When your favorite series only releases a new season every so many years, you can’t help but get excited about any and all announcements.
Sherlock on the BBC recently released two episode titles for the upcoming fourth season. Showrunner Steven Moffat previously released a hint about the new season in the form of three words: “Thatcher,” “Smith” and “Sherrinford.” Now that we have two of the three titles from the fourth season, we can’t help but speculate what we can expect from Sherlock season four.
— Sherlock (@Sherlock221B) September 25, 2016
As you can see the two titles which have been released are “The Six Thatchers” and “The Lying Detective.” One of the many wonderful things about how Sherlock brings these classic characters forward into our modern world is that the show draws heavily on the original stories, and the titles of the episodes are always plays on the original titles of Conan Doyle’s stories. For example, the very first episode of Sherlock, “Study in Pink,” was a play on the title of the first Sherlock Holmes story, “A Study in Scarlet.”
When we apply that principle to these new titles, we find that “The Six Thatchers” is a reference to “The Six Napoleons.” This title also explains the connection to the first name Moffat revealed which was “Thatcher.” In the original story, “The Six Napoleons,” Sherlock Holmes investigates a criminal who initially runs around breaking busts of Napoleon but soon turns to murder. One interesting thing about this episode title is one version of the story has already been told on The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson. (Yes, that is a real thing if you weren’t aware.) It is unclear if the episode will be a retelling of this story which has already been released to the public or if it will overlook the blog completely.
The second episode title, “The Lying Detective,” refers to the original story, “The Dying Detective.” In this story it is up to Watson to save Holmes after he contracts a rare disease while working on a case. So how does this episode relate to Moffat’s hint? Well, in “The Dying Detecive,” the villain Mr. Smith plays a prominent role. Therefore we are guessing that the “Smith” Moffat was referring to is the villain in the second episode of the season. And as if there weren’t enough pieces coming together, back in May we learned that Toby Jones would be appearing in the second episode as the villain, but his exact role at the time had not been disclosed. Now it seems safe to say that Jones will in fact be playing none other than Mr. Smith.
As for the third title, Sherlock and the powers that be have not released that yet, nor is there any indication as to when we can expect the next title. And as far as Moffat’s third hint, “Sherrinford,” that still remains a mystery. Although, many in the Sherlocked community have speculated that “Sherrinford” is actually the name of a third Holmes brother.
Who wants to use some powers of deduction to figure out the third title? And who do you think Sherrinford is?
Sherlock will finally return for it’s fourth season on PBS sometime in January 2017.