‘Sherlock’ review: ‘The Final Problem’ was a great way to end the show

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Great (Andrew) Scott!

Talk about being inundated with exposition. Eurus is a truly terrifying character, showing us how genius morphs into madness. And all because she wanted her big brother to play with her.

The first half of the show seemed to lag, with conclusions being reached by the audience long before Sherlock’s eyes widen with comprehension. This ate up valuable time, causing the second half of the episode to feel rushed.

In terms of Moriarty and Eurus – the modern day Bonnie and Clyde, or would Sid and Nancy be more appropriate? Madness attracts madness and I would have paid good money for even a glimpse at their five minute conversation. Heck, a whole season devoted to Moriarty and Eurus sounds like a good time.

But let’s look at the start of the episode; Mycroft’s love of femme fatale noir seems too good to be true and in all honesty, who wouldn’t almost succumb to a heart attack at a clown chasing them through their house? Nicely played, Sherlock. The Holmes brothers do love their dramatics.

Sneaking into the prison seemed ridiculous after surviving the bomb blast in the apartment. If Mycroft ran the place, why would he need to sneak in? Looking for a cheap thrill? While it looked spectacular on screen, this entire sequence took far too long, the build up drowning under its own hype.

Sian Brooke dazzles as the unhinged Holmes sister Eurus, living in a cell with a glass wall and only a violin to play with. But it soon becomes apparent her other favourite hobby is messing with people’s minds until they are slaves to her whims.

And her whim is to have her brothers and Watson scurry around the prison like lab rats, passing one test after the other. The cruellest test was surely the call to Molly Hooper. Those three little words that could destroy a person. Good play on her for twisting it around, making Sherlock say it first. He only needed to say it once and yet he repeated himself and sounded sincere enough to make Molly believe him. Hearts around the world shattered.

Sherlock knew the only way to stop the experiment was to take himself out of the equation, but little sister was not finished playing with him.

How often can one be tranquilised and transported around before it leaves permanent damage?

John finds himself chained to the bottom of a well and Sherlock wakes up in a cell. Or so he thinks.  Knock down a wall and he’s home. Well, at the family home, burned down by a young Eurus.

Now this is where the episode really picks up. Sherlock has three mysteries to solve: Where is the well? Where is Eurus? How do you teach a little girl to land a plane on the phone?

The grave stone bit was smart but went by too fast, we didn’t have time to enjoy it before Sherlock was rushing off to find Eurus having a breakdown in her bedroom. It was too convenient for her to have held it together up to that point. It doesn’t fit nicely into the arc. What is truly shocking is the revelation that Redbeard is not a dog! Instead, a childhood friend of Sherlock’s that Eurus disposed of purely out of spite and jealousy.

We see Watson being rescued from the well followed by a scene I had dared to wish to hope they’d include; the Holmes parents giving Mycroft a piece of their minds. Watching the great Mycroft wither under his mother’s stare was truly entertaining.

Mary shows up again in another DVD (let’s hope she spent as much time also making these DVDs for the daughter that she seemed pretty certain she’d soon be leaving motherless), which comes across as a farewell epilogue to the audience.

Thanks for watching, they’ll keep on the good fight. Now go write your own adventures. All this is underplayed by a montage of the future. Sherlock and John working cases, Mrs Hudson and Molly to help with baby Rosie. Sherlock playing the violin for Eurus in her cell, cajoling her to join him. The Holmes family healing together, reaching out to include Eurus by visiting her, and she finally gets what she wants. She gets to play with her big brother.

All in all, what a great way to end a truly phenomenal show.

Aired at 9pm on Sunday 15 January 2017 on BBC One.

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