Sherlock’s season finale proved nothing short of thrilling. Fans rode an emotional rollercoaster as Sherlock’s dark past surfaced, and the secret behind his childhood pet was revealed. With no date set for filming or release of the show’s fifth season, it could be a while before we see Sherlock and Watson back in action, so we’re going to take a look at some of Sherlock’s most memorable villains.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
Irene Adler is a rather clever woman, known for her manipulative skills. She appeared in “A Scandal in Belgravia“, where she tricked Sherlock into giving classified information to a terrorist organization. She also held government-sensitive information on her mobile phone, which Sherlock tried hard to hack into.
The episode ends with Sherlock cracking the phone passcode. With only one attempt remaining, Sherlock relies on his gut for once. At the end of the episode, we find out that Irene’s passcode was Sherlock’s name, and that she had feelings for him. Not only that, but she was working for Sherlock’s nemesis the entire time. That’s a lot to take in.
Charles Augustus “Magnussen”
Magnussen is one of the most powerful characters on the show. With a “mind palace” much like Sherlock, Magnussen stores secrets rather than random (yet useful) facts like Sherlock does. Basically, Magnussen has the ability to overthrow entire countries, so he’s definitely not someone you’d want to pick a fight with.
Sherlock first runs into Magnussen after a government employee comes to him for help. The client, Lady Smallwood, needs help destroying her husband’s affair letters. Sherlock’s sudden interest in the case catches Magnussen’s attention, so he visits Sherlock’s flat and pees in his fireplace. In a series of plot twists, Sherlock ends up killing Magnussen to protect the Watson family. That man was flawless in the art of belittling, and the perfect fictional example of power corruption.
Vivian Norbury (codename: “Love”) was Lady Smallwood’s clever yet psychopathic secretary. She leaked classified secrets to a third party/foreign government and caused the assassination of the AGRA team.
At the end of “The Lying Detective,” Sherlock corners Vivian in an aquarium. She demonstrates her wickedness by shooting and killing Mary Watson, which ultimately leads to her arrest. Thanks to Vivian, John and Sherlock were able to bond in a way that only pain could make possible. There’s a reason why Sherlock and Watson are considered one of history’s finest duos!
Culverton Smith is a famous TV personality introduced in “The Lying Detective”. For what seems like no apparent reason, Sherlock becomes convinced that Culverton is a serial killer. He meets with the celebrity to sort everything out. Culverton taunts Sherlock and plays along with his drug-induced fantasy, convincing everyone that Sherlock is only high, and talking nonsense.
At the climax of the episode, Culverton admits to being a serial killer (surprise!), and that he over-medicates dying people in his “very own hospital.” He then attempts to suffocate Sherlock in his hospital bed, but John stops him. Sherlock reveals to everyone that he planted audio recorders in the room, and has Culverton arrested immediately. He “couldn’t stop confessing” during his interrogation, and proved Sherlock right (as always).
Though she was a minor character, Kitty proved crucial for Sherlock’s downfall in “The Reichenbach Fall“. As a young, struggling journalist, Kitty was having a difficult time launching her career. What better way to get noticed than to get a scoop on the Sherlock Holmes?
In a men’s bathroom during the trial of Jim Moriarty, Kitty attempts to get Sherlock to open up, but he refuses, insulting her in the process. As revenge, she allies herself with Sherlock’s nemesis: Moriarty himself. Moriarty feeds the unknowing Kitty lies, telling her that Sherlock is a fake and that he hired Moriarty to make himself look smart. While she’s not necessarily a successful villain, we enjoyed watching her plot backfire.
Eurus Holmes is Sherlock’s secret sister. At a young age, she drowned Sherlock’s best friend, and burnt her house to the ground, so she was institutionalized at Sherrinford. In “The Lying Detective,” Eurus escapes her institution and poses as John’s therapist. We later find out that she also pretended to be Culverton Smith’s daughter to get close to Sherlock.
In the next and final episode, “The Final Problem,” Eurus returns to Sherrinford as if nothing had happened. There, she manipulates Mycroft, Sherlock, and John into being her lab rats, while experimenting with their emotional responses to different scenarios.
Eurus had also apparently been behind all of Moriarty’s actions since series two. She had been the reason Sherlock did everything that he did, that he met John Watson, and that he jumped in “The Reichenbach Fall.” Even though she was introduced late into the story, Eurus had been causing trouble for a while.
Jim Moriarty is Sherlock’s most well-known villain. Moriarty made his existence known in “The Great Game,” after he got Sherlock to solve different puzzles to save hostages’ lives. Moriarty was also the reason Sherlock met fellow villain Irene Adler in “A Scandal in Belgravia.”
Throughout the course of the show, he threatened John’s life twice, broke into the Jewel House, and forced Sherlock to “commit suicide”. He even convinced the world that England’s greatest detective was a fraud. At the end of “The Reichenbach Fall”, Moriarty took his own life to win an argument.
Sherlock has always been horribly fascinated with Moriarty. Even after he committed suicide, Moriarty haunted Sherlock with notes and video clips of the villain teasing him. Many fans were disappointed at the confirmation of his death and at the fact that he had been a pawn of Eurus Holmes from the start of season two. Moriarty was an intricate and unpredictable character who we’ll forever remember as Sherlock’s only equal.