From Literary Hub:
Sherlock Holmes holds the distinction of being the literary character most frequently portrayed on screen. This, necessarily, has resulted in countless reinventions—the most recent of which is the version of Holmes who appears in “The Six Thatchers,” the first episode of the new season of the BBC’s Sherlock.
The problem with any reinvention of a beloved character—superhero, spy, Victorian detective—is that character’s fans, and the weight of those fans’ expectations. We demand a certain number of fangirl callouts. We get upset if the character’s idiosyncrasies aren’t name-checked, if their catchphrases are left unemployed. Their signature hats not at least nodded to. I’m not immune: I have my own wish list, too.
What I want from a Sherlock Holmes adaptation is Holmes and Watson solving crimes together.
In “The Six Thatchers,” our titular detective delivers a rapid-fire monologue to the person in the armchair across from him. “You see, but you don’t observe,” he chides, accusing his partner of “romantic whimsy” while he himself runs on logic and reason. Right as we’re in the thick of his rhetoric, he bends to pick up his partner’s stuffed toy. This is the joke: that the speech is delivered to one Rosie Watson, Dr. Watson’s infant daughter.
How much do I wish it had been Dr. Watson instead.
But this is almost always the joke in Sherlock, that we’re given the Holmesiana we want in the archest possible way. The majority of that speech is drawn from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s excellent “A Scandal in Bohemia,” the first of the Holmes short stories to be published in the Strand, where it’s delivered to the actual Watson. Toby, the dog that Sherlock borrows in “The Six Thatchers” to trail a suspect through London, sits on the pavement and refuses to move. Maybe that’s because he’s been taken from The Sign of Four, the novel which first introduces Mary Morstan. As is the Agra treasure, which in the show is no chest of gold but instead a memory stick containing Mary’s sordid past. After Sherlock recovers it in “The Six Thatchers,” we watch Mary flee her husband and infant daughter to finally put her past to rest. It’s a strong impulse, but delivered here in a five-minute montage of her donning disguises and fetching hidden passports only to find Sherlock Holmes having beaten her to her end point. Where the two of them have a good laugh about it. The steps we’ve followed are meaningless ones.
As the episode progresses, each character gets a chance to wink broadly at the camera. Then the Doyle stories are stuck back into the blender, and the plot hurries on.
Link to the rest at Literary Hub