From the opening shots, it’s clear that all is not well in the world’s of Sherlock and Watson. The implacable detective’s chin is losing a running battle with stubble and, for the first time, we’re seeing him looking defeated, exhausted, maybe even desperate. Even the supernaturally placid Mycroft is looking out of sorts, his Windsor knot skew-whiff and his top button undone. Something is clearly very, very wrong.
This all no doubt has something to do with Toby Jones’ character Culverton Smith, a menacing presence in the trailer whose lines, although few, are spoken with an impressive amount of venom. Culverton Smith’s appearance in the short story “The adventure of the dying detective” left Holmes literally at death’s door, so he should certainly make an interesting foil for Cumberbatch’s take on the character.
What’s harder to figure out is whether or not this season will be the end of the road for the great detective. Although Writer Stephen Moffat has said that he doubts that season four will be the last, Benedict Cumberbatch has thrown uncertainty on the character’s future by saying: “It feels like the end of an era, to be honest. It goes to a place where it will be pretty hard to follow on immediately.” Cumberbatch has, however, stated that he would be happy to return to the role at a future date.
With the season finale’s title: “The Final Problem” seeming to toll the bell for Holmes it would be easy to lose hope for a fifth season. However, much like in the original story from which the episode takes its name, it’s unwise to count Sherlock Holmes out for the count, even when the odds are stacked against him.
What intrigues us most about this latest trailer are the hints of Sherlock’s past demons returning to haunt him. Are these demons figures from his past, or maybe the demons of his addictions? What does Culverton Smith know about the detective’s murky history, and how will he use this information against him? Whatever happens, we are assured at least one more season of top-notch mystery-solving with the mercurial Holmes and the faithful, if much put-upon, Watson. The first episode “The Six Thatchers” will ring in the New year on January 1st 2017.