Look, there’s no time to waste with a preamble here. Last week’s episode ended with Sherlock and Joan stumbling upon a bomb in their apartment, so we need to get right to this!
The season 4 finale picks up right where last week’s episode left off, with a bomb beeping inside the Brownstone. Joan is panicked, but Sherlock, as always, is cool as a cucumber (or a refrigerated Clyde). He says that the bomb needs to be detonated remotely, and since they snuck into the building and nobody knows they’re there, it’s likely the would-be assassin is sitting in the apartment across the way, still waiting for them to come home.
So Sherlock does what any calm, rational human being would do: He rips the bomb right off the water jugs, thereby disarming it. Sherlock keeps the bold streak going by heading over to the apartment across the street to confront the man who planted the bomb. The trouble is, there’s no one there anymore, though the smell of freshly smoked cigarettes still lingers.
Sherlock posits that whoever planted the bomb isn’t working for Vikner but rather trying to overthrow him by murdering the two people Moriarty has deemed untouchable. That means that Sherlock and Joan are looking for someone inside the organization, and perhaps that person can help them take down Vikner since they share the same enemy.
When Morland’s head of security, Christopher Grey, ends up in the hospital after getting beaten near the Brownstone that night, it raises alarm bells, and Sherlock and Joan pay him a visit. Sherlock determines that there’s no way Grey put the bomb in the apartment, so the next logical conclusion is that he was spying on Sherlock and Joan on behalf of Morland, and when he saw a man breaking into the Brownstone, he confronted him and ended up in the hospital.
After questioning him, Sherlock gets a lead to a renovated church near their house that was likely the site of the confrontation. When Sherlock gets there, though, everything is “taken care of.” He sees his father and two of his henchman standing over a dead body. Sherlock can put the pieces together, so he just takes photos of the man for his own investigation. This is where Morland once again tries to suggest that he’s changed.
He tells Sherlock that this feud has gone too far and that there’s one thing in this world he’s not willing to lose: his son. So he says he’ll give up his fight for revenge and offer any help he can to Sherlock in order to bring down the organization.
Somewhat surprisingly, Sherlock does end up accepting his help when they figure out the body of the would-be bomb assassin belongs to a driver for Iran’s mission to the U.N. Sherlock needs Morland to secure a private meeting with the woman, Zoya, in order to get a sense of where she is in the ranks of the organization.
Their meeting is brief because these organization folks are seriously straight to the point. Zoya first tells Sherlock that she apologizes for trying to kill him but that it seemed like the only way to take down Vikner. Then, when Sherlock asks her to help them take down the organization, she says it’s basically impossible, showing them a U.N. list of all the countries that have some sort of organization activity within them. Spoiler alert: There are a lot.
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What’s more revealing, though, is what she says next. She says that Vikner rose to power under heated circumstances, that the organization actually wanted someone more composed and connected. They wanted Morland Holmes. That, of course, would explain the attack on Sabine. It gave Vikner enough time to take control.
With Zoya refusing to help Sherlock and Joan, the detectives see only one way to take Vikner down: They’re going to frame him for murder. After going through a number of old cases, Sherlock finds the perfect one to pin on Vikner. A young woman was killed by a man named Arthur Teck, and her body contained traces of the same chemical used in taxidermy that appeared in the other cases.
That leads to an elaborate plan to frame Vikner. Joan heads to the university where he teaches, interrupting his class with a phone call. Vikner takes Joan’s phone and is surprised to hear Morland’s voice on the other line, this time accepting his peace offer. Vikner says the offer is off the table, though, that the only way he can guarantee the safety of his son and his legacy is by turning himself in.
But the phone call is enough for Sherlock and Joan, who’ve put special residue on the phone in order to lift Vikner’s fingerprints. They transfer the print to a knife they’ve put the young woman’s blood on and then report it to the FBI, saying they found it in an elevator shaft. Everything’s looking good, right until the FBI goes to pick up Vikner and they can’t find him.
Sherlock reports this to Morland but assures him that they’ll find him. Morland has his own plans, though, as he calls Vikner himself and tells him that he’s ready to give himself up in order to keep his son and Joan safe. Sherlock and Joan find out about the plan, but it’s probably too late: Grey comes to them and says that Morland has fired his whole security team and told them there’s no threat anymore.
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That’s when Sherlock gets a call from the FBI saying that they’ve pinged Vikner’s phone to an abandoned warehouse in Yonkers. When the team converges there, the FBI finds out there’s a dead body inside. It’s remarkable watching Jonny Lee Miller slightly change his facial expression here. It’s clear he’s expecting to see his father’s body, and there’s palpable dread on his face, despite the relationship the two had.
The body doesn’t belong to Morland, though. Instead, it’s Vikner, and Sherlock gets a text on his phone to meet on the Brownstone rooftop. Sherlock shows up there, and Morland does his best to explain himself. He drops quite the bomb: Zoya’s people helped kill Vikner, and now he’s taking over as the head of the organization. Sherlock is incredulous, but Morland has already decided. He says it’s the only way to guarantee that Sherlock remains safe.
Then he leaves with a bit of parting advice, telling Sherlock that men like him can’t be with anybody because all they do is bring them harm. Sherlock balks at the idea, but standing in his new safehouse the next day, left to him by Morland, he’s considering the philosophy. That is until Joan shows up and warms his heart all over again, saying that if Morland thinks he needs to be alone that’s his problem. The unspoken part of this? Sherlock and Joan are here for each other, each and every day. It’s a charming end to the season and a statement on the relationship that continues to make this show rewarding after four seasons.