Sherlock: The Final Problem aired Tuesday night, and if you missed it, or just enjoy reading recaps and reviews, we’ve got you covered. WARNING: This article is chock full o’ spoilers. You have been warned.
The episode began with Holmes and Watson getting Mycroft to admit that there is a Euros Holmes — Sherlock’s sister. It’s revealed that Euros had shot John with a tranquilizer dart in the previous episode. As Myrock is giving his exposition, a motion-activated drone comes into 221B Baker Street.
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The team deduces that a bomb is attached to the drone, and if anyone moves, the bomb will be activated and will detonate in three seconds. Sherlock being Sherlock, he and Watson jump out of the flat just ahead of the flames “like heroes from an 80’s action movie,” as Entertainment Weekly writer Christian Holub describes it.
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Next, the camera cuts to a dismal island in the middle of the ocean, reminiscent of Azkaban from the Harry Potter series, only this one is called Sherringford. Like Azkaban, the prison is meant to house the worst of the worst criminals — “uncontainables” — in a setting that Mycroft himself compares to Hell. Inside the prison is a prison-within-a-prison, where Euros Holmes is kept. It seems that, not unlike Hannibal Lecter of Silence of the Lambs, Euros can essentially force people to do her bidding, or convince them they’re living in a reality that she’s created, simply by talking to them.
As it turns out, Sherlock and The Governor have both been fooled by Euros.
We then cut back to what is later revealed to be a flashback, and it’s revealed that Mycroft has been giving Euros “treats” in exchange for information about upcoming terrorist attacks.
Cut to the present, and Sherlock, John, and Mycroft wake up to find themselves under Euros’ spell. She puts the group through a series of “trials.” First they must shoot The Governor. Then they must deduce which of three Garrideb Brothers is a murderer. Then Sherlock has to get Molly to say that she loves him within three minutes, or Euros will kill Molly. All the while, Euros keeps interspersing her games with audio from a plane full of sleeping passengers; the plane will crash if Sherlock isn’t able to help her land the plane.
Tired of Euros’ games, Sherlock prepares to shoot himself. Euros breaks out the tranquilizer darts once again and shoots Sherlock and Holmes.
Cut to Sherlock’s childhood home, Musgrave. Watson is chained up in a well that is flooding, and Euros reveals that when she was a child, she murdered Holmes’ friend Redbeard. Holmes had blotted out the entire event from his memory (or perhaps had fallen under one of Euros’ spells). He also realizes that Euros has been pleading for help all these years. Overcome with pity, he hugs her. She reveals where Watson is held. Watson is rescued, and Euros is returned to prison.
The girl on the plane was a metaphor all along, you see: she was really Euros, flying above humanity, with no idea how to land.
The ending is a bit of a mish-mash. Holmes and Watson rebuild their flat at 221B and go back into business; Mary sends the pair an inspirational CD urging them to continue being detectives, and then they leave the flat, presumably on another case, leaving the show open for another series yet simultaneously tying up all the loose ends.
So how did the critics react to “The Final Problem”? Not very well, as it turns out. Entertainment Weekly writer Christian Holub gave the episode a C+.
“This episode was just plain weird. The characters rarely acted like themselves, the dark child murder upon which the whole plot turns was mentioned briefly and then quickly forgotten, Euros’ villainous attempts to interrogate the heroes’ morality was reductive and half-hearted.”
Similarly, TV.com writer Gislef isn’t sure if “The Final Problem” was meant to tie up the whole show, or just the current series. Both options seem equally mediocre.
“It’s hard for me to imagine a Series 5. No Moriarty, no Eurus. Any continuing villain seems like they’d fall short of either of those. So if the show continues, would it be back to Case of the Week type mysteries? Or is that a relic of a bygone age that we will never see its like again? Can Gatiss and Moffatt create another continuing storyline that explores the mysteries of the Holmes family? Or would we just have to put up with more returns of Moriarty and Eurus?”
What did you think of Sherlock: The Final Problem?
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