Graphic Credit: Anh Nguyen ’17

“Did you miss me?”

Two years since the Season three finale of Sherlock (TV series), the message sent by Jim Moriarty’s creepy specter echoes in the mind of thousands of fans. On January 1th, the waiting finally ends; Sherlock is back.

In honor of Sherlock’s final return, here is a quick recap of the past three seasons:

Series 1 (2012)

John Watson, a retired army doctor who served in Afghanistan is introduced to Sherlock Holmes, a consulting detective, while looking for a new apartment. They decide to share a flat at 221B Baker Street, and Watson later joins Sherlock in solving cases. As investigating cases and experiencing danger tighten the bond between Sherlock and Watson, the big boss hidden behind the intriguing, grim cases is slowly revealed.

In A Study in Pink, people around London are discovered dead in apparent suicides. Sherlock rules out the copycat suicides and deduces that the deaths are a work of a serial killer. Watson shoots the murderer and stops Sherlock from risking his life. At the last moment, the cabbie confesses that he is paid to do these serial crimes and revealed the name “Moriarty.”

In The Blind Banker, Sherlock fights with the gang, who kidnapped John, and puts himself in danger to save John. At the end of the show, the leader of the gang is shot while communicating with her superior “M”. In this episode, Sherlock runs among tall modern buildings, which represents the elements of “modern times,” one of the most creative idea of the show.

In The Great Game, Sherlock had a first direct contact with the “big boss”, Jim Moriarty. Near the end of the episode, Sherlock and Moriarty met each other at a pool, as Moriarty threatens Sherlock to commit suicide with John Watson’s life. The first season ends with Sherlock pointing the boom with a gun and hesitating whether to take the shot.

Series 2 (2012)

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson continue their adventure solving cases, as they both become an indispensable part of each other’s lives. In this season, Sherlock shows more of his emotional side, which reflects John Watson’s influence. Jim Moriarty, as always, appears as a mysterious consulting criminal for the first two episodes; however, in the third episode he starts a new cruel game that risks the lives of people around Sherlock.

In A Scandal in Belgravia, Irene Adler, known as “the woman,” becomes Sherlock’s new investigating target. The episode highlights the deductive game between Sherlock and Irene Adler and their ambiguous relationship. At the end of the episode, Sherlock saves Irene and remembers her as “the woman,” the only woman capable of manipulating him. Apart from his appreciation of Irene, Sherlock also shows more affection. For example, he kisses Molly’s cheeks while apologizing for being offensive; he hits the people who hurt Mrs. Hudson as revenge; he talks to his brother Mycroft about the past and wishes Mycroft a “Merry Christmas”.

The Hounds of Baskerville is the only case that does not involve Jim Moriarty. However, at the end of the episode, Mycroft releases Jim Moriarty from prison.

In The Reichenbach Fall, Moriarty conspires to destroy Sherlock by ruining Sherlock’s reputation, making Sherlock look like a split psychopath, and killing Sherlock’s friends. When Sherlock and Moriarty meet at the top of a hospital, Moriarty committed suicide by swallowing a bullet, left only one choice for Sherlock to save his friends—die. As he talks to a pleading John on the phone, Sherlock jumps off the building.

Series 3 (2014)

After successfully dismantling Moriarty’s crime network from Serbia, Sherlock returns to London to investigate an underground terrorist network and reunion with John. In Season three, we met Mary, John Watson’s fiancée/wife. The storyline of Season three develops through the forgiveness of John, the marriage of John and Mary, and the identity of Mary.

In The Empty Hearse, Sherlock and Watson stops the explosion of Big Ben and the British Congress. Watson, believing that he would die soon, accepts Sherlock’s apology for pretending to be dead for years and forgives him. At the end of episode one, a bespectacled man with blue eyes, who is believed to be Sherlock’s new nemesis, is seen observing the footage of Sherlock and Mary rescuing John from a fire.

In The Sign of Three, Sherlock is asked to be the best man for Watson at Watson and Mary’s wedding, as Watson “officially” claims that Sherlock is his best friend. Sherlock, giving a touching speech at the wedding, acknowledges how much John influences and changes him. However, he is notified that there is a murderer present at the wedding, and he must attempt to figure out who before it is too late. Near the end of the show, Sherlock reveals that Mary is pregnant and promises that he will protect John, Mary and the baby.

In His Last Vow, Mary’s confesses her former identity, a mercenary assassin, to Watson, who eventually decides to forgive Mary and let go of her past. Meanwhile, Sherlock meets his newfound enemy: Charles Augustus Magnussen, referred to by Sherlock Holmes as the “Napoleon of blackmail.” To protect Mary, Sherlock shoots Magnussen and is, as a result, exiled from England and sent to Eastern Europe by Mycroft. However, after a mere four minutes, he is soon brought back by a video showing up on all screens in London of Jim Moriarty taunting, “did you miss me?”

Season Four is described as “myopically dark” by Benedict Cumberbatch. “You’re talking about the end of the universe darkness,” said Cumberbatch at Comic Con, “You can’t see in front of you and would walk into everything dark.”

Steven Moffat, one of the co-creators of Sherlock, reveals that the audiences are going to see a more human side of Sherlock in the newest series, but Sherlock still “stays on the mountain top” by remaining “separate from the human race because he finds that [it is] a better place to observe that from.”

Simply put, “it is not a game any more.” The stakes are higher and Sherlock&Co must unravel their hardest cases yet (it is rumored that this may be the last series). Is Moriarty back? Are John and Mary safe?

Brace yourselves; the East Wind comes. THE GAME IS ON.