Why the title of “The Final Problem” implies a secret 4th Episode of Sherlock Series 4.

If you’ve paid any attention to the names of BBC Sherlock episodes you would have realized Moffat and Gatiss either name them because of historically-relevant plot points to Sherlock Holmes or twist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original titles to fit their new adaptations.  For example, “A Study in Scarlet” became “A Study in Pink”, “A Scandal in Bohemia” became “A Scandal in Belgravia”, “The Empty House” became “The Empty Hearse”.  Now, “The Final Problem” is the only episode that doesn’t follow these rules – that’s the original name for it and they kept it. Why would they choose to do that now? Why would they break their rule now?

Because Moffat’s “The Final Problem” isn’t an adaptation – it is a literal, real-life translation of the original work.

So what happened during the creation of “The Final Problem” back in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s day? 

Doyle was “tired” of writing Sherlock Holmes stories so he killed Sherlock in order to never write any more ever again.  He killed the story so Sherlock Holmes would never survive as an entity.  You can’t come back after “The Final Problem” – Doyle was fine with that.  He purposefully tanked his own creation and left readers devastated.  But that wasn’t the end of Sherlock Holmes.  Eight years later Doyle picked up the pen and wrote more Sherlock stories because the viewers demanded he do so.  

Do you see it now? History is repeating. There’s nothing new under the sun.  

Moffat and Gatiss knew there would be public backlash if they purposefully tanked their own show – which they did.  Even now after the small amount of public interaction these men have had, they’re stoking the flames, saying outrageously hurtful things to rile up the audience. Have you seen the critiques of this episode?  Public opinion is at the lowest its ever been for such a masterful show.  This is all on schedule.  Remember, “It’s not a trick, it’s a plan”.

They’re making us beg for Sherlock to return, just like those people in Victorian England when their series unexpectedly ended with “The Final Problem”.  All hope was lost, they were told it was the end, but it wasn’t.  The stories revived.  The legend continued.  This is happening again, right on schedule. 

They just couldn’t help naming the episode “The Final Problem”.  They saw the genius in what they were doing and used Doyle’s title for an episode that does not follow the original narrative at all but follows the literal construction and fallout of the named story.  They took the original title but not the original content – because the title is symbolic. History is repeating itself. 

“The world turns, nothing is ever new.”

My secret episode theory:  If there is a fourth episode of Sherlock, it will reveal that the entirety of series four is actually a hallucination on the plane during the five-minute exile, whereupon Sherlock will tell Mycroft to arrest Vivian Norbury and Culverton Smith, completely replace the staff at Sherringford and schedule him regular playdates with Eurus.  He’ll also forbid Mary to go anywhere near aquariums - just in case - and slap John’s phone out of his hand and stomp on it.  Then slap John, just for good measure.

After which he will rush to St. Bart’s and snog the living daylights out of Molly.

I totally get people annoyed with plot holes in Sherlock...

But let’s lay off saying Authur Conan Doyle would do better. 

I LOVE ACD’s books/stories. I grew up on them. But that dude had plot holes as big as craters, including forgetting John Watson’s name some of the time. And every once in a while he’d just basically write ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ instead of explaining how Holmes figured something out. 

So stop making him the pinnacle of plot continuation. Ask Mrs. Turner Hudson how that is not true. 

On plot holes in general

To clear the air: I’m not just talking about Moftiss. But I’m also talking about Moftiss. 

The thing about plot holes is that there are two types: ones which are unresolved plot threads, and things wherein the writers failed to show us something and assumed we would fill it in ourselves. An example of the first type would be John’s letter to Sherlock at the end of TST. Why introduce the letter if it was never going to be shown, read, or referred to again? An example of the second type is how John got out of the well and still had feet in later scenes. There, the writers could have showed us John realising that only his shoes were chained and showed him removing them and climbing up the rope, or they could have showed someone climbing down to cut through the chains. But it feels like a hole because they didn’t. 

Eurus *could* have used all of her brainwashed fellow inmates/patients to make all of those arrangements, but without seeing any of it, it feels difficult to swallow. If they’d shown even one scene of her doing some of this, we might have been more willing to extend some benefit of the doubt, some extrapolation of “oh, I guess there was more of that, then, ok”, but we didn’t see any of it. There was nothing there to explain how supposedly-dead Mary kept sending posthumous home videos. 

Then again, most Bond/spy movies do the same thing, honestly. If Bond’s credit cards were cut off, how did he rent that Aston Martin? Where did he get that new suit? Last time we saw him, he was wearing jeans and a ripped t-shirt and had no luggage with him. Has he been wearing the same underwear for the entire movie? Does he ever brush his teeth? Personally, I’m one of those irritating watchers who always wants to be shown the parts that make it feel real. I suspect that screen writers leave this stuff out deliberately for three reasons: 

1) They think it will be dull. They figure audiences don’t want to see Bond trying on shirts or going to the bank to take out cash or maxing out on a credit card. Better put in some more car chases! 

2) They’re already trying to edit things down to fit into a prescribed run time. Therefore Bond doing cardio to keep fit for all those foot chases gets cut. 

3) They actually don’t want the protagonist (or villain, as the case may be) to seem human; they want us to see them as almost super-human, so Bond clipping his toenails never gets written. 

The thing is, the day and age of willing suspension of disbelief is over. Audiences are more analytical than they used to be. We’re used to getting explanations when we want them, because information is so widely available now. When things don’t add up or make sense, we find it irritating, not artistic. I honestly think that Moffat and Gatiss think they’re being artistic by not explaining things fully (though that doesn’t excuse them by a mile for constantly underplaying the realistic emotional fall-out of the things their characters suffer), but the fact is that their audience simply finds it underwhelming and sloppy. I think it may be partly a question of generations, too, but I also know fans of Sherlock who are their age and older, who find their plot holes as irritating as fans in their teens do. Personally, the more realistic something is, the more it will draw me in. I want to know where Bond got those dry socks from to replace the ones that got wet in the rain. I want to see him jet-lagged after flying halfway around the world. I want to know how he paid to get to that island or that city without any working credit cards or debit cards. You can’t book a flight with cash, not a commercial one, at least. “He took a charter,” the screen writer says, shrugging it off in an interview. Sure, fine: then show it. 

Moffat mentioned somewhere that Sherlock delivered Rosie, which is a frankly appalling thought, especially given that there was an actual doctor in the car, and given Sherlock’s horrified face at the thought of an event involving female genitalia unfolding in his very presence, I somehow can’t picture this in the slightest. 

Part of the problem is also that their episodes span too much time too rapidly to address the questions of how their day-to-day relationships function, what those dynamics really are, etc. Too much is skipped over for the sake of advancing the plot. I would personally rather see more attention given to detail and less to unbelievable plot arcs. I expect Doctor Who to be wholly unbelievable (and even there I used to snark about dropped plot threads and unsatisfactory resolutions as well as under-handled emotional fall-out, when I still watched it). I expect Sherlock to be believable, though, and there was just so many holes. 

All I’m saying is that Sherlock is not the only show that does this. There are a LOT of holes in series 3 and 4, but my larger issue is the emotional fall-out thing and the dropped threads. (Why make such a big deal with the memory altering drug? Why was there a dog bowl that Sherlock recognised? What did that damned letter say??? What did Ella tell Sherlock to do for John? Because I bet it wasn’t “go to hell, Sherlock”, yet that’s the advice he chose to take. Why???) Yeah: we like to be shown these things. It’s not enough to explain it later in an interview or a panel at a conference. Put it right there in the canon as though you meant to all along. That’s what ticks my boxes, at least. 

Rambling aside. Back to the current fic. As you were! 

Is Sherlock involved in the confrontation between John and Mary?

So we’ve came to the conclusion (due to costume and set continuity), that Mary is on her own, in disguise with a black wig at first (filmed in Morocco, but we don’t know which place it’s meant to be in the story). She then enters a building, gun in her hand, where John seems to be waiting for her. She pulls of her wig (braided hair underneath) and her scarf.  The confrontation between John and Mary is what we see in the trailer. 

But then we had a blurry second of Sherlock with a gun in his hand in trailer #1. The shade of the wall and the style of the wooden, ornamental door to his right could be a match for the place where John and Mary are. (Maybe a different entrance or a different part of the room). So maybe Sherlock will join John and Mary in this confrontation scene. And from the pace of his action, John might have been quite in danger (at least in Sherlock’s perception).

Sherlock spiriting Molly away on a different country under the guise that they have a case and he needs her help…

Sherlock making sure that they are given a room with only one bed…

Sherlock confessing that there is no case and he just really wants to isolate them so that he could confess and clear things up…

Sherlock tweeting after two days of debauchery…

“Sex holidays…I now see the appeal of it.”


Molly smacking Sherlock with a pillow after John tagged her on the tweet.

“Sherlock, this is not a sex holiday!”

“Really? Are we not in a foreign country? Did we not just spend two whole days inside a room? Did we not perform multiple acts of invigorating coitus within those two days?”

“Well, yes. We did, bu-”

“Then I say this is a sex holiday!”

“Sex holiday is your term for honeymoon and we are definitely not in a honeymoon.”

“Again, did we not jus-”

“Honeymoons are for married couples, Sherlock.”

“Oh yes. About that…”

Molly smacking him with a pillow for the second time.

“No, that is impossible. I did not sign anything, Sherlock! Unless you faked my signature!”

“Why would I fake your signature! That’s illegal!”

“Yeah, like that word ever stopped you.”

“True. But still, I did not fake your signature.”

“Then we are not ma-”

“Mycroft on the other hand…”

Que a flying pillow.

MASTERPIECE STUDIO PODCAST: Martin Freeman on John and Sherlock’s Complicated Relationship

* Warning: Contains significant plot points from Sherlock, Season 4 Episode 2: The Lying Detective *

Martin discusses:

  • John and Sherlock’s unlikely relationship
  • Acting alongside Amanda
  • Mustaches
  • Tom Hiddleston
  • What really happened during his first Sherlock audition

Listen or read the full transcript

Does Sherlock have to Rebuild His Mind Palace?

This shot above made a lot of people speculate, if this was the Holmes’ family House, where Mycroft and Sherlock grew up (not the house, where their parents live now). @welovethebeekeeper also suggested that Sherrinford might actually be the name of said family House. 

I assume that burning down the house is the endpoint of a long process. We know that their will be flashbacks to Sherlock’s childhood. And I think, there’s a consensus that “The Final Problem” for Sherlock is to figure out who he truely is, where he came from, who he wants to be and how he wants to include other people in his life, and especially which role John will play in his life.

So I was wondering, if Sherlock might have built part of his mind palace based on his family house. Because for building a mind palace it is best to choose places, buidlings you know for the basic construction. If he started building his mind palace as a child or teenager, building his mind palace as his family house would be the most logical thing to do.

But obviously there are things in his past, Sherlock needs to work through and then get rid off (hence burning down the house). So does this mean, he will destroy these parts in his mind palace as well? And has to start to rebuild parts of his mind palace?

Does he need a blank canvas for this? Like an almost empty room, built out of concret without any doors, windows or electricity?

Like this:

(maybe this is the kitchen table of the mp!family house as the last thing he didn’t destroy)