Being a fan of the hit BBC show, Sherlock, is a real struggle. Waiting two years, or more, between each series is a difficult hiatus to deal with, but undoubtedly worth it. Despite the unfathomably loyal fan-base, the fourth series was off to a rough start with the first episode, The Six Thatchers, receiving a rather low review from fans. However, the show was quickly redeemed with the second episode, The Lying Detective. And to be quite honest, the third, and final episode of series four, The Final Problem, took the show to another level once again.
With the cliffhanger of episode two, it was revealed that Sherlock’s secret sister, Euros, was John’s therapist, Sherlock’s client, and a few other personalities along the way. The episode had also ended with our precious John Watson being shot, leaving fans with our jaws on the floor, terrified for the safety of our favorite doctor. In contrast to this rather dark and spin-chilling ending, episode three opens with a rather happy Mycroft enjoying one of his favorite films in his home. It was rather comical…well…until a clown and little girl show up to wreak havoc on Mycroft’s movie night, causing him to fight for his life with his trusty umbrella… Or, so we believe. It turns out our favorite Consulting Detective and Doctor were just scaring his brother in order to confirm the existence of Euros (and to have a little fun, let’s be honest).
But, with this new information at his disposal, Sherlock is determined to learn more about the sister he can’t remember. After forcing Mycroft to display himself as a client to our Baker Street boys, Sherlock soon discovers that he indeed does remember his sister, but worked to block her from his memory after several rather traumatizing childhood events. Moral of the story, Euros had a lot of problems, and makes our favorite sociopath seem like the most normal individual in the world. Adding on to the already existing drama, it turns out that Euros has been locked away in an isolated prison, Sherrinford (still disappointed it was an island and not Tom Hiddleston playing a secret Holmes brother like fans theorized, but it’s alright). So, Mycroft is left baffled to how Euros could have gotten out and pulled off multiple personalities to get herself deep into the lives of Sherlock and John without them even knowing.
In hopes of determining how this all could have happened, as well as allowing Sherlock to reintroduce himself to his sister, Sherlock, John and Mycroft sneak their way through the security of Sherrinford with the help of some fantastic costumes and impressive pirate skills. Sadly, the boys come to realize the security has been corrupted through Euros’ intellect acting as a way to manipulate and somewhat brainwash the workers into giving her whatever she wanted. Despite all of this craziness, one of the best plot twist of the episode was introduced in a beautifully, dramatic form.
Jim Moriarty. The treat that was delivered to fans and Euros alike. Although our hearts and souls were crushed as the words “Five Years Ago” flashed across the bottom of the screen to destroy all hope of the return of our favorite big bad, Jim still managed to drive the plot in an unimagined way, just like he always has. It turns out that Mycroft had been giving Euros one present on Christmas day every year to ensure that she continued to assist the British government in predicting terrorist attacks. One year he decides to give her a pretty violin, the next year…five unsupervised minutes with one of the world’s most clever and devious masterminds.
As the episode develops, Sherlock, John, and Mycroft are trapped and forced through a series of ‘games’ that were planned by Euros and Moriarty to test Sherlock’s mental ability and how emotional motives alter how he addresses a case, while also threatening, and ending, the lives of many along the way. In addition to keeping themselves alive, Sherlock and the boys are given the incentive of time of the phone with a young girl who is stranded on an in-flight plane, with the rest of the passengers’ unconscious. Sherlock works his way through the puzzles with his deductions and help from his best friend and brother, but undergoes some of the most emotionally draining tasks of his life.
There were two tasks that stood out to the hearts of the audience, both of which brought many of us to tears. The first began when Sherlock ended up in a room with a coffin, which he deduced was for Molly Hooper. Euros gives Sherlock three minutes on the phone with Molly and forces him to get her to say “I love you”, or else her apartment will be blown to pieces. We see Sherlock deal with the pain of opening his heart and sacrificing his emotional barrier for the sake of saving one of his best friends. Whether you viewed Sherlock saying “I love you” in a platonic or romantic demeanor, the scene was gut-wrenching, and only slightly relieved when Molly said she loved Sherlock with two seconds remaining on the buzzer. The strain that this event had on Sherlock is shown clearly through his burst of rage as he destroyed the coffin out of pure frustration. John assists Sherlock in gathering himself and the game continues.
The next biggest rollercoaster was found in the next room. Euros had forced Sherlock to carry a gun throughout all the tasks, and finally told him it was time to use it, to either shoot his best friend, or his brother. I noticed that Sherlock immediately positioned his body towards Mycroft, but it wasn’t going to be an easy decision regardless. As the tension builds, we see Mycroft show his love for his brother by insulting John in attempt to make Sherlock have an easier time killing him. Sherlock, being the ever-so clever man that he is, knows this is his plan. To spite the game, they are being forced to play and to save the two men Sherlock loves most, he turns the gun on himself to bring an end to the evil game, showing the true selflessness that is dominant in Sherlock’s heart. However, before Sherlock could pull the trigger, the three men are sedated and the game is changed.
As Sherlock awakens, he discovers that he has been taken back to his childhood home and John and Mycroft are nowhere to be found. Sherlock, however, does have an earpiece that allows him to communicate with John. It turns out that John has been chained in the bottom of a well, and as water begins rushing in, it is Sherlock’s job to solve the mystery he never could as a child to save his best friend. That mystery being, what happened to Redbeard? As the night ensues we discover that Redbeard was never the loving dog that Sherlock had a soft spot for. Redbeard was the nickname for Sherlock’s childhood best friend who was murdered by Euros out of jealousy of Sherlock’s attention. In one of the most mind-blowing deductions, Sherlock is able to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together to find out where Euros has hidden John, and even realize that the girl stranded in the plane, was actually Euros’ internal calling for help from her isolated state of mind.
The fans are given a beautiful ending allowing Sherlock the once again save the people he loves and shows his immense character development through his sympathy for his sister and willingness to undergo such painful realizations to do what he must to solve another mystery. As if these crazy events weren’t painful enough, the episode concludes with the Baker Street boys finding another video from Mary telling them that they have to continue doing what they do and be the men that she knows they are. Clips show Sherlock and John caring for Rosie in their flat, solving more crimes, and being the duo that we all know and love. It was a moving conclusion to a beautiful, yet draining episode.
There have not yet been details released on whether the smash hit show will return for a fifth series, but I can’t help but hope for more. The ending to this episode was wonderfully written, but there are also loose ends that I hope to be addressed in a future series, like how Sherlock is mending things over with Molly, or how the boys are raising Rosie, how Mycroft his after his rattling experiences with Euros, or how Mrs. Hudson is loving having both of her boys back at home. Also, I feel like seeing Sherlock and John solve crimes after Sherlock has completely accepted his emotional side would be a beautiful way to continue the development and further emphasize another side of favorite Consulting Detective. I know Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and the rest of the cast and crew are ridiculously busy due to their immense talent and success, but I want to believe that The Final Problem isn’t actually the final problem for Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. In the world of our Baker Street Boys, the game, is always on.
Image: Copyright © 2017 BBC