‘Sherlock’s writers promised us a final episode that would blow the doors off, while the cast promised us an ending that would feel very, very final. As the credits rolled for the last time on Sunday evening, it’s fair to say they delivered on both fronts.
It was an emotional send-off for Sherlock, John Watson, Mrs Hudson, Mycroft, even Molly, but not before an action-packed 90 minutes that saw Sherlock swapping mind-tricks with his own errant sibling Eurus, trapped physically on an island, but freer than most with her imagination, her capacity for evil, and her whirring ethical compass. And that was without Moriarty’s sneaky series of photobombs from beyond the grave…
13 times our mouths dropped open in the final episode...
1. The first few moments, with a genuinely frightening beginning, a little girl waking up as the only conscious passenger on a jumbo jet, answering a phone to find it’s – guess who – Jed Moriarty on the other end. And that was before the credits...
2. Discovering that Sherrinford was in fact a government-sponsored island, built to keep the rest of the world safe, what Mycroft called “a map reference for hell” with its VIP resident none other than his own sister, the “era-defining genius” Eurus - who, we learned, occasionally got what she wanted, as long as she helped the government with her superior intelligence
3. When 221B Baker Street blew up courtesy of a patience grenade delivered by drone and Sherlock, Watson and Mycroft used their last precious moments to work out to save Mrs Hudson, busy heavy-rock hoovering below
4. Mycroft emerging from behind a Captain Birdseye disguise, while Sherlock walked straight out of the holding cell, once they all got to the island
5. When there was no glass shielding Eurus in her cell, and even Sherlock was left wondering what just happened
6. When Moriarty stepped out of the helicopter to the strains of Queen’s I Want To Break Free, as you do...
7. And then we realised it was a flashback, and it was Mycroft’s little treat for his sister in return for her government-aiding prowess, and we worked out that everything we’ve seen Moriarty achieve in the last three series came out of that little five-minute unsupervised chat five years before
8. When Eurus made three of her captors decide who would shoot the fourth, to save his wife, and then he shot himself and she died anyway
9. When Sherlock told Molly he loved her, in order to save her life, or so he thought, and she said it back. And it turned out it didn’t matter to Eurus, but it really did matter to Sherlock. Sweet.
10. When Eurus made Sherlock choose between Mycroft and Watson, and he couldn’t
11. When it transpired that Eurus HAD killed Red Beard, but it wasn’t a dog, it was Sherlock’s best friend
12. When it turned out the girl in the plane didn’t exist, it was actually a big old mind-palace of Eurus, who actually needed help not fear, which Sherlock was ultimately able to provide. Cue the violins... I mean literally.
13. When from the ashes of the ruins of 221B Baker Street, Sherlock and John Watson were able to resurrect their lives in the closing scenes, even as Amanda Abbington’s Mary provided an elegiac voiceover, paying tribute to her ‘Baker Street Boys’ and signing off in tones of unmistakable finality - whatever fans may wish otherwise.
Catch up with ‘Sherlock’ Series 4 on BBCiPlayer.