And so we come, alas, to the end of Sherlock series 2.
I dont consider anything Im about to say spoilerific, but those who have an ultra-low threshold for what counts as a spoiler may wish to stop reading now.
Episode 2, The Hounds of Baskerville, was enjoyable, though it suffers from being sandwiched between two much more brilliant episodes. I liked the way, whenever the story deviated from the original, it would drop in a little nod to what was being deviated from.
And finally there arrives the long-awaited Episode 3, The Reichenbach Fall, in which Sherlock heads inexorably toward his fated rendezvous at Lake Silencio.
Oh sorry, wrong show. But yeah, there are a few parallels ….
Anyway, the final episode was absolutely terrific (I have some quibbles, but cant really talk about them while staying spoiler-free).
About that crucial scene youll want to rewind for: listen very carefully to what Sherlock tells John (his exact wording), and watch very carefully for what is seen and what is not seen (and notice the reasons, plural, for the not-being-seen-ness of what is not seen). If Im right, weve been told and shown pretty much everything we need.
Theories as to what happened have been all over 4chan, Tumblr and IMDB for hours. Almost everything is being considered from simple leaps of logic to completely absurd conclusions, I myself have played the scene in question three times in slow-motion (in addition to the five times that I watched it normally) just to make sure that I didn’t miss anything and I still can’t come to a satisfactory conclusion. So go on then, what is your theory?
Okay, so this comments section is NOT a spoiler-free zone.
So during that final exchange, Sherlock tells John a) that he should stay where he is, b) that there is a magic trick involved, and c) that he should keep his eye on Sherlock. Sherlock is simultaneously setting up a feat of misdirection (depending on John’s location and not keeping his eye on Sherlock) and telling John that that’s what he’s doing.
When Sherlock jumps, we do not see him hit the ground. (We see a body hit the ground, but we don’t see the face at that point.) John doesn’t see him hit the ground either, because when he approaches the body it’s clearly around a corner and behind a red garbage truck. So from John’s POV he couldn’t do what Sherlock told him to (and Sherlock knows this).
Thus if Sherlock actually fell into the truck (being cushioned by the bags) while a different body was being thrown by someone else behind the truck, John wouldn’t have seen it.
Then John is prevented from being the first at the scene because he is hit by a surely-not-accidental bike. And right after he falls, we see the red truck with garbage bags in it conveniently drive away. We do not see more than a slim edge of what is IN the truck at that point. What was John prevented from seeing? Presumably, Sherlock getting out of the truck and replacing the body (which rolled away with the truck).
The biker and the witnesses — perhaps Sherlock’s homeless network? The driver of the truck — perhaps Molly?
Whose was the body? Perhaps Moriarty’s (which would give a double meaning to “you’re me”), but I’m leaning toward it being a John Doe from the morgue — where Molly works. (If Moriarty’s body were missing John might figure it out.)
Well, we’ll see in — a year? Argh!
(The episode should have ended with Dorium saying “Sherlock who? Sherlock WHO?”)
I’ve thought of the possibility of its being Moriarty in a Sherlock mask (he might have used one to convince the kids earlier) but it doesn’t seem to work if John has had his eye on Sherlock.
Moriarty-in-a-Sherlock-mask is a little far-fetched and over-complicated, I feel (remember Jim’s complaint that Sherlock always needs things to be clever and complicated; a little misdirection?) and the body that we see doesn’t just resemble Sherlock, it’s damn near identical; so I have my doubts about the body substitution theory.
One thing that I did notice was that Sherlock fell feet-first but the body had clearly sustained massive head trauma, now it’s not impossible for a person to survive a six-story drop if they prepare for it and are willing to get injured. So my theory (which I’m not satisfied with but it’s the best I’ve got so far) is that Sherlock fell and landed feet-first (probably breaking both legs) and faked the head injury with some carefully placed fake blood capsules; as for the cyclist, that was to disorient John so that when he took Sherlock’s pulse he wouldn’t notice that it wasn’t dead but instead significantly lowered (by a muscle relaxant drug that would be easily available in a hospital).
And there are other ways he could have gotten the kids scared of Sherlock (e.g., showing them his picture and telling them, “when I leave, this is the man who’s going to come to kill you”).
Though I wonder what happens when the kids revive and tell their story in detail.
Just noticed that you mentioned Sherlock replacing the substitute body after the landing during the bike-collision; sorry, my head’s still thinking of the people on 4chan who were claiming that it was a substitute body the whole time. Your theory actually takes everything into account.
I don’t think they had the time to make up Moriarty’s body, sadly, and the build is wrong. If it’s a John Doe, there’s still the matter of rigor mortis, though… That corpse is still all bleedy and all bendy! – So, it’s either a living sherlock faking death, or a really, really FRESH John Doe…
And I made the same mistake Mabuse did, you did note the body was replaced. Phooey. :p
Btw, did people catch the Wrath of Khan reference at the end of the episode? That gives us a Trek reference every episode (two of them Khan, one generically Trek).
Yes, they seemed to want to drive home the Sherlock-Spock parallel, didn’t they?
Personally my favourite part of the episode was the scene in the reporter’s apartment with “Richard Brook”, it actually got me to break suspension of disbelief and question the premises of the whole series; silly in hindsight but in that moment they really sucked me in.
Also, I find it interesting that both The Reichenbach Fall and the latest Ritchie movie are loosely based on both The Final Problem and The Seven-Percent Solution; makes me think that Ritchie and Moffet may have collaborated a little.
Silence will (Reichenbach) fall!
I caught the one last night, but I must have missed the one in Hound?
Sherlock is talking about how emotions distract us from thinking clearly, and John responds by calling him “Spock.”
Do you know what I noticed that he failed to say? “Rubber baby buggy bumpers!”