So I finally watched the highly popular show Sherlock. In fact, I decided to go on a marathon and watched season 1, 2, 3 and 4 back to back and I have to admit it is one of the most interesting shows I’ve watched in recent time. However, in this article I will be giving my verdict specifically on the episodes of the latest season which also might be the last season we see Benedict Cumberbatch as the world’s greatest detective. Let’s begin:
The Six Thatchers
I know I probably sound like a traditionalist, like I want every episode to begin with Lestrade briefing Holmes and Watson on a new case. But that’s not entirely true. Sherlock, at its best, has given us intriguing mysteries and excellent character moments in single cases – A Study In Pink, A Scandal in Belgravia, His Last Vow – but The Six Thatchers was a disjointed and unfocused affair, and an underwhelming way to start the new season. At one point they are solving the death of a young man outside of his parents’ home when he was supposed to be halfway around the world in the mountains of Tibet. At another point they are trying to protect Mary from the ghosts of her past life as an assassin. Ultimately, it just didn’t feel like a contemporary adventure for the famous detective, but the latest episode in an espionage-laden soap opera in which the art of detection is, sadly, incidental. That said, the ending removes Mary which can be considered a bold move, removing an important character in the very first episode of the season. At the same time it put the focus squarely back on the Holmes and Watson relationship, leaving the audience wondering how Holmes will ‘save’ his grieving friend.
The Lying Detective
I believe the first highlight of this episode is when we learn that the whole thing was a ruse. We discover that Sherlock relapsed and deliberately pursued a psychopath because Mary told him to place himself in danger to get John’s attention and mend their friendship. One of the best scenes in the episode is when John has to disarm Sherlock, who is threatening Smith with a scalpel. John unleashes the rage that had derailed their friendship, and gives Sherlock a vicious beating. With one episode of season four left after this, it feels like Holmes and Watson’s relationship has finally been restored. The introduction of the mysterious and dangerous Eurus felt like a bold direction in which to take the final episode. Her methodical unmasking in front of John was the second highlight of the episode, and I was looking forward to learning more about the character and her fractious history with the Holmes brothers. At the same time, I wondered if they were focusing on a new villain for the final episode how would they address the Moriarty cliffhanger from the season three finale.
The Final Problem
If there isn’t to be another season of Sherlock, The Final Problem provided a fitting conclusion to Moffat and Gatiss’s incarnation. Not only did it provide fresh insight into what made Sherlock the way he is, it also left him in a stronger, happier place, and also much closer to the character we know from other adaptations. Friendship, family, and the messy emotional entanglements they create dominate the episode. We learn that Mycroft locked Eurus away in a secret facility known as Sherrinford – a place, according to him, where demons are kept. He even lied to their parents, telling them Eurus has died in a fire. In the final act, Eurus is revealed to be the terrified girl aboard the plane – her outrageous intellect translates her experience into a metaphorical puzzle for Sherlock to solve. It was a cry for help in a cryptic language she knew he would understand. It’s a surprising and interesting reveal, though perhaps a little hard to swallow. In a single moment Eurus pivots from a cold murderer – beyond all morality – to a terrified girl who needs a hug from her big bro to make things better. She’s soon returned to Sherrinford, where she’s allowed visitors, as if she’s no longer poses a danger despite her near-supernatural ability to control the minds of others. The wandering drama of Moriarty, Mary, and Eurus was finally put to rest, Sherlock and Watson returned to a simpler place. The duo stands ready to accept new clients and embark on fresh adventures. The final shot sees the pair dashing out of Rathbone Place – not only is this a nice nod to the great Sherlock actor, it feels like Moffat and Gatiss’s way of saying they’ve finished their origin story of the character. He’s now closer to the Sherlock we already knew. The future of Sherlock has yet to be decided, but if this proves to be Cumberbatch’s last bow, The Final Problem feels like a fitting and sincere goodbye.
If we are lucky and we do get another season of Sherlock, I really hope now the show focuses more on the cases themselves since that is what made Sherlock the World’s Greatest Detective.