Ladies and gentlemen, it seems like only yesterday that series two of Sherlock started. Well, in fact it was two weeks ago, but it’s still been too brief a visit with the great detective. Already, it’s time for the finale, in which our hero faces his greatest challenge yet: a mobile phone app.
Well, looking back at the show so far, it was inevitable. So, can our hero navigate the iTunes removal process?
The Final Middle Episode Problem
As mentioned last week, I worried that this finale was coming from the writer of last year’s disappointing middle episode, but happily this is a massive improvement. There’s a lot of plot crammed in, it’s breathlessly fast at times – an impressive achievement when you’re working in a ninety minute time slot.
By the time Moriarty had slapped his fifth or sixth big twist on Sherlock, I was feeling as fatigued as the man himself. Did his epic masterplan make any sense or was it reliant on coincidence? Perhaps, but the adrenaline rush was palpable, and the emotional scenes towards the end provided enough weight to stop it all being silly. Just.
As ever, this was helped by some great performances by the reliable Cumberbatch/Freeman duo, especially in the closing moments, not to mention Andrew Scott as Moriarty, who is still weirdly compelling. I’d been waiting for Molly to have her moment as more than just a joke girly, and sure enough, there it was. Took long enough.
Graduation Day At The Joker School Of Villainy
And now, inevitably, we come to the “but”. I said above that the episode manages not to be “too silly”, but I also can’t deny that the silliness is pretty endemic. In this episode, Sherlock sheds most of its pretentions towards serious crime drama and launches headlong into comic book melodrama.
Moriarty’s motivation? Well, he tries hard to dress it up, but it still comes down to “I’m just really evil”, this man is an honours graduate of the Joker School Of Villainy. Andrew Scott is clearly enjoying himself immensely, but some of the melodramatic dialogues between him and Sherlock get a bit much, especially since they’ve scaled back the jokes dramatically to amp up the emotion.
Still, it’s a finale with a real sense of emotion and scale, definitely a big ending, loved the way they pitched the cliffhanger, but those who feel recent Sherlock episodes have gone too far towards making him a superhero (see also: last week’s Mind Palace scene) may find this one even more difficult.
Nonetheless, fans should enjoy the tension. Check the episode on iPlayer (like you haven’t already) and let us know how you found it.