Sherlock Season 4 Episode 3: The Final Problem

by Kbear! on January 20, 2017

In last week’s episode we ended with Eurus (Sian Brooke) preparing to shoot John Watson (Martin Freeman). Therefore, you would think we would pick up from that scene, or see the immediate aftermath with Watson rushed to the hospital, Sherlock employing his dear friend to hold on. Nope, we open with a little girl on a plane waking up and finding everyone aboard her flight knocked out. She hears Moriarty’s voice telling her, “Welcome to the Final Problem”.

Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) is at home watching an old film noir. Suddenly spliced footage of him and Sherlock as kids is in the film. He hears a little girl’s voice. He goes to investigate and sees what looks like a little girl running around. A clown pops up, Mycroft gets his umbrella, and it is a sword (cool) and a gun (even cooler). Someone has taken the bullets out. Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson appear. They have concocted this ruse to scare Mycroft into confessing the Holmes have a sister; and to inform him she is on the loose.

They make Mycroft come to 221 B Baker Street as a client. They and Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) give him the business. Mycroft doesn’t want to talk about this in front of John since it’s a family matter. Sherlock lays it out; John is family. Eurus is the youngest; she is also the most brilliant of the Holmes kids, an era defining genius, beyond Newton. She is also completely bonkers. She killed the family dog Redbeard and burned the family home down. Their Uncle Rudy, who must have been a high government official like Mycroft had her committed to a high security facility called Sherrinford. (I called it last week; my modesty precludes me from bragging about it.) Holmes and Watson tell him she has escaped; Mycroft cannot believe it. A drone with a motion-detecting grenade helps change his mind. After waiting for Mrs. Hudson who is downstairs vacuuming to get out of harm’s way, the trio jump out of the room. Sherlock and John jump out the window with a not so great CGI fireball behind them.

Even though they jumped out of a second story window, they aren’t any worse for wear. All three escape and commandeer a fishing boat to get to the island where Sherrinford is located. For it being a high-security facility, they easily get in to see the warden of Sherrinford. He assures them that Eurus couldn’t have escaped and she’s in her cell now. Mycroft had given him instructions that no one on the staff should interact with Eurus, because she can put people under her control and make them do her bidding. So Eurus isn’t just a genius, she’s some kind of mutant. They should have brought Professor X and Wolverine to assist them. Sherlock has gone up to meet his long lost sister. She is in a pyro glass cell playing the violin. They do the normal evil genius, non-evil genius sibling talk. Below them, Watson and Mycroft continue talking to the warden. He hadn’t followed Mycroft’s instruction and had interacted with her. Watson figures out the warden is under Eurus’s spell. Upstairs Eurus commands Sherlock to come closer, when he touches the glass he realizes there isn’t any glass, Eurus is free and in command of the facility.

Overpowered by the entranced staff, the Holmes boys, Watson and the warden are in a cell. We find out about a Christmas present she received 5 years ago from Mycroft. Eurus is valuable to the government. She can identify the dates and times of future terrorist attacks after spending an hour on Twitter. Mycroft gives her presents like the violin she was playing. The present she received five years ago was five unsupervised minutes with Moriarty. Moriarty gets off the helicopter like a rock star rocking out to Queen. What was Mycroft thinking? What harm could a mad era-defining genius and an arch master criminal come up with in five minutes? It turns out a lot.

On a screen, Eurus who looks a lot like Samara from The Ring is going to test them. Her tests are like Saw without the blood and gore; but it is psychological torture porn. Throughout this ordeal, they get phone messages from the little girl we met earlier in the episode who is on the plane. They are motivated to complete these tasks to save this little girl.

The first test, one of them has to kill the warden, if not she will kill his wife, who she has tied up before her.  None of them wants to do this, but since John was a soldier, he agrees to do it. He can’t shoot the warden in cold blood, so the warden takes the gun and shoots himself to save his wife. It’s for naught, Eurus wanted one of them to shoot him, and so she shoots the wife anyway.

Next test, they have a mystery to solve. Suspected of shooting a man, Eurus has three brothers hanging outside a window. The guilty brother will plunge to his death but the other two will live. Using deductive reasoning, they figure out which brother actually shot the man. To prove something insane Eurus drops the innocent brothers to their deaths. To prove another insane point, the guilty brother drops to his death. She is enjoying herself even if no one else is.

The third test takes a different twist. There is an empty casket in the room; they have to figure out whose casket it is. Going by the size and condition of the casket they figure out it is for Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey). Eurus tells them she has a bomb in Molly’s flat, Sherlock has to get Molly to tell him “I love you.” He cannot tell her why. What comes next is cruel. Molly won’t pick up the phone at first because she sees it is from Sherlock. She is smart enough to know this cannot be good. She finally answers the phone and finds out her first inclination was correct. He is able to get her to tell him she loves him, emotionally destroying both of them. It is a very raw scene and superbly acted by both actors. Eurus happily informs him there was never a bomb, why would she bother to kill Molly. Sherlock loses it and destroys the casket. His sister has succeeded in breaking him. John is able to get Sherlock to pull it back together to save the little girl on the plane.

After each of the tests, they get to talk to the little girl and try to figure out where the plane is, its heading and how to help her. Even if they knew where she was, there isn’t really that much they could do for her. How can you teach a little girl to land a jetliner on the phone?

We get to our fourth test; it’s quite simple, Sherlock has to kill either John or Mycroft. Mycroft gets quite nasty telling Sherlock they are family and that he should kill Watson. He puts on a clinic on awful behavior. Sherlock realizes his brother is being a total ass to make it easier for Sherlock to shoot him instead of John. Sherlock pulls a twist on Eurus, he points the gun to his head, and begins a countdown; he will kill himself instead. She does not want that, so she shoots him with a tranquilizer.

Sherlock wakes up alone in the ruins of their former home. We see Eurus again. She has chained John in a well that is filling up with water. He finds a bone, oh it seems like he’s found the remains of poor old Redbeard. He has, but these aren’t bones from a dog. Eurus reveals the horrible truth to her brother. It was not a dog she killed when they were kids, it was a child. A kid Sherlock used to play pirates with, Trevor. He went missing. Because Sherlock and Trevor (he was Redbeard the pirate) weren’t playing with her she “logically” killed him. She placed him in the well she has John chained up in. The incident was so traumatic to Sherlock, he rewrote all of it in his mind, making Trevor a dog and completely forgetting Eurus.

Sherlock and Mycroft’s parents thought she had died (I’m not sure if they thought she died in the fire or in confinement), Mycroft led them to believe that to spare them the pain of her being locked away. So many family secrets there. He has one last puzzle to solve, helping the little girl on the plane. Sherlock uses some clues from the family cemetery to figure out the little girl on the plane is Eurus. The headstones had clues on them. Trapped in her own mind palace, she needs Sherlock to save her. Sherlock finds his sister hidden in a room. She isn’t the evil genius now, she’s just a lost little girl (who likes to kill). He convinces her to help him save John. Later the police have arrived; John and Mycroft are safe. One of the police officers recognizes the great Sherlock Holmes. DI Lestrade (Rupert Graves) tells him he’s not only a great man, but also a good one.

Holmes and Watson find another DVD that has ‘Miss Me’ written on it. It’s not from Moriarty but from Mary (Amanda Abbington). I wonder how many DVDs she made. While she’s telling them how important they are to the world, we get a montage of them and their friends carrying on. Even Molly comes into the flat being happy and chipper. They are busy solving cases and being the legends Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.


The Kbear!

This could be the series finale of Sherlock. We might be lucky enough to get another season from this team, but it isn’t something we should count on. As long as Marvel is successful, Cumberbatch and Freeman will be busy. After the excellent episode from last week, with its thrilling cliffhanger, I couldn’t wait for this week. I should have known something was up when they started with the little girl in the plane. The story just never gelled this week. A lot of it was impossible and unbelievable. Even while enjoying the episode, I could hear a voice quietly screaming “Oh come on!!” After watching the episode and thinking about it, the voice grew much louder. Last week Sherlock was addicted to drugs and only a few weeks from death’s door. A man who had gone to Hell to save his friend. This episode Sherlock looks healthy and fit. He and John are back in synch harassing Mycroft. After the massive trauma they went through the past two episodes, there is no evidence it had any effect on them. After doing such a great job of showing the consequences of their actions the past two episodes, everything is back to being consequence free. Jump out a two story window before a grenade explodes, not a scratch. Not even a sprained ankle. Basically waltz in to a high security facility. No wonder it was so easy for Eurus to take over the joint. Having Eurus be this super-duper evil genius with mind control powers, just too much. After killing all the people, she had killed just that day, her punishment, playing violin with Sherlock while the whole family lovingly looks on. She should have least been grounded.
What saved this episode for me were the performances as usual. Even when the writing isn’t up to par, the actors on this show exceed beyond expectation. Sian Brooke as Eurus was outstanding. She made Eurus believably menacing but childlike. She is a five year old whose temper tantrums are deadly. As cold and vicious as she was I felt sorry for her. She was someone who could not emotionally feel and understand the consequences of her actions. My favorite scene of hers was when she had Sherlock come closer to the glass and reveal there wasn’t any. It was a great “oh shit” moment. I already had praised Brealey and Cumberbatch for their performance. This might have been Mark Gatiss’ best performance on the show. Mycroft wasn’t just the cold bastard he usually is. He was heroic this episode, being willing to sacrifice his life so his brother didn’t have to kill a friend. When Sherlock complimented him on a performance he gave in school, you could see he was actually touched. Too bad his writing wasn’t up to his acting this time.
The 4th season in general was very good. We got to see Sherlock embrace the emotional part of his personality. By embracing it, he became a stronger person, a whole person. Even though Eurus and Mycroft might be smarter than Sherlock, he is a stronger person than they are. I read that Moffat saw this as a finale in the sense that the origin story for Sherlock and John is completed. If they come back, they’ll come back as the mature men we’ve seen them portrayed in the past. That would be cool to see. I really like this show and hope to see new episodes again in a few years.

Episode Grade: B-
Season Grade: A-

Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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