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, 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.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Walkie says:

    I hope they get back to telling a relatively coherent story in the next episode. The premiere was a mess.

  2. Luis Roman says:

    Can you do that kind of an arc justice in two episodes? I understand that scheduling and budgets may have limited them, but it seems like creating and repairing such a fracture in a relationship would take more time than they have to tell a story, and given both Moffat and Gattis have admitted that Cumberbatch and Freeman’s schedules may make future episodes impossible, it would be a sad way to end the series.

    • Riley says:

      Can a film do character arcs? Because each Sherlock episode is the length of a film, so it’s got two films to do an arc in… sounds very doable to me.

  3. c0rinne says:

    The first episode was a hard slog. I love Sherlock (the character and show) but John was a waste and I’ve never liked Mary so having to sit through yet another episode showcasing how great/cool Mary was was painful. I’m pretty happy that she is gone and I really hope that the show can recapture what it had in series 1 and 2.

  4. Mo says:

    I’m really sad to see Mary go, I loved Amanda Abbington in the role, she brought such sass and badassness to Mary. But on the other hand, I’m looking forward to seeing Sherlock back to what it was, 2 guys solving weird and wonderful crimes. I hope the next 2 episodes are enough to heal the rift between John and Sherlock without rushing it/ brushing it under the rug. I’d like to think I trust Gatiss and Moffatt to take the audience down a good path with good TV. I’d hate to see something so precious (I don’t really know what other word to use) as Sherlock to be ruined at the final stretch (as I’ve seen so many shows do).

  5. Ron says:

    I didn’t hate the season premier like some others. But I certainly didn’t like it either. Pretty much from start to finish, John was way out of character. I’ve always loved John. But for the first time, I actually kinda hated him and wanted to punch husband face in. I’m not sure what was up with that writing or characterization.

    Not to mention, what was with John’s weird guttural noises at Mary’s death? Martin has said that was his choice. But that was a weird choice. I know he and Amanda had broken up like 2 weeks before filming that scene. But they were together for like 15 years and she’s the mother of his children. If he couldn’t tap into some real, believable, not awkward emotion for that scene, then I don’t know what to say.

    And they should’ve either 1) not killed Mary (yeah yeah, I know, canon and stuff), or 2) killed her, but not ruin John’s character in the process and have her killed while solving some badass crime. I really don’t like how the show has gotten somewhat away from its crime solving days and developed more into personal drama. Yes, I love character development. But at this point, I think we’ve had enough character development. I really want crime solving again. But we don’t really have much time left for that, now do we?

    • Btm says:

      1. Shame that they killed off Mary.

      2. Martin Freeman is single now? Hmmmm.

      • PatriciaLee says:

        Thanks for such a succinct opening: I feel sorry for the kids, hoping all is well and happy in their lives. It must be tough to have such public parents. The whole Mary arc is brilliant even though unexpected and at first kind of out of place, but I guess it is time to move onto more canon setups.

  6. Azerty says:

    If that’s really the last season, I am not sure I want John and Sherlock having a rift for 3 more hours…I liked Mary, I will miss her since she brought fresh air and she had great interactions with both men. However if they come back to season 1-2 level of complicity in the John/Sherlock relationship I won’t complain. But if they are pissed at each other for the rest of the series that will be very very sad.

  7. Amy Wigand says:

    Mary is dead because Moffat is the devil.

  8. YNagato says:

    The woman must die! Over her dead body blossoms the beautiful bromance. Cliche is the new sexy? So much for the feminist lip service in the Abominable Bride.

  9. I already had my doubts about Mary actually being dead, but now that Moffat has claimed her to be dead, I’m really doubting it. Moffat has consistently proven himself to be the type to outright lie about character arcs.

  10. GraceM says:

    I don’t see why they couldn’t be a duo with Mary still alive. She could have been sidelined at home with the baby or off doing her own thing.

  11. Celina says:

    Woman in refrigerator