by Cameron Watson
Since the series began back in Spring of 2010, the BBC’s Sherlock has become a complete global phenomenon and its stars have been propelled into the forefront of the global media.
It has become one of the BBC’s most watched shows and is anxiously awaited every time a series ends and considering we only ever get 3 episodes at a time, let’s have a critical review of this series offering. Oh, and before we get into it SPOILERS, SPOLIERS, MY GOD SPOILERS!!!
This series feels like the biggest departure from every series that comes before it, although still strong in parts, I feel it is the weakest series, mainly due to “The six Thatcher’s” being the most terrible, gosh darn awful episode ever made and the other two having a few flaws.
It is also the series that departs from the source material the most, the first two episodes did in fact adapt previous stories (“The Adventure of the Six Napoleons” and “The Adventure of the Dying Detective”) yet the series finale was a completely new story created by the writers, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the latter also playing Sherlock’s brother Mycroft.
The series began with “The Six Thatcher’s”, a story revolving around bust’s of Margaret Thatcher, John and Mary’s new born baby, Sherlock’s inability to be a functioning human, past tales of espionage, some fight scenes, a case open and closed within 5 minutes of it being introduced, a (not so) emotional death, some really awkwardly placed monologues, a cheating husband… kinda and some a really odd editing style.
Hopefully that reflected how convoluted, misplaced, odd and just off in general the episode was.
In all honesty I can categorically say it in the worst episode of Sherlock to have been made so far as none of it felt like the classic Sherlock we have all loved since “A Study in Pink” first aired.
The few merits it had were the first real fight scene we have from the detective, harking back to the novels were Sherlock was a well known boxer, with another merit being…em… actually that is it for me.
Maybe I’m just overly critical of it but shouldn’t we be critical of the things we love? The main thing that bugged me to hell and back was the fact that the first 30 minutes felt like a series of short sketches that served no real purpose.
The opening, focusing on what happened at Appledore, seemed to also be played off as a comedic sketch as Mycroft and his peers altered the footage of Sherlock killing Magnussen to make it look like a member of the task force did it instead, clearing Sherlock of charges which he nonchalantly brushed off.
Even Mary’s death seemed to lack any emotional punch as she hardly featured in the episode except for some awful monologue narration.
Overall, I think you can tell that I wasn’t a fan. Let’s leave this awful episode behind.
Episode Rating: 1/5
Episode 2 then began to bring some normality back to the entire series with a well crafted and executed episode titled “The Lying Detective”.
It opened with a chilling set up from Toby Jones playing serial killer Culverton Smith that then led into an incredibly well executed scene where Sherlock worked out that Smith is a killer, learning the “one-word” name is in fact “anyone” through the traditional style we are used to throughout the series.
It presented us with a clear beginning, middle and end before a revelation leading into the last episode of the series but also tying up the “miss me?” cliff-hanger left by Moriarty back at the end of series 3.
The introduction of Eurus was done with such grace and genuinely left me staggered, having no clue that she was three previous character’s in this series.
Eurus showed us finally that the Holmes children were masters of disguise and Gatiss and Moffat had managed to create an intriguing character who never even appeared in the original Arthur Conan Doyle cannon.
Episode Rating: 3.5/5
The series reached its (hugely) dramatic climax in “The Final Problem”, a Saw-esque episode that was carried out with thrills, drama, some genuine raw emotion.
A brilliant way to round off a series that was rocky, but also clever tool to round of the entire series that could now been seen as a way that Sherlock and Watson become the men of the books and early films that came before it.
The episode consisted of Eurus, Sherlock and Mycroft’s highly intelligent sister that has been kept in a high security prison since childhood, setting Sherlock Mycroft and John tasks and problems to slowly ruin their psychological state while trying to save a girl on a plane.
Each task is done incredibly well however the “I Love You” task is one of the most heartbreaking and painful to watch as Molly Hooper is forced again to admit her feelings for Sherlock, the fallout from this wasn’t managed too well. This scene however it did make for an incredibly sick and hard to watch moment in the episode.
Sherlock later then threatens to kill himself after being told to kill Watson or Mycroft and in order to make sure the final problem is solved, Eurus tranquilises the three with Sherlock and Watson making at the old Holmes estate.
It is then revealed that Sherlock’s dog, Red Beard, was actually his best friend and when Eurus killed him Sherlock suppressed the memory with one that wasn’t as horrifying.
Sherlock then deciphers an old cryptic song Eurus used to sing to Sherlock about the location of his old friends grave, which Watson now occupies while water steadily fills it up. The location however is revealed to be Eurus’ bedroom and all she ever wanted was brotherly love from her older brother.
Although cute, this does seem to be rather unimpressive in the grand scale of things, but does bring to light a more human side to the Holmes family which has been so desperately needed throughout the entire run.
Overall the episode, in my opinion, is one of the best in the entire catalogue we have (so far). It was heartfelt and incredibly tense throughout. Oh, and having Moriarty back was a lovely touch!
Episode Rating: 4/5
Overall, given all the praise I have given to the series, it has been the weakest overall.
That is only because Sherlock has always been so incredibly brilliant and so having a whole episode that was quite literally the definition of shit; the series has fallen below the rest, even if the other 2 episodes were beautifully created.
If they leave the whole thing here, the creators have done a brilliant job creating a (sort of) origin story to the old men we usually see but if they choose to continue I would be more than happy.
Just be better. Please.