Sherlock season 4, episode 3 is the last new material fans will see for a very long time. Was it a satisfying farewell to the series?

The Sherlock season 4 finale is a healthy mix of emotional highs and lows. But was it, as co-creators Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss describe, “television history?” No. It was not. It was not even the best episode of the Sherlock series.

However, it is what we have to left to unpack as we leave Holmes at Watson in 221B by the fire. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

The final problem

The greatest flaw of Sherlock is when it gets stuck in its own heightened story telling. “The Final Problem” is the perfect example of retelling the past and not giving the audience any new information. It’s not hard to deduce. The episode does not suffer for this. Because it is not about the game at all.

Eurus’ game is well-crafted, brutal, and unforgiving. She is a master. The episode goes above and beyond to prove that over and over. Eurus wants to understand the complexity of human empathy. The only way she can do that is to cut the people open and see what makes their muscles move.

watson

The maze she crafts tests the resolve of Sherlock, Mycroft, and John. One great example of this is the use of Molly Hooper. It should be noted that Molly Hooper deserves so much better.

Using her love for Sherlock as a weapon, Molly Hooper’s life shatters with three words. Unfortunately, all of this is in service to unravel Sherlock with no resolution on her end.

As he smashes the coffin with his bare hands, John and Mycroft are there to reel him back in. They lend a hand to rebuild the walls that are falling down around him. That is until they literally fall at the doorstep of his childhood home.

The final problem is how do you deliver human connection to someone who does not know how to receive it? That desire to feel that her brothers appreciate her for more than her brain. If Eurus’ favorite person, Sherlock, could just take a moment to play her game, everything can end.

The test, it turns out, is for Sherlock to lean heavily on his capacity for emotional connection throwing logic out of the equation. He makes room for John, Mary, Molly, even Greg in his life. Can he find a way to make room for Eurus in spite of everything he just found out?

“You were always the grown up,” says Mrs. Holmes near the end of the episode. Sherlock takes the family into the next chapter of their life. One where music bridges the gap between them and the entire Holmes family can sit together without words getting in the way.

‘I’m a pirate’

The biggest twist, if you didn’t already work it out for yourself, comes when John discovers the bones of “Redbeard” in the well. They are not dog bones, but the bones of Sherlock’s best childhood friend, Victor.

But the best appearance is by far the inclusion of Mycroft’s Christmas gift — Jim Moriarty.

sherlock season 4 moriarty

Moriarty’s obsession with Holmes begins well before Eurus calls him in for a meeting. But did he succumb to being one of her agents? Probably. But Jim likely steered his own course to Sherlock. But the game… well, the game now reeks of Eurus.

Mycroft Holmes

The Holmes brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, have the most fascinating relationship on Sherlock. “The Final Problem” highlights the complexity of their past and the trajectory of their future.

The most moving scene in the entire episode arrives when Mycroft, John and Sherlock are contemplating the reality of what may be their final moments alive. Hearing that Sherlock appreciated a talent of his, one that is not based on their familial intellect, moves him to a smile. Well before Mycroft sacrifices himself for Sherlock’s partnership with John, he gets the validation that their relationship is full of mutual appreciation.

mycroft sherlock

The minds of the Holmes siblings may be capable of great feats, but no fortress is entirely secure.

Mycroft’s home at the start of the episode is infiltrated by the combination of Holmes and Watson. Later on, his mind’s security system fails. He is a strong, put together person. After years of arranging Sherlock’s safety behind the scenes, it’s time for Sherlock to step up and do the same.

Is there room for more?

Perhaps we will all meet again at Anemoi. In the credits letters it is typical for the editors to highlight certain letters. The final sequence produces just a single word — Anemoi, the meeting place of the four winds.

While the finale ties up loose ends, recreates the scars that affect the duo the most, it does feel more like a beginning than an ending.

Sherlock may or may not return.

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Supernatural returns Thursday night with a very special episode – the season 13 mid-season premiere is also the backdoor pilot for the long-awaited Wayward Sisters spinoff. Hypable was lucky enough to preview the full episode and speak with star Kim Rhodes in advance of the big day.

Sometimes, if you’re very very good, and very very loud, for all the right reasons, miracles occur. Such is life right now for the cast and fans of Wayward Sisters, the brand-new female-led Supernatural spinoff featuring long-term recurring characters Sheriff Jody Mills, her wards Claire Novak and Alex Jones, and friend Sheriff Donna Hanscum. Over the past few years, the concept turned from fantasy to reality as cast, writers and network all began spinning the wheels of possibility on what was initially a fan-driven idea.

I won’t recap the whole history – if you’re reading this, you most likely already know – but after catching scent of things afoot during season 12, fans have followed the progress of the Wayward spinoff idea actually coming to fruition. Two new characters, Patience Turner and Kaia Nieves – both women of color with their own unique superpowers – were written in to season 13 to round up the lead Wayward cast to six.

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Supernatural returns Thursday night with a very special episode – the season 13 mid-season premiere is also the backdoor pilot for the long-awaited Wayward Sisters spinoff. Hypable was lucky enough to preview the full episode and speak with star Kim Rhodes in advance of the big day.

Sometimes, if you’re very very good, and very very loud, for all the right reasons, miracles occur. Such is life right now for the cast and fans of Wayward Sisters, the brand-new female-led Supernatural spinoff featuring long-term recurring characters Sheriff Jody Mills, her wards Claire Novak and Alex Jones, and friend Sheriff Donna Hanscum. Over the past few years, the concept turned from fantasy to reality as cast, writers and network all began spinning the wheels of possibility on what was initially a fan-driven idea.

I won’t recap the whole history – if you’re reading this, you most likely already know – but after catching scent of things afoot during season 12, fans have followed the progress of the Wayward spinoff idea actually coming to fruition. Two new characters, Patience Turner and Kaia Nieves – both women of color with their own unique superpowers – were written in to season 13 to round up the lead Wayward cast to six.

After Patience and Kaia each received an introductory episode, we left off the mid-season finale “The Bad Place” with the circumstances set up for the group to come together – Sam and Dean trapped in one of the many alternate worlds they’re beginning to learn exist all around theirs, and in need of rescue by the friends they’ve rescued so many times in the past.

Kim Rhodes joined me on the phone to preview Wayward Sisters, and here’s what we can tell you so far. We’ll share more from Kim’s chat after the episode has aired.

Established relationships are the key to unlocking the characters

Wayward Sisters is working, for the most part, with a group of women who have firm dynamics with one another already in place – since their meeting in season 10, Donna has become close friends with Jody and her surrogate daughters Alex and Claire, and new additions Patience and Kaia each bond with different members of this family in different ways. At the heart of it all is Claire as the reckless prodigal daughter and Alex as Jody’s rock, staying at home to support her in her work, both practically and emotionally.

Alex’s concern about Jody and Claire’s reunion is not hidden, and we soon discover why Jody is even more worried than usual about her difficult charge. The griping, comfort, fear and love shared between the women previews a level of depth about their past baggage and trauma that we don’t usually get to see as the camera moves off on the road with Sam and Dean.

If Wayward is granted a full series next year, Rhodes is excited to explore the things that surprise Jody. “[Things] that she thought it wouldn’t affect her anymore,” Rhodes clarifies. “I’m really excited to see the flaws she’s forced to address because, you know, when you’re living by yourself, your flaws harm no one.”

“Now, if she’s going to take on the responsibility of loving these other people – and allowing them to love her – there are aspects of her personality that she’s going to have to look at and address and feel, and start changing. You see a little bit of it in the pilot. Jody is not an infallible creature, and she’s going to need to learn from these women to address things she’s repressed.”

Validition of different choices and experiences is an underlying theme

The Wayward women are not only a socially and physically diverse group, factoring in their different ethnicities, ages, body types – and, it’s subtextually hinted at, sexualities – they also, in this Hollywood world where female characters being put in boxes like “hot,” “tough,” “mom,” and so on is still a very real issue, exemplify how the many different choices one can make about womanhood are all equally valid.

From something as incidental as how much makeup someone chooses to wear while hunting to something as character-defining as whether they feel like active combat is the best place for them at all, Wayward Sisters shows us a group of women who all set their own standards about how they embrace their strength, and they share those lessons with one another.

The message I got from observing the differences within this group was overwhelmingly that however you want to be, as a woman and as a human being, you can find power in that. Whoever you need to be, to find your identity through the harshness of life – go ahead and be it. I’ve written about the environment Supernatural has fostered for women in the past (spoiler: it’s a positive take!) and I asked Rhodes to share her thoughts on Supernatural expanding upon its male-dominated history and taking this opportunity to showcase a variety of female perspectives.

“Here’s the fundamental truth of storytelling. When you have a show that is based on two characters, everyone else who comes into their orbit comes into their orbit to evoke a reaction that is their reaction, their story. So what I’m most excited about is the idea that it can stop being about how the women affect someone else, and it can start being about how they are affected. Females – by necessity – have been part of a story. And now they can move into being the story. I’m always excited for viewpoints to be included that haven’t been included before. I’m excited to know that the choir is getting bigger.”

Expect the action to be fast, frenetic and fantastic

Supernatural’s fight choreography has noticeably stepped up this season in the hands of stunt coordinators Rob Hayter and Kirk Jacques, and Wayward Sisters is no different. Just like the Winchesters, the Wayward women all have their own unique character-infused fighting styles, and don’t worry – you’re going to see plenty of action, from the initial hunt that Claire is on when she gets called home, to the final showdown against Bad Place monsters in the abandoned shipyard.

Writing, direction and choreography comes together to show us something really individual about each character’s approach to combat. The filming of both this episode “Wayward Sisters” and the preceding lead-in “The Bad Place” was done as one block, with the same writer and director (Robert Berens, Wayward’s future showrunner, and Phil Sgriccia, who’s signed on as executive producer, respectively) so the Wayward cast basically shot a 90 minute movie in the space of two episode production periods – about sixteen days. Rhodes tells me more about the energy among the cast and crew while on set.

“We were actually up there for four weeks, because they had us training. They had already choreographed all the fights, so we started learning the fights. We did firearm training, and then we were shooting at the craziest place, that big, huge, ferry where the rift was. [Author’s note: the interior action sequences at the shipyard were done on location as well, not recreated on built sets.] We were out in this little tiny town – we, the crew and the cast, all stayed at this little hotel, like a Best Western, together.”

“It was crazy because we all knew – and I’m speaking for the crew, I should only speak for myself – but everybody knew we were doing something that had never been done before. And so there was a different energy. So days that were turning into 14 hour days, somehow we still had energy when it came time to pull out the flamethrower. We still had laughter when were freezing cold and ‘Oh my gosh, is it actually raining on top of everything?’ It was just exciting! Everybody had been waiting a long time to make it happen, so there was a lot of pent-up energy.”

There’s very little Sam and Dean screen time – but they’re totally cool with that

You’d have to get a stopwatch and time it to compare “Wayward Sisters” to other Winchester-lite episodes (“Bitten” and “Weekend at Bobby’s” are probably the biggest stand-outs) but this may be the least screen time Sam and Dean ever get in an episode of Supernatural. The episode cuts to their story in the new universe – Kaia’s Bad Place – much later, and much less frequently, than I’d personally been expecting.

This factor does not cause any narrative problems whatsoever – I was just genuinely impressed that it had been allowed. Of course we all cherish the boys for their own incredible selves – and so do this gang of wayward girls, that’s the point of their rallying for a rescue mission, after all – but their extreme absence from the episode is actually a marker of huge confidence in the Wayward concept from the CW Powers That Be, and absolutely proves its value.

Sam and Dean Winchester themselves are the last people to be bothered about taking a backseat for Wayward Sisters. During their shared time on set, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki naturally offered their full support to the pack of women – just as Sam and Dean have longstanding relationships with most of these characters, Ackles and Padalecki have even closer friendships with the actresses themselves, sharing many weekends together all over the world at fan conventions.

“They were the most generous of patriarchs possible,” Rhodes shared in the closing moments of our call. “Jensen actually said – we were saying something and he said ‘This needs to exist.’” (Ackles has already gone on the record at conventions confirming his hopes to direct an episode of Wayward Sisters, and both leading men would happily guest star.)

“They are not just behind it because it’s a good business decision. Everything they have shown is pride in how they’ve helped change the world in a way they want to see it change. And I love them for it. I love them anyway, but their reaction has been something that has affirmed my love for them.”

If you’re #WaywardAF, the episode will probably make you cry

For me, it was the freakin’ recap – before the action even starts, Supernatural’s classic “previously on” montage is a masterpiece in and of itself this week. Soundtracked by a thematically perfect hard rock tune with a woman vocalist – I won’t tell you what it is and spoil the emotional effect – we see a beautifully cut montage of the history of all these women over Supernatural’s thirteen seasons, and relive the trials they suffered and survived to get them where they are today.

I’ve been mostly very practical about this entire thing, and I am not a huge TV crier, but when the realism of what was happening set in, it was uncontrollable, huge wracking sobs pulled out of me. The vastness of this moment, this legacy and everything it represents both onscreen and off, overwhelmed me and I had to legitimately pause the screener, finish crying, and then scroll it back and start again.

If you want to relive the history of all our Wayward characters before tomorrow’s episode airs, we’ve got a very readable recap of all 21 episodes that the women have previously featured in to refresh your memory and provide context, but even if you make it past the “Wayward Sisters” video recap dry-eyed, it’s likely that some serious emotions will leak out at some point – especially when you comprehend the massive cliffhanger that closes out our time in Sioux Falls…

If the response to the Wayward Sisters pilot is deemed successful, a full series order may on the horizon as soon as May. Show your support by tweeting tomorrow night with the tags #Supernatural and #WaywardSisters if you want to see more from these wonder women!

‘Supernatural’ returns with ‘Wayward Sisters’ tomorrow at 8/7C on the CW

Although The Beguiled and Phantom Thread tell very different stories, they share a unique plot device that connects the two films, allowing them to complement one another in unexpected ways. Beware: spoilers ahead!

On paper, there appear to be very few similarities between The Beguiled and Phantom Thread. Coppola’s film, adapted from a 1966 novel of the same name, tells the story of an all-girls Southern boarding school during the Civil War and the events that transpire after the women take in a wounded Union soldier.

On the other hand, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, inspired by gothic romances like Rebecca, follows the deeply romantic and somewhat twisted love affair between a renowned dressmaker named Reynolds Woodcock and a resolute young woman named Alma in 1950s London.

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Although The Beguiled and Phantom Thread tell very different stories, they share a unique plot device that connects the two films, allowing them to complement one another in unexpected ways. Beware: spoilers ahead!

On paper, there appear to be very few similarities between The Beguiled and Phantom Thread. Coppola’s film, adapted from a 1966 novel of the same name, tells the story of an all-girls Southern boarding school during the Civil War and the events that transpire after the women take in a wounded Union soldier.

On the other hand, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, inspired by gothic romances like Rebecca, follows the deeply romantic and somewhat twisted love affair between a renowned dressmaker named Reynolds Woodcock and a resolute young woman named Alma in 1950s London.

Save for both films being period pieces, there’s no clear connection between the two. However, The Beguiled and Phantom Thread share a peculiar plot device that illuminates a strong thematic link between the two stories: poisonous mushrooms. In both movies, women use cooked poisonous mushrooms against the story’s focal male character.

In the final act of The Beguiled, Union soldier Corporal McBurney becomes dangerously violent after Miss Martha and Edwina amputate his leg. In order to neutralize the threat he poses, the women cook him a large dinner, serving him a dish of poisonous mushrooms that kill him almost instantly.

In Phantom Thread, Alma poisons Reynolds after he begins to exhibit increasingly cruel, self-centered, or as she calls it, “fussy” behavior. Unlike McBurney, Reynolds survives; cared for by Alma, he reemerges stronger with his love for her renewed.

Despite these situational differences, the films use these poisonous mushrooms in remarkably similar ways. In both circumstances, the mushrooms serve to demonstrate a woman’s power and control over a man despite his perceived dominance.

These films begin by fleshing out how men are presupposed to hold positions of power and authority. Reynolds and McBurney are characterized by tropes like the male genius and the war hero, respectively. Reynolds controls the House of Woodcock, an esteemed dressmaker surrounded by those that are employed or enamored by his genius. McBurney, injured in the war and fighting for a just cause, uses his charm win over the women and girls in Miss Martha’s school to secure his safety.

It’s no coincidence that these men occupy spaces composed entirely of women. In Phantom Thread, his sister Cyril, his clients, the women he employs, and Alma make up Reynolds’ insular world. In The Beguiled, McBurney enters a home filled with only adult women and young girls, his injury affording him the ability to play the helpless victim. In both situations, the men use their status as the only man to their advantage, establishing a hierarchy that allows them to control women as they see fit.

However, Phantom Thread and The Beguiled ultimately work to deconstruct this notion of male dominance and control. In poisoning Reynolds, Alma intentionally compromises his command over her and his world. Just a single cup of tea poisoned with mushrooms is enough to leave Reynolds completely incapacitated and dependent upon Alma for survival. Suddenly, Reynolds is not strong or powerful at all – his genius is trivialized by Alma’s control over him.

The climax of The Beguiled works in a similar way. McBurney, no longer the charming solider he was, poses a grave threat to the women and girls of Miss Martha’s school. They feel powerless and fearful in his presence. Believing they cannot overpower him physically, they mirror the same charm McBurney exhibited at the start of his stay, cooking him a sumptuous meal complete with a plate of poisonous mushrooms. The mushrooms give the women of Miss Martha’s school the power to reclaim the safety stolen from them.

In both films, the mushrooms are symbolically significant, representing the innate power women hold over men despite the institutional and social hierarchies that presuppose male dominance. It’s no coincidence that the poisonous mushrooms are closely aligned with a household cooking – a task that has long been associated as the responsibility of women. These films turn cooking into a weapon, one that can undermine, incapacitate, or even kill men.

The reclamation of power and authority by women in these films is particularly impressive, not simply because it challenges typical hierarchies and power plays to which audiences are accustomed, but because it reframes the stories themselves on the women.

For example, Phantom Thread appears to be a story about an esteemed dressmaker when it is, in fact, Alma’s story; one of profound romance that embraces the more twisted side of human desire. In the end, Reynolds’ supposed genius is rather inconsequential to the story – one focused on Alma and her love for him.

Coppola’s adaptation of The Beguiled, a story written by a man, takes a story that was once characterized by the caricature of female sexual hysteria and makes it about the strength and survival of women in the face of those masculine hierarchies that seek to control them.

Ultimately, The Beguiled and Phantom Thread emphasize the power women wield in spite of men. These films challenge the power dynamics and social hierarchies that continue to exist today. What a shame that we might have missed out on such a ripe comparison if not for some poisonous mushrooms

‘Phantom Thread’ is now playing in theaters

The Assassination of Gianni Versace is a must-see for all the reasons that should make it unbearable.

FX’s mini-series, from Ryan Murphy and writer Tom Rob Smith is another installment of the American Crime Story series. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the title refers to the event that kicks off the story. Also like it’s predecessor, it attempts to understand the culture around the life of one complicated man.

One who operates behind the scenes. One who travels the country, shows his face, clear as day to everyone around him. But unbeknownst to the passerby, they only saw the mask he chose to wear that day.

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The Assassination of Gianni Versace is a must-see for all the reasons that should make it unbearable.

FX’s mini-series, from Ryan Murphy and writer Tom Rob Smith is another installment of the American Crime Story series. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the title refers to the event that kicks off the story. Also like it’s predecessor, it attempts to understand the culture around the life of one complicated man.

One who operates behind the scenes. One who travels the country, shows his face, clear as day to everyone around him. But unbeknownst to the passerby, they only saw the mask he chose to wear that day.

‘American Crime Story: Versace’ Review

No, this is not a story of Gianni Versace. It is not an exploration into the world of high fashion or what each gown meant to his career. At times those elements are touched upon, but they do not drive the story. They are not meant to make the viewer feel more sympathy for the Versace family.

Versace gianni

Instead, the second season of American Crime Story shifts its attention. In fact, it shifts its attention quite a few times. Each episode is like looking through a turn of a kaleidoscope.

The same scattered pieces rearrange to create a new version of what we already know. There is the police procedural, the familial loss of a high-profile family and what it does to the people behind the headlines.

Then there are the larger diversions into the stories of those we don’t know.

Stories of a failing marriage between Home Shopping Network royalty, Marilyn (played by the incomparable, Judith Light) and her husband Lee Miglin’s closeted affairs. There’s a trip back to Cunanan’s youth, where, I’d argue, the series finally begins to tap into something extraordinary.

But these small vignettes, while they may seem disjointed, are critical to the mini-series. They don’t make you feel for the murderer. Nor do they let you get to know the victims (Versace included).

They each give a flash of the world in which Cunanan grew up. How it changes as he begins to navigate it as a young adult. And how they all ultimately connect Cunanan’s imagined universe to the reality of shooting Versace on the steps of his home.

But none of the above paint a complete picture of what Murphy and company could have done with either more time or deeper focus.

Instead, it winds up being an examination trapped by its source material and the headlines.

American Crime Story Versace murder board

However, while watching the series, you never feel at a loss. And that is largely due to Darren Criss.

The episodes are a playground for the actor. He is able to find a new way to fit into each of them. He’s sharply charming, seductive, and off-putting all at once. With a subtle shift in his facial expression he flips from the friend you always want around to the person you never want to see again.

And while he plays one man, Andrew Cunanan, Criss plays the many facets of Cunanan’s life with such attention that you’re seeing a different man each time he is on screen.

And when things are going Cunanan’s way, Criss shines. You’ll relish the moments where he exudes freedom and confidence when he dominates his counterparts on screen. And you’ll cringe at the moments where a lie slips, or when he carries out the grittier parts of the murders. And it’s not because you come to understand Cunanan.

In fact, I’d argue, in the eight episodes, you learn next to nothing about him.

Versace darren criss

A personal aside about Darren Criss’ involvement. For anyone who has followed Criss’s career, before, during, and after Glee, his scene stealing performances will not come as a shock.

Criss brings a level of passion to projects that speaks volumes in silence and demands reverence when he speaks (or sings). His music career, his Broadway performances, and, yes, even Glee are only the tip of the iceberg for what Criss brings to Andrew Cunanan.

There is no shortage of knockout performances surrounding Criss’s renaissance role.

Édgar Ramírez’s Gianni Versace is so captivating, I’d love to watch an “approved” Versace documentary with him revisiting the title role. Same goes for Ricky Martin’s stint as Versace’s partner, Antonio D’Amico.

Regardless of the chatter surrounding the validity of the events the performances portray, it does not deter from the palpable emotion each actor brings to the table.

Versace ricky martin

If you’re looking for The People Vs O.J. Simpson replica, you’re out of luck. The same goes for those seeking the life and times of Gianni Versace. I’ll push it even further to say that you will not get the police investigation driven hunt for a serial killer.

What are you left with?

A superb, albeit fractured, mini-series. In spite of its glaring flaws, it’s bound to be a hit.

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace premieres Wednesday, January 17 at 10:00 p.m. ET on FX.