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Sherlock - The Final Problem - Review: "Brother's Choice"

© BBC Pictures
Episode: 4.03 "The Final Problem"
Directed by: Benjamin Caron
Written by: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat
Air dates: 15 January 2017

If I only had one word to describe this season finale it would brilliant. Though I absolutely hope there'll be many more episodes of the show in the future, I'm glad to say if it truly is the end, it was wonderfully done and I'm already planning to re-watch it. And by "it" I mean the entire series. The show certainly remains one of my all-time favorites. So, without any further introductions, please find below my thoughts regarding the episode.

First of all, let's talk about Eurus. As I mentioned last week, I haven't been entirely happy with this sudden twist in the story but even though I still find it not entirely fitting, the surprise absolutely worked in this season finale and the performance by Sian Brooke was easily one of the best on the show. As it turns out, there were always three Holmes siblings, Sherlock being the middle child and considered to be the most emotional of them all. Despite being closer to Mycroft on the intellectual level, it's Sherlock that Eurus always considered to be her favorite. And trying to get his attention ended in a tragedy that changed everything for the family. Eurus was locked away in the maximum-security psychiatric prison, eventually believed to be dead by her parents and forgotten by a traumatised Sherlock. Not by Mycroft, though. When he was old enough, he took over her care from their uncle and chose to keep everyone else in the dark regarding his actions.

Mycroft always considers himself to be the smartest person in the room, including his little brother Sherlock. The only person he's actually afraid of is his sister, described as an era-defining genius. So after all the years he spent in his line of work, he sometimes chooses to ask for her help with the mysteries he can't solve on his own. In return bringing her occasional gifts, like the violin or five minutes of unsupervised conversation with Jim Moriarty. Five minutes. That's all that took for Eurus and Moriarty to plan the entire plot of the episode and almost tear the Holmes brothers apart. Honestly, the second I realized that Mycroft is the one responsible for their meeting, I couldn't help but question his intelligence. It has got to be one of the worst choices he could possibly make and to think he never actually admitted that to anyone makes it even worse. And let's not forget, it wasn't the only time when he shared too much of the Holmes family history with Jim Moriarty... Oh, Mycroft, you "idiot boy". We get to see so many more sides of his character during the episode and it's absolutely brilliant. It seems that in all the episodes before, we've only seen a brief glimpse of who he truly is. This time, however, we watch his performance as a fisherman with a stolen boat, his fury at the prison governor when he realizes his sister took over the control of the prison, his fear and disgust in response to a series of psychological ordeals prepared by Eurus and finally a family man willing to admit his mistakes and ready for a true sacrifice. I really loved that part near the end of the hour when Sherlock asks Lestrade to make sure Mycroft is looked after, because "he's not as strong as he thinks he is." There's so much more heart and emotions in these two than one could assume.

Now, before I get to Sherlock and Watson, I need to take a moment to highlight Moriarty's presence in the episode. His entrance during the hour was easily one of my favorite parts in this brilliant finale and it made me actually hope he's still alive after all. Of course we've all heard many confirmations regarding his death, even here, when Eurus mentions how little he cared about his own life, especially if he could still bring down his enemies from beyond the grave. But still... After reflecting on these four seasons, I still find myself thinking no villain has worked quite as well against Sherlock as Jim Moriarty. And now that we finally know it was Eurus who started the "Did You Miss Me?" bit, as planned with Sherlock's archenemy years before, it's not quite the same. Moriarty's scenes in the episode, the introduction, the meeting with Mycroft and Eurus and then all the interruptions only added to the intensity of the episode. And as always, Andrew Scott is absolutely wonderful in portraying this complicated character and he remains one of the show's biggest scene stealers.

And then there's Watson. First thing to note, he was truly clever and strong under these extreme circumstances. His "today we are soldiers" attitude was helping all three (Sherlock, Watson & Mycroft) face the cruelty and random nature of Eurus' game. When it comes to shooting an innocent man to save his wife, Watson understands the man's decision and tries his best to honor it, but his moral code stops him from killing the desperate prison governor. Eurus' actions anger and hurt him deeply but he goes on and supports Sherlock when he's at his worst. And when the time comes to choose between himself and Mycroft, John uses logic, not heart, to understand and accept his own death. That's actually one of the saddest and most surprising scenes of the episode. There are three men locked in the room, two of them are considered to be geniuses operating on the facts and not following emotions, but it's the third one who is able to put aside his feelings and come to the conclusion he's the most expandable of them all. Of course nothing is ever quite as obvious as it may seem, so while he's following the logic, the other two already know the right answers to the impossible question. There's so much to say about this scene and in the end I consider it to be one of the most memorable and significant parts of the episode. Everyone's reactions and choices in that one particular moment say so much about their characters. Every single one of them makes a choice to sacrifice himself to save the other two and it's that true act of love, friendship and loyalty that steals the finale for me.

We've learnt so much in the episode, about the existence of Sherlock's sister, about Mycroft's many sides, including a surprisingly emotional one, about Moriaty's last plan and the secrets from Holmes' childhood, but still, in the middle of all these discoveries there's Sherlock and his origin story. As it turns out, despite not being as smart as Eurus or Mycroft, he's much better and stronger than the two. Thanks to the balance between his heart and head and everything he's learned since the day we (and Watson) met him, he will always be able to win against them. Even his parents, after finding out the truth about their daughter, admit he was "always the grown-up". And how did it all start? A long time ago, when Sherlock was still a little boy he had a best friend named Victor. The two used to play pirates together, with Sherlock taking the name of Yellowbeard and Victor - Redbeard. Eurus, who was barely able to function in the world, felt lonely without Sherlock by her side so one day she took his best friend and left him in a well, leaving her brother nothing but a short song with lyrics that were meant to work as a mystery to solve and find missing Victor. But when he couldn't figure it out, he broke down and changed completely, hiding his emotions, not letting the pain to come back and re-writing his own memories, to remember Redbeard as a dog he once had, not as a best friend he didn't save. The scene when Sherlock realizes the truth is absolutely heartbreaking. During the show's run we've heard the name Redbeard quite a few times, but I've never expected the real story to be so much worse and painful than initially presented. And the parallel between Sherlock's two best friends, Victor who died and Watson trapped in the same well and dying, made the scene all the more powerful to watch.

Our favorite detective spends the entire hour trying to help the little girl he believes to be on the plane that's about to crash. His behavior, so clear in all his exchanges with the girl, already shows just how much he has grown since day one of the show. The way he cares about that little girl, the way he reacts after asking Molly to say "I love you" and completely falls apart when he learns not only he didn't save her, but he broke her heart - all these little moments truly show what a good man he's become. That's why when he finds out that the little girl was always Eurus, who used the scenario as a metaphor to make him realize just how lost and alone she is, he shows her kindness after everything she's done and instead of simply giving up on her, he keeps coming back to her in the epilogue, helping her communicate with the world via music. Sherlock Holmes, the one who cared enough. It's quite a lovely thought to end on, that Sherlock started his story on the show trying to separate himself from all the emotions and dedicating his life completely to solving the mysteries of the world, following logic and showcasing his intellect. But in this season finale, he finally understands that his heart and head working together, with his family and friends by his side, are his greatest strength and he gets to continue his adventure with Watson, repairing their home and making it a true refuge for all the ones that need help, "a final court of appeal for everyone".

Other thoughts:
1. The discovery of just how Eurus was able to leave her room (with no glass) was so well done. I absolutely loved that reveal. Such an intense part! So easy to miss at the beginning, so clever and obvious once you know.
2. So many great scenes in the episode that it's impossible to choose the best one - Sherlock's choice between Watson and Mycroft, the phone call with Molly, the epilogue with Mary's video, the first meeting between Sherlock and Eurus, Moriarty's introduction, Redbeard's reveal...
3. Seems that Mycroft is not a very popular person among Sherlock's friends. First Mrs. Hudson, now Watson (in the opening scene).
4. Speaking of the beginning, Mycroft being the "client" of the episode was such a great part. Mrs. Hudson explaining how it all works and then the destruction of the Baker Street apartment was quite a brilliant way to start the finale.
5. What a great epilogue as well! Loved Mary's speech, especially seeing it together with the guys rebuilding their home, solving new cases and with little Rosie!
6. Assuming that the show returns with next season (hopefully!), I'd love to see just regular, complicated mysteries that Sherlock and Watson have to solve. I loved seeing the character development in these season-long stories, but wouldn't mind "case of the week" format for a while.

Memorable quotes:
1. Mary: “PS, I know you two. And if I'm gone, I know what you could become. Because I know who you really are. A junky who solves crimes to get high. And the doctor who never came home from the war. Will you listen to me? Who you really are, it doesn't matter. It's all about the legend. The stories, the adventures. There is a last refuge for the desperate, the unloved, the persecuted. There is a final court of appeal for everyone. When life gets too strange, too impossible, too frightening, there is always one last hope. When all else fails, there are two men sitting arguing in a scruffy flat like they've always been there, and they always will. The best and wisest men I have ever known. My Baker Street boys. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.”
2. Mycroft: “This is a private matter."
Sherlock: "John stays."
Mycroft: "This is family!"
Sherlock: "That's why he stays!”
3. John: "So there were three Holmes kids. What was the age gap."
Mycroft: "7 years between myself and Sherlock, one between Sherlock and Euros."
John: "Middle child, explains a lot."
4. Mycroft: "So that's it, is it? You're just going."
John: "Well don't worry! There's a place for people like you, desperate, terrified, the ones with nowhere else to run."
Mycroft: "What place?"
John: "221B Baker street. See you in the morning. If there's a queue, join it."
5. Police Officer: "Is that him, sir? Sherlock Holmes?"
Lestrade: "A fan, are you?"
Police Officer: "Well, he's a great man, sir."
Lestrade: "No, he's better than that. He's a good one."
6. Eurus: "I am lost. Help me brother. Save my life before my doom. I am lost without your love. Save my soul, seek my room."

What did you think about "The Final Problem"? Any favorite scenes and/or quotes? Thanks for reading & commenting!

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