The Final Problem

A Review of “Sherlock” Season 4

Jacob Bryant, Staff Writer

Viewers of the BBC program “Sherlock” are no strangers to waiting.  The show takes a two-year hiatus between each three-episode season.  However, the most recent season has left many fans hoping for more.

The first episode- “The Six Thatchers”- focused on the dark past of Mary Moran, John Watson’s wife.  Mary and John recently had a baby, Rosie, who is a central piece of the episode.  While it struggles to hold its own with the rest of the season, “The Six Thatchers” is worthwhile in that it brings light to the personal life and relationship of John and Mary.

Episode two, “The Lying Detective”, followed Sherlock’s attempt to reveal a celebrity as a serial killer.

In one of his infamous bouts of self-destructive isolation and deep thought, Sherlock came to the hypothesis that a serial killer would be able to hide in plain sight. So long as they could maintain the persona of a celebrity or successful public figure, their amicability would protect them from suspicion.  His specific listing of criterion lead him to single out on one man- Culverton Smith.  Played by Toby Jones, Smith is a successful business man, projecting his strong influence onto the media as he imposes himself in commercials and holds unrestricted access to an entire hospital.

Mark Gatiss, who both co-writes the show and plays Sherlock’s brother Mycroft Holmes, said in an interview that “Toby is doing something very interesting. He’s an avuncular, funny-seeming man with terrible teeth. We’ve given him terrible teeth, which are symbolic of the rot inside him. It’s a great complex, shaded character.”

Given the timing of the release, many fans interpreted the character of Culverton Smith as a political commentary on Donald Trump.  While writers denied having based Smith off of any specific individuals, individuals such as Jimmy Savile have a clear influence.

Symbolism has always been prominent in Sherlock, ranging in form from the smallest references to the cumulative plot of the entire series.

The third episode, “The Final Problem”, was easily the most eventful episode of the season.  Sherlock makes the discovery that he has a secret sister: after a series of incidents in her childhood, she was taken to live in a controlled environment.

Mycroft Holmes always makes a point to flaunt his advanced intellect over his brother.  However, this season brings an even smarter Holmes sibling into play.  Eurus Holmes, named for the deadly East Wind god of Greek mythology, is far smarter than either of her siblings.

Proving herself to be Sherlock’s most resourceful and dedicated adversary yet, Eurus pushes Sherlock and John nearly past their breaking points in the enthralling final episode of the season.

Managing to keep up with its high expectations, the most recent season of Sherlock did not disappoint.  While it lacked certain aspects of previous seasons, it went further in addressing themes such as the characters’ emotions and morality.