Well. If this series of Sherlock has been one thing, it has been consistent. Every single episode has divided the room.
At the end of episode two we had John facing the armed and dangerous third Holmes sibling who had been masquerading as, amongst other things, his new psychiatrist.
Episode three sees Sherlock endeavouring to come to terms with the fact that he has a sister. A sister that he'd forgotten thanks largely to a combination of trauma and Mycroft. The idea that their parents had never spoken about her or had photos in the house is something that we'll just have to skip over.
Our intrepid duo and Mycroft head to Sherrinford which turns out to be a secure(ish) island facility where Euros has been since an early age. It transpires that she has brainwashed the staff and has been able to come and go at will. It also turns out that she has had Moriarty do her bidding as part of a long standing plan of revenge against her brothers. I can take a bet that most of the fandom went nuts after seeing Moriarty on screen only to end up slightly more subdued two minutes later.
The rather isolated setting made me think of the Basil Rathbone film The House of Fear which remains my favourite of his series. But enough of that....
Euros' vengeance takes the form of a series of psychological tortures imposed on the trio which are, in part, designed to make Sherlock remember his actual childhood as opposed to the memories he had made for himself. Shutter Island meets Saw would be one way of looking at it.
|Is Redbeard all he seems?|
A large number of Canon references have been built in. Most obvious are those which draw on The Gloria Scott and The Musgrave Ritual. I'm not entirely convinced that they were used well but - "it is what it is" (the clear catchphrase of the series).
Lestrade and Molly were underused again but I suppose that was inevitable for the plot to work. Everything depended on a sense of isolation for the main trio. The scene with Molly was close to heartbreaking to watch.
It was, overall, a good episode but it was a little too far away from what I look for. For me The Lying Detective is the stand out episode of the series. In fact I consider last night's episode the weakest of series four.
At the end we're shown the duo rebuilding their lives and accommodation and apparently returning to the more conventional crime solving of series one and two. Steven Moffat has apparently stated that if there is a series five it will return to solving crimes now that Sherlock's back story has been fully fleshed out. I certainly hope so. If there turns out to be no series five they have left it in a place that could be seen as a natural conclusion.
Online reaction has, as I said above, been split. Some adored it and some hated it. Those who've lost faith in the show are not likely to have it restored by this finale. I have seen that some who disliked episode two have been brought round by episode three.
Overall I liked it and it was an improvement on series three which I think lost its way.
I certainly hope for series five and the return to adventures solving crime.
Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here