So here it is, finally, my review of episode three. Hope you enjoy.
Series four of Sherlock concludes with dark secrets from the past, a threat from beyond the grave and a Saw-meets-Crystal Maze-style series of challenges for the Baker Street boys to wrap their heads around.
*WARNING – Spoilers for all previous episodes – minor spoilers for this episode*
Written by both Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffatt this time around, The Final Problem is the only word-for-word title the pair have taken from an original Holmes story but features an entirely new narrative. The original is basically the final events of The Reichenbach Fall, with Holmes and Moriarty duelling on the edge of a cliff, and falling to their deaths, into the Reichenbach waterfall. This modern take on The Final Problem is something entirely new and exciting, unlike any other episode of the show.
After the shocking reveal of Eurus and the cliffhanger stand-off between her and John at the end of the last episode, a house of horrors spoof through Mycroft’s lair was the last thing I expected to see, to say the least.
I found the detour, executed by little brother and his companion, both creepy and amusing, but on reflection, it does seem to be a distraction to the minor plot hole of John’s miraculous escape from Eurus. How he came to be released, unharmed, I guess we’ll never really understand. On a positive note, this scene was definitely an inventive introduction to Mycroft being a key player in this episode as well as a unique view of the more personal and relaxed side of his character, which we’ve yet to properly see throughout the series.
Following this, and throwing us into Eurus’ deadly game, is a tense moment for Sherlock, John and Mycroft and a shocking explosion which devastates their Baker Street flat. This moment is really what propels the episode forward, forcing the characters to finally address the issue of Eurus and Moriarty’s posthumous plan.
Then we come to Sherrinford. Which, in one of this series’ many plot twists, turns out not to be a person or the secret Holmes brother many speculated, but a place. Specifically, a high- security facility for criminals where Mycroft has been keeping their super-smart-sister on lockdown. I thought this element of the episode was maybe even more James Bond-y than the moaned about action sequences in The Six Thatchers, although it did make for an interesting new setting.
It’s also here that Sherlock is really tested, his emotions in particular literally blinding him during Eurus’ first trick as well as later throughout her series of challenges. We see him clearly warring between his sensitive heart and logical brain both to save and protect people he loves and to satisfy his need to be right by solving her puzzles.
Moffatt and Gatiss’ writing here continues to astound me, how their imagination works to think up these scenearios and mysteries while still finding time for character development is outstanding. All this while continuing to inject classic Holmes references, the most obvious being the three brothers from The Adventure Of The Three Garridebs and the last riddle Sherlock must solve, taken from The Adventure Of The Musgrave Ritual.
This conclusion to Eurus’ game and the final missing piece of Sherlock’s memory is shocking and disturbing, if slightly bizarre with his repressed memories, but does give us interesting insights into Sherlock’s childhood and personality. One thing I enjoy about Sherlock is the steady character development over the series, but in particular with this episode, getting to know and understand the detective himself on a deeper level.
The last episode (possibly ever!), of the fourth series of Sherlock, ends on a strange note, both a high and a low for fans like myself.
If you’ve read either of my previous Sherlock reviews, you might have guessed that I’m just slightly biased towards it, what with generally loving both the show and anything Benedict Cumberbatch does. While many apparently hated it, and criticised the writing and narratives among other things, I honestly enjoyed it. In fairness to the writers, it was everything they said and promised it would be; witty, dramatic and an emotional rollercoaster.
In its way, the end sequence was the perfect send off for the show; Sherlock, John, Baker Street and a lifetime full of excitement and possibilities. I just really hope this isn’t the last we see of this brilliant duo, the 21st century Baker Street boys.
Sherlock series four is available to buy now on DVD and via digital download.
What did you think of this episode and this fourth season of Sherlock as a whole? Also, comment your own episode ranking, I’d love to see how everyones compares! Here’s mine:
- A Scandal In Belgravia
- The Lying Detective
- The Sign of Three
- The Reichenbach Fall
- The Hounds of Baskerville
- The Great Game
- A Study In Pink
- His Last Vow
- The Empty Hearse
- The Final Problem
- The Six Thatchers
- The Abominable Bride
- The Blind Banker