If you would like to read my review of the previous episode, click here. Barring a big reveal near the end of the episode, the last episode didn’t offer much as it was just one big smokescreen in order to get Sherlock and John back together, like there was any doubt that it wasn’t going to happen. Better time than any as the reveal and Moriarty looming in the background sets this up to be an exciting episode.
Synopsis: Long buried secrets finally come to light as someone has been playing a very long game indeed. Sherlock and John face their greatest ever challenge. Is the game finally over? (IMDB)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and Mark Gatiss.
Writers: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
Director: Benjamin Caron
Running Time: 88mins
No Moriarty after all, so to speak, leaving us with one criminal genius for our characters to deal with which was Sherlock and Mycroft’s sister Eurus (Sian Brooke), who revealed herself at the end of the previous episode. The cliffhanger from that episode was anticlimactic and it was even more so here as John, who appeared to have been shot, was shot but ended up just fine at the beginning of this one.
This episode was more of an exploration of the past as it focused heavily on the lives of Sherlock, Mycroft, and the rest of the Holmes family. After tricking Mycroft into admitting Eurus’ existence, we learn that Sherlock has no memory of her whatsoever. Mycroft told us a story about a different girl who was smarter than the two of them. After their dog, Redbeard, went missing, she claimed responsibility but would refuse to tell anyone what she did with him and sang a song which she claimed to be the answer to what she did.
She then set their house on fire and was taken away to a secure facility on an island, or at least that’s what Mycroft thought because she obviously escaped. They then set forth for this island facility. This was when things got exciting as we got to see the full extent of Eurus’ abilities. Sure, the fact that she can manipulate people so easily seemed very contrived but this was what set up the rest of the episode. Little did they know, they were walking into a trap as she had everyone at the facility under her control.
After taking care of Sherlock, John, and Mycroft, Eurus trapped them in a room and gave them a series of challenges which they had to solve in order for them to save a girl trapped on a free-falling plane. The final problem, as the episode title implied, was those challenges. Eurus toyed with them by letting them try and help the girl and then cutting the off and giving them another challenge. These were exciting to watch as they tested the relationship between the three, testing each of them and causing John and Mycroft to question their position within the dynamic. All of this was mostly to get to Sherlock and to get him to see within himself since he was her target the whole time. Thus continuing the series, or at least the season’s, theme of the evolution of Sherlock.
Moriarty may not have played a major role but he still had a connection to the episode as he appeared in a short cameo as a Christmas present from Mycroft to Eurus five years prior. He gave her gift in exchange for assistance for the government. That year, her gift was five minutes of unsupervised conversation with Eurus and it appeared that it was over that time that they planned these challenges. Maybe she managed to manipulate him then? He also appeared in a series of pre-recorded taunting messages.
This didn’t last forever, however, as the scene shifted from the facility back to their own home, for a few more challenges where Sherlock was faced with the truth about what had happened in the past, including what happened to Redbeard. Sherlock was still facing the girl trapped in the plane and John was on the verge of drowning in a well. He of course figures it out and rescues John and gets to Eurus who just wanted to spend time with him. The reveals here were surprising as they helped to explain how Sherlock came to be the person he was but they still couldn’t help but to come off as slightly far fetched.
There were reports that this episode may be the last of the series and that may very well be the case based on the ending. It appeared to wrap up their current saga and showed Sherlock and John’s relationship in a much better place and Sherlock acting more like a human being. If it ended here, I’d be fine with it.
Overall, this was still an exciting episode but I couldn’t help but to feel slightly underwhelmed due to the lack of Moriarty involvement. Sure, we learned about his sister but the whole subplot was rushed and should have been given more time to develop.