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Sherlock: The Lying Detective

Sherlock: 'Cup of tea!'

Episodes which take place inside a character's mind are usually a pain in the arse to watch, as you never know what's real and what's not. So to have an episode which mostly took place inside the minds of two characters, should have been a complete mindfuck. Let's face it, we barely know what's going on in this show when people aren't off their tits on drugs or hallucinating with grief, so what chance do we stand when such colossal weirdness abounds?

The success of tonight's story depended upon it selling several embedded artifices. Firstly, it had to have a central actress capable of pulling off three completely different characters. If we'd for one second suspected that fake-Faith was E, or that John's therapist was fake-Faith, then the whole edifice would have crumbled. Thankfully, Sian Brooke was utterly brilliant. Her accents, wigs, and sheer acting ability all contributed to an almost pitch perfect execution, so that when the final reveal did come, it utterly floored me. Even if you did guess that there was something fishy about John's new therapist, it would have taken a leap of Sherlockian proportions to deduce her true identity.

Secondly, they had to make sure that the actress that played Faith (Gina Bramhill) looked enough like Sian Brooke that we wouldn't notice that fake-Faith was, well, fake. They achieved this by using all manner of camera trickery—quick shots, long shots, shadow shots, profile shots, blurred shots—and by introducing Faith along with six other seemingly secondary characters. By dividing our attention and distracting us with improbable medical procedures and revelations, it was difficult to take everything in, particularly when the bulk of our attention was focused on Culverton. So when Faith turned up at 221B Baker Street, all we could really remember was her pale complexion, fair hair, stick and spectacles. See, we do look at faces, Eurus; we just can't remember much about them. In fact, everyone looks basically like this:

The rest of the episode centred on getting the band back together. The plot wasn't enormously complex, as we knew from the get-go who the murderer was, but the fun came in trying to guess what Sherlock was up to, and why he seemed to be failing so hard. In fact, in terms of humour, tonight's episode was up there with 'The Sign of Three'. Cumberbatch was his usual energetic self, putting to good use his Shakespearean training as he belted out Henry V whilst shooting up the lounge, but the award for most bizarre plot twist must surely go to Mrs Hudson for outsmarting, handcuffing, and kidnapping Sherlock. Preposterous? Yes! But so funny that I didn't give a damn.

It was also nice to see Mary back, despite her still being dead. I'm always a bit iffy about 'head conversations', especially when there's some sort of confessional/last words element to them. The living component always seems to have a cathartic time of it all, but since they're only ever talking to themselves, it always feels placebo-esque. However, John confessing his minor-infidelity to essentially himself (and of course, Sherlock) did inject some pathos into the proceedings, and Martin Freeman sold it like a pro. I say 'minor infidelity' as I was expecting something far worse than just texting, but the whole sequence did a terrific job of getting across that we should all be carpe dieming it, striving to be as good as others see us, and that Sherlock should be off knobbing Irene Adler.

I'm in two minds about Culverton. On the one hand, he was a gloriously evil shitbucket; on the other, why did they have to so blatantly model him on Jimmy Savile? Viewers outside of the UK might not be aware of Savile: like Culverton, he too had a Yorkshire pedigree, was comfortable around corpses (possibly a little too comfortable), had free reign in a hospital where he was primarily a fundraiser, and abused patients like there was no tomorrow. Obviously, Savile was more of a serial child-abuser than a serial killer, but the hallmarks were abundantly clear. Still, kudos to Toby Jones for playing such a despicable character so convincingly. The scene where he questioned Sherlock whist sitting amongst young impressionable patients made my skin crawl; a definite case of art imitating life.

Of course, as with any episode of Sherlock, there was a shitload of stuff that you just had to go along with. That Sherlock predicted everyone's reactions so precisely—even down to the timings—admittedly stretched credulity, but having Eurus then predict Sherlock's predictions, was outright bonkers. Likewise, Sherlock being able to pull all manner of complex deductions out of his baked brain, but missing completely that Eurus was not the same woman as in the photo, or that fake-Faith was actually his sister, seemed like something of a convenient failure. I know, he was off his head on 'tea' for most of the episode, but some of his deductive blunders felt a little too contrived at times.

So now that JohnLock has been more or less resurrected, where are we story-wise? Mary still seems to be dead, Eurus appears responsible for the 'Miss Me?' messages, so presumably next week's episode will be Eurus' backstory. Did Eurus actually kill John? I mean, I know next week's episode is called 'The Final Problem' and that in the original story Sherlock 'dies', but since they already did that in 'The Reichenbach Fall', surely they don't intend to substitute John's life for Sherlock's? Would they even dare?

Other Thoughts:

—Molly is doctoring again. Hurrah!

—I can't believe how far that wheelie bin went after Mrs Hudson hit it with her Aston Martin.

—I love the way they cut this episode together. Each scene switch seemed to complete the previous scene, usually to comedic effect.

—Where on earth did the flower in Eurus' hair come from? It appeared out of nowhere.

—'Why do people always stop at three?' Presumably Sherrinford is still out there somewhere?

—The subtitles say 'Eurus' whereas the official interviews say 'Euros'. I don't know.


Fake-Faith: 'Amazing!'
Sherlock: 'I know.'
Fake-Faith: 'I meant the chips.'

Mycroft: 'Everybody dies. It's the one thing human beings can be relied upon to do, how can it still come as a surprise to people?'

Watson: 'You cock.'
Sherlock: 'Yeah.'
Watson: 'Utter, utter cock.'
Sherlock: 'Heard you the first time.'

Sherlock: 'It's okay'
Watson: 'It's not okay.'
Sherlock: 'No, but it is what it is.'
Also posted at The Time Meddler.


  1. The subtitles say 'Eurus' whereas the official interviews say 'Euros'. I don't know.

    If it's the second one, that's a Brexit joke waiting to happen.

    I liked this a bit less than you, as the constant backing-and-forthing of what was really going on made me think I could just play a game on my phone and wait until Sherlock explained everything.

    But I did love the twist that all the women were Euro/us. Didn't see that coming.

    I know Toby Jones is in lots of things--in fact, now that I've checked IMDb, I think he might be in all the things--but his most striking performance for me was in The Girl, about Alfred Hitchcock's abusive side. I don't think I'll ever trust a character he plays ever again.

  2. I know we were supposed to love this episode and I really enjoyed the car chase and everything around it but the Toby Jones story felt vaguely un-Sherlockian. I'm just not loving this season. It's an overused expression, but I think Sherlock may have hopped over the dogfish with Mary's death.

    The Euros twist was also great fun but it does require a pretty big oversight on both Sherlock's and Mycroft's parts. Sherlock "I can predict my friends' actions to the minute weeks in advance" can't recognize his sister? Mycroft "I can access all video surveillance footage in the UK" doesn't know that said sister is romancing Watson or posing as a therapist or teasing her big brother by pretending to be Faith? I mean I'm sure we're going to say that Sherlock was too high and Mycroft was too preoccupied with baby brother but...it's insanely convenient.

    Or maybe it's just that this episode was fairly well spoiled for me for the stupid reason that I forgot to mute the dynamic duo of Paul Kelly and Mark Greig on Twitter....*glares*

  3. A post-Brexit sister? Whoa. Better than last week, and just as insane. Mrs Hudson was great this week.
    John is not dead, right?
    I'd say an emotional affair is pretty bad too, so he had reason to feel guilty. But hey, carpe diem.
    Euros is working for Moriarty maybe.
    Creepy acting by the always great Toby Jones.

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  5. Deleting and re-posting to avoid spoilers in the comment bar!

    Euros is a closer transliteration of the Greek (epsilon, upsilon, rho, omicron, sigma) but it's very common to use the Latinised version Eurus, especially for anyone more familiar with the Roman texts (like Ovid). Latin masculine nouns end in us, Greek os. So both are correct!

    I realised 'Faith' and Watson's therapist were the same person as soon as they revealed that the Faith Sherlock met was fake and showed a close-up on her face. I didn't realise she was also E though, that one took me by surprise. It helped that we hadn't seen E since last week!


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