By Jonah Ruddock
Content Warning: May include spoilers for season 5 of Sherlock
To the alacrity of their long-suffering fanbase, it has been announced that the fifth season of BBC’s Sherlock will be available on Netflix on 10 May 2021. After BBC One refused to pick up the new season, worrying that “teaching waterfowl to solve crimes is just not realistic” (New York Times), the producers turned to Netflix, a welcome move for some viewers who are inclined to watch the entire season in one go. Netflix immediately began marketing the show as an original series, convincing absolutely nobody.
The end of season four left viewers with many questions. Will Molly and Sherlock’s friendship be irretrievably damaged by their interaction in Eurus’s lab? What of Eurus? Will Moriarty make an appearance again– even if it’s just in Sherlock’s mind palace? And most importantly: what became of Sherlock’s temporary sidekick, Bill? He was never spoken of outside of “His Last Vow” and some of us are concerned about him. A Kerrang! interview with creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat revealed some surprising tidbits about the upcoming series. If you’re wondering why such an article would be in a music magazine: the Kerrang! staff took the Baker Street Boys a bit too literally and thought the cast of Sherlock was a metal band.
So, what can viewers expect from this new season? The tomfoolery that fans are used to being subjected to by the ever-volatile, sometimes demonic Gatiss-Moffat duo will far from subside. In response to BBC One’s jab about the waterfowl, the pair were relatively tight-lipped, saying only that they had spent a good deal of their budget on an elite team of duck trainers for “a big surprise.”
Several character deaths (and resurrections) are also anticipated. We can look forward to some action from the ghost of Mrs. Hudson’s late husband, who will lead a drug cartel of the undead. What we will sorely miss is the presence of Detective Inspector Gavin Graham George Lestrade, who will not appear in the fifth season. To quote Moffat: “It’s a shame, but [actor] Rupert [Graves] just got bored of it.” The interview yielded little else, but given the Sherlockians’ aptitude for overthinking subtext, they’ll probably be able to wring a few more discoveries out of the article.
Thankfully, the miraculous Kerrang! story is not our only source of information. It was confirmed a few days ago that one of the cast, unsurprisingly, has managed to find an obscure family member to play John’s maturing daughter. Rosie will be fifteen years old in season five and, judging from the photoshoots, something of a goth. After being raised by the likes of Sherlock and John, we can only assume that she will have become fittingly weird.
Additionally, while under laughing gas after a minor surgery on his toe, actor Martin Freeman leaked a wealth of knowledge to the press. He said that his character John Watson would remarry, this time wedding Detective Sergeant Sally Donovan, a statement that sent the fanbase into an angered frenzy and almost broke Twitter. Donovan has long antagonized Sherlock, and her and John’s union would have tensions running high at 221B Baker Street.
He also spilled that season five would be much more heavily centered around Mycroft than past seasons. Freeman said, “I was disappointed when I read the script… it was nearly all about Mycroft. Mark Gatiss just thinks he’s pretty.” An interview with actor Louise Brealey, who plays Molly Hooper, suggested the same. However, it’s safe to say that Gatiss’s vanity will far from ruin the series. Mycroft is a fan favorite, and many viewers will probably be chuffed to see more of him, even if it means that Sherlock and John will exist only on the periphery. Despite a years-long hiatus, fans are confident that the fifth season of Sherlock will prove as popular and well-loved as the rest of the series. Mark your calendars. The game is on.