December 5, 2022

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Sherlock – The Final Problem (S4 E3) (Spoilers)

Is "The Final Problem" how to get more Sherlock episodes made? In the meantime, the Geeks look at the Season Four Finale.

This is the end.  This is the end of Sherlock.  Just season four…or forever?  Time will tell on that question, but the Geeks had some thoughts to share on the finale of this go round of this fantastic season.

Ryan says: And now comes the best and worst time for Sherlock fans, the end of the season.  I’m not usually the one who goes first so let me totally flip my comments by talking about the end.  This was a fantastic season ending episode.  For the first time we don’t end on a cliffhanger.  Season 1 had the pool, season 2 had us wondering when Holmes and Watson would be reconnected, season 3 had the return of Moriarty.  This episode had no unresolved threads, perhaps in a nod to the rising star power of both leads and the knowledge that scheduling these seasons becomes harder and harder.  There’s room for more seasons but no need for it, and that’s a fantastic way to end things.  For now.

The episode itself?  Amazing.  One of the absolute joys of Sherlock episodes is how the mystery and conflict exists on different levels.  There is the core mystery, then there’s usually a personal conflict weaving throughout the mystery, and then there’s usually some twist.  In this episode, it all boiled down to the same story.   The threads of the game Eurus set for Sherlock, the girl on the airplane, Sherlock’s memory, even the Moriarty twist all boiled down to a very human drama.  And while the twists and turns were amazing, what I especially loved is that for the first time I can recall, Sherlock won by stepping above the game rather than beating it.  Turning the gun on himself instead of Mycroft, reaching out to Eurus instead of solving where the plane was headed (although there’s a good argument that this is what Eurus wanted in the first place)–all of this was Sherlock being his best self.

The episode wasn’t perfect.  I wasn’t a fan of the Mary swan song at the end–the visuals of Sherlock rebuilding (and reshooting) his apartment was fun but her calling him a mystery junkie just doesn’t connect with me.  And why is John still the doctor who never came back from the war?  That suggests he hasn’t changed since the first episode but to me he seems worlds away from where he started.  Just a quibble, and I don’t mind it terribly.

But until we get (if we get) a fifth season, now fans across the world get to debate whether Moriarty killed himself because of Eurus.  And that’s going to be fun.  🙂

(Final side note: even though the schedules are tough, I firmly believe we’ll eventually get a season five–and I cannot wait for the teaser campaign that shows Cumberbatch with a “Miss Me?” title card…shivers.)

Jimmy says:  If last week’s episode was a(n albeit drug induced) ride on a roller coaster at the local amusement park, this week is surely a trip through the House Of Horrors.

Wow this episode was dark and intense.  When it was over I had to take several deep breaths as I wasn’t sure I had taken any in an hour and a half.  From the opening creepshow complete with a non-Jenny approved killer clown right up until the final few minutes, this one grabs you and doesn’t let go.

That said, I found it hard to say how great this episode was.  Whereas “The Lying Detective” was clearly one of the best of the series, I’m not sure the same can be said for “The Final Problem”.  But it is definitely in the higher brackets for quality, with its darkness (for me anyway) keeping it from reaching the loftiest of heights.

I did like the fact that Moriarty remained dead.  There wasn’t some “magical resurrection”, which in some ways would be out of tone with the show.  (I say “in some ways”, as they essentially killed off and resurrected Sherlock… but he’s Sherlock.)  Though they did a fantastic fake out with the Queen laced helicopter landing sequence.

I like Mycroft, but it was nice to see him get put in his place after all his years of boasting to be the “smart one” of the Holmes siblings.  His having to come face to face with the repercussions of his actions over the years and once again depending on Sherlock to save them all.

I feel like I haven’t said much about the story itself and the fantastic jobs done by Misters Cumberbatch and Freeman, but I think Ryan covers the show very nicely above, and what else needs to be said about our co-leads?  “This is about family.”  “AND THAT’S WHY HE STAYS!”  Indeed.

(As an aside, I did notice the opening credits had a shot of Watson down in the well, which was a bit of a spoiler, but I can’t recall if the other episodes were the same.  Who pays that much attention to the opening credits anyways?)

There has been no official confirmation that this is the end of Sherlock for good, but the closing sure did feel like a series finale.  (Ryan makes a great point about it not ending on a cliffhanger.)  Having the rebuilding montage and Mary’s message to reset things to zero.  Flashing back over the seven years of great shows and adventures the duo have given us.  The final climatic run and leap forward from yesteryear.  I fear we have seen the end.  With Freeman and Cumberbatch getting especially busy these days, I’m sure scheduling new seasons has been a nightmare.  And if we do one day return to 221B Baker Street, it won’t be for a good few years, but it will always be a welcome visit.

Tom says:  What the hell was that?!

I see the roles are reversed right now.  Normally, it’s me looking for all the good to say even about crappy things like Star Wars prequels while Ryan waxes apocalyptic over that travesty of an entertainment, but looking over my co-authors’ points, I see I may be alone here.

Though before I go any further, I was a bit annoyed to start with.  I didn’t realize the episode was airing 90 minutes earlier on my local PBS affiliate, and as a result when I tuned in, the episode was almost over.  Aside from spotting the whole “Nemo Holmes” bit, nothing was really spoiled, but then I discovered the local multiplex was running the episode on the big screen the following night (and again on Wednesday).  So, yeah, let’s give that a try.  There was even a fifteen minute retrospective hosted by Amanda Abbington on her time as Mary Watson.  It was nothing particularly special.  If it were a DVD extra, I wouldn’t feel bad about skipping it, but there ya go.  Time for the episode.  Besides, the showtime was supposed to be 7:00 PM, so you can imagine my extra frustration when the lights went down and a countdown timer started telling me there was another half hour to go from that 7:00 start time.  Not cool.

But the episode started off promisingly enough.  The break-in to Mycroft’s home was fun.  The special prison was kinda cool.  But Euros’ games didn’t do much for me.  And the girl on the plane felt like a cheat.  The true identity of Redbeard was certainly chilling, and did make a lot more sense than the original reason Mycroft gave for locking Euros up.  But the whole thing was built on a premise I couldn’t buy.

That premise, of course, was that Sherlock Holmes’ brain wasn’t working right.

It is possible to do a good Holmes with some sort of mental breakdown.  Ian McKellen played that Holmes as an old man finding senility taxing for a man who relied so much on his own mind in the fine Mr. Holmes.  But part of the point of that movie was that Holmes wasn’t some superhuman deducting machine as he is often portrayed, but just a man with an extraordinary gift, one who mildly resented Watson for how his long time friend presented him in the stories he wrote up about their adventures.  But most of the time, Sherlock Holmes is presented as a master sleuth whose mind misses nothing.  That’s certainly how Sherlock has portrayed him up to this very episode.

This is not to say Holmes can’t be baffled or confused, just that Holmes’ mind is so sharp, he generally can’t be really tricked for long.  The only way this episode can work is if Holmes couldn’t trust his own mind and memories, particularly for something as important as the idea he had a baby sister.  Were there no pictures of her in the family home?  Did his parents never mention her at all?  A Holmes that blocked out painful memories may work done right, but it just did not ring true for me as right for this Sherlock.

And as for the ending, well, I usually give a lot of leeway on final episodes.  There are a lot of last episodes out there that have drawn ire I thought were fine when all was said and done, stuff like Battlestar Galactica among others.  But Mary’s talk, the reset of the apartment, all the Sherlock Holmes Easter eggs scattered around, and so forth seemed overdone.  Though in that short I mentioned, Abbington referred to Watson more than once as a thrill-seeker, so maybe he could be the doctor who never came home from the war.  But if that is the last of Sherlock, then it was a weak note to go out on for an episode that mostly didn’t work for me.  I rather do hope there’s a series five.  I want the show to end on a better episode than this one.

Though that building John and Sherlock are running out of at the end was RATHBONE PLACE, so they gave Basil a shout-out while they were at it.

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