I'll admit, I was worried about #Sherlock after the season four's lacklustre and confused opening episode. The fact that it followed an equally all-over-the-place one-off special was enough to make me really, really worried.
Thankfully, the season's second episode put my fears to rest. #TheLyingDetective was Sherlock back on top form.
SPOILERS for Sherlock, season 4, episode 2, follow below. Please proceed with whatever level of caution you deem necessary.
After the events of "The Six Thatchers", the episode finds out titular hero (played by #BenedictCumberbatch) still grieving the death of #MaryWatson (#AmandaAbbington) and unhappily estranged from #JohnWatson (#MartinFreeman). As is often the case when things aren't going well for the genius detective, he goes off the rails. By his own admission, Holmes is "off his tits" for most of the episode, shacked up in 221B Baker Street with a skeevy drug dealer; ranting, hallucinating and occassionally firing a handgun.
In all honesty, he's not doing too great.
As you might expect for a recent widower, John Watson isn't doing brilliantly either. He's in therapy and living with near-constant hallucinations of his deceased wife.
The detective duo are brought together by villain-of-the-week #CulvertonSmith, played with devilish delight by the reliably excellent #TobyJones. In his appearance in the original Sherlock stories, Smith was an expert poisoner conned by the detective into admitting his crimes. On screen, Smith is a devious entrepreneur, philanthropist and celebrity whom Sherlock believes is a serial killer hiding in plain sight.
Toby Jones' Smith is an unsettling presence, we first meet him early on, confessing to a room full of journalists and businessmen (and his own daughter) that he's going to kill someone. The problem? All the attendees have been injected with a solution that will wipe their memories. A bit far fetched, perhaps, but the memory loss is a useful tool. Smith's daughter approaches Sherlock with a hastily-written, half-remembered note that she wrote before losing her memory of what her father had said asks him to find out who he has killed - or who he will kill.
That leads Sherlock to finger Smith as a serial killer - believing the person he wants to kill is "anyone".
If you're British, you'll know that Smith's creepy performance had more than shades of Jimmy Saville, and not just because of his Northern accent. For those of you lucky enough to not to know, Saville was a once-beloved entertainer and philanthropist who got away with decades of abuse against innumerable children and adults thanks to a cosy relationship with the authorities and the same technique his fictional counterpart uses - hiding in plain sight.
The episode keeps you guessing about whether or not Sherlock's drug-addled public accusations against Smith are right - but then again, Sherlock is always right. The detective plays the long con here, winding up in one of Smith's hospital, allowing the bad guy to pull the classic move of confessing his crimes to what he assumes is a dying man.
In between times, the episode gives us some brilliant moments with Mrs. Hudson, who rocks up to John's therapists' house in her Aston Martin before explaining to John just how she can afford it:
We also see Mycroft (mis)using state surveillance facilities to spy on his dear brother, and hear yet more references to the mysterious Sherrinford. But that doesn't pay off as we all expected...
Through all that, we find out that even in Sherlock's drug-addled state he can foresee everyone's every move - he arranges for John, Mrs. Hudson, himself and Molly to convene at John's therapist's house two weeks in advance. It's almost like he's playing chess and everyone else is just a piece moving on his board.
At the episode's end, we know that Sherlock's long con worked. Culverton Smith is happily confessing to Lestrade, hoping to "break America", leaving the big revelation to the episode's final moments...and what a revelation it is!
John's therapist is not who she seems. She's also "E", the woman on the bus who flirts with - and then texts - John in "The Six Thatchers" and also pretends to be Culverton Smith's troubled daughter. She reveals herself at the episode's end as Eurus (or Euros) Holmes, sister to Sherlock and Mycroft and, evidently, a master of disguise.
The episode ends with the barrel of her gun, and now we have to wait a week to find out just what she has in store for her brothers. It's safe to say that it won't be good.
What did you think of "The Lying Detective, and what's in store for the episode's finale? Let me know in the comments below!