BBC’s Sherlock Series 4 Episode 2: The Lying Detective Recap and Review

A middle episode again but this episode is absolutely superb and one that I can honestly say is my favourite episode of Sherlock so far. It’s dark, twisted and mostly takes place in a drug fuelled rampage. So lets get started.

This episode starts rather sombrely with John in a session with his new therapist. In the time since Mary’s death, John has sent Rosie away with friends because he can’t cope. He can’t sleep at night and is drinking to compensate. As he sits up in bed, a woman is sleeping next to him. As he watches the news, a woman shuffles behind him. We see him talk to this woman and she asks him if he will tell his therapist about her. He says he can’t because the woman he is taking to is Mary. Not only is John seeing visions of his dead wife, he is having full on conversations with her. He obviously isn’t handling his grief properly and seeing Mary clearly upsets John and me because being the sappy bitch that I am, I know that he still very much loves her and can’t let her go. And later, we find out why.

John and the therapist hear something outside. Screeching tires, police sirens and a helicopter. A car parks in the therapist’s front garden, a really nice car. Someone gets out and faces John.

We then cut to this weeks villain, Culverton Smith (Tobey Jones) giving a meeting to about 5 or 6 people (I really couldn’t be arsed to count), one of which is his own daughter, Faith. One by one, a group of nurses enters the room and hooks each person up to an IV of something called TD12 which is a memory erasing drug. As each person comes under the influence, Culverton says that he wants to confess something and it is best if no one remembers it. He says that he wants to kill someone.

Inside Baker Street, A drugged up and bearded Sherlock is taking a meeting with Faith who has handed him a piece of paper with everything that she remembered before the drugs made it go away. Sherlock is definitely less controlled when he is under the influence as he is flailing around and making random deductions before they even have a chance to make sense. Faith remembers her father saying that he wanted to commit murder but says that her life changed after hearing one word. After first dismissing her, Sherlock becomes intrigued. He notices that she keeps pulling her sleeve down and asks about her scars. When she confirms that they are scars, he offers to take her out for chips. Nice bloke. All the way through this scene, Bill Wiggins from ‘His Last Vow’ keeps popping in and asking who he talking to. When they get downstairs, Mrs Hudson pops out and asks him who this friend is that he is taking out.

Whilst Sherlock is out, he is picked up by the surveillance that Mycroft placed on him after Mary’s death. This is the first time that he has left the house in weeks. Sherlock is well aware that ‘Big Brother’ is watching him because the trail he leaves on the overhead map reads ‘UCK OFF’ with the ‘F’ subtly blocked out so the episode can still go out at prime time.

Sherlock and Faith stay out all night and just as the sun is rising, Sherlock goes back to the word that she mentioned. If Culverton had wanted to kill a specific person, most people have a first name and a surname so it would have been two words. Sherlock agrees to take her case and his payment is the gun that she keeps in her handbag. He throws it in the Thames. The next sequence is quite perplexing but fucking brilliant to watch as Sherlock goes on a full on trip. He realises that Culverton Smith want to kill ‘anyone’ and that he must be a serial killer. Sherlock somehow manages to make it back to Baker Street and in a rather Trainspotting-esque sequence, begins to walk up the walls in his flat before landing on the couch and passing out.

Cut to the therapists house. The figure stands in the garden and looks at John. One would assume that it was Sherlock acting like the lovable lunatic that he is but it is in fact… Mrs Hudson. The police that are following her are stood down by Mycroft. Mrs Hudson has Sherlock handcuffed in the boot of her car because she is worried about Sherlock and wants John to talk to him, if not as a friend then at least as a doctor.

When Sherlock gets inside, John gets a call from Culverton Smith. He says that a car is waiting outside as he was told the exact time and place that John would be by Sherlock 2 weeks ago. John hangs up. John wants to know why Sherlock orchestrated all of this. Sherlock wants John to know that whilst he has done his best to totally destroy his body with copious amounts of drugs, he is still as sharp as a really sharp thing. He is going to prove it by exposing Culverton as a serial killer. John agrees but also checks Sherlock’s arm. When he rolls up his sleeve, Sherlock’s forearm is covered with needle marks. He wanted to make sure that Sherlock was telling the truth but he wants a second opinion on Sherlock’s condition from the one person that he would least suspect. The door bell rings. Molly Hooper is standing outside with an ambulance in the background. Sherlock called her two weeks ago and told her to be at that address on that day.

When John gets into Culverton’s car, Mary is sat beside him. She explains to John how Sherlock knew where he would be.

Culverton’s car brings John to a TV studio. Outside the studio, Molly is with Sherlock in the ambulance and the diagnosis isn’t good. Unless Sherlock stops using, he will be dead in a few weeks. Culverton comes out and gives the man who publicly accused him of being a serial killer a hug as an alternative to a handshake.

Inside the studio, Culverton is filming an advert for a children’s cereal. In the advert he says that he is a ‘cereal’ killer. High or not, Sherlock is right. This is one creepy dude. Culverton offers to take John and Sherlock to a hospital that he raised the funds to build
or something and they agree.

Sat in the car outside, Sherlock sends a text from Culverton’s phone that he swiped off him when Culverton gave him a hug. Just as they are about to set off, Sherlock starts to look unwell but he waits until he gets to the hospital to give himself a top up in the toilets. Outside the toilets, John chats to a nurse who is a fan of ‘Sherlock’s’ blog. After clarifying that it is John that writes the blog, suddenly she doesn’t like it that much. John just can’t catch a compliment. I know what I would have said. ‘Everyone else likes it and it made me famous, bitch.’ But John’s classy.

Culverton introduces John and Sherlock to a room full of child patients and asks Sherlock to recount some of his cases but in his drug addled mind, he keeps giving away the endings and it is much to the children’s delight. In John’s view, Mary says that Sherlock should be wearing the hat. Culverton then asks Sherlock how he would catch a serial killer. Our poorly detective responds that he would catch a serial killer in the way that he would catch any other killer. Nice one, Sherlock, don’t give anything away. Mr Smith doesn’t
believe him, saying that a killers normally kill people that they know but serial killers kill at random and thus are harder to catch. He maintains that if someone had enough fame, power and money, they would be untouchable. John says that no one is untouchable. Culverton offers to take Sherlock and John down to his favourite room, the morgue. Culverton mentions the name of his favourite serial killer (I don’t think any normal person has a favourite serial killer. Why has no one looked into this guy before? He’s obviously fucked up.). His ‘favourite’ serial killer is some bloke that I’ve never heard of but he only killed patients in a hospital… and Sherlock and John are with a suspected serial killer inside a hospital. I wouldn’t be there anymore.

But anyway, Culverton tells the doctors to get out and here is where things start to go wrong. Earlier, Sherlock sent a text and immediately deleted it from Culverton’s phone. He sent it to his daughter, Faith. She arrives at the hospital and Sherlock wants to prove that his daughter came to see him in an effort for him to confess. But it doesn’t quite work out like that. The lady that comes in IS Culverton’s daughter but IS NOT the woman that came to see Sherlock. This sends him spiralling down and questioning his own perception of reality. He is not willing to accept that the drugs that he is taking is making him see things. Sherlock grabs a scalpel off the table and goes for Culverton.

The scene then cuts to a police interview room where John is being questioned by Lestrade. Lestrade asks if he knew Sherlock would do it but John had no idea. With that, Lestrade turns off the tape and wonders if anyone could have seen it coming. John points out that not that long ago, Sherlock shot Charles Magnussen in the face. An officer comes in with news footage of Culverton saying that he will not be pressing charges against Sherlock as he is a big fan and he owes his life to John Watson.

The scene cuts back to John disarming Sherlock of the scalpel and slamming him up against a freezer.

Back to the footage. Sherlock is now recovering in Culverton’s hospital and he hopes to put Sherlock in his ‘favourite room’. (Oh, shit.) Lestrade commends John on saving his life. John stares down at his bloodied hand and tells Lestrade that he hit Sherlock really hard.

Back to the morgue. John punches Sherlock in the face and proceeds to kick the absolute shit out of him until he is pulled away by two doctors. Culverton tells the doctors that he doesn’t want any violence (but he was fine with the violence that just took place because he was grinning all the way through it.) and thanks John. He doesn’t think that Sherlock is a danger anymore as Sherlock lies in a puddle of his own blood. Sherlock says it’s alright and John can do what he likes to him because he killed his wife. John rather angrily confirms it. Having heard it straight from John, Sherlock is devastated.

Sherlock lies sleeping in a hospital bed and John comes to visit him. As a parting gift, John leaves Sherlock his walking stick from the first episode. The nurse who doesn’t like his blog but likes Sherlock says that he has made a mess of himself but he is strong. Just then, she gets a call and it’s for John. It’s Mycroft. There is a car waiting for John.

Inside the car, John has another exchange with Mary and she is still talking about Sherlock. But since she is inside John’s head, he is still thinking about Sherlock.

Back at the hospital, Sherlock is still asleep. A false wall comes apart and Culverton pays a visit to his new best friend.

Mycroft is at Baker Street and a load of spooks are dissecting his little brother’s flat in order to find the reason behind his meltdown. As one of the spooks picks up a book, a piece of paper falls out and slips behind a chest of drawers. Mary jumps in and out of the exchange between John and Mycroft. Mycroft is concerned that Sherlock’s obsession with Culverton Smith has gone way beyond the norm. John recalls a conversation with Mycroft earlier on where he said the fact that Sherlock was a security concern and the fact that he is his brother makes no difference. It didn’t before and it wouldn’t now. John asks if they have another brother. Before Mycroft can answer, Mrs Hudson comes in and isn’t happy about the suits in her house. Mrs Hudson finds it hilarious that Mycroft doesn’t know why Sherlock has gone into self-destruct. He is an emotional person. When there’s a photo of a serial killer on the wall, he shoots it, if his breakfast isn’t ready, he karate chops the fridge and for any unanswered questions, he stabs them on the mantlepiece. And there, stabbed on the mantlepiece is Mary’s video to Sherlock. John isn’t happy with this so Mrs Hudson
orders everyone to leave. Mrs Hudson is now officially my new favourite person.

In the hospital, Sherlock wakes up. Culverton has been watching him sleep which is not creepy at all (It is) and he’s wearing rubber gloves which should be a cause for concern for a number of equally horrible reasons.

At Baker Street, John watches the video. FREEZE. Those of you who keep up will remember that last week, I said that Mary asking Sherlock to ‘Save John Watson’ was a bit cryptic. Well now we know what it truly means. She wants Sherlock to ‘go to hell’ and put himself in harms way so that John will save him and it will ultimately repair their friendship. She knows that John will not accept help from anyone (except a therapist) but he will never refuse to give help. John knows that Sherlock is in danger and goes to his rescue.

Back to the hospital. Sherlock notes that Culverton came in through a secret door and that’s because Culverton built the whole wing so he could slip in and out when he ‘gets the urge’. Culverton knows why Sherlock is there but he wants him to say it. Sherlock wants Culverton to kill him. Sherlock wants him to increase the dosage of his medication (Morphine?) to a lethal level so whoever finds him would think that it was a fault in the machine. As Culverton fiddles with his shirt sleeves, he asks Sherlock how he feels. He says he feels scared. But that’s not good enough. Culverton wants the specifics. Sherlock is scared of dying but he wants Culverton to kill him but he doesn’t want to die. Stick with it, it will all make sense. Culverton wants Sherlock to repeat over and over again that he doesn’t want to die. Sherlock complies and Culverton increases his dosage. He asks Sherlock why he put himself through this. Sherlock just wanted to know that he was right. Isn’t that why Sherlock does anything? Culverton says that the reason he kills people is because he can make them into things that he owns. Getting impatient, Culverton lowers Sherlock’s bed and shoves his hands over Sherlock’s mouth and nose.

John bursts in just in time, pulls Culverton away from Sherlock and throws him into the arms of a policeman. Now it begins to unravel. Sherlock was in no danger of overdosing because the nurse who didn’t like John’s blog but likes Sherlock swapped the bags over because she likes Sherlock. However, he is far from alright. Having pumped a large amount of narcotics into his system, he has been left with malnutrition and double kidney failiure. But it was all worth it because Sherlock got his confession. He had hidden a recording device in John’s walking stick which he knew he would leave by his bedside.

Lestrade has Culverton in the interview room and is excited about how famous he will get by being a serial killer.

Back at Baker Street, Sherlock’s friends are all taking it in turns to spend time with him and make sure he doesn’t go back to drugs, starting with John. He gets up to leave early to be with Rosie but Mary wants him to stay. Just as John is about to leave, Sherlock asks him if he is alright. John says that it is what it is. He tells Sherlock that he is not to blame for Mary’s death. She made her own choice to save his life. Sherlock says that when she saved him, she gave his life value and he doesn’t know what to do with that. Just as John is about to leave again, a very familiar and sexy sound is heard. Yes, Sherlock has been keeping up with Irene Adler and this arouse John’s suspicions. Knowing that he is right, John wishes Sherlock a happy birthday having never known when his birthday was. John has a go at Sherlock for not getting together with an insane criminal who likes him. John wants Sherlock to experience some kind of love because that chance can easily be taken away. John says that Mary was wrong about him and he didn’t go to save Sherlock until she told him to. John faces the vision of his wife and tells her that he cheated on her. It was just texting but he wanted more and he still wants more. The man that she knows is the man that he wants to be. Mary tells him to get on with it and disappears from view. John breaks down but is comforted by Sherlock. The two then go out for cake with Sherlock wearing the hat of course. As they leave, Sherlock remarks ‘I’m Sherlock Holmes, I wear the damn hat. Isn’t that right, Mary?’

Are you ready for one more twist?

John goes to see his therapist and everything is pretty much back to normal. Sherlock is clean shaven and back to solving cases whilst Mycroft gets a romantic proposition from Lady Smallwood. Back in the flat, Sherlock finds the piece of paper that ‘Faith’ gave to him when he was off his tits. The therapist brings up the other Holmes sibling but John doesn’t remember telling her about that. Sherlock holds the piece of paper underneath a UV light and there on the page are the words ‘Miss Me?’ Of all the fucked up twists in this show, I didn’t see this one coming. Not only is the therapist the one who impersonated Faith but she is also ‘E’, the woman who John texted with. Her real name is Eurus, the missing Holmes child. She pulls a gun on John and the last shot of the episode is her pulling the

What I loved about this episode is that it’s not just about a case, it’s about grief and how the characters are dealing with that grief. At the start, it is assumed that Sherlock has gone off the rails because of the guilt he feels over Mary’s death and I’m not a psychologist but I’m guessing that John is seeing Mary partly because of grief but also because he has been holding onto the secret of ‘E’ that he couldn’t tell her before she died. When he told her, she went away. But of course, she was in his head so she already knew. Unless of course, she is alive. I am still holding onto that possibility. It is also possible that John has seen dead people before. As you will recall from ‘The Empty Hearse’, when Sherlock reveals to John that he is alive, John’s first instinct was to look at Mary as if to say, ‘Are you seeing this too?’.

There are still loads more unanswered questions and there is only one episode left. Sherlock will come to know about Eurus and I’m sure we are all curious to know exactly how much he knows about Eurus. What is Sherrinford? Is that Eurus? What about Moriarty? I’m guessing that Eurus is connected to Moriarty because of the whole ‘Miss Me?’ thing which has become his calling card. It’s hard to tell what the outcome of the last episode will be but I’m sure it will be fabulous.

To sum the whole experience up, this kind of episode is exactly what television should be and if Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman aren’t brought up for awards for this episode then I will throw a shit-fit of epic proportions. I still think that Benedict
Cumberbatch should have won that Oscar and I’m still screaming about it.

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