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!