For those of you who have seen the BBC Sherlock series, you are probably like me. Puzzling over the cliffhanger and wondering exactly how did Sherlock survive the fall. This particular episode was called The Reichenbach Fall, but if you watched it, it wasn’t a fall, it was a jump.
The Fall, of course refers to Sherlock’s Fall from grace. He has enjoyed a viral rise to the top of the celebrity heap thanks to Watson’s crime blog, as well as the media frenzy that surrounds everything Sherlock in London. Moriarty’s very effective smear campaign has Lestrade and everyone else in London convinced that Sherlock is a hoax and has in fact been committing the crimes himself in order to ‘solve’ them.
The evil and diabolical Jim Moriarty has engineered the fall in such a spectacular manner that Sherlock must choose between the lives of his three most trusted friends and his own life. He must admit that he is indeed the criminal and jump to his death in disgrace or his friends will be assassinated. Then we see Sherlock make that choice and fall to his death. Or so it seems.
In the closing scene, we see John Watson and Mrs. Hudson at the gravesite looking at the headstone with Sherlocks name on it, while Sherlock watches them from a distance.
How!? How!? We saw him jump. We saw the impossible amount of blood pouring from his head all over the sidewalk. We saw John Watson, a doctor no less, cradling his broken and bloody body and taking his pulse.
In interviews leading up to Season 3, both Martin Freeman (Dr.Watson) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) have said that everything we need to figure it out was on screen. So with that said, and after discussion with my teenagers about their own theories, we decided to watch that episode again and take notes. Here are some observations:
- Sherlock approaches Molly Hooper (the mortician who is infatuated with him) and tells her that he needs her. This is significant because Sherlock asks for nothing from anybody and in all previous scenes with Molly, it is clear that he does not see her as anyone of consequence.
- There are two scenes where Sherlock is playing with a rubber ball. Sherlock does nothing without purpose. My daughter says that if you squeeze it a certain way in your elbow crease, you can cut off your pulse.
- When Sherlock first goes onto the roof to meet Moriarty, there is a very weird camera angle. I had the feeling that the audience was supposed to understand that the two men were being watched by a third party.
- Sherlock appears to be using his fingers behind his back to send a signal to this potential third party who may be watching.
- In the scene where Sherlock is about to jump from the roof, he instructs Watson to keep his eyes fixed on him only. I believe that this was for Watson’s protection as it was important to Moriarty’s plan that Watson believe that Sherlock was dead.
- Once Sherlock jumps, Watson runs toward the building and appears to be purposely pushed to the ground by somebody on a bike and hits his head on the pavement. We see him get up and resume running, but we can’t be sure if he was knocked out for one second, or a minute or more. Perhaps enough time for Molly to accomplish her body switch?
- In between Sherlock’s jump and Watson’s tumble to the pavement, the camera shows Sherlock’s body laying there. Right beside him is a truck filled with pillows or something similar. By the time Watson gets to the body that truck is gone.
I’m sure these clues would be more than enough for Sherlock to easily solve this case, but the rest of us can only wait and wonder exactly how the Master Detective pulled off his own death and how he will reveal all in the next Series.
In the meantime, get caught up on this amazing series. It is available for free on Netflix. If you don’t have Netflix (isn’t this reason enough to get it?), then for pete’s sake, get it on Amazon!