The Final Problem Review

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS OF SHERLOCK S4E3, THE FINAL PROBLEM.

Guys, because my review of The Lying Detective became ridiculously long the other day, I am reviewing The Final Problem in three installments. Three, you say? Yes, I really do mean three. The first one was about Molly Hooper. The second is this one, a review of the plot and character development of the episode, and the third will focus on TJLC. Don’t know the acronym? Stay tuned.

Much like my reviews of the earlier episodes, this will be a rambling list of things I loved about The Final Problem followed by a list of things I wasn’t wild about. Continue reading

Molly Hooper – BAMF

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS BLOG CONTAINS SPOILERS OF SHERLOCK S4E3, THE FINAL PROBLEM.

Guys, because my review of The Lying Detective became ridiculously long the other day, I am reviewing The Final Problem in three installments. Three, you say? Yes, I really do mean three. The first is this one, and it’s about Molly Hooper. The second will be a review of the plot and character development of the episode, and the third will focus on TJLC. Don’t know the acronym? Stay tuned.

I don’t need to tell y’all that the latest (possibly last) episode of Sherlock caused quite a stir. One of the main reasons for that was the emotionally charged scene where Sherlock has a phone conversation with Molly Hooper.

 

Lots of people were upset because they had  hoped Sherlock was going to confess his love to John, but that’s a matter for a future blog post. Lots of people were upset because they felt, and I agree, that the kind of psychological torture we saw in The Final Problem was too gruesome for Sherlock, and not half as clever as we’ve come to expect of the show. But there are two other problems that seem to be bugging people that I feel the need to address in more detail.

Didn’t Molly have a fiancé in season 3? Hasn’t she moved on from Sherlock?

You’re right, Molly did have a fiancé. This is a major plot hole and frankly it’s just sloppy writing.

Besides that, I agree that it would have been fair to Molly if, over the seven years this show has been running, she’d have gotten over Sherlock. It sad that this scene implies she never did, and I think she deserved a more exciting and fulfilling storyline, because her character could have had so much more depth than just “pining awkward catlady.”

I think the media tends to ridicule the feelings of women and glorify those of men. I don’t hear anyone argue that Snape deserved a less romantically hung-up storyline. A man showing his feelings is seen as manly. A woman showing hers is seen as pathetic. Or, as Louise Brealey, the actress who plays Molly, tweeted:

And then, here’s the second and final (hehe) problem: what is Molly doing walking into 221B in the closing scene like she hasn’t just been humiliated by Sherlock over the phone?

 

It’s remarkable, to say the least. During her phone conversation with Sherlock, Molly is visibly upset. Even Euros, the psychopathic mastermind killer sister, can tell.

Euros:“Look what you did to her. Look what you did to yourself. All those complicated little emotions…”

But then, without any transition or discussion between her and Sherlock, she’s back at Baker Street and happy as a clam. This is definitely an oversight on the part of the writers. However, when Steven Moffat was confronted with this inconsistency in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, that’s when things got ugly, things really got ugly.

If there is something fans seem upset about with this episode it’s that there’s no resolving scene with Molly after that very effective devastating call to her while she’s in the kitchen. Did you consider doing one? Is it fair to leave her that like that? 
Moffat: But that’s not how we leave her. People need to learn to face their televisions, we see her later on–

We see her skipping into the room but–
Moffat: She gets over it! Surely at a certain point you have to figure out that after Sherlock escapes tells her, “I’m really sorry about that, it was a code, I thought your flat was about to blow up.” And she says, “Oh well that’s okay then, you bastard.” And then they go back to normal, that’s what people do. I can’t see why you’d have to play that out. She forgives him, of course, and our newly grown-up Sherlock is more careful with her feelings in the future. In the end of that scene, she’s a bit wounded by it all, but he’s absolutely devastated. He smashes up the coffin, he’s in pieces, he’s more upset than she is, and that’s a huge step in Sherlock’s development. The question is: Did Sherlock survive that scene? She probably had a drink and went and shagged someone, I dunno. Molly was fine. Source.

EXCUSE, YOU, MOFFAT?

This is seriously ridiculous. You want so badly to have an emotionally charged scene that you conveniently forget about Molly’s fiancé. Then, you have two terrific actors do the scene, and the result is emotionally devastating to both characters and audience. And then… you completely discredit your own writing and undercut your credibility by suggesting that it wasn’t such an important scene after all.

What’s more, you excuse your plot hole by accusing viewers of ignorance: “people need to learn to face their televisions,” what does that even mean? One moment you accuse your viewers of overanalyzing and the next we’re being dumb? I’m so done with you right now, Steven. And you know what? So is Louise Brealey.

 

A Reminder, A Rant & A Recap

This post consists of three parts: a reminder, a rant and a recap. Or, if you want to look at it that way, a reminder and two rants. Let’s get down to business.

Warning for some bad language in the rants. Also, some spoilers for all of Sherlock so far.

1. Reminder: the Mental Health Reading Challenge starts tomorrow. I’m very excited. More info + signups here.

2. Rant: This rant is about queer baiting.

“What is queer baiting?” you ask, a quizzical expression on your face.

The term refers to what happens “when people in the media (usually television/movies) add homoerotic tension between two characters to attract more liberal and queer viewers with the indication of them not ever getting together for real in the show/book/movie”. says Wikipedia.

You shrug. “So what?”

It can even add up to the point where it hurts the queer audience. Queer baiting often plays potentially queer hints and references as mere jokes, but “if the representations in question utilize humour, are queer people in on the joke or are they the joke?”[4]  (a

Is representation a joke? I think not. If you do, that’s your opinion but I’m going to take a wild guess and say you probably don’t feel very marginalized in your daily life. I see way too few characters with disabilities on television. I see way too few women and when I see them they are often portrayed as erratic or superficial. That fucking hurts me.

Storylines where a character can’t be fulfilled until they have overcome a disability fucking hurt me. Representation like that makes me feel as though I’m not enough. I was very angry when John Watson’s limp on Sherlock turned out to be psychosomatic, because it looked as though he only became a competent and interesting character when the disability was cured. That fucking hurts me.

Now, I’m personally not gay. I am, however, a student of cultural analysis and a vocal advocate for equality. I believe in the importance of equal representation in media such as television, and that’s why I’m really kind of angry at the creators of Sherlock: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

Here comes part 3: a recap of the relationship between John & Sherlock so far. Alternative title: a second rant: John & Sherlock LOVE each other.

When they first met in A Study In Pink, John and Sherlock had the following conversation in a candlelit Italian restaurant:

 

Dr John Watson: You don’t have a girlfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: Girlfriend? No, not really my area.

Dr John Watson: Oh, right. Do you have a boyfriend?… Which is fine, by the way.

Sherlock Holmes: I know it’s fine.

Dr John Watson: So you’ve got a boyfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: No.

Dr John Watson: Right. Okay. You’re unattached, just like me. Right. Good.

Sherlock Holmes: [pause] John, um… I think you should know that I consider myself married to my work and while I’m flattered, by your interest…

 (Source: IMDB)

 

Please keep in mind that the gentlemen knew each other for less than a day at that point. Keep in mind that Sherlock has some serious issues about opening up emotionally, and that Sherlock, the most observant man in the whole wide world, had somehow gotten the idea that John was romantically attracted to him. A few scenes later, they looked at each other like this.

giphy8 Continue reading