Sherlock: The Final Problem
January 15, 2017 6:08 PM - Season 4, Episode 3 - Subscribe

In the final episode of this series, written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, long-buried secrets finally catch up with the Baker Street duo. Someone has been playing a very long game indeed and, alone and defenceless, Sherlock and Dr Watson face their greatest ever challenge. Is the game finally over?

Summary from BBC One. The fourth and possibly final series is done. What did we all think?
posted by dame (117 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
What did we all think?

Um, I thought that was terrible. Like really, really terrible.

Am I missing something here? Because I have loved this show and looked past all it's many failings and can fangirl with the best of them, but seriously what did I just watch? What was the point? Maybe someone on tumblr can explain to me why this wasn't actually the worst thing ever.
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:19 PM on January 15, 2017 [21 favorites]


So even if this does come back, it's never going to do an actual mystery episode again, is it. Shame.

I randomly watched the first episode ever last night, and there were some bookends in this. John wears the same coat with the shiny black panels he wore there, and Lestrade's line in the pilot about Sherlock being a great man, and maybe one day he'll be a good one gets paid off here. Feel like hints that this is the end, also hinting at that is the lack of a cliffhanger moment, instead going with Mary narrating a montage of the type of cases we wish we had seen to indicate that things will go on.

But yeah, unfortunately I can't really see the point of any of this year and that's... not so good.
posted by yellowbinder at 6:35 PM on January 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


Yuck.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:36 PM on January 15, 2017


Well, it had characters named Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, but...what the hell did I just watch?

Thank goodness Elementary is on in a few minutes to cleanse the palate.
posted by MrBadExample at 6:40 PM on January 15, 2017 [10 favorites]


Not enough Lestrade.

Overall, a decent episode of Moffat Who - I'm really glad I gave up any idea of Sherlock being a Sherlock Holmes adaption after His Last Vow otherwise that would have been a horrible disappointment.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:41 PM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


An escape the room game! On television! With Sherlock Holmes! Reimagined!
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 6:42 PM on January 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I thought it was awful too. For the last several episodes there's been plot lines and inconsistencies so jarring that I figured they had to be going somewhere cool and metafictional with it. But I guess I overestimated the writers.
posted by galaxy rise at 6:51 PM on January 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


Oh good we all hated it. It was an effective plot to let the writers do whatever they best felt showcased their cleverness — which sadly is not what they seem to think it is.
posted by dame at 6:54 PM on January 15, 2017 [8 favorites]


Also what even was the final video? Who is the deadly spy-assassin who leaves a weird eulogy for her husband and his crime-solving friend? I have so many other implausible questions, but that in particular. Also it is funny that the final montage bit goes back to showing them solving interesting mysteries, seemingly admitting that is actually the good part of these stories.

Something I really love about mysteries (and sportswriting) is that the form can be so calcified that the interest is what you do inside it; restriction making great art, etc. To push so hard on that just seems like not very insightful writing. Moffat can be great sometimes, but not as much as he thinks.
posted by dame at 6:58 PM on January 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


I seem to be the only person on the internet who enjoyed this episode. Since the very beginning, we've been following John as he uncovers why Sherlock is the way he is. A sister murdering his best friend presented as a game is truly the only answer, since it's already been established that Sherlock isn't a robot or a killer. It may not have been a murder of the week in the traditional sense, but the mystery of what destroyed Sherlock's childhood (and I'm glad it wasn't Mycroft) has finally been answered. Not to mention, the case of the best friend - the very first case.

Was there a lot of indulgence? Yes, absolutely. But it's always been there too. Personally I like this explanation for all incarnations of Sherlock Holmes and am pretty satisfied with the ride.
posted by A hidden well at 7:01 PM on January 15, 2017 [19 favorites]


I'm with A hidden well - I enjoyed it as well. Yes, it's gotten goofy, and strayed from "Holmes, but in the 21st century" but all in all an interesting series. If this is the end, then for me it was a good ending.
posted by jazon at 7:10 PM on January 15, 2017 [3 favorites]


It just felt muddled, to me. Just too much crammed in. Mofftiss just can't write economically and with focus. They seem to opt for the "toss it all at a wall" method. They could have left half of the stuff out and still written a taut, engaging thriller that would have been a much more fitting send-off.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:22 PM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sherringford is Dragonstone.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:36 PM on January 15, 2017


Sherringford is Dragonstone.

Azkaban, run by incompetent dementors.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:44 PM on January 15, 2017 [6 favorites]


I mean that was for sure a bananas episode of television, and I feel for people who come to a show called Sherlock for Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, like, being detectives and solving mysteries and such. But I come down on the side of overall enjoying it well enough for what it was. What it was was all over the place and did not make a lot of sense, and I'm not sure how well it'll hold together on rewatch, but god love them, I don't have it in me to completely hate an episode that opens with Mycroft Holmes swordfighting a clown.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:44 PM on January 15, 2017 [21 favorites]


I'm not saying you're wrong to have enjoyed it or anything, but in the absence of consensus on how bad this was I will take the time to spell out why I disliked it:

* Lots of implausible moments thrown in for shock value. John and Sherlock jump through second story windows to escape 221B exploding, and end up without a scratch? Euros can brainwash people by talking to them, and also predict the future?

* Euros's whole story arc. Leaving aside that she's a last-minute addition to the show, which sets her up to be kind of unfulfilling (I was so rooting for villain Mary), the concept of the super smart psychopath villain is just lazy. They didn't show Euros actually being clever, aside from that thing with the glass, which was a cool mindfuck of a moment, I'll give them that. But mostly they just used it as a tool for handwaving away questions like, "How did she get out of confinement?" and "Why can't Sherlock and Mycroft trick her into letting them out of this Saw re-enactment?" Then, to top it all off, she's defeated by what, the power of Sherlock's love for her? Feelings of loneliness and vulnerability that conveniently never manifest earlier in the episode? It's just a weird and unsatisfying arc to me.

* There are a lot of elements which have never felt resolved to me and which I was hoping would play a big role in this ep. Why did Mary shoot Sherlock back in His Last Vow? Why did Mycroft never tell Sherlock that John's girlfriend/fiance/wife was an assassin who had worked for him? Why all the unreliable narrator imagery and dialogue and the Checkov's Gun of the TD-12 that corrupts peoples' memories?

* Regardless of how you feel about John/Sherlock shipping, it reads as a bit of a 'fuck you' to quote Oscar Wilde and play Freddie Mercury in an episode which continues the queerbaiting dynamic of the show. It shows a conscious engagement with queer readings of the show at the same time as it keeps them hidden and subtextual. Also, that ending. "Who you really are doesn’t matter." What a lesson to leave people with.

Anyway, I could keep critiquing, but I get the feeling I've already put more thought and energy into this episode than the writers did, so I'll stop there.
posted by galaxy rise at 7:45 PM on January 15, 2017 [22 favorites]


Thanks for summing all of that up, galaxy rise. Those are my thoughts exactly. And to add a couple other things:

- Considering the fact that we've seen very little of Molly this season, the fact that in this, the possible final episode of the series, we only get one scene with Molly, and it's this brutal FU to the character and the relationship and just ugh. In a show that has done a terrible job of writing female characters, Molly is one of the only well rounded women on this show, and as a bonus, also not a psychopath or an assassin. And she's actually had a decent character arc. But that scene was so cruel, and also completely superfluous, and I can't help but feel it's only purpose was so that they could put that "I love you" scene into the trailer. Ugh.

- Also, the way Mary was offed was kind of shitty for all the reasons people have previously outlined, but then using her message at the end is just... Well, I guess it makes it 100% clear that Moftiss only ever saw Mary Morstan/Watson as a plot device. And I love how Moftiss is like, "We had to bring Mary in and kill her off because that's what ACD did" and then at the same time, they're like "Sure, let's totally invent a super genius sister because why the hell not."

- How did they pull John out of that well with a rope if he was chained to the floor? And where the fuck was that well? And if you're looking for a lost kid, wouldn't you always check the bottom of a well?

Also, this isn't exactly a complaint, but I always liked the fact that Sherlock had a beloved pet dog growing up. Mostly because dogs >>> people. So it's kind of a let down that the dog was actually a stand in for that kid. I guess it makes sense that they would want to throw Victor Trevor in at some point in some way.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:01 PM on January 15, 2017 [6 favorites]


Wtf was with the ending?
She did it because... why? She hallucinated being in a plane? She wanted to be a plane? She transcended humanity and... wanted...to...crash...into...an...actual building... what....?

Can someone explain this to me? It seems like they wrote the episode then realized it didn't have an ending so they added something five minutes before they had to film.


Also: Mind control, SAW, The Ring, She killed the chicken.
posted by FallowKing at 9:07 PM on January 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


That broke my brain.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:36 PM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Vox has a pretty good recap/analysis/review of this episode, which summarizes a lot of the problems and some of the good moments in this episode.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:45 PM on January 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


Okay, I've given up on trying to comment coherently, but I am going to link to another review (from indiewire). I mainly like the last two paragraphs from that review:
Despite the alleged game-changing nature of the finale, by the time the credits roll order has been restored. “Sherlock’s” final problem is that it never quite manages the courage of its convictions. It flirts with veering away from the original books, but never really commits — it pulls every punch is takes and the show is worse for it.

The brave choice would either be letting Euros be a full-on villain or acknowledging Sherlock and Mycroft’s culpability in what she became. The brave choice would be having Sherlock, not Euros, breaking down and needing to be guided home. The brave choice would be Molly saying sorry, but actually she isn’t in love with Sherlock anymore because love can’t survive in a vacuum and that’s all he’s capable of offering. The brave choice would have been Sherlock and John acknowledging their feelings for each other with or without Mary’s assistance from beyond the grave. Actually, the brave choice would have been leaving her alive and exploring good old fashioned polyamory.

Instead we get clichés, queerbaiting and a modern adaptation that manages to feel more staid than the original.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:56 PM on January 15, 2017 [10 favorites]


The real unresolved question is why the Holmes parents aren't completely insane themselves.
posted by GuyZero at 10:52 PM on January 15, 2017 [8 favorites]


What a bizarre misfire of an episode. Why couldn't Sherlock just be well-written mysteries after season 2? Moftiss' insistence on doing more, more, more meant the show did less. The last little shot of our heroes running out on a case gave me more of a pleasant anticipation than anything in this season — but Sherlock couldn't grant us that pleasure anymore, and almost certainly never will again. Shame.
posted by argybarg at 12:20 AM on January 16, 2017 [12 favorites]


I watched the opening half hour with a mounting sense of deja vu, and then it dawned on me.

Evil genius locked up in island fortress-prison.
Has the ability to suborn anyone, even the guards, unless special precautions are taken.
The prison governor is in charge of ensuring such precautions are enforced...
...but breaches them and allows himself to be suborned, so compromising everything.

Yes, lifelong Doctor Who fan Steven Moffat and lifelong Doctor Who fan Mark Gatiss have recycled the plot of classic Third Doctor serial The Sea Devils, with Eurus in the role of The Master.

(And a quick online search shows that I'm hardly alone in thinking this. As one comment put it, this was The Sea Devils - the most Bond-ish of Doctor Who serials - mashed up with Skyfall.)
posted by Major Clanger at 1:24 AM on January 16, 2017 [14 favorites]


Not good. This was the first season where I've had moments I was embarrassed to be watching the show. It's so convinced it's so clever, and yet it's so cheesy. I laughed out loud at the Baker Street explosion, it was so ridiculous.

Hannibal Lecter had decades to study human psychology in the field. Euros spends her entire life from the age of seven or so in an isolated prison facility and somehow she becomes an even greater mastermind of manipulation? If I want to watch a show about superhumans, I will watch a show about superhumans. It's not just annoying--it seems to contradict a theme of the show, which is that abstract, theoretical knowledge of the human condition only gets you so far. You need your Watsons.

I did like the scene where Mycroft tries to goad Sherlock into killing him, but the rest of the time he appears to have been beaten semi-comatose with the idiot stick. I can bring myself to believe he was arrogant enough to think he could use Euros's intellect as a tool, but hooking her up with Moriarty? Failing to notice whose voice was on the interrogation tape, or to otherwise deduce that the doctor (and the whole facility) was under Euros's control for months and months? Contributing nearly nothing to the deductions? Never stopping to think that the little girl might be a fake, or that there was no point whatsoever in playing a "game" with a person who was clearly not bound by the rules? And then there was the whole thing where someone who's apparently been in intelligence since he was a teenager and who we saw with our own eyes standing there coolly watching a brutal torture scene whimpering about not wanting blood on his hands and puking when he saw a body.

There's nothing more queasy-making than a bad retcon.
posted by praemunire at 2:06 AM on January 16, 2017 [10 favorites]


The real unresolved question is why the Holmes parents aren't completely insane themselves.

The Holmes parents are monsters. The only way Sherlock could have successfully deleted/overwritten Euros and Redbeard is if his parents actively chose to behave as if she'd never existed. She had to never come up in conversation ever again. Her things had to be hidden away or destroyed. Family documents she appeared in, like photos and video footage, had to be hidden or destroyed also. Remember, Mycroft couldn't have been more than fifteen or so at the time. He couldn't have done this on his own. All his parents had to do so that Sherlock would remember her was occasionally acknowledge their daughter's existence.
posted by praemunire at 2:11 AM on January 16, 2017 [10 favorites]


this was The Sea Devils - the most Bond-ish of Doctor Who serials - mashed up with Skyfall.

I'll amend that - on reflection, it of course also had a very large dollop of Spectre thrown in too.
posted by Major Clanger at 3:55 AM on January 16, 2017


If I want to watch a show about superhumans, I will watch a show about superhumans.

You did watch a show about superhumans, presumably four seasons of it. Sherlock is an immortal mind reader that can foresee the future. If you change his job title from 'Consulting detective' to 'Wizard' the show doesn't change. There was the reason Benedict Cumber-patch was cast as Doctor Strange, he has a history of playing a sorcerer.
posted by FallowKing at 4:06 AM on January 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


For the first little while it felt like a cartoon. Toward the end, more Spock's Brain. A puree of fanfic, without the really good bits.

There were a handful of moments I enjoyed, but - the plot - I don't know what to think beyond WTF.
posted by tomboko at 5:00 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


The AV Club weighs in.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:08 AM on January 16, 2017


Terrible. I'm with Alexandra Kitty. Someone thought escape rooms would make good TV. They don't.

Also, stringy-haired female villain in institutional garb? Seen it. She was a character of little worth.

And, let's go to a mysterious island and stand around talking. A lot. And still more.

How much better a cat-and-mouse chase through London, with the occasional bomb or jeopardy, would have been.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:41 AM on January 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


Going back to the plane thing, the conclusion to that felt like such a cop out. When they started that whole "escape the room" thing, I thought they were moving towards a situation where Eurus tells them that in order to save a plane full of people including the little girl, Sherlock has to shoot either John or Mycroft. Basically a modified version of the Trolly Problem. That's the kind of "final problem" I could imagine Moriarty leaving as a posthumous "game" for Sherlock to play. Of course, in that scenario, you really wouldn't need Eurus at all.

Eurus is such a problematic character. The Eurus we see in this episode just doesn't seem like it could be the same character who plays the redhead in TST or "Faith" and the "Therapist" in TLD.

And did we really need another psychotic super villain? I've been willing to overlook some of the ways in which the show makes its characters out to be unrealistically brilliant and omniscient because that's sort of the point. Sherlock Holmes is unbelievably smart and observant and Mycroft is somehow even smarter. But Eurus makes no sense, and it feels so pointless and hackneyed.

If the show did want to introduce the Eurus story line, then I feel like they should have gone all in and focused on the emotional ramifications for the characters. Instead, it's alluded to, but never really dealt with.

The resolution to the Eurus story line also made no sense. So after all that, you're just going to put Eurus back where she was? And it's fine, because now Sherlock visits her now and they play violin together?

Obviously I have other issues with the episode as far as the whole queerbaiting thing, but setting that aside, this episode was still a huge let down. There are so many plot points that are just hand waved away. How could Mycroft have been so completely in the dark about Eurus escaping? How could someone who has been institutionalized for almost her whole life become capable of super human psychological manipulation? And how did John get unshackled so he could be pulled up by that rope?
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:45 AM on January 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


On the rope down the well to John, I'm going to assume that rescuers were going to climb down the rope to cut John free of the chains. But, yeah, I had the same thought at first...How the hell is he climbing up a rope if he's chained?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:58 AM on January 16, 2017


I laughed at "The pirate". I think the show wanted me to laugh, though. Probably they wanted one to laugh at the Baker St. explosion also.
posted by amtho at 8:36 AM on January 16, 2017


Euros spends her entire life from the age of seven or so in an isolated prison facility and somehow she becomes an even greater mastermind of manipulation?

Did you miss the line where John mentiones she seems to be infected with a terrible case of deus ex machina?
posted by GuyZero at 8:55 AM on January 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


You did watch a show about superhumans, presumably four seasons of it.

No, I didn't. Sherlock's never been a fair-play mystery, but what Sherlock does in the first three seasons is meant to be more or less plausible. There's a qualitative difference between "being able to notice a detail most would overlook and track its significance more logical steps than most, in part because of intense background research" and "being able to enslave anyone completely and for an indefinite period just by chatting with them for a while." You can do throwaway implausibilities for cute moments or for characters who aren't central (early Mycroft), that's fine, but to focus entire episodes on that kind of thing, especially while demanding that we be utterly awed by them, is to put the show into another genre. As the man once said, boring.
posted by praemunire at 9:39 AM on January 16, 2017 [11 favorites]


I could probably get past the unbelivably dumb plotting of the escape room, but for the needless cruelty strangely paired with an utter lack of consequences. There was some fine acting in that awful scene with Sherlock and Molly... and then nothing? Happily ever after? And shouldn't Mycroft maybe suffer some professional consequences?
posted by janell at 11:02 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Perfect Metaphor: “The Final Problem” and the End Of Sherlock (a tumblr post about Euros)

tumblr has gone so batshit that some johnlockers were posting lists of suicide hotlines
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 11:06 AM on January 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


And shouldn't Mycroft maybe suffer some professional consequences?

Remember, this is the show that had Sherlock shoot a man in the head in public at the end of S3, and then have the killing hand-waved off, complete with a government-fabricated video. No consequences at all.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:20 AM on January 16, 2017


shouldn't Mycroft maybe suffer some professional consequences?

This show has often shown people being shitty to Mycroft for stupid reasons (even John only gets it right about half the time) while ignoring his actual and more significant flaws and failings. It's always bugged me a bit, but it was on full display this episode and hard to ignore.
posted by praemunire at 11:57 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


In term of callbacks and shoutouts, I initially thought the girl-on-the-plane was a revisit of the airplane full of dead people that MI-n had devised to foil a terrorist plot way back in A Scandal in Belgravia (s2e1).

But no.

It was stunningly bad. Thank god we have fanfic.
posted by Jesse the K at 1:53 PM on January 16, 2017


...not to mention the unbelievable windows-exploding out was a mirror of the quite realistic windows-exploding in when Moriarty bombs 221B in The Reichenbach Fall (s2e3).

It was a checklist episode.
posted by Jesse the K at 1:56 PM on January 16, 2017


Was anyone else impressed by how undamaged 221B looked at the end? After that massive explosion, just some singed/charred nick-knacks and furniture. Windows still in the wall. Walls intact. No hole blown in the floor (as the three of them had feared, because of the cafe downstairs.) I guess Mycroft doesn't know his own weapons.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:05 PM on January 16, 2017


Yeah, this whole season has been weird and maybe not very good. I mean, the second episode was reasonably good, in a shocking inversion of the usual pattern of the second episode being not as good, but overall this season was Gas Leak Year territory. Like, hooray, you've invented the movie Saw.

It's interesting, too, how much good actors can hide terrible writing, because I felt at least broadly entertained while watching, but it was more "jangling keys" entertainment than something worthy of thinking about after the fact.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:39 PM on January 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


tumblr has gone so batshit that some johnlockers were posting lists of suicide hotlines

I would like to respectfully suggest that calling people 'batshit' for feeling suicidal is both unhelpful and unkind.
posted by galaxy rise at 2:49 PM on January 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


Good actors hiding terrible writing was exactly what I thought. I was glued to the screen throughout, but I kept having moments when I heard the actual lines and felt only cringing vicarious embarrassment on behalf of the actors. Euros had a lot of ham-handed edgy-undergraduate philosophy problems to talk through, and I was especially impressed that Brooks delivered them with such conviction.
posted by Aravis76 at 2:52 PM on January 16, 2017 [6 favorites]


Yeah, if it weren't for the phenomenal acting, this episode (and frankly, the last two seasons) would have been utterly unwatchable.

Sian Brooke was definitely given the worst of it, because of the dialogue and because there isn't the kind of history to rely on that we have for the other characters. And in all three episodes, she did do a great job of blending in to the various roles given to her (redhead, therapist, fake Faith, superhuman psychopath, curled up in the fetal position psychopath, etc).

And incidentally, she would have been far more terrifying if they hadn't made her into someone who is completely unhinged in this episode. If she were in fact just a master of disguise and if she maintained more of a detached self possession (compared to Moriarty's lovable but volatile style)...of course, I guess that would have just made her the female Hannibal Lecter. It still would have been better than being part Hannibal Lecter and part girl from the Ring.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:47 PM on January 16, 2017


I think the secret message here is that the Euro's going to crash because of what the British government has done.
posted by uosuaq at 5:06 PM on January 16, 2017 [14 favorites]


I didn't really watch it as an episode of Sherlock per se, it was a dramatic, suspenseful, emotional roller coaster ride of a thriller with bonus Hari Kumar. I was completely immersed and exhausted afterwards (well, it was late when I finished it). The little girl on the plane was so horrifying--it was MH170--but once Eurus initiated her mind game series of rooms, I was confused as to why two brilliant people would not question whether the plane was another mind game.

I'm sad the series ended on this note. My favorite episode was Watson's wedding.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:20 PM on January 16, 2017


Well I'm going to be sad if this was the last one forever. I loved this series and was amused by this episode because it was challenging.

I admit to feeling like and idiot because I am just totally WTFed by the whole plane thing. Plus I feel like there's a secret message/connection/plot thingie with the other episode with a plane full of dead passengers and my brain is just not making the leap.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:58 PM on January 16, 2017


The only enjoyment I got out of this episode was reading these comments. That was Dexter level crap in terms of ending the series.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:52 PM on January 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


Additional problems with this episode, culled from tumblr and in no particular order:

* Having two different actresses play young Euros and the girl on the plane.
* John, an army doctor, answering the question, "What kinds of bones did you find?" with "I don't know. Small?"
* The show now has had three explicitly queer featured or recurring characters. Two are psychopathic killers who use their sexuality as a weapon (Moriarty, Euros) and one is an ambiguously evil lesbian who, it is implied, is "straight for Sherlock" (Irene).
* Adapting the "Three Garridebs" scene, one of the most famous from the original stories, as a quick and fairly grotesque joke.
* The line, "Sherlock, you were always the grown-up, what do we do?" from Mrs. Holmes. Who, okay, clearly has some issues as a parent, but they've been making "Sherlock is such a child!" jokes for seasons now.
* Mary's astonishingly well-timed Posthumous DVD Delivery Service.
* Mycroft not only refuses to shoot the Unnamed Fourth Guy because he doesn't want "blood on his hands", he vomits once the man kills himself. This, from a character who hires assassins and starts wars and, in this very episode, talks about the kinds of grenades he purchases.
* If Redbeard was really a person and not a dog, why does Sherlock find a dog bowl back at the house?

On preview, litera scripta manet already mentioned this one but I'm leaving it in because it bears repeating:

* No one, either in this family of geniuses or among the police force that surely would have been brought in on a missing person's case, thought to look for Victor in a nearby well?

There's bad writing and then there's this. Before this episode, I was speculating that we'd find out a chunk of the previous episodes had been all a dream or in Sherlock's mind palace. That's the only reading of this episode that makes sense to me now, crazy as it is, because this is all so bad as to seem intentional. The only other alternative explanation I can come up with is that they're trying to piss off someone higher up at the BBC. Or maybe everyone involved in the writing, directing and production of BBC Sherlock has spent the last year high.
posted by galaxy rise at 7:45 PM on January 16, 2017 [8 favorites]


Pettily, I will also note that, in addition to mind control, Euros has the super-power of growing her hair two feet in maybe two days.
posted by praemunire at 8:24 PM on January 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


The whole episode didn't make sense. Paintings bleeding on the walls. Sherlock playing film footage of all the siblings to scare Mycroft just to verify that he has a sister. Well, no shit, how else did he know which recordings to play? Why would they continue the game when the second room proved that Euros wasn't following the rules that she was setting when she killed the 3 brothers? Instead of trying to get out of the area they blindly follow her instructions because they're "soldiers"? What exactly happened when Sherlock tried to kill himself? Why was Euros so shocked about it? And why would there be a poison dart there with a knockout drug if this wasn't an expected outcome? Why did Euros feel lost when she seemed to be psychopathic up until that point? What did she and Moriarty talk about? And why would Mycroft say that the cafe downstairs may be affected by the grenade when Ms Hudson was shown to be downstairs? And Mycroft did say that the downstairs may be affected only because the grenade landed on the floor. Well, no shit, where else would a grenade, that has a motion sensor and a timer, end up when thrown? The drone just allowed for a precise landing.
posted by I-baLL at 10:28 PM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


That was just terrible. All the Moffatisms and incoherence are as described but that final Mary monologue was the smuggest, most self-congratulatory pat-on-the-back I have ever seen on television. It's one thing to use an interesting female character almost solely for the purposes of male character's development but to use her to essentially boast about how wonderful the show is... jesus.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 1:11 AM on January 17, 2017 [12 favorites]


"What kinds of bones did you find?" with "I don't know. Small?"

oh, that was a clanger.

Although, come to think of it, as well as the presumptive search party not searching the well, I mean, wells are not so far from the houses they serve, no one could hear little Timmy calling?

It seems they had all these inspired scenes... Euros reaching out to hold Sherlock's hand/no glass; Mycroft with a sword stick and then a pistol in the sword; the grenade drone flying into 221B; Mycroft's fisherman's disguise reveal while the prison warden handed the pass to a disguised Sherlock; the walls falling away to reveal Musgrave Hall; etc but... well, I'm still sad that it's over. Even when an episode didn't work, I still enjoyed watching them, the acting was always top rate.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:36 AM on January 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


"What kinds of bones did you find?" with "I don't know. Small?"

Oh that one was so terrible I had repressed it.
posted by dame at 4:37 AM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


Yeah, same here. The show is forgetting its characters.
posted by I-baLL at 4:59 AM on January 17, 2017


I think I'm starting to understand this now. The plot is an afterthought. It's about style and spectacle. I can enjoy things like this when it doesn't pretend to be anything else. But this drama is about someone who is ruled by logic so one would expect its logic to be solid. Maybe the writer is having fun at the expense of us nerds. That's ok. We live in a time when being able to laugh at ourselves is crucial.
posted by night_train at 5:53 AM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


* If Redbeard was really a person and not a dog, why does Sherlock find a dog bowl back at the house?

This one actually has a reasonable answer: Sherlock finds the bowl not in the house proper but in the fake room that he wakes up in. The dog bowl is just a prop put there by Euros.

Now nothing Euros does actually makes any sense so it's not a particularly meaningful answer, so there's that.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:49 AM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


"The dog bowl is just a prop put there by Euros."

This may have been explained in the episode but I don't understand how Euros knew that Mycroft told Sherlock that Redbeard was a dog.
posted by I-baLL at 7:55 AM on January 17, 2017


She overheard Sherlock talking about it? Maybe?
posted by amtho at 8:10 AM on January 17, 2017


Also how could semi-omniscient Magnussen know enough to know about Redbeard but not about the secret goddamned serial killer sister???
posted by praemunire at 9:34 AM on January 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


Also how could semi-omniscient Magnussen know enough to know about Redbeard but not about the secret goddamned serial killer sister???

He too bought the lies spun by the parents and Mycroft.

I'm starting to wonder if the real psychopaths aren't the parents and that poor Sherlock is just normal but damaged by being raised by sociopaths.
posted by GuyZero at 10:11 AM on January 17, 2017


And speaking of troubling inconsistencies...

Why would Moriarty plan this whole final problem deal but then try to get Sherlock to kill himself in The Reichenbach Fall? He could have still done the whole discrediting Sherlock thing, but why would he want Sherlock to jump off a building, therefore ruining this whole other plan?

I mean, I guess the answer is "Because Moftiss hadn't made up this other shit yet," but still. I can live with some of the things in the first couple seasons that required some suspension of disbelief, but it's like they're destroying any remaining shreds of internal consistency with this season's narrative.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:12 AM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


One thing that cheered me up a bit is finding out that Louise Brealey (who plays Molly Hooper) had a different take from Steven Moffat on how Molly felt in the aftermath of this episode.

What Moffat said in this interview regarding the aftermath of the Molly scene: "[S]he’s a bit wounded by it all, but he’s absolutely devastated. He smashes up the coffin, he’s in pieces, he’s more upset than she is, and that’s a huge step in Sherlock’s development. The question is: Did Sherlock survive that scene? She probably had a drink and went and shagged someone, I dunno. Molly was fine."

In other words, Moffat is basically like, Oh you know Molly just got drunk and banged some dude and then she's good because lol women aren't real people. Forget her. But what about poor Sherlock???

Now what Louise tweeted was:

Loving someone after years is not reductive, retrograde, antifeminist or weak. Fight the patriarchy, not me, and read some fucking Chekhov.

and

FTR I disagree with Steven about the impact of the scene on Molly... & that's fine.
He's allowed to feel something.
So am I.
So are you.

posted by litera scripta manet at 10:25 AM on January 17, 2017 [24 favorites]


"What Moffat said in this interview regarding the aftermath of the Molly scene: "[S]he’s a bit wounded by it all, but he’s absolutely devastated. He smashes up the coffin, he’s in pieces, he’s more upset than she is, and that’s a huge step in Sherlock’s development. The question is: Did Sherlock survive that scene? She probably had a drink and went and shagged someone, I dunno. Molly was fine.""

Wait, what? How.... I mean, cripes, Sherlock's got a deeper insight into other people than Moffat apparently. Moffat comes off a bit as Euros as in the part where she says that she was confusing screaming for laughter. How does he write and direct Molly's character and then just drop the ball on what's going on in the character's mind? Sounds like Louise Brealey is doing a lot more with the character than the directors are telling her and that's why her character comes off as having a lot more depth than the regular side characters.
posted by I-baLL at 10:41 AM on January 17, 2017 [9 favorites]


In other words, Moffat is basically like, Oh you know Molly just got drunk and banged some dude and then she's good because lol women aren't real people. Forget her. But what about poor Sherlock???

This was truly one of the most annoying analyses I have ever seen a creator undertake of his own show. If he'd only stopped at "It wasn't that bad, she got over it," I could have stood it, but "OMG HOW CAN YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT HER WHEN THERE WAS SHERLOCK HAVING ALL THESE *FEELINGS* ABOUT HAVING TREATED HER SHODDILY FOR YEARS" was just...loathsome.

WHO WILL THINK ABOUT THE MEN???
posted by praemunire at 10:55 AM on January 17, 2017 [11 favorites]


I would like to see Gatiss play Lady Bracknell, that's one good point.

Since Bilbo and Amanda Abbington split about two weeks before this season started filming, every scene with Mary was particularly weird to watch. So for her to give a glowing "Gosh, aren't these two guys just the best?!?" coda at the end felt a bit hollow.

Maybe the show ended on season one's cliffhanger. Frankly, I think it would have been stronger.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:45 AM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


Who was the actor who played the ship captain (the first one we see, the one in the boat with the younger kid who is seasick)? I recognized his voice but can't place him. Where would I know him from? IMDB is no help.
posted by Falconetti at 12:25 PM on January 17, 2017


Since Bilbo and Amanda Abbington split about two weeks before this season started filming, every scene with Mary was particularly weird to watch.

I keep seeing this and it's wrong. When you consider the timing they would have split (only reported in the papers in Dec 2016) way after filming had ended.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:34 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Who was the actor who played the ship captain (the first one we see, the one in the boat with the younger kid who is seasick)? I recognized his voice but can't place him. Where would I know him from?

That's Ralph Ineson. He had a role in the UK version of The Office (Chris Finch) and he played one of the evil Death Eater teachers in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (one of the Carrows).
posted by Aravis76 at 1:07 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Finch! That was where I recognized the voice.
posted by Falconetti at 1:42 PM on January 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Wow, just read an even more irritating interview with Moffat where he said that the "always the grown-up" line, which I had assumed was just meant to be humor at Mycroft's expense since it was so absurd on its face, was to be taken seriously, because, after all, unlike his siblings...Sherlock has always had an "emotional side."

If that isn't peak Entitled White Toff nonsense, I don't know what is. Having feelings doesn't make you a grown-up. How you deal with them does. If you treat people shabbily, indulge in self-destructive behavior, and ignore your responsibilities because of them--and I do love my Sherlock, really I do, but, while he has shown some recent improvement, those have been his three major uses for feelings to date--you are not a grown-up. You are an even more self-indulgent child than if you had none at all.

(Also, Moffat, were you there during filming, did you watch the dailies, did you not notice your co-creator taking practically every camera-frame in which he appears this episode to show a whole range of emotions? But this is admittedly a side point.)
posted by praemunire at 2:30 PM on January 17, 2017 [7 favorites]


Regarding the small bones in the well- John had just said it was dark and he couldn't see anything.

WE could see, because TV. But I understood that comment to mean, "I can feel that the bones are small, but that's it because it's too dark to determine whether they are animal or human."

And maybe I am really twisted but my expectation all along was that the real story was going to turn out to be that, as children, Eurus even at that young age been skilled enough to manipulate Sherlock into killing Redbeard himself. (whether he'd been a dog or a person). And that at some point the repressed memory of that was going to come out. How evil would THAT have been?
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:05 PM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]


This is what happens when you try to write Sherlock Holmes stories & you're not Arthur Conan Doyle.

It was very pretty though. And wonderful acting.
posted by scalefree at 11:27 PM on January 17, 2017


There's a whhhhhoooooole bunch of folk out there desperately hoping that there's one more episode, and this awful shlock was a fake episode. Because this Sunday is 22.1.17. And the promos were lifted from Clue, which was known for its multiple endings/fake-out. And a bunch of other, pretty reaching, evidence.

I mean, I'd love it if this were not the real episode. I just honestly don't think Mofftiss have it in them. I think they actually thought this episode was the "groundbreaking television" they said it would be. Sigh.
posted by greermahoney at 1:04 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see some kind of link(s) for that if only because I too am clinging desperately to the hope that maybe this dreadful potential series finale (in the US sense) might not be after all
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:14 AM on January 18, 2017


Judging by the PBS schedule for this coming Sunday (22nd) I'd say it's all over. PBS has Mercy Street and Victoria scheduled. Sorry folks...The fork is already in Sherlock. It's done.

I would, however, love to see a one-off extended episode (featuring a genuine mystery to solve like adults) somewhere down the line, if for no other reason than to make up for the travesty of this finale.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:21 AM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Well, they do have the precedent of the Christmas special...if the real problem is scheduling, a one-off is obviously easiest to do.

There's a whhhhhoooooole bunch of folk out there desperately hoping that there's one more episode, and this awful shlock was a fake episode.

I've been around a fair amount of fandom foolishness in my day. Looking at Sherlock Tumblr is the first time I've felt that a lot of people have made their emotional lives significantly worse by being in one. I know the Johnlock conspiracy people who were just goofing wouldn't bother to post about it afterwards, so there's a survival bias, but I can't help thinking that an adult desperately needs to step in and separate the schizophrenics from the vulnerable young queer people before someone hurts themselves. What a mess.
posted by praemunire at 6:10 AM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


What did we all think?

Hot garbage topped with Velveeta!

Let me get this straight - Eurus got out last episode, and was capable enough of playing people (and probably able to read emotions) to be not only Watson's texting fling and his therapist, but somehow turns into cold "what are emotions" robo-person, who decides to subject her brothers to some sort of Saw-lite scenario, where she emotionally tortures them in revenge ... for Sherlock not playing with her as a child? So she, who can control others with words, is mentally trapped as a child in an airplane that is about to crash into a city? And after she kills at least four people, she's just locked back up? I guess if they've incarcerated her since she was a child, why stop now?

Oh, and then the ending with Mary's final video - it felt like there would be some reference to an upcoming action-packed Hollywood blockbuster. "Sherlock and John, best of buds, saving the world! Summer 2017! Ka-pow!"


galaxy rise: Euros can brainwash people by talking to them, and also predict the future?

With all the issues I took with the episode, I thought the leap from Eurus being a super-genius to Eurus being able to make people kill their families and plot out future terrorist attacks based on "an hour on Twitter" was fairly small. I think they actually built up to that idea -- regarding "predicting the future," Sherlock himself has twice commented on being able to foresee future actions by simply being able to comprehend and mentally manage enough "threads" (as seen with his knowing where John would be two weeks in advance). And then there's Mycroft telling Mary that "All people are stupid," which Mary questions, so he modifies it to "most people."


amtho: Probably they wanted one to laugh at the Baker St. explosion also.

And I thought they were over the top with the exploding car in the first episode. "Drunken driver runs into parked car, parked car's gas line leaks, something sets gas on fire, HUGE BALL OF CINEMATIC FIREY DOOM!!!!"
posted by filthy light thief at 7:33 AM on January 18, 2017


"I don't know. Small?"

Seriously. Guy forgets he's a doctor? There's some sort of thing writers like to do which is dedicate whole episodes to "Person with unidentifiable mental illness and brilliant mind toys with people for longer than is really comfortable" as a way of wringing emotions out of people who normally don't really show them so much. As a person who actually HAS emotions, I find it really off-putting. Bring back the mysteries!
posted by jessamyn at 7:35 AM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


but I can't help thinking that an adult desperately needs to step in and separate the schizophrenics from the vulnerable young queer people before someone hurts themselves.

This is the second comment in the thread glibly pathologizing a painful and complicated situation. I am up for talking about it, because I think it's important, but if we're going to we have to do better than shaming people for mental illness or implying that all that's needed is for "adults" to "step in".
posted by galaxy rise at 10:37 AM on January 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Here you go, DoctorFedora.

http://the-7-percent-solution.tumblr.com/post/156038822683/if-youre-hurt-by-moffat-and-gatiss-and-and-want

I went to one of the screenings on Monday, and I think the people who are hoping for a secret episode will be just as disappointed as those who went to the cinema expecting an extra five minutes.

Honestly, it's a little difficult for me to feel much compassion considering the way TJLC tried to bully and harass non-believers out of the fandom.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:04 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


If you, an adult, are at the point where you either:

(a) Genuinely believe that the show's creators were sending you secret coded messages through, like, the color of the paint on set walls that the two lead characters (for whom the creators had repeatedly stated publicly there would be no romance) actually would, in fact, consummate their love in a specific episode; and/or

(b) Are profoundly devastated (I don't just mean in the way of ordinary Internet hyperbole, I mean in the sense that you're considering calling a self-harm hotline) when those two characters, who you were repeatedly told would not get together by the show's creators, didn't get together when Internet randoms promised you they would...

...then you are, actually, in the realm of pathology, in the sense that you are in the grip of disordered thinking that is causing you pain. Your reality-testing is not functioning. You need to not be in fandom until you can cope better, because it's become a field of harm for you. I don't consider that a glib statement.

It's not inherently a "painful and complicated situation" any more than it has ever been when a show's fans have wanted two male characters to get together, which has been going on for decades without this kind of result. This mess was made not by the creators, who never promised anyone anything but the outcome they got, but by some people vigorously championing a bizarre theory that, yes, literally interacts with the text the way a schizophrenic or paranoiac would, and leveraging it with abused social justice rhetoric that hooked some less worldly and (apparently) personally vulnerable young people. I really have never seen the social and pro-SJ aspects of online fandom used so effectively to sicken people, to the extent that sincere (again, I understand for many it was just a game) Johnlock conspiracy now looks like cult. It is honestly the most disturbing and widespread harm I have ever seen fandom do. If the people still pushing this theory are actually together enough to be responsible for their actions, then they have a lot to answer for.

I guess this is getting off-topic for this space, though, so I'll let it go at that.
posted by praemunire at 11:47 AM on January 18, 2017 [9 favorites]


While I thought overall this was a pretty terrible episode/finale:
* Mycroft not only refuses to shoot the Unnamed Fourth Guy because he doesn't want "blood on his hands", he vomits once the man kills himself. This, from a character who hires assassins and starts wars and, in this very episode, talks about the kinds of grenades he purchases.
This actually didn't bother me. I think Mycroft doesn't view his hands as being dirty from the things he does; he maintains clinical detachment from all of the atrocities he commits. But when it boils down to actually being asked to kill a man by his own hand, and he is confronted with the immediate aftermath of that action, he is unable to face it.
posted by jferg at 1:13 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


And another thing -- why did Mycroft have sleeve garters? Are we supposed to believe he can't find shirts that fit?
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:02 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


I predict a Christmas special in 2023 after Cumberbatch and/or Freeman's schedules start opening up and the viewing market is wanting another episode to satisfy their need for nostalgia.
posted by FallowKing at 3:04 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yes, I agree that it's complicated and painful. I didn't want to say anything more because I've never watched Sherlock and I don't plan to and I have no real opinion about it. I've written a lot about queerbaiting, notably here and onwards in that thread ... and i've been through this kind of devastated emotional reaction myself. (at the end of s10 of Supernatural.) Calling it "batshit" was glib in-group shorthand, and i'm sorry for that.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:08 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


And another thing -- why did Mycroft have sleeve garters? Are we supposed to believe he can't find shirts that fit?

BECAUSE HE'S A BOSS THAT'S WHY

;)
posted by praemunire at 3:34 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Genuinely believe that the show's creators were sending you secret coded messages through, like, the color of the paint on set walls that the two lead characters (for whom the creators had repeatedly stated publicly there would be no romance) actually would, in fact, consummate their love in a specific episode; and/or

I don't want to get into an argument about this, so maybe I just shouldn't say anything, but I've seen a lot of vitriol thrown around (mainly elsewhere on the internet, not here), so I'll try to tread carefully. First, I'll start off by saying that although I consider myself a definite fan of Johnlock, and although I actually think a lot of the TJLC evidence is compelling, I've remained reluctantly skeptical just because Moffat is going to Moffat. And I also have not been super involved in the Sherlock fandom as of late since I found an alternative safe haven (aka Hannibal*).

And yes, Moftiss has done the "not gay" thing, but it's also worth noting that they've explicitly said that they will lie in interviews to keep plotlines hidden, so there's that. I mean, what about that whole "one off victorian special" aka Abominable Bride. And you know, there are a lot of clues that they purposefully put in there, seemingly throw aways, some of which pan out (Redbeard, "the other one" aka Eurus), and others which don't.

With that being said, even though I've remained skeptical of Mofftiss following through on Johnlock, the skepticism doesn't make me any less pissed off about the queerbaiting (and I'm vicariously pissed off for other fandoms that I'm not involved in that I know get exposed to this, most notably Supernatural even though I've never watched a full episode of that show).

I don't know, maybe I am pathological. I will freely admit to getting highly emotional involved in the few shows that I'm passionately involved in. Now, at this time in my life, I feel like I can pretty confidently say nothing a show would do could lead me to actual self harm, but that wasn't always the case. At times when I was somewhat younger and in a much darker place, I could have seen that happening, although not with what happened to Sherlock.

I guess my point is that I'm incredibly sympathetic to people who invest a lot of emotional and creative energy into a show/fandom, and for many, it's a hugely positive thing. I also think this is why queerbaiting is one of the worst things a show can do, because I can definitely understand why this would be intensely upsetting to someone who is queer, especially someone who is young, and may or may not be out, and it could feel like a denial of their own feelings or the validity of their own feelings. It can feel like, and in some instances really is, gaslighting.

Another thing to consider (and I have to admit this isn't something I would have necessarily thought of on my own, but I've seen it discussed in various places, and it bears repeating) is that historically, including in very recent memory, LGBTQ narratives were almost exclusively played out via subtextual queer coding in literature or film or other media. The possibility of having openly gay characters is relatively new. So yeah, it's not delusional to read into the Oscar Wilde and Freddie Mercury references in this episode, for example.

And more broadly, people who study literature and media, in school or not, are trained to analyze and pick apart everything. That's just what we do. And it's part of the fun. This goes double for a detective show. (Remember the Reichenbach fall theories?) But again, this is why queerbaiting is so toxic. It has roots in this kind of close reading, but it's intensely personal, and I think it's similarly toxic to then label a group of people pathological when they respond emotionally to something like this. And again, even though we've improved a lot in the last decade regarding LGBTQ issues, there are still so many people struggling with their identity, whether they're open about being queer or not.

Of course, everyone is free to disagree with the merits of TJLC, but can we at least not put down people who, whether or not you think it's justified or pathological, are clearly suffering?

*Incidentally, this garbage fire has done great things for the Hannibal fandom, who has welcomed upset Johnlock/TJLC-ers with open arms.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:33 PM on January 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


Rainbo Vagrant, thanks for the reply. I really like the comment you link to, it captures so much of my own feelings about queerbaiting.

Praemunire, I agree with some elements of your comment, but I also think it's a lot more complicated than you allow for. "Adults" and "schizophrenics" and "vulnerable young queer people" are not three entirely distinct groups; "stepping in" is inherently difficult on social media platforms, especially places like tumblr where it's difficult to track the most influential voices; fandom is a social resource that can help people cope with mental issues as well as exacerbate them, often at the very same time, so telling people to just leave fandom can do more harm than good; and the textual evidence both for a queer relationship between John and Sherlock and for the most recent episode being fake, while not overwhelming, are also not being invented out of whole cloth.

On that last note, DoctorFedora, here is a list of a bunch of things fans have written about The Final Problem being fake. I have not read most of it, but what I've seen strikes me as fairly reasonable and not disordered thinking, although who knows, maybe my perspective is off-kilter too. Like I've mentioned several times, I've been suspecting fakery since the beginning of Series 4, when Sherlock looked at altered footage from a previous episode and muttered, "That's not what happened at all." So while it still seems to me like a huge leap from there to "There's a secret fourth episode!" it's not as big a leap for me as it is from where most other fans are standing.

Anyway, it's not the speculation itself that bothers me, but the relationship that some vulnerable fans might have towards it. I hope that no one is relying on anything in a tv show for their mental well being but, well, stories are powerful, and fandom is powerful. I mean, look at all the trouble Bible Fandom has caused over the last couple millennia -- and most of that was before tumblr! I'm given to understand that Sherlock fandom has been a particularly fraught place to be, and though I haven't seen any fighting myself in the few months I've been hanging about, I can certainly believe it. Fans can and should be called on language and rhetoric that encourages an unhealthy dependence on a specific reading or outcome or on approval from a specific fan or group of fans. I'll try harder to do so, and I hope we can all try harder to have compassion for everyone involved.
posted by galaxy rise at 7:38 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Okay, and having posted that very long and probably not super coherent screed, I just went and read through Rainbo Vaingrant's linked comment, which says pretty much everything I just did only much better and in fact, I had favorited that comment back when that FPP was first posted because it's great. Everyone should read it.

And you know, on a personal level, Johnlock not being canon is really the least of my concerns with this garbage fire episode and this trainwreck season. I did like parts of it, but really, I just feel like much of the last two seasons has been a waste of time. Like, I get that they felt like they needed to have Mary Morstan show up, and I did like the wedding episode, and I liked Mary as a character pre HLV, but with a show that has so few episodes, it seems kind of ridiculous that we went 2 seasons without any legit Sherlockian mystery (other than TLD).

I mean, and really, all of this was apparently just to get to the point where John and Sherlock could be in 221b solving crimes again, but since we may never get another episode, then who really cares if they're off solving crimes if we don't actually get to watch it.

As long as they don't show Sherlock in a legit relationship with Irene Adler or Molly Hooper (no offense to Adlock or Sherlolly shippers, just not my thing), then I can live with the platonic flatmates thing, personally. But considering how quickly they did kill off Mary, did we even need to have her around at all? Don't get me wrong, I like the addition of a strong female character before Moftiss decided she had to also be an assassin, and if this show had 10 episodes a season, we would have had time to see all this play out, but now I just feel cheated if this is all we get.

Despite all of the above, the worst part is I realized that I still really love this show, or I love the characters and the actors who play the characters and I love what this show is at its best and what it could be if Moftiss weren't the ones running the show.

If only Bryan Fuller could have taken over.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:43 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Okay, I should probably just take it to tumblr, but...

Although I think there is some evidence of John being attracted to Sherlock as more than a friend, (most notably in Scandal, but elsewhere as well, like the drunk scene in TSoT), I can see arguments on both sides.

However, I think there is overwhelming evidence of Sherlock being asexual or gay (and possibly deciding to abstain), no matter what Moffat might say. And seriously, Moffat is an idiot, because just the other day I read in an interview where he said, Sherlock couldn't possibly be gay, because he wouldn't have chose to live with a man if he were interested in men. I don't even feel like I need to bother explaining all the levels of fucked up in that statement.

Of course, this has all been hashed out on tumblr et al, but to me, the most compelling facts are:

- The fact that Sherlock is completely oblivious to women hitting on him (ex: Molly) but immediately noted picked up on Moriarty as "Jim from IT" being gay.
- There's also the fact that, just like the canonical Holmes, he basically ignores and disregards women, hence why Irene Adler is The Woman. The only woman who matters to him. (Obviously that's not completely true, because he adores Mrs. Hudson and is actually friends with Molly, but it's clear that Irene Adler is the only one who he really regards in anyway). And yet, even then, ultimately she seems far more enamored of him than he is with her (which is a shitty part of Scandal, but it's there).
- Also, he doesn't show any genuine interest in Janine beyond being friendly with her, except for what he puts on as part of the case. And it's made explicit that they never had sex ("I was waiting for the wedding night").

And on a meta level, Gatiss has spoken about Wilder's TPLoSH, and his reading of Holmes as being in love with Watson. Moftiss has also said that this is the biggest influence on their own adaptation.

So even if you don't believe John is sexually attracted to Sherlock, how could you deny that Sherlock is gay? Or alternatively, asexual but romantically or in some other sense attracted to John Watson in a very much not platonic way.

Another Moffat line that makes me furious: "It wouldn't be interesting if Sherlock were asexual. It's only interesting if he's choosing to abstain." It's a shame that Moffat was able to be in charge of 2 of the most devout and rabid fandoms (Who and Sherlock). Not that he isn't a skilled writer in many respects, but they really need someone to reign in the plot holes and craziness and also the offensiveness.

And I'm done for now. Apologies for all the ranting.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:14 PM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


I predict a Christmas special in 2023 after Cumberbatch and/or Freeman's schedules start opening up and the viewing market is wanting another episode to satisfy their need for nostalgia.

Christmas 2021, and the villain will be Eurus and Moriarty's secret evil child. You can do a lot in 5 minutes.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:50 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's not as simple as "Mofftiss said it wouldn't happen so why would you get your hopes up at all". Authors in general really like having ambiguously gay duos and making gay jokes about them. That happened in Sherlock. I've seen the gifsets. So you've got Moffat and Gatiss a) saying blahdeblah while b) admitting in the same interview that they'll lie about plotlines if they want to and c) writing episodes that make these characters look kinda gay. That's more than a little bit two-faced. That tension and ambiguity is precisely what is called queerbaiting.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:38 PM on January 18, 2017 [4 favorites]


I also think it's very evident that fandom needs to calibrate our expectations in self-protection. everything about Sherlock feels like an overheated overhyped frenzy to me. But like I said, my opinion about this particular show doesn't matter.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:39 PM on January 18, 2017


I would not ordinarily mock someone for having a serious emotional investment in a show, nor do I think it's inherently pathological to do so. Glass houses, you know. (In fact, there were a couple of aspects of this episode that I found surprisingly personally upsetting, and I know I'm nowhere near as invested in the show as I used to be.)

I'm well-versed in the art of subtextual reading, both within and outside of fandom, and have no objection to it. Indeed, I have partaken. I'd consider an ending that appears to have John and Sherlock living and working and raising a baby together just about as queer as you care to make it. There is literally no reason that you can't imagine that at the end of that montage John and Sherlock go into the same bedroom.

But there is a qualitative difference between saying "John and Sherlock as depicted on the show appear to be growing emotionally closer; it would make sense if they fell in love; it would make me happy, too" and saying "The elephant on the takeout menu on Mycroft's fridge is a coded message that they will kiss in episode 3!", which is a really real real example. (And then "If you don't believe it, you're just a homophobe!", which, as I said, is an unfortunate leveraging of rhetoric better used in other contexts.) Those are two different axes of analysis.

And persuading yourself despite repeated statements to the contrary that the creators are sending you secret signals to guarantee you a gay romance is not being queerbaited. It's just going off the rails. Sherlock's awkward acknowledgements that ACD canon's Holmes and Watson (and of course Jeremy Brett's indelible version) look kinda super gay to modern eyes are...awkward and sometimes over the line into offensive, but they're actually the opposite of implying that the BBC versions are gay. They're effectively a "no homo" statement, and that's in itself distasteful, but it's also a different thing. It's not the not having them gay that's the problem, it's the stupid jokes about how they might seem gay, but really aren't, ha ha!

I would just like tumblr to deescalate before we get a crowd-sourced catastrophe. The particularly disturbing rage and despair seems to come from this sense of being cheated by a imaginary promise from the creators. Whatever one may have thought before (I thought for sure that most people were just goofing around), given how this is so visibly playing out, people need to stop circulating new variations on the conspiracy theory. They are plainly causing harm.

Sorry, I said I would shut up, I just appreciate your thoughtful responses and wanted to make clear that I don't think it's wrong or shameful to love even a damn silly TV show.
posted by praemunire at 11:25 PM on January 18, 2017 [6 favorites]


Yeeeaaaahhhh… as fond of Tumblr as I am, it definitely has its extremist contingents. Luckily, unlike most other web sites' extremists, they don't harm or harass anyone, but
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:00 AM on January 19, 2017


Finch! That was where I recognized the voice.

"Nearly done."
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:58 AM on January 19, 2017


We're currently watching Sherlock on Netflix, having seen series 4 as it was broadcast and being baffled by the dedication of its fanbase – we must have missed something worthwhile. We have one episode of series 2 left, and while there's pleasure in the interplay between characters and the frenetic pace of the plot, it so rarely hangs together that I just can't get why it's become so popular.

Having spent a lot of my childhood and teen years in a kind of fandom (except solitary because it was before home internet), I get the desire to throw yourself into something that thrills you. But... this? Why invest in something so flimsy, so slight?
posted by mushhushshu at 5:04 AM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


"So even if you don't believe John is sexually attracted to Sherlock, how could you deny that Sherlock is gay? Or alternatively, asexual but romantically or in some other sense attracted to John Watson in a very much not platonic way."

Wait, hold on, are you saying that the only love that can exist between people is sexual/romantic? Because that's weird. Holmes and Sherlock love each other in canon and on the show but because they're both male doesn't make them "gay" because they love each other. That's like saying that siblings who love each other are gay because...they love each other? That's a forced skew of emotion.
posted by I-baLL at 7:46 AM on January 19, 2017


Holmes and Sherlock love each other in canon and on the show but because they're both male doesn't make them "gay" because they love each other.

Yeah, I agree. I'd never say that you can't have a gay sexual reading of Holmes, either in canon* or in the BBC series, but I think the "straight" reading of it as a love akin to sibling love is the most obvious one. They really do have a strong affection for each other, both because they simply enjoy each other's company but also because they're both men with big holes in their lives that are filled by their companionship and by their shared work. They're very much the stereotypical male ideal of fulfilment through work, which is a trope in itself.

* considering the number of times Watson ejaculates in the original stories
posted by GuyZero at 7:58 AM on January 19, 2017 [3 favorites]


Wait, hold on, are you saying that the only love that can exist between people is sexual/romantic? Because that's weird. Holmes and Sherlock love each other in canon and on the show but because they're both male doesn't make them "gay" because they love each other. That's like saying that siblings who love each other are gay because...they love each other? That's a forced skew of emotion.

No, that's definitely not what I was trying to say, although I probably did a bad job of expressing myself, so sorry if I gave off that impression. I admit that, even though I didn't really subscribe to TLJC, my hackles are probably up from seeing all these people on tumblr ragging on people for daring to hope/believe that there might in fact be a valid queer reading of the show, although I also totally acknowledge that there's been bad blood on both sides of this. And again, my biggest beef with Moftiss isn't about the status of the John/Sherlock relationship.

Anyway, okay, leaving aside how either John or Sherlock may feel about each other, my main point of irritation is that I think there is incredibly scant evidence to suggest that Sherlock is attracted to women, as opposed to being asexual or aromantic or queer or whatever. (And here, I'm specifically talking about this TV show, not the ACD stories; I also referenced the Private Life of Sherlock Holmes since Gatiss describes Holmes as "falling in love with Watson" during that film.)

Personally, I think the relationship between John and Sherlock goes beyond a sibling relationship, although I wish I had a better word than "romantic" because that really doesn't fit either. I think there is an element of attraction, but I don't think attraction has to be a physical attraction, in the abstract or in this particular case.

Although I do consider myself a Johnlock supporter, I'm far more interested in the characters dynamics and relationships, and even in fanfiction I'm not a huge fan of the whole "and then they immediately start ripping each other's clothes off" although more power to the people who read and write those kinds of stories.

I mean, at best, you have Sherlock the probable virgin who chooses to abstain from romantic or sexual entanglements as far as we can tell, and John who may or may not have more than a platonic attraction to Sherlock but there is a whole lot of evidence establishing John is attracted to women, and not a lot about him being bi.

And hear I go again, rambling on.

tl;dr: No, I definitely don't think the romantic love is the only kind of love that exists, either in general or in the case of the John/Sherlock relationship.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:14 PM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


I don't think we have to choose between "sexual" and "sibling." Romantic friendships do exist: when you meet someone and instantly know they'll be in your lives forever (... no matter what happens in 5 years).

The deep affection, mutual interests, and willingness to laugh at each other is why ACD's Sherlock Holmes entranced me as a child, and what I loved about some of the episodes of BBC Sherlock.
posted by Jesse the K at 9:25 AM on January 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I could have overlooked a good majority of issues with this episode if Sherlock had just snapped Eurus' neck and killed her brutally. I just don't buy they'd put her back in the same facility and that Sherlock would pop in for duets and that everyone in the show would okay that.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:14 PM on January 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


I could've made myself stand it if they had done anything to build an actual connection between them, instead of him just popping through a door and giving her a hug. As it is, it seems like he feels this deep empathy and bond for her because...they share some genes.

But really. Murdered at least seven people we know of, including raping a nurse to death. Raping a nurse to death. Raping a nurse to death. I think the main reason "Just 'Cause You Murder People For Money For Years and Years Doesn't Mean You're Not A Nice Person" Moffat is willing to write women doing terrible things is that he doesn't actually believe in them and so they carry no emotional weight for him. Look at her! She's pretty! She didn't really mean it.
posted by praemunire at 10:48 PM on January 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


This series was pretty terrible, the finale in particular, but it did give me a flash of what it would be like if Univision did a sort of telenovela take on the same material, with Eurus ripping off a mask and shouting "Soy tu hermana perdida!" with crash-zooms into Sherlock, Mycroft, and Watson's confused faces. That one moment of imaginary melodrama gave me more entertainment than all three of these episodes combined.
posted by tomorrowromance at 4:55 AM on January 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


..and then Conando could come riding by on his horse and sweep her off for a passionate kiss. Si, Conando!
posted by praemunire at 7:56 AM on January 23, 2017


We finally watched this clusterfuck of an episode. My wife, who ships our two leads pretty hard, was rather disappointed. I could give a shit either way. She slashes a lot of shows. Do not get her started on Stargate. Do not.

I can live without there be an actual mystery in the episode. I can live with a little bit of fan service. But the incredulous plot, failures in basic logic, failures in basic freshman psychology, and on and on and on. Why did Euros end up in an attic all broken and...oh shit, the lack of coherence in that whole situation was ridiculous.

I did not see it in this thread but there was another bone tossed to Adlock shippers as well. When the apartment is being reassembled Sherlock sends a text "You know where to find me SH". What.The.Fuck?

I'm going to categorize this as I did with the third Alien movie, Godfather III, all seasons of Supernatural after S5, and a few other rank atrocities to perfectly lovable series/franchises: it never happened. Nope. This series ended with episode two and you can't tell me otherwise.
posted by Ber at 9:04 AM on January 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


When the apartment is being reassembled Sherlock sends a text "You know where to find me SH". What.The.Fuck?

He's texting Lestrade (or Hopkins or the never-seen Gregson), a callback to when he was texting Lestrade in ASIP. Even though Sherlock has discovered feelings, he's still kind of a dick when it comes to Scotland Yard.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:46 PM on January 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


The plot hole I can't forgive:

Euros only needs five minutes talking with anyone to flip them to her whims. She even does it with Moriarty, right? But in The Lying Detective she gets way more than five minutes with both Jon and Sherlock, so why not 'flip' one or both of them then?

The only answer I can think of is that they needed to actually have an episode. =(
posted by carsonb at 8:43 AM on February 20, 2017


Because Eurus is his Evil Twin, Sherlock is the only one who is immune to her power. As for John... maybe he is being mind-controlled. We'll find out in the 2020 Christmas special!
posted by betweenthebars at 10:00 AM on February 20, 2017


Sherlock is the only one who is immune to her power.

Sure, I'm on board with that. Except wasn't he in the midst of a cocaine fever and severe guilt trip? I mean, even if it was a put-on he was still questioning whether or not he actually talked to somebody that day.
posted by carsonb at 11:09 AM on February 20, 2017


I am obviously very late to the game. Loved the emotional pieces and the reason why Sherlock is how he is - but join everyone else in saying seriously, there's a lost child on the grounds, how do you not check the fucking well?
posted by corb at 11:42 PM on May 31, 2017


OK, great to see it wasn't just me then. Excellent acting, lovely looking, but what kind of shit was this episode and s4 in general?
posted by Meatbomb at 2:05 AM on December 29 [3 favorites]


S4 was so bad that some fans invented a conspiracy theory about a secret episode that would make it all better.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:57 AM on December 30 [2 favorites]


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