it “Mary”.

    Thanks for articulating what I wanted to vent!

  9. Do you think it’s the last season? I don’t. The Arthur Conan Doyle book ‘The Last Problem’ isn’t ACTUALLY his last problem so I think it was named this way to mislead fans so I won’t be surprised if they carry on. Also, I don’t like them leaving in season 4. 5 is a much rounder number 😁 lol.
    And I agree with your point totally. They almost made it too dark in a really silly way.

    1. We could get a movie or individual episode but with how busy both of them are I would be surprised to see another. I hope you’re right because they need to right the ship but I wouldn’t bet on it

  10. It may seem strange but your blog post is like a healing balm for me. I have been trying to find out if ANYONE else had a negative experience watching Sherlock series 4 because I need to relate to someone! I am a huge Sherlock fan! I loved the earlier seasons. I mostly love it for the fun moments, the character development, and the exciting journey of crime solving. I feel like this series had none of that. The first episode left a bad taste in my mouth. Everyone seemed out of character, especially John. If someone is going to make a show, they have to keep some honorable characters! I need someone reliable to keep me invested and I began to lose it here.

    Episode 2 made me sick. I feel like the first half was far too trippy and druggy for far too long and it wore on me. The second half was a nightmare. I don’t mind violence. I LOVE The Lord of the Rings and the Bourne movies! But this was sadistic, creepy, disturbing, unnecessary, uncalled for, and I will never watch it again!

    The third had little substance to it. It felt like hunger games and ethics class all over again. I do not like seeing life abused as though it is a game and I do NOT appreciate the toying of ethics and morals. I do not think it is healthy. Additionally, it didn’t fit with Sherlock, I learned nothing, and didn’t really care about any of the characters by the end.

    The charm and suspense of Sherlock that made it so enjoyable was completely gone for me. I suppose that this series had a few good things: Mrs. Hudson’s great in a scene or two, Sherlock and Watson hug, and Sherlock shows the value of emotion. But these meant little to me in the end with all the other rubbish. Not the closure I wanted but at least I don’t feel much connection to the characters anymore, so that part’s not painful. Overall, what a disappointment and I’m going to try to erase my memory of this series. 😉

    1. Your comment makes me feel more understood as well. It’s so frustrating! I’m glad I’m not only one who felt this way and I completely agree with your assessment especially about turning John into a cheater. That was such a frustrating decision! And yes, each episode got worse and worse until all of the sudden I’m watching a Saw sequel and not a Sherlock Holmes show. Boo!

    2. (shameless plug ahoy): if you’re looking for anywhere else to facepalm about the show from…honestly, season one onwards, but particularly season four?

      I think the destruction of the characters really bites for me. I had more or less resigned myself pretty early to the fact that crimesolving was never going to be a massive part of the show, and I was along for the banter and the bags and bags of style the show had going for it. But it steadily eroded the real wit and freshness as well as John and Sherlock’s killer buddy chemistry, and left….what? Shitty soap opera in its wake. Gaaaaaaah.

  11. I’m not reading the details here because I just started watching the show (I’m behind on the times!). I’ve only watched the first episode but I loved it and can’t wait to watch more. It’s disappointing to hear that some people think later seasons aren’t as good :/

  12. Have to agree with many of your comments, although I did enjoy The Lying Detective. I also thought there were moments that were superbly acted – perhaps even more so than in earlier seasons. My biggest disappointment of this series is that, for me, they have humanised Sherlock too much. I re-watched the first three series after I watched season 4. I loved his inability to deal with people, his lack of empathy and how John regularly played moral compass. I think that has gone, and I’m not sure if they will be able to recover that sense of innocence if they do film another season.

  13. thank you! it was driving me crazy not to find any bad reviews of season 4! I am beyhond dispointed: with such waiting, suspense and publicity I was waiting for an amazing outcome, a glourious come back, and then it was sooooo bad I can’t believed I watched it trough… the first, second, and even the third (not as good tough but still good) seasons are marvelous, surprising etc etc and then there’s this… they should just leave it at three seasons and let the end be in a fog in my opinion,leading us to think it all endend without ending, being a continuation brought to us by Moriarty suposed come back and all… a variety of untould adventures yet to come. This final season just didn’t made sense: the plot was illogical, made no sense with the plot that came before, and handled the characters very poorly in my opinion; all acted much differently from their own selves.sorry if I’m overreacting but I had to put my disppointement out, it’s truly dreadful than none of my friends watch sherlock (unless we’re talking seson 4, trash that thing and stick with the rest: that was gold)

    1. This comment made me so happy. It’s good to know other people hated as much as I did! You’re absolutely right. It made no sense

  14. Well, it seems as though I’m in good company. I was so happy last week to find season 4 on Netflix but, after watching each successive episode, I found myself saying ‘that has got to be the worst Sherlock ever..’
    Then..’that was the worst season ever’.
    I wasn’t as annoyed with the Mary character as others have been but, I have to admit, when they (predictably) killed her off I did have the thought ‘good, at least I won’t have to watch her again’….until I did…over and over.
    The scripts were half-assed, The cinematography phoned in, heck, the characters were stripped of their personalities, of what they had been built up to be in the previous seasons. Instead of a drama sweetened with a just a touch of lighthearted humor, it too often felt like I was watching a parody of the show.

    1. Amen to all you said especially about the characters being stripped of their personalities

  15. Someone said it! I watched the premiere of series 4 the day it came on. My mother and I made a big treat out of it since we loved watching the show when we lived together and I had flown all the way out to another state for Xmas. Well I found myself surfing the web on my phone, texting and whatnot during the showing. It was a bit underwhelming.

    I finally gave it another chance and finished Series 4 about 20 or 30 minutes ago so everything is “fresh” in my mind – meaning I am still confused about the mush of crap they shoved into the show, but I know exactly WHY.

    I’m glad you said something about the cheesy dialogue, gay baiting, and shitty CGI. I noticed that and pretty much all the other things you wrote about too!

    I knew the writing was going to go down a few years ago, and I expected Benedict Cumberbatch’s constant hiatus on the show would probably cause the writing and filming to suffer because of his business, but the crap served to us this go-round was more than I could believe. I’m still trying to process it all and figure out exactly what the hell happened and if there was a point to it all. The writers not only ruined the potential and concepts for Sherrinford/the third siblings – the ruined Moriarty’s storyline all in a single episode (the last).

    There were only a few parts of the three episodes I liked, but they were so few and far between that I can’t remember them off hand right now and I just finished the show. I made sure to give it a “thumbs down” on Netfix – that’s how disappointed I am. I think, if they manage to continue the show (which I suppose they won’t beyond series 5?), I will try my best to pretend this fourth rendition simply doesn’t exist.

    Or maybe I’ll just pick and choose the little things I did manage to like and get on with it.

  16. I finally watched Sherlock .. I know it’s like a decade late but I am so glad I’m not the only one who genuinely was furious with how season 4 turned out. I felt cheated into watching S4 or having any sort of expectations for it at all. I echo a lot of your views, my top annoyance was Eurus taking so much effort to mentally torture her family for no real reason other than for Sherlock to realize she wanted him by her side. Thank you for this thread, it gave me some sort of closure that I’m not alone in this disappointment.

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