Why The Ending Of Sherlock Wasn't Really Surprising

Spoilers here. Big honking, red-nosed spoilers… okay, not sure that that means, but if you haven't seen the first episode of Sherlock series 4, The Six Thatchers, then go away. Scurry. Unless your thing is spoilers, in which case stick around. But this is your only warning.

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Just a few thoughts on the first episode of Sherlock. It was called the Six Thatchers and was a variation on the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story, the Six Napoleons. In the original story someone is running around smashing bust of Napoleon and murdering folks that get in the way. Then Sherlock figures out that a missing, priceless black pearl had been hidden in one of the busts. The TV show follows a similar pattern and even leads us to believe a missing, priceless black pearl is in one of the busts of Margaret Thatcher. But in fact, what was hidden there was a thumb drive, the same as the one Mary gave John about her past that he destroyed. And we learn a lot more about Mary's past and just what she can do.

John and Mary also have a baby in the episode.

The shocking ending of course is the death of Mary as she steps into save Sherlock after he was goading a woman into shooting him. His arrogance caused her to pull the trigger. And John blames him. But he also blames himself, as we learned through the episode that John had an affair. Both of them broke their vow… Sherlock's to protect them and John's to be faithful.

Her death though, as shocking as it seems in the episode really shouldn't have been to fans. The series needs to be about Holmes and Watson as the source material always was. John would get involved, go off and be married for a while, and then he would come back to Bakers Street. And though we never see how in the books, it's been assumed that Mary left John a widower. But this was also a necessary death in that Sherlock needed to see that his actions have consequences. He's been becoming reckless while growing the number of people around him. Someone was bound to pay for that and Mary was the obvious choice as she had her own life choices to pay for as well.

I think Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington's personal issues had nothing to do with the fate of the character.

Overall, this may be my favorite episode to date. The writing was top notch, the action was good. It brought in almost all the regular characters (except Anderson) and got us invested quickly. My only knock against it is the random nature of the case that got Sherlock onto the trail of the Thatchers in the first place. If someone else could have made the connection between the fake call from Tibet, the two types of vinyl and the body being dead for a week before the fire… Sherlock would never had gone to the house and discovered the missing bust. Its a bit too happenstance for something as connected to an important character as this was.

The other thing the death does is introduce the idea that no one is safe. Sherlock, Watson and Mrs. Hudson are constants in the source material, but even a character like Lestrade only appeared for so long in the Doyle stories. The final appearance of Inspector Lestrade took place in The Six Napoleons. He was referred two once or twice after, but never appeared in the stories.

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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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