Sherlock Holmes The Final Problem
SPOILER ALERT — this is just one giant spoiler
I’ve just finished watching the last episode of Sherlock Holmes Series 4 — The Final Problem. There seemed quite a few random, unexplained events. So, I’ve tried to pull them together into a logically consistent story. Is this what was intended? I think this may be a so-called fan-theory. Back in the days when I did this for a living I’d call it a speculative fix (when I added the fix), but in retrospect fan theory would be an excellent term for a field-bug hypothesis.
Mycroft. You what??
The first issue is Mycroft. If his sister is a super-intelligent psychopath, why on earth did he let her have 5 minutes with the most dangerous master criminal currently in circulation. It makes no sense whatsoever. Unless…
Eurus could control Mycroft from the start
OK, that’s plausible, she can control everyone else so why not Mycroft? In which case she’s always been pretty free with a total run of the prison, which is just somewhere to live. So what’s her motivation? She can control everyone, so boring. Except Sherlock, who wouldn’t play with her. So, let’s make an assumption…
Eurus’ primary motivation in life is to get Sherlock to play with her
And she’s happy to play the long game. Her first attempt completely misfired and now Sherlock has blanked her by forgetting her very existence. So that really didn’t work. She needs a do-over, but there is an issue.
Sherlock doesn’t have a best friend, so no do-over
But then he meets Watson. Hurray! But then disaster, they fall out (again!) over the pesky issue of the death of Watson’s wife. Bummer.
At this point, we have another completely unexplained plot element…
Why did Eurus set Sherlock on Culverton Smith?
Sherlock started pursuing Smith because Eurus appeared and basically told him to, while pretending to be Smith’s daughter. Why? At first, I thought maybe so the BBC could spin a self-serving tale about how no-one could possible have spotted Jimmy Saville short of Sherlock Holmes. But let’s suppose it was actually so that…
Sherlock would get back with his best friend just like Mary said
Great. Job done. Next a rather complex luring of SH to Eurus’ prison where after a bit of psychopathic scene-setting (which is actually key — last time Eurus screwed up by completely failing to predict SH’s reaction to his friend’s death. This time she leave less to chance by running him through a whole series of psych assessments beforehand, because as we’ve established, she’s a tad unempathetic). Now Eurus recreates the childhood well incident, but this time Sherlock solves it and Eurus helps, the best friend is saved, SH forgives Eurus and he will play (violin) with her. Eurus’ mission accomplished.
Why did she meet Moriarty?
Moriarty was getting a bit dangerous for Holmes, but after meeting Eurus he rapidly kills himself after recording a lot of useful vines. BTW she clearly had much more than 5 mins with him but we only ever had Mycroft’s word for that and he’s compromised. Things go a bit wrong when Sherlock fakes his own death and disappears for 2 years and generally falls out with JW, but eventually he comes back, they make up and everyone’s happy. Then disaster, SH kills Magnussen and gets shipped off to die! Fortunately, Eurus has all those clips, so she releases one just in the nick of time (she does have Mycroft under her control after all, so she’s reasonably well-informed) and we’re back on the route to the well.
The interesting thing is they could have had this story arc in from the start. The implication is Eurus only got active once Moriarty told her SH finally now had another best friend who you could threaten in order to manipulate him.
That’s a bit geeky and convoluted but it does logically and somewhat psychologically hold together, which I vastly prefer. I am now happy with that episode.
I have noticed a recent trend of not explaining a complex and well constructed plot at the end of the series (West World particularly so). I can’t help but feel this is a mistake! I guess it’s to encourage folk to think and discuss and continue the show beyond the fourth wall via fan theories. I love Agatha Christie’s extremely well-plotted and completely deducible stories, but maybe the way they are explained so completely is a bit pat, and though it works well in a book (you have plenty of time to solve it and you can go back and re-read earlier scenes) on TV it’s moving too fast to tie everything together by the reveal at the end unless you really want to piss off your husband by pausing the telly. OK, I can see the reasoning.
So what was wrong with this series
Well, it was a bit geeky and convoluted. I’m actually not a huge fan of a story arc. And the Jimmy Saville stuff was rather tasteless.
But what I particularly didn’t like about ep3 was the Ring imagery. Where was that going? The Eurus haircut and the well!? Ring itself seems to be a re-envisaging of a Victorian horror story called Casting the Runes, by MR James (or is that a pure coincidence of the chain-letter concept?). Is that a hint there about future storylines? I couldn’t tie it into the episode at all. Unless they are separately selling a future project which is a modern version of Victorian horror stories like “the yellow wallpaper”? That would be very cool. Modern Quatermass.
Hmm. Does that make better sense? Not sure.