Saturday, January 28, 2017

BBC Sherlock S4E3 "The Final Problem" - Recap and Review

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There will be spoilers throughout and the readers who are yet to watch the episode are recommended to skip this post.

As seen at the end of The Lying Detective”, there is one more Holmes lurking around and that is Eurus (Sian Brooke). Eurus is seen taking a shot at John Watson (Martin Freeman) and this is supposedly meant to indicate that either John is dead or at least injured.

The season finale starts off with Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss) watching classic movie at his palatial home. Suddenly, horror movie cliches (creepy girl and creepy clown running around randomly) abound and Mycroft is scared out of his wits. Turns out that his brother dear Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is behind this charade.

Sherlock wanted to get even with Mycroft for not revealing the existence of Eurus. And as an added bonus, John is still alive. What about getting shot by the scheming sister, you ask. Well, it was just a tranquilizer shot. No worries.

Mycroft then gives a quick rundown about Eurus (an era defining genius beyond Newton). If only she had not gone bad, the world would have benefited from her genius intellect or at the least Sherlock would not have had so much trouble from that pesky criminal mastermind, Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott).


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But as thing stand, Eurus has gone bonkers. As if she had predicted the exact time and day of this conversation, Eurus arranges a nice explosion at 221 B Baker Street by sending a remote controlled drone. Man, that Eurus is so smart.

Like any respectable action heroes would do in such a situation, Sherlock and John escape completely unscathed and decide to take the war right back to sister dear.

The next scene shifts to Sherlock, John and Mycroft arriving at Sherrinford and right at this moment, the show divorced itself from Arthur Conan Doyle's works (on which it is supposed to be based on).

The rest of the episode is busy doing an ill-advised and completely out of place imitation of the Saw horror movies rather than be a show about a bohemian detective. And yes, the resolution. The resolution comes and goes like the Miss Hudson cameo in the other equally inept adaptation that also claims to be based on one Mr Sherlock Holmes: the CBS show known as Elementary.

Coming back to this show,  Eurus has taken complete control of Sherrinford and subjects her dearest brothers and the ex army veteran to a series of psychological tests including making a phone call to Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), one character choosing between shooting one of the other two etc. Yes, the episode is that bad.

A special mention must be made of the closing montage. With the departed Mary Morstan still making her presence felt through DVDs (come to think of it, so many characters make their appearances through clips after dying..), the show ends with a tribute to Basil Rathbone with the lead actors continuing the time honored tradition of Batman and Robin running towards the camera.


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Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs), who stole the show in the previous episode, has the best line in this one too: her exchange with Mycroft about a cup of tea.

Surprisingly, the best performance is not given by either the Holmes brothers or their new found sister or even the cute as a button and always teary eyed John. It is Andrew Scott as the late Jim Moriarty with his very brief but very catchy and enjoyable contributions by imitating the sounds of time ticking away and train sounds.

I know this makes no sense when you read it, but it really translates well to screen. I have never been a fan of Andrew's over the top version of Moriarty, but this was just pure fun. Scott's performance remains the only redeeming feature of this shipwreck of what was once a widely acclaimed show. Here is an article that captures the unbelievable plot holes and gaps in the script.

Going forward, I can only hope for two things: that the BBC show never returns, and that Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr. learn from this mistake and continue their great work with the third Sherlock Holmes movie.

Click here to read the list of Canonical References in the episode. Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

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Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece theater

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