Sherlock's Darkest Villain

We heard about how Sherlock season 4 would be the show's darkest yet. Even Cumberbatch calling the season "myopically dark."This isn't actually a very helpful description, as it gives us little to compare to, but Cumberbatch's insistence that it is "without a doubt" the darkest season yet gives us the context of previous seasons which have included Sherlock faking his own suicide, staying fake-dead for three years while John grieved the loss of his best friend, and Sherlock shooting someone point-blank in the head.
The three clues given for for season 4 are; “Thatcher”, “Smith”, and “Sherrinford.” We already have a few theories floating about regarding what these could possibly mean. An original Sherlock Holmes story, by Arthur Conan Doyle, called “The Adventure of the Dying Detective,” introduces the character Culverton Smith. In the story, Smith sends Sherlock a poisoned ivory box, and as a result, Sherlock pretends to be near death and orders Watson to send for Smith. When Smith arrives, seeing that the poison is having the desired effect, he confesses that he also killed his own nephew in the same manner, at which point Sherlock rises from the hospital bed feeling perfectly well, and Smith is arrested.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes during exciting times. He graduated from Edinburgh University Medical College in 1881, and Sherlock Holmes made his appearance (in The Study in Scarlet) in 1886. This was the golden age of microbiology, with landmark discoveries by Koch, Ehrlich and Pasteur amongst others, and the British Empire was at its height. It is not surprising that the Sherlock Holmes stories contain numerous references to infectious diseases, either local or imported from the farflung colonies- Mr. Culverton Smith is a well known resident of Sumatra, now visiting London. An outbreak of the disease upon his plantation, which was distant from medical aid, caused him to study it himself, with some rather far-reaching consequences-.
In the course of his adventures Sherlock Holmes became acquainted with bioterrorism.

We got some great glimpses of Toby Jones' villain Culverton Smith in the Sherlock season 4 teaser trailer, but we Moffat and Gatiss teased even more about the inclusion of the canon villain in the Sherlock press room.

He’s completely different. It’s a completely different character. He’s the darkest villain we’ve had. There was always something charming and engaging about Moriarty. There was something fascinating and actually amoral, rather than immoral, about Charles Augustus Magnussen. This guy is the purest evil. Sherlock is actually appalled by him. He’s the most evil villain we’ve had. I don’t think that when you see it, you will disagree. He’s horrific.

It’s an interesting thing to chart. We made our Moriarty very different to Doyle’s. He’s Irish, and he brings all his charm, his twinkle and his humor to it while he’s also terrifying. Magnussen was a very blank, chilling business man. He doesn’t see what he’s doing as evil. Toby is doing something very interesting. She’s an avuncular, funny seeming man with terrible teeth. We’ve given him terrible teeth, which are symbolic of the rot inside him. It’s a great complex, shaded character. You’re not quite sure what the relationship is with him

This is a stark statement given that Moriarty once tried to convince Sherlock to commit suicide to save his loved ones and Augustus Magnussen tried to burn John up in a Guy Fawkes bonfire and had a bad habit of licking and/or poking people's faces without their permission

How do you feel about this classic character being adapted for Sherlock? Excited? Or were you hoping for Jones to be playing another Doyle bad guy? Lets us know in the comments!


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