The not so brilliant Final Problem

BBC’s Sherlock season four disappoints viewers


photo credit Adam Orr

Watching The Final Problem, the final episode of season 4 of BBC's Sherlock, freshman Addie Orr analyzes the various plot holes in the episode, The Final Problem. The episode premiered Jan. 1, and it was immediately faced with backlash from longtime fans.

writer Addie Orr, Editor in Chief

The thrill of the chase, the blood pumping through your veins, the imminent danger of a case. The fourth season of BBC’s Sherlock, which premiered Jan. 1, was widely anticipated, and it was well worth the three-year wait (with the exception of The Abominable Bride), for the most part. The first two episodes of the series were absolutely brilliant, however, the fourth episode failed to meet the exceptionally high standard set by all previous episodes.

The show’s massive fan base was severely disappointed by the conclusion of the series. I personally hated it, as it was full of cheap storytelling tactics, plot holes, and completely obliterating the hours of work fans put into their theorizing. Generally, the show is very intelligent and begs the fans to analyze every tiny detail, from the emotions of the brilliant actors to the newspaper clippings hung on the wall in the background. However, the final moments of The Lying Detective completely disregarded the show’s previous seasons by introducing a character, who should have been in Sherlock’s perfect mind palace, that completely changed everything we thought we knew about the show.

Sherlock’s fourth season was a meh series that had no history making qualities.”

— Addie Orr

The characters of this show were brilliantly written, staying more true to the original works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (unlike the Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson of Elementary). Keyword: were. The Final Problem reduces the brilliant Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) to simply a brilliant storyteller that is manipulated by his family. The brave Doctor John Watson (Martin Freeman) becomes merely Sherlock’s pet, only there as a damsel in distress, awaiting his rescue from Sherlock. The sweethearted Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) is obliterated, and the once beautifully written and strong character was left in shreds. The only good thing that happened to any character was Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs), who I loved even more, which is saying something, the second she pulled up in her candy apple red, high-end sports car.

The plot of the episode was not nearly up to the standards set by episode such as The Great Game and The Reichenbach Fall. Cheap plot tactics and major plot holes were laced throughout the episode, even further negating the analysis of the episodes. Random plot twists that made absolutely no sense were woven into the already slacking plot. It was standard for usual television viewers, but didn’t satisfy the longtime and extremely dedicated cult following the show has gathered.

By far the worst part for me was the massive build up to the series, only for the fandom to be let down. As a devoted fan of the show since the airing of the last season, I closely followed the production of the show, watching interview after interview. The actors, particularly Freeman, Cumberbatch and Amanda Abbington (Mary Watson), were raving about the show, calling it history making, revolutionary, something that’s never been done before. Quite a few fans believed this meant that Sherlock and John might become a couple, which would have made television history. What we got was a meh series that had no history making qualities.

Despite all this, I still have hope for the show and will remain a dedicated fan. I still believe in the brilliance of the writers and am still in love with the beautiful acting and visuals this show provides. But for some, this episode was unforgivable. Will there be a next season of the show? Will it be better than this one? All fans can do now is hope (and wait for three years).