** SPOILER WARNING: I REPEAT, SPOILERS LAY IN WAIT**
That was freaking awesome.
I could end the review there to be honest. I don’t know that much more needs to be said. But that would deprive you of the photos of Sammi watching this episode, which to be honest, pretty much tell a story themselves!
So to lets get down to business. Which is exactly what this episode did. I don’t think I’ve ever watched anything else that has held my undivided attention, had me sitting up and forward, hanging on every new camera angle, twist or revelation, from the first second to the very last (5400th by my calculation), quite like ‘The Final Problem’.
There are a couple of things that you do have to overlook. Firstly you have to slightly suspend disbelief, there are a few elements that do seem to stretch the realms of reality. That all three of Sherlock, John and Mycroft could make it out of the exploding flat and rescue Mrs Hudson, without a scratch on them apparently. That Sherlock could really have completely forgotten a sister and best friend, save for putting an imaginary dog in their place. [Or that he’s conveniently missed the fact that his Dad is deathly allergic to dogs] That he wouldn’t have been put through years of psychiatry himself in order to deal with those events. That there wouldn’t be a police record of the events, which Lestrade et al might have be privy to. But we’ve always had to step just outside the margins of belief, so none of those facts felt jarring or too unlikely in the episode.
The second think you had to be prepared to forgive was a couple of slightly off-kilter shots. Near the beginning of the episode I was just commenting that ‘the cinematography has been really stunning so far’ when the explosion scene happened. I loved the slow motion start, and the interior view of Sherlock and John going through the windows, but the actual part where they are leaping out of a fireball looked far too unrealistic. Like I’d cut their pictures out of the Radio Times and stuck them over my two year old’s artistic interpretation of the sun. The other shot that came to mind was the very end of the episode, Sherlock and John doing a very odd galloping run out of a building. It was a slight dampener to be the finishing moment of what had been, to my mind, one of if not the best episode of Sherlock to date. But when I went back and looked at that scene, I noted the name of the location they were departing ‘Rathbone Place’, and realised it was a nod to a former Holmes, so maybe it could be forgiven.
Other than those very minor blips, which actually didn’t mar my enjoyment of this clever episode, I don’t think they could have done much more. There was an excellent dosage of fan service – bringing back Andrew Scott as Moriarty was a clear payoff for those who have been longing for his whimsical crazy to return, and it was done fantastically. The misdirection of having him appear to turn up at Sherringford, only then to reveal it was five years previous, and not that he actually had defied a bullet through the brain, was clever and I’m sure drew audible reactions from everyone watching.
Talking of brilliantly portraying crazy, Sian Brooke as Euros was disturbing, engaging, disconcerting and enamoring all at once. The entirely disconnected from humanity, devoid of morality, framed as innocent childish wonder and experiment made Euros Holmes possibly one of the creepiest villains, without the outright threat of violence. Even those who’d been secretly hoping for Tom Hiddleston to appear as a third Holmes brother, could not have been disappointed with the Holmes sister.
The only thing I could possibly be disappointed with, is how much this felt like the end. I saw a quote from a cast interview, where this series was described as ‘a very complete thing’, and I utterly agree. This finale tied up not only this series, but so many parts of the previous series. It showed that the faith in the shows writers was not misplaced (well apart from when they decided to bring a murderous clown into our brains just before bedtime), and that they have had that golden thread of narrative throughout every episode and series they have written. When Mary called them the ‘Baker Street boys’ and Lestrade announced Sherlock to be a good man, it felt complete and final. We don’t know whether there will ever be more Sherlock episodes, if not then it has finished without anything left unanswered or said. However, there is the opportunity to bring completely new story lines and cases to Sherlock and Watson. I think if there is more to come, then it will be more about clever investigation and the inherent capers that brings, because the foundation for the partnership is solidly there now. We can live in hope of seeing them and their supporting players again.