Laurence Cendrowicz/Hartswood Films for MASTERPIECE


S4 E3
Show Details
TV Show
January 16, 2017 at 12:55 AM EST

And so we come to the end of another Sherlock season. It always makes for an intoxicating experience, since each hour-and-a-half is chock-full of mysteries and plot twists but it’s all over in less than a month. Last episode finished with one of the greatest cliffhanger reveals in the show’s history. How did the season 4 finale follow through on that?

Strangely, to say the least. Instead of picking up right where we left off with the newly unmasked Euros Holmes shooting John Watson from point-blank range, we enter with a little girl on a plane, realizing that everyone else is asleep. She makes her way to the stewardess station, but every adult she passes is unconscious. When she picks up the phone, she’s greeted by the voice of none other than Jim Moriarty, welcoming her to “the final problem.”

From there, we go to Mycroft watching an old movie in his personal basement theater. Lady Smallwood is nowhere to be seen, which begs the question why the show made such a big deal out of their prospective date in the last episode. Anyway, Mycroft’s viewing session is interrupted by a message saying “I’m Back” spliced into the film. Then someone calls his name, and the lights start flickering. Mycroft goes to investigate, and draws a hidden sword out of a nearby umbrella — pretty cool, but no replacement for an armed and trained security force, you would think. For someone who is ostensibly the key to the British government, Mycroft rolls with pretty light security. The prospect of Euros’ return terrifies him, and he’s convinced she couldn’t have “gotten out.” Turns out she didn’t — the whole thing was a ruse put on by Sherlock and Watson, to force Mycroft to admit he’d been hiding the existence of the Holmes sister. Watson is fine, by the way — apparently Euros’ gun was only a tranquilizer or something. Seems like a waste of a perfectly good cliffhanger, but okay. Watson and Sherlock explain to Mycroft that Euros did in fact get out, appearing to both of them in disguise. They tell Mycroft to take his case to 221B Baker Street.

And so the next morning finds the three of them together again at the Baker Street flat. For the first time in history, he’s there as an actual client, although he grumbles about having to sit in the traditional client chair. He’s also uncomfortable revealing family matters with John present, but Sherlock insists that John stay. Eventually Mycroft gets with the program and explains that even as a young child Euros was seen as an “era-defining genius,” with the potential to surpass such intellects as Isaac Newton. She had dark tendencies, however. She stole Redbeard, Sherlock’s beloved dog, and wouldn’t say where he was. When that continued into expressing a desire to kill Sherlock, she was taken away — to Sherrinford, an Alcatraz-like island prison designed for “uncontainables.” It sounds like Azkaban or Arkham Asylum or any number of fictional superjails; indeed, Mycroft even explicitly compares it to Hell itself.

Before Mycroft can say any more, however, the crew gets an unexpected surprise gift from Euros: a drone that flies into the Baker Street loft, singing the song from Sherlock’s recent dream sequences about Redbeard and carrying a bomb on its back. Using their sterling powers of analysis, the boys realize that the bomb is a motion sensor set to go off the moment it detects them, which will leave them only three seconds before the explosion engulfs the flat. Somehow they manage to plan it perfectly, and Sherlock and Watson go jumping out of the windows just ahead of the flames like heroes from an ‘80s action movie.

That cuts to a fishing boat in the middle of stormy weather. The two-man crew gets an alert they’re passing by Sherrinford prison, but when they go up on the deck they’re greeted by an unscathed Sherlock and Watson. The famous detective? They ask. No, Sherlock responds, the pirate.

He and Watson aren’t fooling around with that pirate bit, either. They commandeer the boat, take it to Sherrinford, and scrawl “Tell My Sister I’m Here” on the beach sand. When the island’s governor sends men to investigate, they find Watson standing alongside a bearded fisherman. Assuming the man is Sherlock in disguise, the governor has them both brought to an interrogation cell – only for the fisherman to unmask himself, revealing Mycroft. Sherlock had been disguised as a worker at the prison, and he just walked away with the governor’s keys.

The governor is a little peeved that these guys snuck into his prison undercover, but that’s nothing compared to Mycroft’s anger that he somehow compromised his most dangerous prisoner. Mycroft directs Sherlock to Euros’ “prison within a prison,” and soon Sherlock finds his sister playing violin in her own specialized cell, like she’s Magneto in X2 or something.

In Mycroft’s telling, Euros is so smart that she basically brainwashes anyone she talks to, which is why he instructed everyone at the prison to avoid her. The governor responds that Mycroft is actually the one who set her off, by bringing her a gift on Christmas a few years ago. Euros explains to Sherlock that he was always her favorite, because she made him laugh — or was it scream? He asks her what happened to Redbeard, and she asks him to touch the glass between them. When he does, their hands touch… there’s no glass at all. At the same moment, Watson realizes that if everyone who talks to Euros is automatically compromised, that must include the governor, too. And, indeed, he summons armed guards to restrain Watson and Mycroft. Euros is in charge here — so much so that the guards allow her to leap from her cell and beat Sherlock into submission.

NEXT: The Christmas present

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman star in the celebrated U.K. series
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