There are spoilers here, for the final episode of Sherlock, which aired last night on BBC 1, The Reichenbach Fall.
The series only gets shown in the US later this year on PBS, so any Americans wandering in may want to go away and come back then. Because it’s time to have a look at Sherlock’s escape act from the final scenes in the final episode.
So how did he do it? A few lines from the show might help.
Sherlock, after he’d been completely framed by Moriarty, tells Watson “There’s one thing he needs to do to complete his…
“There’s something I need to do.”
From this point on, it would appear, Sherlock is in control and knows what is happening – or at least the gist. When it appears he is not in control, that is just the appearance he is allowing others to have. He can see Moriarty’s plan for him, and so he twists it.
Next, he says to Molly – who works as a morgue attendant at St Bartholew’s: ”You’re wrong you know, you do count. You’ve always counted and I’ve always trusted you.”
Sherlock: “Molly, I think I’m going to die.”
Molly: What do you need?
Sherlock chooses the location to meet Moriarty, which is the roof of St Bartholemew’s, where Molly works.
Then there’s the call from paramedics to Watson about Mrs Hudson being shot. In the Conan Doyle original, the divergence is created by Moriarty. Here, it’s not. Here, it’s organised by Sherlock, most likely made by Molly.
Then after making Moriarty think exactly what he needed to think, and we get Moriarty’s suicide without an exit wound (fake gun and a squib?) Sherlock steps up onto the roof edge. Sherlock says to Watson: “It’s a trick. It’s just a magic trick.”
Then later, “Now stay exactly where you are. Don’t move. Keep your eyes fixed on me.”
Watson sees the fall, but not the impact. Sherlock has a planned falling strategy. There’s a rubbish truck that drives away. The decoy body see must have fallen onto the street – we actually see it do so. This is likely where Molly played her most important role, dropping a body from the morgue.
But how does it have Sherlock’s face? Remember the little girl who screamed when she saw Sherlock? It would seem that Moriarty had a very good mask… was it created at St Bartholemews, when Moriarty “worked” there?
And now Watson is hit by a cyclist that Sherlock knew was coming. A dazed and confused Watson sees the face he expects to see, now that the scene has been dressed and is ready for him.
And the paramedics… are there.
Sherlock is now dead, and declared so by Molly. The madmen will no longer pursue him. He is out of the public eye. And can go back to being who he was. Taking Moriarty’s plan and using it for his own gain.
In the original, Doyle intended to kill Sherlock. Here, there’s a third series planned. The Final Problem got a Final Solution.
Brendon’s note: I contributed here, adding to Rich’s initial draft, so you’ll have to blame both of us when it turns out we were completely wrong.