Sherlock: Love, Fear and Death – The Final Problem

12 Jan

The Final ProblemSo far in series 2 of Sherlock we’ve seen the great detective engage in a battle of wits with a fiery dominatrix and struggle as his body betrays him with fear of red-eyed hounds – but how will he (or whoever is left behind) confront the problem of death?

Sherlock and JohnWe certainly know that Sherlock can feel. More importantly, we know who he can feel for: John Watson. A certain bromance (that the actors assure us platonic, not romantic) has developed between our two heroes and one would certainly be devastated if the other were to kick the bucket, so to speak. We already know John Watson would die (or kill) for Sherlock (as evidenced in A Study in Pink and The Great Game) and, judging from his reaction to the CIA agent’s threat to kill John in A Scandal in Belgravia and his own statement claiming John is his only friend (in The Hound of Baskerville), we can presume Sherlock cares for John just as much.

MoriartyWatson, in the original story, doesn’t seem wracked with guilt upon finding out the truth – handily put to paper in a final letter to him from Holmes that explains all – and instead simply laments the loss of his friend. I wonder what form this moment will come in, and whether it will happen at all. In the original story, Moriarty lures Watson away from Holmes’ side by paying off a messenger to call the Doctor away to a patient in urgent need (whose condition is non-existent). While Holmes immediately realises this is a ploy, he lets Watson leave his side so as to bring an end to things (that has grown increasingly inevitable) – and spare Watson from the confrontation. Will John blame himself for Sherlock’s death? Watson has been, this series, repeatedly been depicted as Sherlock’s one weakness. Moriarty seemed to have already picked up on this in The Great Game – hence taking him as the final hostage – and I think he will re-use the strategy. Will Sherlock sacrifice himself to save John? Only time will tell. I will also be interested to see how John reacts to Sherlock’s supposed “death”. How will the Baker St. family (John, Mrs. Hudson and to an extent Mycroft, Lestrade and Molly) grieve for Sherlock? 

Having only just watched the (greatly inferior) Hollywood cousin of Sherlock yesterday, starring Robert Downy, Jr. and Jude Law, I can honestly say I truly am looking forward to the Moffat/Gatiss rendition of The Final Problem. While packed with action and a few laughs, the Downy Jr. Holmes is just not how I imagine the character – he’s too physical. I find Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, however, is pitch perfect. The movie had its moments, so (judging on the series so far) the TV show’s version is likely to be a thing of glory.

What I am most excited about though, of course, is the final confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty before the fall. There is just something so magnificently epic about two arch-enemies, who are perfectly matched in every respect, locked in a final struggle as they plummet into the roaring falls below them.

Personally, I’m counting the hours ’til Sunday!

“A personal contest between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a situation, in their reeling over, locked in each other’s arms. Any attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, deep down in that dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation.”
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