Sherlock: Season 4 Finale “The Final Problem” Stuns With Its Emotional Moments and Shocking Plot Twists

Ashley Kim, Managing Editor

JANUARY 15, 2017- Since its creation in 2010 by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, BBC Sherlock has been a TV show known for its intelligent storylines and its title character, played by the actor Benedict Cumberbatch. In this modern take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories, Holmes and Watson travel London to tackle the most challenging cases the city (and sometimes the country) have to offer. From their fateful meeting in “A Study in Pink” to the strengthening of their bond in “The Lying Detective”, Sherlock and John have been through the impossible.


Now, in “The Final Problem”, the duo are in for an even more challenging situation – the Holmes family itself.


The previous episode, “The Lying Detective”, ends with the introduction of Eurus Holmes, Mycroft and Sherlock’s secret sister. More intelligent than either brother, Eurus is confined in a top-security prison called Sherrinford for wrongs that she committed as a child. In “The Final Problem”, Eurus manipulates the entire prison to be under her control and puts Sherlock through emotional mind torture. She tests him in various psychological situations, forcing him to determine life or death.


“The Final Problem” throughout this season has been an exploration in what Sherlock Holmes defines love to be. As Sherlock goes through the elaborate maze that Eurus has set up, he realizes what love truly is. He is compassionate and kind to his brother and John Watson, developing from “a high functioning sociopath” to a man who is capable of love and emotion. This is one of the reasons why many loved Season 4 – Sherlock’s development has been beautiful to watch and experience.


Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes), Martin Freeman (John Watson), and Mark Gatiss (Mycroft Holmes) starred in this episode, with a noteworthy, if not award-deserving, performance by Sian Brooke (Eurus Holmes). Having to play four different women who are all remarkably different is an incredibly difficult feat, but Brooke excelled in her role. After all, she is a qualified actress – she played Ophelia when Benedict Cumberbatch played Hamlet.




Although many have criticized the BBC for “The Final Problem”, I believed that it was an episode full of twists that no one, not even those on Tumblr (where the TV show has a fan base dedicated to analyzing Sherlock’s every scene) would have expected. It truly confirms what Steven Moffat, the show’s co-creator, has said about the ‘unreliable narrator’.

Eurus was a brilliant character, and her emotions were even more heartbreaking because of that. Although Eurus is a psychopath, she speaks to all who have felt lonely and lost. It’s a little ironic, but Eurus drowned Sherlock’s childhood friend because she desperately wanted a friend of her own.


Sherlock’s forgiveness of Eurus (and their consequent violin duet) is one of the most poignant scenes in the history of the show. It truly completes Sherlock’s transformation as a human, capable of love and emotion. This season may have not have the most fascinating cases or the thrill of the puzzle we all seeked when we watched the first episode, but it was a joy to all who have stayed with Sherlock since the very beginning.




BBC Sherlock’s finale is one that will stay in our hearts- as the one where Sherlock accepts himself as a human being. For so long, Sherlock has subjected himself to the ideal that he must be intelligent and nothing more – a computer with a hard drive. “The Final Problem” is where he breaks free from that mold and, finally, becomes one of us.