Sherlock Crashes and Burns In Its Finale
THE GAME IS FINALLY OVER
Holmes is back and worse than ever; in a shocking twist of events, the popular BBC show Sherlock has released its fourth—and possibly final—season, and has absolutely tanked in quality.
Sherlock is a present-day take on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, which should merit modernity in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, the execution of the show has backfired spectacularly. After three seasons of character and plot development, emotional build-up, and seven years, fans were treated to a massive let-down of a season riddled with plot holes, senseless writing, and a heavy dose of queerbaiting.
Though the show’s previous seasons weren’t devoid of scenes that brought questions to viewers’ minds, the general notion among fans was that these questions would eventually be answered. In its fourth season, the show took every question that fans had, gave them a good look, and lit them on fire. In some cases, literally. Not only did they ignore every inaccuracy and impossibility in their writing—they added more and tripled the inanity. There’s a difference between a crime drama, a feel-good family show, an action movie, and a slow-burn romance. Sherlock couldn’t seem to distinguish which category it falls into.
The writing was choppy, like plot events were pulled from a hat and mashed together at random. The cinematography, a facet of the show that helped make it famous, was appalling. A show once composed wide, sweeping landscape shots and beautiful double-exposure scenes filled its fourth season with poorly crafted angles and horrible CGI explosions. Characters who underwent leaps and bounds of development over the course of the show seemed to have reverted to where they stood in the first episode.
John Watson, who worked to overcome his mental health problems reverted to a suicidal state; Sherlock, who learned to accept his emotionality fell back into treating himself like a machine not worthy of love or positive human interaction. The fourth season felt like a new show entirely.
Even more mind-boggling than the sudden and unexplained downturn in quality was the way LGBTQ+ representation was handled on the show. Sherlock Holmes is a historically queer-coded character; though Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, could not make Holmes openly gay due to sodomy laws in the late 1800s, his descriptions of Holmes and his relationship with his “partner” Watson are easily read as gay and have been read as such by academic scholars and casual readers alike for over a century.
When Sherlock premiered in 2010, the show writers made history by having Sherlock Holmes and John Watson openly discuss sexuality on screen. Prior to their conversation, they were approached by the owner of the restaurant they were in and when the owner assumed they were on a date, John was the only one of the two who denied it.
This trend repeated itself in every following episode, but they never brought the relationship to fruition, nor did they ever confirm that Sherlock was gay, despite the opportunities they were given. Then, they did LGBTQ+ fans of the show one worse.
To add insult to injury, the central villain of the story, James Moriarty, was depicted as a psychotic, flamboyantly gay man with no regard for human life from the moment of his introduction in the last episode of the first season. The antagonist introduced in the fourth season, Eurus Holmes, was written in nearly the exact same fashion.
By writing these villains as gay and refusing to balance the score by making the protagonists openly part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, the writers directly correlated gayness to evilness. They queerbaited LGBTQ+ fans for more views and twisted the knife by stating, in a Q & A session at Cambridge Union on Jan. 22, “Sherlock was never a love story and never will be […] perhaps we took the joke too far.”
Too far, indeed. Viewership of the show dropped massively; season four earned an audience score of 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes—an astounding fall from season three’s score of 95 percent.
Though Sherlock claims that “the game is never over,” his writers should consider throwing in the towel.