life Musing pop culture

The Thrill Is Gone

Some scattered thoughts about that Sherlock finale….[warning: possible spoilers ahead]

  • To me, the whole of season 4 has been a scattered, hokey, delight-scarce mess. “The Final Problem” epitomized that characterization. Yes, it was interesting, in the same way that lots of lousy books get finished by virtue of sheer, morbid curiosity. But there was just too much that didn’t work.
  • Introducing Eurus feels like a desperation move by writers who killed off their best villain too soon and realized it too late. The explanation given for why Sherlock has no memory of her was not particularly compelling; the idea that the world’s greatest analytical mind could somehow miss the entire existence of a deeply psychotic sister (one who partnered with her brother’s greatest enemy!!) is silly. It kicks against the entire show’s narrative portrait of its hero.
  • Sherlock, Watson, and Mycroft’s being tortured in a “game” setting was a good device and had a lot of potential. It was completely wasted. The low point was when the girl in trouble on the airplane turned out to be a split-personality Eurus, crumpled up in a Freudian heap on the floor of their family mansion. Sorry, but if you want Sean Maguire to put his arm on you and whisper, “It’s not your fault,” go do that instead of Sherlock.
  • Moriarty’s scenes are executed well. So well, in fact, that it’s impossible not to ask, “Why didn’t they just bring him back from the dead?”
  • Instead, they bring Mary back from the dead (sort of). Her closing monologue was fun and anthemic, but I still have no clue what the writers were doing with her character. Why did she need to die in the first place?
  • Throughout the entire finale, Sherlock is forced to choose one life over the other. This is a classic moral dilemma for heroes, and could have had a rich payoff. Inexplicably, once Eurus is arrested, the episode wraps up without ever addressing what happened during the game. There’s no moral development or struggle with what just happened. In fact, the characters seem to forget everything as soon as its over. What?
  • So Eurus murdered Sherlock’s childhood best friend because…they didn’t let her play along? Is this really what 4 years of brilliant teleplays have all led up to?
  • All I wanted for Christmas was for Sherlock to solve a great mystery. I think he does that once during season 4 (in episode 2). Can anyone understand this?
  • My fear right now is that Sherlock is not done as a show, but that Cumberbatch and Freeman are. It seems beyond the pale to “reboot” the show, but nostalgia without substance is the name of the game in show biz right now. If this is indeed the duo’s final episode, it was a massively disappointing way to leave.

By Samuel D. James

Believer, husband, father, acquisitions editor, writer.