Is it over?

Our young blogger Megan writes about the recent fourth season of Sherlock, with spoilers for all three episodes.

That’s it. Sherlock Season 4 is over, and what a brilliant season it was. After watching each episode, I said the same thing I have said every time: “these writers are amazing!” They intertwine story upon story, and every single little detail is completely deliberate.

Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, the co-creators and writers of Sherlock, did an awesome job of creating this season. Their extremely clever writing – combined with the talented and brilliantly cast actors and actresses – brings a darker version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes to life.

This set of three episodes began with The Six Thatchers. It followed directly on from the Christmas special at the end of 2015 when Sherlock, after being exiled for minutes, is turned around due to projections of none other than the deceased Moriarty, repeating the phrase “Did you miss me?”

We know Moriarty is dead, so the logical assumption is that he wasn’t working alone. In The Final Problem, it is revealed that he had a five-minute, unmonitored conversation with a dangerous prisoner, in which they formed a plan that has been going on for many years and ends in that episode.

Back to The Six Thatchers. Sherlock is caught up in a case where six busts of Margaret Thatcher are smashed one by one. He automatically assumes this is part of Moriarty’s plan, but a very clever twist shows the events are occurring t not because of Moriarty, but because of Mary’s past.

The dramatic, unforeseen ending of this episode leads on to the second, where John blames Sherlock for Mary’s death and Sherlock – having been told to do so by Mary in a farewell DVD – “picks a fight” with a very dangerous serial killer so John has to save him and therefore saves himself.

What happens next, I loved.

The end of episode 2 opens a door to an even deeper mystery, which is episode 3:

  • John had met a woman on a bus in episode 1;
  • Sherlock talked to a woman who he thought was a client, and had chips with her in episode 2;
  • John was seeing a psychologist after Mary’s death.

These women were the same person, Euros Holmes, who is supposed to be locked up. Sherlock and Mycroft have a sister.

It’s brilliantly fantastic writing, all climaxing in the final episode, The Final Problem.

Most of this episode is based in Sherringford, the high-security prison for the “uncontainables”, which I thought was a bit like Azkaban from Harry Potter. This is where Euros is being held, or should I say, where she lives— seeing as she is not a prisoner, but actually runs the place after ‘getting into everyone’s head’.

We are told what happened to Redbeard, Sherlock’s dog that wasn’t a dog, but actually his best friend who he played pirates with. Euros drowned the boy.

These incredibly clever writers not only created a hugely complicated story, but added in hints to the original stories by Conan Doyle. The Final Problem was a story written by Conan Doyle which introduces Moriarty as a character. There was also the ending of episode 3, showing Doctor Watson and Sherlock back at Baker Street and solving cases as normal.

Being a fan of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, I noticed connections to some of them, one being The Dancing Men, which involves a code of stick men that look like they are dancing. The Musgrave Ritual is also mentioned by Mycroft, but, to fit the story, it’s not the same ritual as the original.

These were just a few I noticed and ,of course, there were mentions of Conan Doyle’s stories in previous series too, such as The Five Orange Pips or The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Personally, I think this is the end of the TV show, but if they were to continue it, they should do one more series with single episodes that don’t connect. There should be a single, clever case for each episode like in series 1.

My reasoning behind why I believe it is the end of Sherlock is that after Euros has been sent back to Sherringford, we are shown the aftermath at Baker Street. The camera pans around the room, going in circles, as everyone cleans up the mess from the blast, bringing back the Baker Street we know with everything from the smiley face on the wall to the knife stuck in the mantelpiece. This proves that the snippets of cases we see happen in Baker Street after is what Sherlock and Watson do in the future, solving single cases together.

As this is happening, we can hear Mary’s voiceover from another DVD as she talks about her “Baker Street boys” and as she says the final words, “ Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson”, the camera cuts to Sherlock and John running, in sync, out of a building, where it ends with a freeze frame.

Normally in TV and film, when the writers want something to seem finished they will, depending on the genre, use the word ‘End’ or ‘Fin’, just black out the screen and start the end sequence, pan across somewhere or use freeze frame.

Seeing as in previous Sherlock episodes they have not used a freeze frame, I think it is logical to assume that it is the end of the TV series, or at least near the end— as they might do a Christmas special to properly finish it and say goodbye to Sherlock.

Who knows though, they may have just used the freeze frame to signify the end of that problem and they may do plan to make more. We’ll just have to wait and see.