Home Reviews Sherlock Season Finale Review: “The Final Problem”

Sherlock Season Finale Review: “The Final Problem”

written by Jake Tanner January 16, 2017
Sherlock looks concerned.

Sherlock is already over? Well, crap.

Sherlock looks concerned.

I can’t believe we’re already here. Sherlock season 4 is coming to an end. When we last left off, Watson was being held up by Eurus, who is presumably behind all of the Moriarty “resurfacing.” Episode 2 ended with a gunshot. What’s going to happen to Watson? Will this be the end of the original dynamic duo? Let’s dive in!


The episode starts oddly reminiscent of the “death plane” from an earlier episode of the show. The only person awake, a little girl, answers a lone cell phone that’s ringing and on the other end? Jim Moriarty. He introduces us to tonight’s episode….”Welcome to the Final Problem.”

I’m back Mycroft

We haven’t seen much of Mycroft so far this season, much to my dismay. He adds a little something extra to the show. He’s definitely struggling with the potential return of Moriarty. It’s so strange to see him this vulnerable. Or not. It turns out that Sherlock is just being a giant d-bag. He’s set the whole thing up in an effort to get Mycroft to admit to the existence of Eurus. And the game is on…

An east wind is coming

Eurus Holmes

I feel like this is going to be an ongoing theme throughout tonight’s show. Eurus means “the god of the east wind” in Greek and she’s most definitely coming to terrorize Sherl, Mycroft, and John. I’m so excited to see how it will tie into Moriarty’s “I’m Back” messages.

It’s pretty incredible that Sherlock can’t remember Eurus. I love the back and forth between Mycroft, John, and Sherlock.

Mycroft while pointing to John, “Why is he here? This is a family matter!”

Sherlock, “And that’s why he’s here!”

One of Sherlock’s catchphrases is “I’m a high-functioning sociopath.” It would seem that Eurus showed signs of psychopathy even at a young age, starting with the “disappearance” of Sherlock’s dog, Redbeard. So much so that it traumatized him into forgetting her.

The trap is set

Eurus flies a drone into 221B Baker Street with a motion sensor grenade attached to it. This isn’t a game anymore, indeed. Bye-bye 221B Baker Street. This really makes me wonder if this episode will be the end…

This leads to Sherlock, Mycroft, and John to head to the island where they’ve been keeping Eurus captive. If Mycroft is unaware that she’s been coming and going as she pleases, I’d guess she’s even smarter than she seems.

Holmes V Holmes

Forget Batman v Superman, this is the heavyweight showdown I’ve been waiting to see. Mycroft may be the “smarter” one, but everyone knows that Sherlock is special. It turns out that Eurus is too. She can “reprogram” anyone she talks to. Will it work on Sherlock? It honestly seems like it will…

I can’t help but feel like I’m re-watching the very first episode all over again. Sherlock is in trouble, but has no idea. In a room filled with genius, John is the only one that knows what’s going on…Eurus has taken over the prison from the inside.

Did you miss me?

Jim Moriarty on Sherlock

He’s back…sort of. It would seem that Mycroft isn’t the only one playing a long con when it comes to Eurus. Five years prior to tonight’s episode he brought in Moriarty to see Eurus for a conversation, and it’s all about Sherlock Holmes.

Whether he’s alive in the present or not, it’s so great to see Andrew Scott back on the show as Jim Moriarty. He adds another dimension to the show entirely, even if his brief interaction we see with Eurus is…strange to say the least.

Welcome to the final problem

It would seem that this is all indeed a long con by Moriarty. Everything has been pre-recorded in order to set up Sherlock and Watson.

Eurus has them trapped in a room with a classic conundrum: Kill the governor or his wife dies, but there’s a catch, Sherlock can’t pull the trigger. You see, he’s a sociopath and won’t feel any guilt in doing so. No, either John or Mycroft has to do it. God, Eurus is messed up.


She’s pretty much Jigsaw from the Saw franchise and instead of inflicting straight up physical damage on himself, Eurus is making Sherlock inflict psychological damage on the two people he’s closest to, Mycroft and John. It’s becoming increasingly evident that he leans on John far more than we’re led to believe.

Puzzle #3

Sherl, John, and Mycroft walk into a room with an empty coffin. Sherlock is still trying to figure out who the little girl on the plane is and where the plane itself is going. Eurus isn’t going to let him get too much information though…

Someone is going to fill that coffin…Molly. Now we know where Sherlock’s “I love you” from the trailer comes from. We haven’t really seen Molly this season and I wish we were seeing her in a better context.

I’ve never been in more suspense than when I was watching this scene. Sherlock has to get Molly to say “I love you” or she’s dead. She admits that she’s always loved him, and Eurus admits that Molly was never in any real danger. This was all to prove a point.

Puzzle #4

Oh god. The next room is completely empty. Sherlock has to choose, John or Mycroft. Who gets to go on?

Of course, Mycroft makes the decision seem easy. “Kill John and make it swift so we can get to work.”

It isn’t that easy, though. John makes Sherlock better. It turns out that Mycroft was intentionally antagonizing Sherlock to make the decision easier. I’m really starting to think that this is the end…

Sherlock has turned the gun on himself. “It only took them 5 minutes to do all of this to us.” Before he can pull the trigger, he’s tranquilized.

This isn’t a game anymore…

sherlock season 4 trailer screenshot

John is locked in a small dungeon with water in the bottom. He’s found some small bones. I think we finally know what happened to Redbeard…

Eurus has moved the group to the Holmes’ childhood home.

“It’s time to solve the very first case, and the final problem.”

It’s up to Sherlock to figure out where John is. (He’s in a well.)

What the %$*#?!

It turns out the Holmes family never had a dog. Sherlock made Redbeard up in his head, and Mycroft played along with the lie. Redbeard was the nickname of Sherlock’s childhood best friend, a little boy. Eurus was jealous that she couldn’t play pirates with the two boys so she locked the little boy away and murdered him…

Okay, let’s play

Sherlock won’t let Eurus murder another one of his best friends. The game is truly on!

There was also never a little girl in a plane. It was somehow Eurus the entire time, trying to lure Sherlock into “playing” with her.

Who would have thought that all of this time that Mycroft was the true villain? His actions can be traced back to the cause of all of this.


John and Sherlock are delivered a real final thought by John’s late wife. Words have never rang more true than what she said to her “Baker Street Boys.”

“P.S. I know you two. And if I’m gone, I know what you could become, because I know who you really are. A junkie who solves crimes to get high and the doctor who never came home from the war. Will you listen to me? Who you really are, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the legend…the stories…the adventures. There is a last refuge for the desperate, the unloved, the persecuted…there is a final court of appeal for everyone. When life gets too strange, too impossible, too frightening…there is always one last hope. When all else fails there are two men sitting, arguing in a scruffy, little flat, like they’ve always been there…and they always will. The best and wisest men I have ever known…my Baker Street boys…Sherlock Holmes, and Dr. Watson.”

Final Thoughts

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson

The ending of tonight’s episode really makes me think this is the end. If it is, it’s the end that Sherlock and Watson deserve in this universe. The episode tonight was a little bit messy and all over the place, but then again so has this show in general. It’s not due to laziness, or incompetence, but the show is fashioned over how Sherlock as a character is meant to be.

I hope this isn’t it. I’d love to see at least one more season of Benedict Cumberbatch in that goofy ass hat, but if this is it, I can re-binge the entire series with a smile on my face. BBC, Benedict, and Martin Freeman did these characters more than justice. They literally brought two of my favorite fictional characters of all time to life, and not in a gimmicky way.

Sherlock as a series had something for everyone. Comedy, drama, action, and the occasional moment that could bring tears to your eyes, tonight’s show, much like the entire series, is a must watch for any fan of the mystery genre.

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