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July 29, 2012 6:50 pm  #21

Re: What is the "final problem"?

I don't think the final problem is about survival for Moriarty. He kills himself to trap Sherlock, his line of reasoning indicating that he was removing the last "way out" for his adversary. It's like a game of chess. Moriarty called checkmate but Sherlock called it to be just a check, Moriarty's mistake being that he thought Sherlock would not do whatever he needed to get the snipers recalled. When Moriarty realized this, he tried to mate again by countering this strategy the only way he could, by killing himself. Moriarty in fact calls just "staying alive" boring.

To me, the final problem is that they both can't live, the two great hero and the great villain, which is different. Neither alive is still a victory for Moriarty. He didn't care for his own life. He didn't care about wealth or power. He threw away 30 million quid to get Sherlock's attention. He looked for distractions.

To echo kazza, to say Sherlock just survived the fall seems a bit farfetched for such a methodical strategist. In the canon, Sherlock never fell, there was no body recovered, and the fall was not seen by anyone mentioned in The Final Problem (The Empty House modified this). I think the creators believe they outdid Conan Doyle in part because there WAS a body recovered and Sherlock still survived a jump in broad daylight amidst John and a crowd. To have Sherlock actually jump, as in the Game of Shadows movie, seems a bit pedestrian and a significant deviation from canon.

Last edited by Lupin (July 29, 2012 8:42 pm)

Is the foil of a detective a thief or a magician?

My Theory on the Fall:

July 29, 2012 7:23 pm  #22

Re: What is the "final problem"?

Lupin I have to say I agree entirely with your analysis. The analogy of the game of chess has been brought up previously (almost inevitably) and is a perfectly sound one.

Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.

July 29, 2012 9:32 pm  #23

Re: What is the "final problem"?

Davina wrote:

Lupin I have to say I agree entirely with your analysis. The analogy of the game of chess has been brought up previously (almost inevitably) and is a perfectly sound one.

Thank you. :D I found myself mostly just reiterating things people have brought up previously. I started rather late in the game. I only saw the episode last week.

Is the foil of a detective a thief or a magician?

My Theory on the Fall:

July 29, 2012 9:39 pm  #24

Re: What is the "final problem"?

But it is always good to clarify your own ideas and put them out for peer review.

Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.

July 30, 2012 11:04 pm  #25

Re: What is the "final problem"?

That's true, despite their patent unpopularity. 

Is the foil of a detective a thief or a magician?

My Theory on the Fall:

July 30, 2012 11:10 pm  #26

Re: What is the "final problem"?

Lupin wrote:

That's true, despite their patent unpopularity. 

Ahhh get used to it, lol. At least you know people notice your posts!

And I agree also with all you have posted. I might just wait for you to post in future & just agree with you, saves time typing ... heheheh.

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 30, 2012 11:31 pm  #27

Re: What is the "final problem"?

That is true. There is something to relish about being controversial even when you don't intend to be. 

Ha, I admit I have shortened my replies after reading some of your responses. It does save time on typing. 

Is the foil of a detective a thief or a magician?

My Theory on the Fall:

October 7, 2012 12:10 pm  #28

Re: What is the "final problem"?

Wasn't the final problem how to get rid of Sherlock in disgrace?


October 7, 2012 12:17 pm  #29

Re: What is the "final problem"?

The Final Problem is how to definitively win the Great Game they are playing ( see chess analogy above). Disgracing Sherlock and forcing him to destroy himself is the solution. More fool Moriarty.

What do 'real' people have, then, in their 'real' lives?

So we go round the sun; if we went round the moon, or round and round the garden like a teddy bear, it wouldn't make any difference.

The consolation of imaginary things is not imaginary consolation. -- Roger Scruton

October 8, 2012 1:05 am  #30

Re: What is the "final problem"?

sherlockskitty wrote:

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!!

This is actually what I'm thinking the Final Problem is! They "need" each other or they're "nothing" Therefore, if one dies, the other has to. I feel like Moriarty was thinking this, maybe not Sherlock...

SH: "Brilliant, Anderson."
Anderson: "Really?"
SH: "Yes. Brilliant impression of an idiot."

October 8, 2012 7:23 am  #31

Re: What is the "final problem"?

Good point.


September 22, 2014 12:04 am  #32

Re: What is the "final problem"?

So I have been reading a lot of responses on the topic of "final problem" and here's mine:
(Btw it's the best idea that makes sense so don't read any further responses jk. I used 2 ideas from other people but 3rd one is mine. Just so you know.  "

   Obviously their first problem is that they're both bored.  That's why it's "our problem", not mine or yours.

   So, I think that moriarty's weakness is that he always wants to be the best. I believe that he was satisfied about this until Sherlock got popular.  So after sherlock got into news, moriarty found a new way to get distracted and beat sherlock; by getting popular. So he braked into the prison, bank... to get famous and be the most wanted person in the world (show off , just like sherlock  )
As to beat sherlock in everything he wanted him destroyet "to die in disgrace" and he ruined his career for two years till season 3 when sherlock came back (another long story)

   Their biggest problem was that; Moriarty was the mastermind criminal but sherlock was the mastermind defective. As they said they need each other for distraction but they're in opposite sides and they get into each others way. Thinking in moriarty's perspective; sherlock either needed to be in his side or he should get out of his way ( which concludes in sherlock stop solving moriarty's plan and in that case, sherlock needs action and he can't stand being bored (weakness)
So moriarty wanted to kill him. So simple.


Sorry it's kinda long :D

Last edited by sherlock-fever (September 22, 2014 12:17 am)


September 22, 2014 12:15 am  #33

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.



December 11, 2014 8:33 pm  #34

Re: What is the "final problem"?

I always saw the final problem as "how to avoid being bored".

And if you take that far enough, the final solution will be death.

"We'll live on starlight and crime scenes" - wordstrings

Team Hudders!

January 17, 2015 3:46 am  #35

Re: What is the "final problem"?

Here's what we know. 1) Sherlock didn't know what the final problem was when Moriarty asked him in 221B. 2) Sherlock figured out what the final problem was after he and John fled from the police and chased Brook/Moriarty out of a window. 3) Whatever the final problem was, when Sherlock figured it out, he was able to deduce that Moriarty would try to get Sherlock to kill himself (and most likely that Moriarty would kill himself as well).

The final problem is not "getting Sherlock out of the way", it's more than that. Simply killing Sherlock is far too simple. If that were the problem, A) Moriarty could've solved the problem by killing Sherlock and B) Sherlock would've known that was the problem when Moriarty asked him if he knew what the final problem was in 221B. But he didn't know it, not until they were in the street after chasing Brook/Moriarty out the window - then, he knew what the problem was, evidenced by the fact that his next stop was to see Molly and let her in on his imminent death. He realized what the problem was but doesn't explain it to anyone on-screen.

The problem IS "staying alive", but not like one might think. Moriarty needed to do more than kill Sherlock. He had to destroy Sherlock Holmes. And as a psychopath and a murderer, Moriarty could only satisfy his obsession by dying with the object of his obsession. He needed to destroy Sherlock and Moriarty, and he would accomplish this by creating Richard Brook, killing himself (thereby cementing the identity of Richard Brook), and forcing Sherlock to commit suicide, completing the full defamation of Sherlock Holmes. 

Sherlock figured out what the final problem was when he realized what the final move of Moriarty's plan would be, given Moriarty's evident goal to destroy his reputation. What Sherlock didn't know was how, when, and where Moriarty would make his final play. So, Sherlock brilliantly took control of the situation by anticipating Moriarty's move and gave him the 'where', and therefore also, the 'how'. He knew Moriarty would force him to commit suicide, so obviously, on top of a hospital, odds were that Moriarty would try to get him to jump. Sherlock texted Moriarty where the final showdown would take place, but then he waited for Moriarty to tell him when he was ready to meet, giving Moriarty sufficient time to develop his plan for fixing their final problem on top of St. Bartholomew's.

As Sherlock explains in the third season, there were multiple possible scenarios in which they might've found themselves atop the hospital, so some improvisation would be needed. But Moriarty's death wish was evident over the seasons based off of he and Sherlock's interactions. Sherlock anticipated Moriarty's suicide (how could he not, what with Moriarty's constant despairing of life); knowing what the "final problem" was, Sherlock would need to play one last game with Moriarty, wherein he would find the stalemate Moriarty was desperate for him to discover.

And there it is. The final problem was "staying alive", and the solution was a permanent stalemate where Moriarty destroyed Sherlock (his destruction made final with his death) but not without Sherlock forcing Moriarty to kill himself. To actually defeat Sherlock and be allowed to continue living, doing what he does, being a "consulting criminal", was not an option. The only way he felt he could rest in peace was for both he and Sherlock to go down in flames together.

When I set out to type all this out, I really thought it'd be easier, requiring fewer words. Sorry if it was all a bit 'rambly'.


January 17, 2015 10:56 am  #36

Re: What is the "final problem"?

This is all very logical but entirely based on the premise that Moriarty is really dead. If not, there are two options: Moriarty either pretended to kill himself in order to make Sherlock kill himself or he anticipated that Sherlock would fake his death as well and all this would only be a new stage of their game. 

"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)


January 17, 2015 11:02 am  #37

Re: What is the "final problem"?

Logically, I would prefer Moriarty to be dead.
But because I love him so much, I will accept if he's alive.
In which case,either of Susi's options would suit me!


January 17, 2015 11:33 am  #38

Re: What is the "final problem"?

I will feel incredibly cheated if he's not really dead.

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"Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not".
 -Vaclav Havel 
"Life is full of wonder, Love is never wrong."   Melissa Ethridge

I ship it harder than Mrs. Hudson.

January 17, 2015 3:21 pm  #39

Re: What is the "final problem"?

I'd thought that Sherlock talked Moriarty into suicide (the Lazarus plan wouldn't have worked if Moriarty was alive, so his death must have been part of that plan).  I hadn't thought about it the other way round, that Sherlock knew Moriarty was planning suicide and played along.  Interesting!  And that would obviously fit better with Moriarty faking his suicide, if indeed he did. 


January 17, 2015 3:30 pm  #40

Re: What is the "final problem"?

I don't think Sherlock anticipated Moriarty's suicide. For two reasons:

1. If Sherlock expected it, even talked him into it, why was he so horrified and shocked after M. shot himself? He looks as he's about to throw up.
2. In the reveal of "how he did it" to Anderson in TEH, Sherlock says: "But the one thing I didn’t anticipate was just how far Moriarty was prepared to go. I suppose that was obvious, given our first meeting at the swimming pool – his death wish." 
Courtesy: Ariane DeVere

So he didn't know it at the time, it seems.


Last edited by Vhanja (January 17, 2015 3:31 pm)

"We'll live on starlight and crime scenes" - wordstrings

Team Hudders!

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