Sherlock’s latest – and possibly final – season ended last Sunday with the action-packed “The Final Problem.” With lots of twists, emotion and Moriarty dancing to Queen, it was one of the most ambitious episodes ever of the show. Yet it proved to be possibly the most controverial installment as well.
While some fans praised it as a triumph, others thought the show had moved too far away its earlier episodes. Here two of our writers will lay out the case for and against the episode. After reading, feel free to leave your own thoughts of the episode in the comments.
Why it was Great
Two of the big complaints about “The Final Problem” seem to be that there were “not enough deductions” or that it was “not like the old Sherlock.” However, if you think about it, this episode is structurally a Holmes family version of “The Great Game”; a favourite episode of most fans! Like that episode, Sherlock is forced to solve puzzles within a certain amount of time to save people. The difference is that Sherlock is a changed man from those days; he has sentiment. Although regularly reminded by his brother that sentiment is a weakness, it seems to only have made Sherlock stronger. He is the least intelligent Holmes sibling, but he is the strongest and pulled through because of the emotional traits he has achieved throughout his character arc.
Sherlock has developed so much as a human being, displayed beautifully in the montage narrated by Mary, showing the first image we see of Sherlock, about to whip a dead body and slag off Molly, to the Sherlock we have today, referring to John as family and helping him raise his child!
Moving on, I must say, Johnlock is basically canon (that is Tumblr speak for Sherlock and John being together). The end of the episode shows them rebuilding their home and raising a child together, I don’t think you can get any closer to them becoming a couple than that without it being a bit “silly”.
Another standout moment was the scene with Molly. We all assumed from the trailer that Sherlock was saying he loved either John (preferably) or Mycroft. Of course it was Molly, the one we always overlook. Louise Brealey gave such a heartbreaking performance, I really missed Molly this series.
Plus we were blessed with new Andrew Scott material. He did not disappoint, leaping from a helicopter whilst dancing to Queen, that is just so Jim! So there was no big reveal that he faked his death or whatnot, but Sherlock has been telling us that all series, we should’ve paid attention.
All loose ends were tied up at the completion of this episode, which is satisfying yet sad as it indicates this could be the last ever episode. For the devoted fans, the single scene with Lestrade at the end is very emotional! In the very first episode, Lestrade says “Sherlock Holmes is a great man, and I think one day, if we’re very very lucky, he might even be a good one”. Well, Lestrade finally calls him a good man here, showing how much he has grown and changed. Plus Sherlock remembered Lestrade’s first name, which is a big deal.
I just love how much thought and detail goes into the show that most viewers won’t even notice. Such as Oscar Wilde being quoted, who was a supposed influence on his friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock and John running from Rathbone Place at the end, presumably representing Basil Rathbone, arguably the most famous interpretation of Sherlock Holmes. Plus each of the little games Sherlock had to play were linked to original stories.
The episode was so intricately designed to honour the Conan Doyle classics, show us the deductions we know and love, plus to demonstrate how far Sherlock has come. Beautifully filmed and acted magnificently as per usual. Fingers crossed we have more to come!
I think Sherlock holding Rosie in the end was purely for our enjoyment 🙂 Just to see how far he has come as a character. He had no use/interest for children before, but this is Mary and John’s baby and so she holds immense value for him. Do I think it makes Johnlock canon? Not in the least. I’m surprised that people are so convinced on that score. The writers have made it abundantly clear that that isn’t the direction they’re taking the show in. Sherlock and John are best friends, family, and partners in crime. A romantic attachment was a comedic, titillating fantasy as shared by Tumblr, and not an actual development on the show.
TFP wasn’t my favorite episode ever, but there were several moments that I wouldn’t exchange for anything: the ‘I love you’ scene, followed by the coffin smashing (GIVE BENEDICT AN OSCAR, SOMEBODY!). Sherlock remembering the true identity of Redbeard (heart. broken.) Him running to solve Eurus’ riddle and then finding her and saying some of the sweetest things that have ever come out of his mouth. Going to visit her and playing the violin – gah! The opening scene was a bit outlandish and I didn’t see the need in blowing up Baker Street, but it made for a great metaphor as they were slowly putting it back together in the end. I do wonder how on earth Eurus was able to figure out that Sherlock knew a girl named Molly Hooper and that Molly was in love with him, and that Sherlock did care for her… I mean, how did she honestly figure that out, holed away in Sherrinford? She must have done a lot of snooping when she was on the loose in the first two episodes…
Over-all, it was a dark, emotional, tragic episode, and the ending felt painfully final (nooooooo) but at the same time, I feel like it was necessary to Sherlock’s story. I still have questions (which is a good thing! bring on season 5!!!) and I’m desperately hoping there’s a secret episode (watch the last 2 “Sherlock Reacts” videos on Youtube on the official channel – they keep teasing about it!). Out of the 3 episodes, TLD was my favorite. Benedict’s drug-addled, scruffy Sherlock was a WONDER to behold and the man deserves 100 Oscars. That is all ♥
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I agree more with this comment than the opinions of the two writers lol
Euros might have found out about Molly from her Christmas present. Remember, Moriarty “dated” her in the early days, and could have easily picked up on her feelings for our favorite high functioning sociopath. Emotional conflict is just the sort of ammunition he would hang onto until he could use it to advantage. Bad boy!
In a plot full of flashbacks, plot twists and loopholes, (don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it!) one thing puzzles me that hasn’t been covered as far as I know.
If the Patience Grenade is set off by sensing motion, and it was delivered by by toy gyrocopter, why wasn’t it set off by the travelling?
A nit-picking question I know, and I accept the plot device, but do such things really exist?
The traveling didn’t set off the explosive charge brcause it had not been “armed” until after it settled down to the floor. When the little disc on top of the explosive pops up, Mycroft announces that it has been armed. He recognizes this due to familiarity with a weapon design he has himself purchased. Problem solved!
Ah! I hadn’t caught that bit. Thank you
What I can’t understand is how no one was injured by the grenade? John and Sherlock were flung out the second story window, whereas mycroft couldn’t have got very far? But the next scene they appear without a scratch!
Also if the girl on the plane was made up by Eurus then why could everyone hear her voice? Or have I completely misunderstood that bit?
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People, It was just start of a process, its not like they showed pulling John up, The rope was dropped and John just held it to balance himself.