Fans of the hit BBC show Sherlock have been waiting quite a long time for the fourth season. Not that it's anything new for them; due to the busy schedules of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as well as show creator and writer Steven Moffat, finding a time when everyone is available to film is no mean feat. Fans have often waited years between seasons, and are then rewarded with only three ninety-minute episodes. The wait between seasons three and four feels especially long since there was a Christmas episode last year, "The Abominable Bride", but it was only a single story to hold them over.
But the wait is nearly over now, with the new season starting on New Year's Day. A number of questions will soon be answered; everything from what the long dead (?) Moriarty set in motion to torment Sherlock is, to how Watson being a father will affect the man and the show. Plus there is an exciting new villain, played by Toby Jones, to get to know. Sherlock has always been an exciting and adventurous show. At its core however, the heart of Sherlock is the relationship between the two main characters, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.
Over their years of friendship, Watson has been an enormous influence on the rude and anti-social Sherlock. Variety recently covered a talk-back following a screening of season four's first episode 'The Six Thatchers', where Benedict Cumberbatch had this to say about his beloved character:
"He is becoming slightly more… well, in a very clear way… responsible for his actions... But I think he understands that it’s a slow, slow process that began in the very first instance when he met John (Watson), who supplies the missing piece of that jigsaw that is him. That friendship, that partnership in crime, has been the humanizing element all the way through, and I think he is now becoming more of a human-being... As he’s evolving he loses sight of what he is letting go of, which is this very cold, results at all cost, all about the end-game, rather than how he gets there, and who he tramples over. And because he is so loyal to somebody he cares about, he’s blind-sided himself with his own humanity"
So, it would seem that after their years of friendship, Cumberbatch is saying that John Watson has been a positive influence on Sherlock. However, that seems to cut both ways, as Watson actor Martin Freeman revealed in a quote about his own character in Sherlock season 4:
“It is always interesting to play shades of people... There’s a lot of talk, and understandable talk, that John is this reliable, very steadfast character, which he is, generally speaking, but he is someone who has weaknesses and is at fault at times.”
While no specific behaviors were mentioned by Freeman, it does stand to reason that if Watson has been a good influence on Sherlock, than Sherlock may have been a bad influence on Watson. Though the quote is vague enough where it is not possible yet to tell what the faults and weaknesses Freeman is referring to actually are. Expect to get more insight on that soon, with season 4 but a couple days away now.
Sherlock season 4 premieres with 'The Six Thatchers' on PBS Masterpiece on January 1st, 2017.