NOTE: The following review contains spoilers.
If The final problem marks the end of Sherlock, the last we’ll see of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson, this felt every inch a series finale of the high-functioning franchise.
The BBC phenomenal has never been a perfect show. There have been consistent portions, to be sure. It was from the beginning, and remains, a terrific showcase for a talented and hardworking ensemble. It’s a great place to turn for hallucinatory visuals and pithy dialogue, for twists and turns. For a better or worse, it’s a mystery series wrapped with unapologetic theatrics and query visuals. The final episode of season 4 was written by both the creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. The co-creators have gone to great lengths to produce one of the most outlandish episodes the series has even seen.
Last week it was discovered that Sherlock had a long-lost sister named Eurus, who he had blocked out from his memory to deal with some childhood trauma. But as the episode eventually confines that Eurus is much more than a dramatic apprehension intended to shake Sherlock of his sociopathic life narrative. As Mycroft eventually tells his brother, “The man you are today is your memory of Eurus,” which is intended to suggest that it was Eurus who resulted in his inability to form emotional connections and more importantly forged his obsession with solving crimes.
Titled The Final Problem, this rollercoaster thrill-ride of an episode began with a literal bang, as a bomb blew 221B Baker Street to smithereens, propelling our beloved duo out of the windows with a huge fireball. As “I want to break free” drives the tension to insanity our very own Jim Moriarty makes a comeback, despite having lost his life five years ago: alive and well and up to his old devilish tricks. And for some time the makers tricked the audiences in believing that TV’s most electrifying villain is alive.
The episode is poured in with mysteries and deductions, even from Dr. John Watson. The final problem is not only about dysfunctional Holmes family, or Sherlock’s childhood trauma, or Mycroft’s devastating lie to his family, or John’s inability to coup up with his wife’s death. It is virtually imposable to talk about the episode in a linear narrative.
Eurus (Greek God of the East Wind), an “era-defining genius”, kept captive in an Island, abandoned from civilian knowledge for their own safety. The increasingly volatile youngest Holmes was in Sherrinford, a special, secure and very secret installation to contain what we called the uncontainable. She was moved to this facility after she tried to burn her house as a child and was almost successful. But her biggest impact was on his brother Sherlock as she killed his pet dog Redbeard. The incident had a devastating impression on young Sherlock which led him to the path of emotional abundance.
The episode also deals with a superficial case a young girl in an airplane where everyone is sleeping including the pilot and other aircraft staffs. Sherlock has to solve this mystery in a bid to save the girl by going through several cases and emotional layers of his high-functioning consciousness, all of this while he along with his big brother and best friend was held as captive by Eurus. The trio experienced a series of an extraordinary exercise of science from a point of view of lab rats.
The metaphysical stimulation of Eurus was finally solved by his brother as he found that the young girl in the plane is not real, it’s just an extension of Eurus’ emotional state in a form of metaphor, alone in the sky with no one by her side.
As a finale, the episode makes every note hit the right tune as Sherlock becomes a soldier, Watson starts to deduce and Mycroft shows his emotional side in a bet to safe Sherlock and Watson.
The biggest thematic procedure of the entire series had been emotions, from the first episode when Sherlock called himself a “high-functioning sociopath”, but it’s the virtue of human mind which is blessed or cursed emotions both good and bad. But the final montage of footage where John and Sherlock watch Mary’s DVD “miss you” everything comes to full circle as their relationship with each other and everyone else makes their life a less extraordinary.