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'Sherlock' Recap: Maybe Try Being Ordinary, It's Better Than What You Gave Us

By Emily Cutler | TV | January 16, 2017 |

By Emily Cutler | TV | January 16, 2017 |

Last night’s fourth season (and probable series) finale of Sherlock ‘The Final Problem’ starts with a ruse wherein Sherlock and Watson employ two members of his homeless network to break into Mycroft’s home by posing as a young girl and a clown respectively, and which includes paintings bleeding from their eyes and mouths, the disarming of Mycroft’s secret gun hidden inside the handle of a sword which itself is hidden inside his umbrella, and the doctoring of old home videos that Mycroft just happened to be watching that evening and which had been spliced with the ominous phrase “I’m back.” But clearly Sherlock needed to go to these extreme lengths in order to get the truth from his brother because simply saying, “Hey, John’s therapist claimed to be our long lost sister, and then shot him. (Don’t worry, it was just a tranquilizer!) Want to tell me what the fuck is going on?”, would never work. Basically, they were leaning hard into the “over-elaborate is the same as compelling” idea. This was not a good sign.

I complained in last week’s review that Sherlock seemed less like a brilliant deductive reasoner, and more like a psychic superhero. I should have saved some of those complaints as it seems like Moffat and Gatiss have decided everyone is a superhero. Watson, Sherlock, and Mycroft all escape seemingly unscathed from a grenade detention, and in Watson and Sherlock’s case, a two-story drop out of a window. Hey, remember when Sherlock dropped that CIA agent out of the exact same window back in ‘Scandal in Belgravia,’ and it nearly killed him? Good thing they fixed that street outside, I guess. Also we’re forced to assume that Mrs. Hudson also survived the blast, but we’re given literally no indication of that because “female character.” Then again, everyone knows Moffat always has trouble writing women characters and following a cohesive plot.

So Watson and Sherlock discover that Sherlock has a younger sister, Eurus, who’s a straight up psychopath. She doesn’t seem to feel pain, she kidnapped and presumably killed Sherlock’s childhood dog Redbeard, and then she burned the house down. The three men travel to the super-secret prison where Eurus is being held in a Magneto-level cell, and is not allowed single visitors. Her mind-control manipulation powers are seemingly so great that if you speak to her alone, she’ll curse you with her black magic “enslave” you by talking about stuff. She hasn’t been the same since Mycroft brought her a Christmas present five years ago in the form of a five minute unsupervised conversation with Jim “Did You Miss Me” Moriarty. Either with the help of Moriarty or that of the governor of the prison, Eurus takes control of the entire prison setting up various murder rooms, kidnapped three brothers because one of them killed someone, hijacks a plane that’s about to crash someplace, and set up a fake murder room at the Holmes’ ancestral home, Musgrave. What Eurus and Moriarty did not have time to discuss, apparently, is where the pair fell on the Sherlock Suicide argument. Moriarty was super “pro” while Eurus was very “anti.” It seems to me like one of those things that should have been made blatant to the other, but maybe it never occurred to them that it’s something they might disagree about. Like those poor couples who don’t find out until they’re engaged that they’re not on the same page about kids. These things happen.

But because Eurus super doesn’t want Sherlock to kill himself, she won’t call his bluff when he turns the single bullet on himself. Instead Watson and Sherlock are drugged, taken to Musgrave where Watson’s thrown down a well, and Sherlock’s only means of saving him is to solve the mystery of where Eurus killed Redbeard all those years ago. Also Redbeard is not a dog, but actually Sherlock’s childhood best friend Viktor Trevor. Which means that this scene from ‘Sign of Three’



went from “Wow, Mycroft, did you seriously mock your younger brother about his dead dog right before he had to give a big speech?” to “Holy shit, Mycroft, did you seriously just mock your younger brother about his murdered childhood best friend, who was kidnapped by your younger sister who, due to the trauma involved, your younger brother has completely blocked from his memory, right before he has to give a big speech?! What the shit is wrong with you?” Mycroft might answer that he was monitoring Sherlock’s mental state, and wanted to see if the additional stress of John’s wedding would jar free any memories. Cool. But what were you planning to do if he had remembered something? What if you cause a near-psychotic break in your younger brother because you wanted to see how he reacts to stress? There’s no way that’s not an exceedingly dickish move at this point.

Mycroft’s sociopathy aside (seriously, what is up with Mama and Papa Holmes’ parenting?), Sherlock has to find John and also prevent that hijacked airplane from crashing at the same time. Eurus continues feeding him clues about Watson’s location in the form of a song from their childhood, and allows Sherlock to speak to the young girl on the airplane who is the only passenger awake. Luckily for him, Sherlock solves the mystery at the very last minute, and rescues Watson from drowning in that well. Unluckily for us, Sherlock also saves that airplane, because it turns out it was all a highly realistic metaphor for Eurus’ isolation and pain at being rejected by her brother when they were children. Yeah, as it turns out, the entire reason Eurus was a completely jacked-up, heartless monster is because Sherlock wouldn’t play with her. That is how mass murdering psychopaths are created, right? Because their older siblings have friends?

This is usually where I offer some overall critique of the show’s strengths and weakness, but this time the whole show can get fucked. This was bad. It was really bad. And just to make sure that Moffat really Moffated all over the place, he reduced a legitimately terrifying villain into a fragile, lonely girl, ignored Molly Hooper entirely except for the few minutes when Eurus wanted to torture her by making her tell Sherlock she loved him, and had Mary send a second from-beyond-the-grave video where she reminded John and Sherlock that all that’s really important to her is that they keep solving crimes together. Not her kid or her widowered husband, but that the fucking game stays on. Great.

I’m going to Eurus this entire season from my memory.