Warning: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for the Sherlock season 4 premiere.
Sherlock is finally back in our lives, and we plan on making the most of it with as much speculation and inter-episode discussion as possible. After all, new episodes of Sherlockonly come around once a blue moon. We need to take advantage of them.
“The Six Thatchers” was a solid (if not phenomenal) start to Sherlockseason four, no doubt chock full of clues about what’s to come in the second and third episodes of the season. Here are 11 burning questions we have after the Sherlockpremiere whose answers might shed some light on where season four is headed…
What is Moriarty planning?
“I knew it wouldn’t end like this. I knew Moriarty made plans,” Sherlock says aloud to Mrs. Hudson after receiving the “Miss me?” disk in the show’s final minutes? Actually, it turns out to be a post-mortem message from Mary, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that Sherlock (and us) was waiting this entire episode for Moriarty to send his own post-mortem message to no avail… or so it seems.
Could we have met someone or seen something in this episode that is related to Moriarty’s plan? If we’re talking random characters who make no sense within the narrative, my money is on the seemingly innocuous “E.”
Where is Sherrinford?
We finally got a mention of Sherlock and Mycroft’s other brother in the final minutes of “The Six Thatchers.” Mycroft sees a post-it note on his fridge with the message “13th.” After seeing it, he picks up his phone and tells the person on the other end of the line: “I need to speak with Sherrinford… Yes, I’ll wait.”
Guys, Mycroft will wait. That never happens.
Where is Sherrinford that Mycroft can’t call him directly? And what did the 13th symbolize? Was it a message from Sherrinford or simply a reminder Mycroft had written to himself to call Sherrinford? Perhaps January 13th — or which ever date the 13th represents — is an important date for the Holmes brothers.
Also worth noting: Mycroft moves a Reigate Square takeaway menu to find the “13th” note. “The Adventure of the Reigate Squire” is a Sherlock Holmes story.
Why is Sherlock dreaming of Redbeard?
Speaking of the Holmes brothers, Sherlock has a recurring dream in the season four premiere that hints at a big Redbeard reveal for the season. Much season 4 speculation surrounds the mysterious Redbeard, depicted as Sherlock’s childhood dog in season 3.
In “The Abominable Bride,” Sherlock murmurs “Redbeard” at the sound of an approaching dog, and we see it prominently written in Mycroft’s notebook. When asked directly about who or what Redbeard might be, Gatiss and Moffat refused to answer (which, to be fair, they do with pretty much any specific question regarding season 4). It seems worth noting that Sherlock had an obsession with pirates as a kid.
In “The Six Thatchers,” we saw Sherlock dream of a dog, red galoshes, and two boys walking in the country. A child sings in the background. Later in the episode, Sherlock’s therapist mentions that Sherlock is having a recurring dream. Is this the dream? Is Sherlock guilty over something that happened with Redbeard and/or Sherrinford when he was a child? Is his guilt surrounding Mary’s death dredging those feelings and thoughts up again?
Did Mary’s message say anything else?
After the credits, we see another snippet from Mary’s message to Sherlock saying “Go to hell, Sherlock.” Was there much more to Mary’s message than what was shown on screen? Perhaps. Could it be related to Moriarty? Perhaps. Is the “hell” Mary tells Sherlock to go to a specific clue? It certainly sounded like it.
Why did AJ attack now?
In “The Six Thatchers,” we learn more about Mary’s years as a hired assassin/general spy-type. We even get to meet AJ, one of the people she worked with in AGRA. Sherlock and Mary wonder what happened to AJ during the six years he was missing since the Tbilisi incident. Did the random Eastern European terrorists really just keep AJ in a cell for six years? Why not kill him? That doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would keep them up at night, given their Torture is Fun stance.
Could AJ’s timely arrival be part of Moriarty’s master plan? Mary wasn’t in John’s life when Moriarty was still around, but that doesn’t mean whoever is left to follow Moriarty’s orders couldn’t improvise to get Mary out of the way.
Um, what’s with John’s random flirtation?
No, but really. Sherlockgave us absolutely no insight into this interlude. Maybe they will cast some more light on this moving forward, but in the context of this episode, it made John’s character super unlikeable for apparently no reason.
Never has the show’s slow phasing out of John Watson as Narrator been more apparent. When Sherlockfirst appeared, it was very much from John’s perspective, coming into Sherlock’s crazy world as a weary veteran returned home. This was John’s show more than Sherlock’s, in many ways. The reverse is now true and it is especially hard to swallow in moments like the text flirtation between John and some random lady he met on a bus.
If Sherlockwas intent on giving John this storyline for some reason, give us some insight into John’s reasoning. Is he still pissed about Mary’s lies? Does he regret his decision to forgive Mary her past? Has his brain been hijacked by an alien slug host? Any or all of these could be true. Sherlockdidn’t bother to tell us.
How long does John flirt with “E”?
It’s left unclear in “The Six Thatchers” how long the flirtation between John and “E” lasted and, if or when it ended. We see him send a text breaking things off with her, but then she is there when John gets off the bus. The two smile at one another. Did John continue seeing “E” after that?
It’s also unclear how long their relationship goes on. In the scene in which John is texting “E” when Mary is getting the baby, she texts “It’s been too long” and “Miss you.” Does she miss seeing John on the bus or did they actually start texting and/or seeing each other for awhile? Ugh. This entire subplot is depressing.
Is “E” related to Moriarty?
Even more pressingly, could “E” somehow be related to Moriarty’s big plan? We all know that John is Sherlock’s biggest weakness. To first get Sherlock’s attention, Moriarty kidnapped John and strapped some bombs to him. It makes sense that he would so something similar for his post-mortem game.
Furthermore, both Moriarty and “E” are Irish. Yeah, Ireland is a big country, but there’s basically no such thing as a coincidence in the world of Sherlockand, right now, “E” feels like a weird loose end.
What does John’s note say?
I think I can fill in the broad strokes of John’s general sentiment towards Sherlock right now, but it would have been nice to understand a bit more about where John’s head is at. Is he simply angry at Sherlock for breaking his vow? Is he angry that he broke his own vow to Mary? Is he angry that Mary died to save Sherlock? Is he angry that Sherlock goaded Norbury, even when Mary told him not to? Is he afraid to lose someone else that he loves? Again, we didn’t get much of where John Watson’s head is at in this episode.
How will Sherlock save John Watson?
“I need to know what to do.” “Do?” “About John.”
Guys, Sherlock is asking his new therapist for advice about how to save John Watson. That’s how desperate he is. It’s unclear how Sherlock will go about saving John from his anger spiral, but let’s hope he figures it out by the third and final episode of the season.
Whose death was the ep foreshadowing?
“The Six Thatchers” went heavy on the death foreshadowing. Sure, it could have all been in relation to Mary, but I’m kind of worried that The Appointment in Samarrawasn’t solely about Mary. Will someone else die this season? Could it be Sherlock? Or does Sherlock’s childhood obsession with the story have something to do with the mysterious Sherrinford/Redbeard clues? All questions to discuss as we wait for next week’s episode…