Last night, Sherlock made its long-awaited return to televisions around the world when Season 4 debuted. BBC released the premiere to massive fanfare, and fans everywhere were stunned by the episode’s end. The action-packed premiere saw Sherlock Holmes’ friendship with John Watson shatter after an unexpected death drew a line between them. And, now, Sherlock’s showrunner is speaking out about the shocking murder in hopes of helping out grieving fans.
So, obviously, spoilers below!
Last night, Sherlock fans mourned as they watched Mary Watson die at the hands of an unassuming receptionist who had been using her position to steal government secrets. The elder had been the one who betrayed Mary’s freelance military group, and the recent mother was killed when she saved Sherlock from dying at the other woman’s hands. The emotional scene left fans tearful as Watson wailed over his wife’s bloody corpse, and Steven Moffat is assuring fans that the fan-favorite character is assuredly dead.
“Yes, we’re not playing games. She’s dead,” Moffat told Entertainment Weekly. When the showrunner was asked about the show’s decision to kill off Mary, Moffat had this to say about the unexpected turn.
“The reality of this, of course, is that Sherlock Holmes is about Sherlock and Dr. Watson and it’s always going to come back to that — always always always. They had fun making it a trio but it doesn’t work long term. Mary was always going to go and we were always going to get back to the two blokes. That’s the format,” he said, referring back to Watson’s canonical loss in stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
“Mark Gatiss and I do not have the delusion that we know better than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. That’s how the show works and always will. We reset to the most traditional and famous version of the format.”
After Mary’s tragic death, fans were treated to a video message from the woman after she sent one posthumously to Sherlock. The recording saw her ask Sherlock to “Save John,” and Moffat is saying that request will be one of Sherlock’s most difficult ventures yet. The teaser will be further elaborated upon in the coming episodes, but Moffat did say Sherlock and Watson will both confront the rift between them now head on.
“We take that rift head-on in the remainder of the [season]. We don’t ignore it. We don’t have John come back and say, “Well I’ve thought about it and it’s all fine.” If anything, the rift gets worse,” he said.
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“We decided if we were doing this we’re doing grief properly. We were doing the consequences properly. We tried to have people go through what they’d actually go through in this circumstance which, of course, is hellish. And as emotionally reticent as Sherlock Holmes is, it doesn’t take a 12-year-old to figure out he’s a profoundly emotional man. We don’t skirt around it. We don’t just get on with the story of the week — although there is a story of the week.”
Sherlock season 4 continues with "The Lying Detective" on January 8th and "The Final Problem" on January 15th.