Will 'Sherlock' Season 5 Return With Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman? Season 4 Finale Promo Suggests Explosive Ending

Sherlock Season 5's fate remains uncertain. Also, it is unclear whether Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes, and Martin Freeman, who plays Dr. John Watson, will return to film three more feature-length episodes if BBC greenlights Sherlock Season 5.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are two of the busiest British actors in Hollywood at the moment, and there is a possibility that their other acting commitments might make Sherlock Season 4 the final season. The trailer for this Sunday's final episode of Season 4, titled "The Final Problem," too, hints at an explosive conclusion.

The much talked about trailer ends with Sherlock and Watson being thrown into the air because of a huge explosion. No one can survive that, not even the most clever detectives. And fans are obviously not going to survive if Sherlock co-writers Mark Gatiss -- who also plays Mycroft on the series -- and Steven Moffat reveal that they are bringing down the curtain on their show by blowing up Baker Street along with its two famous occupants. It is a possibility that cannot be ruled out, as the detective and his sidekick are facing the ultimate challenge in the finale.

The synopsis of the episode hints at the return of their oldest adversary.

"In the final episode of this series, long-buried secrets finally catch up with the Baker Street duo. Someone has been playing a very long game indeed and, alone and defenceless, Sherlock and Dr Watson face their greatest ever challenge. Is the game finally over?"
Sherlock Season 4 has been billed as the darkest season of the series. By killing Mary (Amanda Abbington) in Episode 1 and by introducing an evil sister, Euros Holmes (Sian Brooke), in Episode 2, the current season has lived up to that billing until now. And the only way the final episode can top the previous two episodes' darkest twists is by killing a couple of favorite characters -- at least one for sure.
The title of the final episode, "Final Problem," also indicates a tragic conclusion. Moreover, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes' short story of the same name, Sherlock Holmes apparently met his death, along with his arch-nemesis Moriarty. Moffat and Gatiss, however, have already explored that short story in Sherlock Season 2 finale, "The Reichenbach Fall." They killed both Sherlock and Moriarty in the episode, and in Season 3 premiere, the lissome detective made an appearance after being dead for two years, revealing that he had faked his death.

The Telegraph is speculating that the Sherlock Season 4 finale might be closer to the original source compared with Season 2 finale. Sherlock, like in the original story, would try to destroy Moriarty's criminal network once and for all, according to the report.

"This episode might show a closer engagement with the original story, in which Sherlock tried to track down Moriarty's web of criminal associates, with the aim of bringing them to justice. This week's episode could involve a similar mission to destroy whatever is left of Moriarty's criminal network."
Moffat has described Sherlock Season 4 Episode 3, "Final Problem," as "grand old finale" and "amazing," according to Radio Times.
"It's a grand old finale. It's a very very finale finale. Next week is amazing."
On the other hand, Gatiss has called the episode "Thunderball," hinting that it is going to be an action-packed finale.
"It's the most like a Universal Sherlock Holmes that we've ever done It's like a Basil Rathbone one. It's absolutely crazy."
The "absolutely crazy" chain of events in "Final Problem" is one of the reasons why Sherlock Season 5 might not happen soon even if everyone, including the actors, agrees to do three more episodes. Benedict Cumberbatch said that the series had been set to go to a place from where it would be difficult to return soon.

Meanwhile, a well-placed BBC source told Radio Times that there would be no new episode of Sherlock in January 2018, adding that they were "reasonably hopeful" of Sherlock returning with Season 5 in two years' time.

"Pre-production work would need to begin in the spring and we are not at that stage but the will to do more is there."
In the end, however, it all depends on Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and how interested they are in playing Sherlock and Watson again by putting their burgeoning career in Hollywood on pause. Moffat told Radio Times that they really had no clue about the future. He also talked about the difficult schedule, especially of Cumberbatch and Freeman.
"Everybody's schedule is difficult. Benedict and Martin aren't just two of the finest actors of their generation, they're stars, in demand everywhere. Sherlock can only ever be a passion project. So give us a moment and Mark and I will go back to [Arthur Conan] Doyle and see what we've missed."
Moffat added that the game might still be on if the characters were able to survive the final episode.
"The game may still be on. Unless, of course, everybody dies at the end of series four."
Sherlock, however, is not going to consider the events that unfold in Season 4 Episode 3 as a game. He is going to face consequences of whatever he has done till now. It is him versus his sister in the finale. In the promo, Mycroft is seen telling Sherlock that it is his memory of Euros that has shaped his present.
"Every choice you've ever made, every path you've ever taken, the man you are today - is your memory of Euros."
Watch the trailer for Sherlock Season 4 finale here.
Sherlock Season 4 Episode 3, titled "The Final Problem," airs on Sunday, January 15 on BBC (U.K.) and PBS (U.S.).

[Featured Image by Sherlock/BBC One]