Taking a look at the Sherlock Series 4 trailer

Ahead of Sherlock’s return on New Year’s Day, a new trailer has been released, revealing a few interesting new details. You can watch the trailer below:

It’s clear that this series is attempting to up the ante once more; references to long standing demons and long buried secrets make up much of this trailer. The ending of last year’s The Abominable Bride made it obvious that Sherlock would begin to explore its eponymous character’s drug use and abuse, an idea that series creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss had previously made a conscious choice to avoid. It’s new ground for the show, and hopefully it’ll be explored tentatively; with little foreshadowing over the past few years, there’s a danger that this might feel a little out of nowhere.

There’s no sign of Moriarty here – the focus is very much on Toby Jones’ new villain, one Culverton Smith. A character from Doyle’s original canon, Smith first appeared in The Adventure of the Dying Detective as an expert on diseases and toxicology who kills his nephew via infection, and also send Holmes a box with said diseases inside. An interesting connection forms, perhaps; is it too much of a stretch to think that Smith may, in this iteration, not be an expert on toxicology but rather in narcotics? With the frequent allusions to Sherlock’s drug use, it wouldn’t be a surprise to tie the villain into this.

Most intriguing, though, is the final line of the trailer – “I love you”. The editing of the trailer seems to imply that this declaration is, in fact, Sherlock’s greatest secret; I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if there was something of a misdirect to this. The question of Sherlock and romance is one that’s been threaded throughout the series for a long time now, from the first episode where Sherlock stated he was “married to his work”, to his interactions with ‘the woman’ Irene Adler. Of course – and it’s no surprise, really, given the literary weight behind the show – the resounding romantic debate for Sherlock has always been that of ‘Johnlock’. Do Sherlock Holmes and John Watson love one another?

Certainly, that’s what this trailer seems to be hinting at – understandable, perhaps, given the buzz it would undoubtedly generate. I suspect, though, it’s not quite that simple. Within the context of the scene, he doesn’t appear to be speaking to John, stood behind him; again, though, that may be a stylistic choice, with Sherlock set to turn around immediately afterwards. Of course, outside of romantic feelings, it wouldn’t be a surprise for Sherlock to say he loves John – perhaps he’s talking to Mycroft? An expression of familial affection for the Holmes brothers might well be a dark secret, to them.

I’d be quite surprised if the eventual reveal was that Sherlock had romantic feelings for John. Certainly, I don’t feel that that’s the story they’ve been telling for the past 6 years; I fear that, were this the case, it wouldn’t feel like the culmination of a well written arc, but a cheap twist intended solely as a shock. I’d love to see an iteration of Holmes and Watson depicted as a romance – I’m just not convinced this is it. Besides, do we really need to have a same sex relationship depicted as a deep, dark, twisted secret? Not really.

In any case, though, if Sherlock series 4 maintains the high level of quality as its predecessors, it’ll be another classic to remember.

Related:

What is the future of Sherlock?

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