Ignoring last year’s Christmas special, “The Abominable Bride”, it’s been three years since the dramatic cliffhanger that closed Season 3, in which Sherlock executed the villainous Charles Augustus Magnussen – The Napoleon of Crime – and fled the country.
If you’d forgotten any of that, don’t worry – the show pretty much does, too. In fact, “The Six Thatchers” spends its opening ten minutes rolling back the consequences of that excellent finale, with Sherlock being absolved of murder and reinstalled within British society, no questions asked, thanks to Mycroft and the British government.
Although this totally undercuts the drama of Season 3’s standout episode – whatever – it neatly returns Sherlock to 221B Baker Street where he can resume work as a consulting detective and impatiently await Moriarty’s next (posthumous) move. Through a couple of breathless sequences, Watson and Mary have a baby and Sherlock tackles numerous problems, including The Circus Torso and The Canary Trainer. But what follows isn’t Holmes and Watson slowly unravelling one of those intriguingly titled cases, like the good old days, but a short mystery followed by rambling tangent of revelations, flashbacks, and altercations, culminating in a dramatic yet strangely underwhelming climax.