You know what the problem is with making a television series with seasons that are only three episodes long? (Besides everything.) You’ve no sooner gotten psyched up for the new season when all of a sudden it’s over, without even a whisper of when it will be back.
That’s how I felt about Sherlock the moment that the final episode of the third season wrapped up this past Sunday. It was great that the show was so short and manageable while I was catching up with it on YouTube, but now that I’ve caught up to real time, I almost wish I hadn’t, because I’m so utterly overwhelmed by how long I might have to wait for season four. After all, wasn’t it like two years in between seasons two and three? I CANNOT DO THAT.
But luckily in addition to there already being talk of season four, there are also a lot of ways to occupy your time until Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return to us as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson again. And one of those ways is by keeping up-to-date on what the show’s creators, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, are saying about it over at Collider.
Oh and before I get too deep into this, just know that if you haven’t finished season three, there are gonna be spoilers about it. So proceed at your own risk.
In regards to the twist involving Mary Morstan, played by Amanda Abbington:
“The Mary thing is interesting. The reason you didn’t spot it is because you liked her. We put the audience in the position of Sherlock Holmes. All the evidence is absolutely under your nose. It’s all there. She’s far too calm under pressure. No human being would be like that. She immediately likes Sherlock Holmes, which is the sure sign of a maniac. But all the audience is thinking is, “Well, thank god, she’s not a drag. Thank god, she’s fun,” instead of thinking, “What sort of person is that? That’s not a nurse. She’s something other than a nurse.” So, when she turns around and points a gun at Sherlock, it’s the two things you really want. It’s a surprise, but you also think, “I should have seen that! Of course! She had to be!”
So interesting to think about. As is their approach to women on the show in general:
“One of the interesting things about Sherlock, as a show, is that we want to stick very close to the style and approach of the original stories, but the one big problem is that there are no women, and what women do turn up are not that great. [...] I sometimes forget that Mrs. Hudson doesn’t really speak in the original, and we’ve given her a big part. [...] And Molly wasn’t even in the original stories, but she just worked so well that we kept her, and she’s developed so hugely. [...] Mary, in some ways, is the most interesting perspective of all. The thing that’s occurred to me recently is that what is consistently true of all the women who meet Sherlock Holmes is that they see through him much faster. John [Watson] is still pretty much enthralled with the act, [but] all the women he meets decode him so fast. Mrs. Hudson just thinks he’s a spoiled brat, who she quite likes. Irene [Adler] gets it totally. She can close him down with a smile, and she gets that. Molly, initially, was awestruck, but so quickly got what he is. So, bringing the female perspective onto Sherlock is brilliant, I think. It works so well.”
As do the additions of the show’s villains, most recently Charles Augustus Magnussen, plays by Lars Mikkelsen.
“One of the interesting things about Sherlock Holmes is that you don’t necessarily need a villain. Moriarty actually only appears in one story, [and] there are a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories without any villains at all. Most of the Sherlock Holmes stories are intriguing little puzzles; sometimes they don’t even involve a crime. It’s quite important to remember that Sherlock Holmes must function without a master criminal. And indeed, we were quite careful with Magnussen to say that he’s not a master criminal. He’s not very nice. He’s a bad man, but he hasn’t got a plan. He isn’t about to hollow out the core of the planet and pilot it into space, or anything. He’s just getting some money. That’s the only evil plan that anyone’s ever had.”
I think that’s such a smart way to approach a show’s antagonist — especially on something as modern and realistic as Sherlock. But why don’t you shut up now and tell us about Jim Moriarty, played by Andrew Scott, who seems to maybe be alive again somehow?
“Well, you’re going to have to wait and see what we’re gonna do. This is not a whim. This is the longest term plan we’ve had. There are some things that you change, at the last minute. You think, “Oh, we could do this instead.” But, the Moriarty plan has been in place since the end of the first [season], let alone the end of the second [season]. It’s a good plan. It works. My son worked it out, so that was quite good. No one else has. He was getting hassled by someone at school who was saying, “Your dad doesn’t let anyone stay dead.” So, he came home and said, “Dad, is it this?,” and I said, “Yeah, that’s what it is.” It’s all perfectly logical, and I think people will like it.”
Oh perfect. Now I’ve been outsmarted by a grade-schooler. That feels great.