“Best episode ever… for real”
– Freddie Metherell, flatmate
To start off an episode after being told how good the episode was often leads to high expectations and disappointment. The Lying Detective exceeded all of my expectations to such a degree that I might just have to agree with my flatmate.
The episode has so much in it, but it was all beautifully organised. It did what it does best, analysing the simple things with a careful and calculated storyline. It does this with a flare reminiscent of earlier episodes like A Scandal in Belgravia, with Sherlock’s thought process brought to life with floating windows, sunlight in a darkened alley and a recreated boardroom scene in the empty streets of London. One might even say there was panache to this episode, with the incredibly shot boardroom scene in which IV drips are led in by the morbid figures of nurses and the contrast of the darkness of the room with the reflection of the glass and the light coming from the drips.
“a flare reminiscent of earlier episodes”
These are all things Sherlock does well, but there was a complete unification in this episode that is unrivalled by previous ones. It had the compelling simplicity of A Study in Pink, with the excitement of The Great Game – all shot beautifully. There was also something Trainspotting-esque about the way they displayed Sherlock’s addiction. All of these different qualities that Sherlock has shown before worked in perfect harmony with each other, creating an episode that was so original and so completely the opposite of the episode we saw last week.
The characters were all incredibly well acted, with Toby Jones’ Culverton Smith almost rivalling Andrew Scott’s Moriarty. Mary Morstan’s return as Watson’s subconscious was a character I could actually get behind, unlike her actual character. Her witty input throughout the episode benefitted it a lot. The shock reveal of Eurus Holmes, played by Siân Brooke, has left me on the edge of my seat for next week’s episode – in which I’m sure she will feature heavily and the true quality of her acting will be displayed. Cumberbatch and Freeman were on top form as usual, working – as they do best – as a duo.
There were, however, a couple of niggles. Sherlock’s reference to Smith as “the most despicable human being that I have ever encountered” I saw to be slightly hyperbolic when compared to Moriarty. My second niggle is more pertinent however, as I am baffled as to how Sherlock managed to spend a whole evening with his sister and was unable to recognise her. He may have been off his face, but it is still his sister. So unless he didn’t have any knowledge of her, I find it difficult to believe that a simple costume of dyed hair and different coloured eyes could have baffled the great detective.
All in all, the episode was an incredible one. It answered some of the questions from last week, but it also did it all in such a way that it was fantastic to watch. There was a clear storyline to follow, with a focus on the little things that was so missing from the previous episode. A joy from start to finish, it’s incredible to think that the worst and best episodes of the entire show could have been placed just a week apart. Until next week, Sherlock.