Sherlock: 4.03 The Final Problem
There's a problem with the model of this show. These days its audience has learnt that the bigger the cliffhanger, the bigger the fake-out. And with Eurus, The East Wind, the murderous Holmes sister, directly threatening Watson's life, we were surprised, but not afraid. And rightly so, the tranquilliser shot isn't even shown in the episode.
The introduction of Sian Brooke's Eurus has apparently been the plan since series one, kept a secret for as long as possible. Finally it's time for the endgame of this "era-defining genius"; The Final Problem. In Doyle's original story of the same name, it's in this story that Holmes apparently dies at the hands of Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls.
Eurus was always part of the lives of the Holmes family, until even as a child her psychopathic tendencies couldn't my be ignored anymore. Genius, unchecked by social mores. Sherrinford, originally the name Doyle pick for the third Doyle brother, was the asylum for the criminally insane where Mycroft had stashed her.
Best check out that prison island then, as pirates, as foreshadowed by Holmes' childhood flashback. It's a tense set of scenes in the prison, with Eurus as creepy as Lecter, her manipulation revealed like layers of an onion.
Enter Moriarty; Andrew Scott returning in a marvellous, roiling wave of funtime madness. It's just a shame it's a flashback, but it's the only thing that makes sense. Retconning his death would have been a travesty. He provides colour to Eurus' experiment. The stake is a planeful of people, with only a little girl with a phone awake upon it. The goal of the experiment, of her games, is for Eurus to understand her brother Sherlock; how he solves problems, represses his emotion, how he deals with death. She's always wanted someone to play with.
The game that asks Sherlock to get Molly to say she loves him is particularly tense, particularly emotional, and Louise Brealey plays it to perfection. This is a highpoint in a spectacularly strong episode. At last we've moved away from secret agent high jinx. But, more importantly, this episode has shown Sherlock as an adult, not a child in a man's body, unable to feel or remember names, eternally belittled by his allegedly smarter older brother. There's been a realignment: Sherlock as a man, a confident, grown adult comfortable with himself, his mission, and the bond to his best friend John Watson.
At the end, with 221b Baker Street rebuilt, it feels like a clean slate, but not back to the beginning. These are not, as Mary pointlessly expositions, the 'Baker Street Boys'. These are two good men, competent and driven and ready to solves what needs solving, for those who have nowhere left to turn. It might have taken Moffat et al four seasons to get there, but finally we arrive at the promise of a Sherlock we deserve.