If you haven’t seen The Reichenbach Fall, DO NOT READ THIS POST. Go watch it on Netflix instead.
So, about this time last year, Sherlock’s version of The Final Problem aired and left fans hanging with the question: “How in the world did Sherlock survive?” The show’s writers gave themselves an even harder problem to solve than Conan Doyle did: in his story, at least no one actually saw Holmes fall, and no body was ever found, so it wasn’t such a huge stretch to believe that he grabbed hold of the cliff on his way down and climbed to safety. But in The Reichenbach Fall, we viewers, Watson, and a whole street full of people see Sherlock fall to his death from the top of St. Bart’s. We see his bloody corpse, Watson checks his nonexistent pulse, and later on we see Watson’s heartbreaking farewell beside his grave. And then, just before the credits roll, we see Sherlock. Alive and well, and calmly watching his own funeral. How…???
In just five short days (eeeeh!!) we in America will learn the answer to that question. But in the meantime, I have a few ideas. I’ve read several theories online, but most of them seemed pretty far-fetched. We know Sherlock can’t have jumped into a net, for example, unless it was very well hidden, and I’d like to think the guy on the rooftop wasn’t a clone (though The Hounds of Baskerville made that a remote possibility). I think we can be reasonably sure nobody used the Baskerville gas on Watson: he wasn’t the only one who saw Sherlock jump, and everyone on the street can’t have been drugged at the same time. I don’t know what the full explanation will be, but here are some details that I think will be essential to it:
1) Molly. Whether there’s anything romantic between them or not, when Sherlock said he needed Molly toward the end of the episode, we can be sure he wasn’t being purely sentimental. She definitely helped him to fake his death, and since she’s a mortician, her help probably came in the form of a corpse–someone who looked enough like Sherlock to fool even Watson when his face was bashed in. The look-alike kidnapper, perhaps?
2) The ball. Okay, this is a slightly bigger leap, but the show thrives on details like this. Why is Sherlock bouncing a rubber ball when John finds him the morning after his conversation with Molly? I read somewhere that if you stick a rubber ball in your armpit and squeeze tight, it’ll stop the pulse in your wrist. It may not be significant, but as Sherlock is always reminding us, it’s important to observe everything.
3) Moriarty. Am I the only one who finds Moriarty’s last words a bit confusing? “You’re me,” he says, and then shoots himself to avoid telling Sherlock how to call off the snipers. Why? All Sherlock said was that he was willing to do anything to stop Moriarty. But Moriarty seemed to know everything about Sherlock’s character already: what exactly made him believe this statement all of a sudden, and believe in it so much that he would shoot himself rather than give Sherlock the upper hand? Did he somehow get a whiff of his plan? I might be reading too much into this, but we’ll see.
4) The call. The phone call Sherlock makes to John just before he jumps is terribly sad, but listen carefully. Why is he so anxious to keep John looking at him throughout the conversation? To keep him from noticing some preparations on the street, perhaps?
5) The bike. As Watson runs to Sherlock after seeing him jump, a biker runs into him and knocks him down. This has to be significant. Again, I think it was to keep him from noticing something, or maybe to make him so disorientated that he wouldn’t observe the body as carefully as usual. It was probably either Molly on the bike, or a member of the “homeless network.”
Those are my thoughts at the moment. I can’t wait to see how they all fit together! Also, can I just give a shout-out to Martin Freeman for an incredible performance in this episode? No matter how this all wraps up in the end, the moment when he says goodbye to Sherlock, and immediately lapses back into his grim soldier attitude, will never cease to make me teary-eyed. It was beautifully done.
That’s all for tonight. Namarie!