Sherlock Season 4 Premiere The Six Thatchers Benedict Cumberbatch

Sherlock Boss Insists [Spoiler] Is Dead: 'We're Not Playing Games Here'

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Sunday’s Sherlock Season 4 premiere, “The Six Thatchers.” Read on at your own risk.

So we’ve had a couple days to process what went down in Sunday’s Sherlock premiere… and we’re still not over it. Luckily, we have showrunner Steven Moffat to explain why Mary (sniff) had to die, and where Sherlock and John’s “friendship” — if we can call it that — goes from here.

In an interview with EW.com, Moffat confirms that Mary is indeed dead (“we’re not playing games here”) and says her death was necessary in order to get back to the traditional duo of Sherlock and John: “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.”

In the aftermath of Mary’s death, John lashed out at Sherlock, blaming him and screaming, “You made a vow!” And Moffat says that fracture in their partnership won’t be healed easily: “We take that rift head-on in the remainder of the [season]. We don’t ignore it… If anything, the rift gets worse.” He adds that it was a conscious decision to put Mary’s death in the premiere, rather than the finale: “Let’s not give ourselves that two years to forget how mad they are at each other. Let’s do it in a circumstance where we have to come back in a week and make this show work again.”

And don’t expect things to get any lighter in the remaining two episodes of Season 4. Moffat warns that “there’s some emotionally grueling stuff coming,” calling this Sunday’s Episode 2 “the darkest one we’ve ever done.” Happy New Year, everybody!

Do you agree that Mary had to die? And can the Sherlock-John relationship be mended? Put on your deerstalker cap and join us in the comments.