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April 30, 2012 11:53 pm  #1


What is the "final problem"?

Right at the beginning of their conversation in the "tea scene", Moriarty says that he wants to solve the final problem. He asks Sherlock if he knows what it is yet, and says "I already told you...but did you listen?"

So what exactly is it? I mean, he says this right at the beginning of their conversation before they've really actually said anything to each other, so is he referring to something he said at their last meeting? ie. in TGG or ASIB.


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May 1, 2012 2:26 am  #2


Re: What is the "final problem"?

The problem between them is that Sherlock keeps getting in Moriarty's way. He told him at the pool he would have to stop him if he kept doing that. He also told him that he'd burn the heart out of him.

But the bottomline is that he would have to stop him; and that's the 'final problem'. - stopping Sherlock.


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Also, please note that sentences can also end in full stops. The exclamation mark can be overused.
Sherlock Holmes 28 March 13:08

Mycroft’s popularity doesn’t surprise me at all. He is, after all, incredibly beautiful, clever and well-dressed. And beautiful. Did I mention that?
--Mark Gatiss

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert McCloskey
 

May 1, 2012 2:31 am  #3


Re: What is the "final problem"?

There's also a theory in the fandom that the final problem is staying alive.


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May 1, 2012 2:36 am  #4


Re: What is the "final problem"?

LOL!
Yes well that's because a large percentage of the 'fandom' have only heard the song for the first time probably!

There's no references to 'staying alive' in previous scenes/episodes.
And 'The Final Problem" in the canon was exactly the same thing; Moriarty's problem with Holmes always being in his way.


____________________________________________________________________________________________
Also, please note that sentences can also end in full stops. The exclamation mark can be overused.
Sherlock Holmes 28 March 13:08

Mycroft’s popularity doesn’t surprise me at all. He is, after all, incredibly beautiful, clever and well-dressed. And beautiful. Did I mention that?
--Mark Gatiss

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert McCloskey
 

May 1, 2012 3:51 am  #5


Re: What is the "final problem"?

Well his phone does ring in the pool scene. I am not convinced that he meant either of these things but I don't have a theory on it either.


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I dislike being outnumbered. It makes for too much stupid in the room

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May 1, 2012 4:12 am  #6


Re: What is the "final problem"?

Well they had only had one conversation before they met for tea in 221B and that was at the pool.
-At the pool the problem that Moriarty voiced with Sherlock was the meddling and that if it continued he would have to stop him.

Then over a cup of tea, Moriarty reminded him of 'our problem, I did tell you ...' So logically that was 'their problem'.

"Staying Alive" is a joke ringtone simply by the fact it plays just as it seems one or all will meet their maker at the pool; just as it played when Sue Vertue was at a funeral & hence there was the inspiration for using it here.

I know it's a simple and logical explanation; I really am lacking in a fanciful one.


____________________________________________________________________________________________
Also, please note that sentences can also end in full stops. The exclamation mark can be overused.
Sherlock Holmes 28 March 13:08

Mycroft’s popularity doesn’t surprise me at all. He is, after all, incredibly beautiful, clever and well-dressed. And beautiful. Did I mention that?
--Mark Gatiss

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert McCloskey
 

May 1, 2012 6:48 am  #7


Re: What is the "final problem"?

I suppose they could have had any cheesy ringtone and it would have been just as amusing at the pool. Although they wouldn't have been able to have Jim's opening line on the rooftop about staying alive being so boring.


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May 1, 2012 7:12 am  #8


Re: What is the "final problem"?

The phrase Jim uses ir 'our problem' not 'my problem' or even 'your problem'. I do think that the Staying Alive ringtone is relevant. I'm going to think a bit more about this and will get back to you later. Don't wait up for me! Lol


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May 1, 2012 7:59 am  #9


Re: What is the "final problem"?

I think the "final problem" is to solve two problems at the same time:

(Bit tricky for me to express my thoughts in English. You should see me in a German discussion…! )

Both, Sherlock and Moriarty, want

1. Staying alive without dying of boredom
The tea party at 221b in TRF isn't the first conversation between Sherlock and Moriarty on this subject. Several phone calls and remarks in TGG (though through a "stolen" voice from Moriarty) about the puzzles hint at this:

LESTRADE: Why would anyone do this?
SHERLOCK:  Oh…I can't be the only person in the world that gets bored.

VOICE OF HOSTAGE AT PICCADILLY CIRCUS: This is about you and me…because I'm bored…we were made for each other, Sherlock.

VOICE OF OLD LADY HOSTAGE: You are enjoying this, aren't you?

JOHN: So why is he doing this, then? Playing this game with you. Do you think he wants to be caught?
SHERLOCK: I think he wants to be distracted.
JOHN: Oh…I hope you'll be very happy together.


2. Staying number one (Moriarty more than Sherlock:"…you should see me in a crown!"/ Sherlock's deerstalker isn't exactly a crown… )

TRF, rooftop

JIM: Here we are at last – you and me, Sherlock, and our problem – the final problem. Stayin’ alive! It’s so boring, isn’t it? …It’s just ... staying… All my life I’ve been searching for distractions. You were the best distraction and now I don’t even have you. Because I’ve beaten you.): It was easy. Now I’ve got to go back to playing with the ordinary people. And it turns out you’re ordinary just like all of them.

Earlier, at the pool scene, Jim isn't quite sure yet whether to destroy Sherlock (and John) right away or just send them "a friendly warning" not to be in his way any longer. He admits that he has enjoyed "this little game of ours". Fortunately the ringtone postpones his decision: "Wrong day to die…!"

Jim knows that killing Sherlock will destroy the basis for an interesting life in the future.
A boring life for him isn't worthwhile.
But it is also not acceptable for him to be beaten.

Solving these two problems at the same time is his dilemma.
The only way out he sees for himself is his suicide. The only
satisfaction he has is that he is convinced that has destroyed Sherlock's reputation and life as well.


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May 1, 2012 8:43 am  #10


Re: What is the "final problem"?

I think, tobe, that you have expressed it quite well and by the way, that's pretty close to my vision of the problem too.
It's a kind of a mix between who is the smartest of them (which of them can "stay alive" over the other one) and trying to make life more exciting for a couple of superior minds that get easily bored ("staying alive" meaning boredom is not living).
But anyway, who knows. It's a pretty cryptic thing, I guess.


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May 1, 2012 10:54 am  #11


Re: What is the "final problem"?

Well, in Moriarty's words, "Good luck with that".


____________________________________________________________________________________________
Also, please note that sentences can also end in full stops. The exclamation mark can be overused.
Sherlock Holmes 28 March 13:08

Mycroft’s popularity doesn’t surprise me at all. He is, after all, incredibly beautiful, clever and well-dressed. And beautiful. Did I mention that?
--Mark Gatiss

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert McCloskey
 

May 19, 2012 8:53 pm  #12


Re: What is the "final problem"?

I know this conversation is more than two weeks old, haha, sorry but just wanted to add..
I kinda thought the final problem was that there can't be the both of them.
So that both includes "stopping Sherlock" and "staying alive" - because eventually one has to outsmart the other, there has to be a winner.
One cannot live while the other one survives or something like that... (yeah, like Harry Potter, I know)
Because Sherlock will always get into Moriarty's way and Moriarty will always get into Sherlock's. Final problem because it will end with the death of one of them.

 

May 19, 2012 9:38 pm  #13


Re: What is the "final problem"?

By killing himself, Moriarty also sets Sherlock the problem of 'staying alive' and at the same time preventing the murders of those he cares for.


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June 8, 2012 5:37 am  #14


Re: What is the "final problem"?

I thought it was fairly obvious what the 'Final Problem' was ... It is indeed relevant to staying alive ... The emphasis being on the word staying ... There is no motion, no movement, simply staying. 

Staying Number 1 would be incredibly boring ... Imagine a game where you're never challenged; where you never lose.  It might be fun for a while, but that game would become tedious ... The same things over and over and over and over again.  This is where Moriarty was ... He's the best criminal in Europe, cannot be touched by the law unless he wants them to touch him.

He is bored of this ... He was happy with Sherlock at first, because Sherlock is challenging him ... Sherlock is giving him a goal, Sherlock is not an 'ordinary person' ... Ordinary people bore Moriarty, SO much emphasis is put on this point.

Why do ordinary people bore Moriarty? Because they don't challenge him ...

So what is so great about Holmes? He challenges Moriarty ...

What does a challenge do for anybody (In this case, Moriarty)? It gives them a goal.

What does a goal do for a person? It stops them from being bored.

What causes boredom? Not being challenged, not having a goal, and not having something more interesting to do.

Staying is just another way of saying "not being pushed, or pulling himself out of boredom"

With all this emphasis being put on the word 'staying', what is meant by the word 'alive'? Well, you know the saying "stop existing and start living"? ... Alive means you're living life ... Not just sitting there doing the same monotonous thing over and over and over.

Staying Alive is continuing to stimulate yourself ... That's what Moriarty wants to figure out, 'how do I constantly stimulate myself?"

 

June 8, 2012 6:09 am  #15


Re: What is the "final problem"?

Sammy wrote:

I kinda thought the final problem was that there can't be the both of them.

Always has & always will be the Final Problem.

In achieving success with that, "staying alive" would be a natural prerequisite; so yes while it what is needed to solve the final problem, I still do not see it as being the final problem.
After all, aren't we all trying to 'stay alive'?

So yes dwy0212,

It is indeed relevant to staying alive .

It is indeed relevant to it.

Sheesh, you didn't dissect the words like I do; you minced them baby!

Oh and welcome to the forum.


____________________________________________________________________________________________
Also, please note that sentences can also end in full stops. The exclamation mark can be overused.
Sherlock Holmes 28 March 13:08

Mycroft’s popularity doesn’t surprise me at all. He is, after all, incredibly beautiful, clever and well-dressed. And beautiful. Did I mention that?
--Mark Gatiss

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert McCloskey
 

June 8, 2012 2:33 pm  #16


Re: What is the "final problem"?

So-- we know what the final problem is between moriarty and Holmes.  Well, I cannot help thinking of this phrase from the Harry Potter movies--I just wonder,  is that relevant here? 

"neither can live while the other survives.".

welcome to the forum, dwy!!

Last edited by sherlockskitty (June 8, 2012 2:34 pm)


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July 18, 2012 1:48 am  #17


Re: What is the "final problem"?

tobeornot221b wrote:

I think the "final problem" is to solve two problems at the same time:

(Bit tricky for me to express my thoughts in English. You should see me in a German discussion…! )

Both, Sherlock and Moriarty, want

1. Staying alive without dying of boredom
The tea party at 221b in TRF isn't the first conversation between Sherlock and Moriarty on this subject. Several phone calls and remarks in TGG (though through a "stolen" voice from Moriarty) about the puzzles hint at this:

LESTRADE: Why would anyone do this?
SHERLOCK:  Oh…I can't be the only person in the world that gets bored.

VOICE OF HOSTAGE AT PICCADILLY CIRCUS: This is about you and me…because I'm bored…we were made for each other, Sherlock.

VOICE OF OLD LADY HOSTAGE: You are enjoying this, aren't you?

JOHN: So why is he doing this, then? Playing this game with you. Do you think he wants to be caught?
SHERLOCK: I think he wants to be distracted.
JOHN: Oh…I hope you'll be very happy together.


2. Staying number one (Moriarty more than Sherlock:"…you should see me in a crown!"/ Sherlock's deerstalker isn't exactly a crown… )

TRF, rooftop

JIM: Here we are at last – you and me, Sherlock, and our problem – the final problem. Stayin’ alive! It’s so boring, isn’t it? …It’s just ... staying… All my life I’ve been searching for distractions. You were the best distraction and now I don’t even have you. Because I’ve beaten you.): It was easy. Now I’ve got to go back to playing with the ordinary people. And it turns out you’re ordinary just like all of them.

Earlier, at the pool scene, Jim isn't quite sure yet whether to destroy Sherlock (and John) right away or just send them "a friendly warning" not to be in his way any longer. He admits that he has enjoyed "this little game of ours". Fortunately the ringtone postpones his decision: "Wrong day to die…!"

Jim knows that killing Sherlock will destroy the basis for an interesting life in the future.
A boring life for him isn't worthwhile.
But it is also not acceptable for him to be beaten.

Solving these two problems at the same time is his dilemma.
The only way out he sees for himself is his suicide. The only
satisfaction he has is that he is convinced that has destroyed Sherlock's reputation and life as well.

Hey, this is very clever, I can't agree more.  This is definitely logical, and explains the "staying alive" ringtone.
I was also thinking that it explains the "IOU" in a simple way.  The problem solving session has been put off at poolside because something interesting came up so Moriarty didn't have to deal with it yet.  It's curious, that pool scene; you almost think Moriarty is ready for his own suicide there, too, when he says "wrong day to die".  Moriarty "owes" him another session at solving the conundrum.  But of course he raises the stakes tremendously when he plays at making Sherlock fall from grace and has got to be disappointed tremendously when Sherlock falls so easily (and he really does...via the same kind of tricks every experienced victim of office politics knows all too well...I think I'll post on that topic somewhere)

Great post!
(Too bad it's many months old!  Hope you get notified of this)

Last edited by Sumac60 (July 18, 2012 1:58 am)

 

July 27, 2012 7:02 am  #18


Re: What is the "final problem"?

My interpretation of the rooftop-scene and the final problem.

> End Of A Great Game <

Sherlock Holmes and Jim Moriarty have played a great game. Obsessed Jim Moriarty began this game and Sherlock accepted the challenge and the belonging risks. For both it was a game against the boredom and a battle for proving themselves as the best at all. For winning they had to solve their problem. This last and Final Problem was Staying Alive. Including the other one had to die. Because as long as he lives, Sherlock would disturb Moriarty, as long as Moriarty would try to kill Sherlock. No way out. For Sherlock, the problem included his friends will staying alive too. But in the end there was no winner. Fortune doesn't count. Not for Sherlock, not a tiny little bit.

Sherlock had invited Moriarty for solving their problem finally and Moriarty came. Supposed well-prepared, both opponents appeared for the showdown on the rooftop. First lap, relaxed. They talked about their game. Next lap. Their play went straightly forward when Moriarty Sherlock told about the snipers, who would force him jumping from the roof. Big mistake to let him take his friends hostage. (Why did Sherlock not avoid that?) That didn't fit right to his plans, from this moment Sherlock was in check. Then he noticed the thing Moriarty did miss, important for his own survival. But unfortunately this didn't save his friends (especially John) sure from danger, too. Next lap. Time for flirting with Moriarty, but no time to figure out how the friends can be saved. After Sherlock had offered him a date in Hell, Moriarty took a draw in his favour, shocked Sherlock and shot himself, in belief his nemesis will follow.

Last lap. Moriarty was not the winner of the game, because he's dead, but he was not the looser yet. Because Sherlock had to make a decision between actually falling down to dead to make sure his friends lives, or on the other hand, taking the chance of the survival-plan in face of the possibility of loosing them (especially John). He knew about the risks and possibilities (in consequence of his mistake, of course), it made him weep, but he was prepared to play with their lives (with his own one anyway). His self-confidence helped him taking the chance. He waited for the right moment, fell, and in the end he was right. He and his friends survived and Moriarty was the looser. Sherlock goes into incognito and his friends (especially John) are weeping.

But Sherlock and co. have survived not because of his expert knowledge, his enormous practical skills and his extra ordinary mental strenght only. He solved the Final Problem in his favour, but this is no kind of winning. Fortune favoured him. Sherlock Holmes is an advanced-level bloody gambler.


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edit: foreign-language-problems: grammar, orthography, wrong vocables, breaks
 

July 29, 2012 10:37 am  #19


Re: What is the "final problem"?

Well I must say that 'explanation' is very open ended on many points so I will not bother commenting on any points. However I will say this to those who expect us to believe that "Sherlock just jumped & survived without any aid and because of his mental strength, etc". (and there have been more than one sayin this):
# 1. Credibility is uppermost in the eventual solutions of Sherlockian riddles. "he just survived because he is Sherlock" does NOT cut the credibility cord at all.
# 2. How utterly irresponsible it would be for a creator to write such a plot into a show watched by millions of impressionable people of all ages. There are so many people out there willing to believe they are 'this & that' because of this show that to give this as a plausible explanation will be asking for a hell of a lot of trouble & heartache when obsessed fans try it out for themselves.

In simple terms, the suggestion that Sherlock 'just survived' the fall is (in MY words & MY mind) utter stupidity.

*Please all members note I am calling an idea stupid, not any person as there have been several trying to push this idea. The idea is ludicrous to me, pure & simple.


____________________________________________________________________________________________
Also, please note that sentences can also end in full stops. The exclamation mark can be overused.
Sherlock Holmes 28 March 13:08

Mycroft’s popularity doesn’t surprise me at all. He is, after all, incredibly beautiful, clever and well-dressed. And beautiful. Did I mention that?
--Mark Gatiss

"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert McCloskey
 

July 29, 2012 4:05 pm  #20


Re: What is the "final problem"?

Kazza, you're right, this is not a complete whole story of Sherlocks plans and his amazing survival, but I've already told, that I'm not going to do this. It's just my interpretation of the game that Moriarty and Sherlock have played (very well). Sorry, may be, I've expressed myself unclearly/ mistakably (english is foreign language for me), so I wanna explain two points.

I didn't say, Sherlock hadn't have any aid/ help from others. But this is not the same like letting someone completely in on his plans. For me it's a matter of credibility, that the creators remain true to the charakter of Sherlock Holmes. He is much more better than the „ordinary people“ and this peoples help can be only a little part of his plans. So for what should he let them in on his big whole plan? And he never would depend his life on this „ordinary people“, no trust. In the lap-scene when John was worried about Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock answered: „Alone is what I have. Alone protects me.“ For me, it is a strong moment and a very strong quote. It's a general statement, not only a quick-witted answer in this situation. Sherlock have learnt something about friendship and social behaviour during the series and I like this development. But he never will turn into the „most human human being“. For me this is a red herring.

And I don't think, he survived because he's just Sherlock. In summary I think he survived because of his knowledge, his practical skills, his mental strenght, the thing Moriarty ironically missed and fortune. In the end of the dramatic occurrences at St. Bart's we have seen the gunman John focusing nearly the place which Sherlock have landed on. For me, it means he saw Sherlocks trick and his survival. It would agree with the canon, where (the best) one of Moriartys gunmen (named Sebastian Moran) became witness of his non-fall into the Reichenbach-Falls. In the original story, surviving this adventure was a bit of fortune, too. Sherlock must have known that Johns gunman was around them and possibly this gunman was able to see him trick. May be he even saw him on one of the windows vis-a-vis. The  professional job of this gunman was waiting for the signal (shoot or pack) by someone of Moriartys people, who would see Sherlock jump. But there was no guaranty, that this gunman wouldn't shoot and would pack his stuff after he have seen the cheating. But he got the signal and he packed. He didn't go it alone without any consultation with his boss. I call this a bit of fortune.

Last edited by s.he (July 29, 2012 6:15 pm)


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> Don't take it personally, please. <


edit: foreign-language-problems: grammar, orthography, wrong vocables, breaks
 

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