Sherlock is, arguably, one of the greatest TV shows to come out of Britain. Based on the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the show was an instant success. To quote Martin Freeman, “We didn’t know that it was going to be this big.” And having watched all the episodes more than once, that quote is an understatement of the success of the show. If you look in the background of most scenes, you’ll see the public are blocked off. Just look for it!
But the question remains – who was the most villainous villain of them all? Understand that the villain and the case are different entities. There are only 5 villains in the entire show. And here they are:
5. Eurus Holmes (The Final Problem)
As we are all riding high on emotions that the Holmes siblings were more than the two brothers, take a step back and think about the finale – Sherlock and Mycroft have a sister. But it doesn’t end there! They had a brother. Stretched? Fishing? Trying too hard? All yes. Had Eurus been another member of Moriaty’s criminal network, it would have made more sense. A sister made this season the most emotional Sherlock season out of the 4. The plot twist was amazing! It took 3 years to come up with that? Anticlimatic!
She stretched Sherlock and Mycroft, forcing them into a situation they had to work together but at the same time, regardless of what they did, people died. People suffered. And Eurus continued to thrive.. Until she was the girl on the plane! Wait.. What now? How? But she? And the plane?
She escaped from the British version of The Rock to suffer from isolation and a psychological breakdown, only to be saved by Sherlock and sent back to The Rock where she came from? 3 years! Trump is President of the US, Brexit is a reality, DiCaprio has an Oscar and Ben Affleck proved he can be Batman. But nope! Sherlock has a sister – 3 years to come up with that?
4. Culverton Smith (The Lying Detective)
Toby Jones cannot be anything else but a villain. He has “the face” and he has “the laugh”. After seeing him in Captain America: The Winter Soldier play a Hydra scientist, I could see him being a top villain in Sherlock. I was actually excited to see what he was going to do to Sherlock.
It turns out, it was what Sherlock was going to do to him. Smith’s plan was Moriaty’s plan with an added touch – iMoriaty 4S. Smith’s plan was Magnussen with a deadly ending for the hero. Smith had the perfect plan and his question applied to our reality – “What’s the very worst thing you can do to your very best friends? Tell them your deepest, darkest secret.” I won’t lie, it brought chills down my spine.
Jones was too sinister and everything that came out of him was just scary. Until I realised, this was all Sherlock playing coy so that Dr Watson could be his friend again. Season 4 was too emotional (understandable but there was no villain). I loved Smith’s plan! I loved it all the way up until Dr Watson stumbled onto Mary’s DVD. Summary of the episode – Sherlock picked the biggest guy in the yard and spat in his tea so that his friend could be his friend again.
3. Charles Magnussen (His Last Bow)
Deemed “the shark” because of how he moved, talked, and the emptiness in his eyes. I was impressed by him and coming straight after Moriaty, I really did feel this was a solid story. And if you’ve read the stories, there are a couple of cases Sherlock and Dr Watson failed to solve, and this was one of them.
How it was depicted was superb! Magnussen had the most powerful weapon on earth – information. And he used it how all villains should – he manipulated, violated, exposed, and took control of whatever he wanted. Brilliant! He even had Mary on the edge and he brought out her true identity (which was surprising. Nothing is what it seems).
Seeing Sherlock’s face when Magnussen revealed his mind palace had me perplexed. I stared at the screen, paused it, took a walk, pondered the mysteries of the universe before I came back to finish the episode. Sherlock was beaten! “I’m a high functioning sociopath”, shouted Sherlock before he pulled the trigger leaving Magnussen wide eyed and open mouthed, dead. It was the only solution for Sherlock and I support his approach till this day. Charles Augustus Magnussen had to die. A man like that was too dangerous to let live in prison. Death was the only result!
2. Irene Adler (Scandal in Bohemia)
A wildcard pick but once again, Sherlock was stretched beyond his limits. Irene Adler, the only woman Sherlock ever had feelings for, a mistress of crime and once again, a holder of the most powerful weapon on earth – information. Adler really took Sherlock to the end.
She even exposed Sherlock to having feelings for people outside of Dr Watson and Mycroft. It broke him when he found out she died! But in true Sherlock fashion, he sought the truth and when he did, he had to solve the case. One thing he could not do was lose.
Stretched Sherlock to the point where emotions clouded his judgement, Sherlock had to stay true to who he was to solve the case. The importance of the case was top priority to him and he solved it. But alas, his love for “The Woman” was too strong and Sherlock had to ensure her safety.
She texted him on his birthday after 5 years. If that’s not love then I don’t know what is. She beat Sherlock and she is a memorable character and an influence in Sherlock’s life. We all have the one and Irene Adler was the one to Sherlock.
1. Professor Moriarty (The Great Game and Reichenbach Falls)
Arguably one of the best villains in TV history. Moriarty was all kinds of insane, psychotic and a man that had no limits. Sherlock was driven to the edge and the show was left on the biggest cliff hanger in TV history. For two years, the internet did not stop buzzing as to “how did Sherlock do it”. Moriarty stretched Sherlock’s ability in The Great Game. The cases were nothing Sherlock had dealt with before and Moriarty was always a step ahead which had Sherlock on the back foot at all times. Interrupted by a phone call, they were bound to meet again.
The Reichenbach Falls had the most twisted ending to any story. In the story, Moriarty and Sherlock fell to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. Due to public outcry and popular demand, Sir Doyle brought the stories back. On the show, Moriarty put Sherlock in a situation where I thought death was the only outcome for the world’s only consulting detective.
It was Sherlock or those around him that he loved. A difficult choice but knowing the villainous ways of Moriarty, death was the only outcome. How many villains do you know would kill themselves just to prove that a hero wasn’t really a hero? The perfect plan that needed the death of the “arch nemesis” to prove the lies of the so-called consulting detective. Outstanding!
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