Monday, 16 January 2012

How Sherlock faked his death

Thanks to some hints, and a lot of inventive thinking, I believe I've a fairly good notion of how Sherlock faked his death. You are invited to pitch in, comment with your insights and mix things up. 

Despite only spanning two woefully short series, the BBC's Sherlock (co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss - two men whom I expect hug themselves to sleep after each episode goes out, reveling in their own writing skills and dreaming of just how many more people will have fallen in love with them by morning) is far and away the best detective/crime/thriller series I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Well done BBC. But curse you for keeping the series so short. Surely Moffat and Gatiss could stretch their skills to five episodes at a time? Or six? We'll love them even more if they did...

To be clear, if you haven't watched the final episode of the most recent series of Sherlock, stop reading this and head on over here. I'd hate to give away something important. Like the fact he fakes his death. 

The Reichenbach Fall, the culmination of series 2, ends on a 'who dunnit' note - or rather, a 'how who dunnit'. It is a wonderfully written piece, providing plenty of winks and clues as how Sherlock might have got away with it - fueling months of speculation and theories. I'd like to get the ball rolling with the following discussion.

Moffat and Gatiss are very, very good at what they do, but they have to play an awkward game with every episode; how do you give the audience just enough of a hint that they'll be able to keep up with the mind of Sherlock, but keep them in the dark concerning the really vital matters than only a genius detective could thread together? The audience has to be satisfied, but in order for that to happen, Sherlock must be left with a final Ace up his sleeve. 

Each episode has a few hooks in its script or filming which are duly threaded together in a final big reveal - not unlike a dramatised version of a Derren Brown stage act. The audience emits an "OOOOH! I knew it!" and those of us who noticed the clues receive a deeply smug feeling, believing that were we to put some time and effort in, we too could be just like Sherlock. But we've got a job, and our cheek bones are no where near as finely pointed - we're of much more use to the industry we work in. I believe the audience was given just enough of these hints in The Reichenbach to gain a fairly good impression of what might have happened to allow Sherlock to fake his own death.

The biggest, fattest hint that the writing doesn't even attempt to cover up is Sherlock's evident reliance upon Molly - the pathologist/coroner who we all know loves and adores Sherlock. Indeed, she is apparently perfect for helping him go about his secret death. Watch the scene at 01:02:25 on the iPlayer. It plays out as follows:
Sherlock: "You were wrong you know. You do count. You've always counted and I've always trusted you. But you were right. I'm not ok."
Molly: "Tell me what's wrong."
Sherlock: "Molly... I think I'm going to die."
Molly: "What do you need?"  
Sherlock: "If I wasn't everything you think I am, everything that I think I am, would you still want to help me?"
Molly: "What do you need?"
Sherlock: "You..."
We might note that Sherlock is already very much aware of his impending fate. When he joins Moriarty up on the roof for the final stand-off, the idea of his own suicide/death seems a sudden and unexpected surprise to Sherlock. This scene with Molly would clearly suggest that Sherlock has worked out Moriarty's plan far earlier than he lets on - we might suggest that his play acting is a key aspect to his own survival.

Molly, being a coroner/pathologist/wonder lab girl, is the perfect agent for Sherlock's plan. Aware that he will need to fake his own death, he needs to place his faith in someone who can help him die - officially.

Sherlock plans his own jump from the roof of the hospital, and asks Molly to help him stage it. In this way, he is able to maintain control of his entire suicide, from the location to the means. He invites Moriarty onto the roof - a perfect location for jumping to his death, which Moriarty even comments upon himself: "Glad you chose a tall building. Nice way to do it..." 01:11:25. All that Sherlock has to do is to somehow get Molly to help him survive the fall.

At 01:13:51, when looking down at the pavement below, we get what I believe is another hint from Moffat and Gatiss as to what is about to happen. When looking down at the foot of the building, we notice a figure, wearing a large coat and black hat, with several bags spread out on a bench - Moriarty comments: "Oh... you've got an audience now."

From the way it's filmed, I believe that Moriarty is referencing the individual at the bench, given all the other people in shot are passers by, not really paying any attention to the two on the roof. It's my opinion that this individual at the bench is either Molly, or more likely, one of Sherlock's well know homeless network - a bag man. They have been instructed to be at this spot at this time, knowing that Sherlock is about to jump, and they need to prep him a landing pad.

The scene plays out, Moriarty dies, but Sherlock still has to face jumping and fake his death in order to save his three best buds. The next slightly odd sequence, which lends support to my theory, is the final conversation John Watson and Sherlock. Sherlock is at pains to keep John away from the bottom of the building, telling him to "Turn around and walk back where you came." Sherlock doesn't want John to be able to see the spot he's about to fall to, making him return to a point where the location is out of sight.

Is this because the figure at the bench has begun to prepare for Sherlock's fall - rigging something, anything which might be able to protect him a certain amount when he lands? When Sherlock is 'revealing' to John he's been fibbing all this time, his choice of language is, I think, another clue - "It's just a trick, it's just a magic trick", a hint at what he's about to pull off. The emotional phone call plays out, and we get to slow-motion jumping time. Hearts are in mouths. Heads are behind cushions. Sherlock jumps... and then hits the floor.

Or rather, we think he does. When he actually hits the ground, thanks to the camera angle, we can't actually see what he's landed on at all. Why not show us that he hit solid pavement? Importantly, John didn't see him hit the pavement either.

John heads in for a closer look - clearly, he like us, can't believe what's just happened. He turns the corner to see what's going on. A truck full of bin bags is pulling away. Carrying a homeless helper? With bin bags, or something big and soft for Sherlock to land on before it's chucked in the back of the truck before John got to see it? Or, perhaps more possibly, was this truck the landing pad which Sherlock required? Does he merely jump into the waiting truck and flop himself onto the pavement?

And then another strange thing happens. Before he gets a chance to press in closer, John is taken out by a random cyclist. It's odd. Why does he get taken out by a cyclist - very purposefully cycling into the back of him like that? Is it because the cyclist needs to knock him over - because he can't be the first to the scene, because Sherlock is still in the process of faking his death? The cyclist - again part of team Molly - needs to delay John and so takes him down. Strange, coincidental things don't get written by Moffat and Gatiss very often. Everything usually happens for a reason, even when it looks like a chance happening - we just haven't had Sherlock to help explain away all our doubts.

At 01:21:41, we return to the bird's eye view of Sherlock's splatted corpse. We should note that the person in the big coat with the hat and bags is no longer there. They've buggered off, despite being the only person we previously saw from this position who didn't look like they were in a hurry to get anywhere. Assuming that this was Molly, or a person under Molly's guidance, I think they would have had the chance to cover the lovely Sherlock in a bit of fake blood, slip him some kind of drug which slowed his pulse (a possible use of Rhododendron?), and scuttled off into the crowd - or they were in the back of that truck that we mentioned earlier? Or hiding in the phone box?

All Molly has to do is to act as the coroner looking after Sherlock's body and officially declare him dead and all. They bring in drugged up Sherlock, acting all dead, she tells him the coast is clear and up he pops, ready to fight crime while being a lovable clever clogs.


As has been discussed in the comments below, there might have been a body switch. We know that 1) no one could survive that fall and 2) Sherlock is very much alive at the end of the episode, so he didn't fall to his death. We just have to work out how he survived - or rather, how he managed to avoid hitting the floor. It's very possible he could have landed in the bin truck mentioned above - but then how do we get a dead Sherlock dropped on the pavement? A body double? Well, despite this sounding silly, the episode has already used that exact feature. When confronting the daughter of the US ambassador after her kidnapping, she screams, recognising Sherlock as her abductor. We could suggest that Moriarty's plan has planted the idea of using look-a-likes in Sherlock's clever little mind. We just won't get to find out who the body is until a new series.

In my view, he either a) found the original kidnapper who looked exactly like him - or his mask/disguise - killed him, put him in the back of the truck and dumped the body when he landed safely in the back of the himself. Molly then has to pretend it really is Sherlock's body, declare him dead, and Sherlock's in the clear. This doesn't seem like Sherlock though - to kill a man for his own ends. More likely, I think is b) Sherlock uses a dead body - one that doesn't matter, like one of the dead assassins who had been trying to keep him alive earlier in the episode. He manages to put a face mask on the dead assassin, and goes through with the plan as above, dumping the body from the truck for Molly to then declare as his dead corpse.

Some have suggested that he could have used Moriarty's corpse for the fall, remaining on the roof himself to scurry away. I have some issues with this theory: firstly, that he doesn't seem to delay enough in his final moments on the roof to retrieve and disguise Moriarty's body; secondly, that I think the Sherlock we see falling through the air is very much alive and kicking; finally, I don't believe Sherlock thought Moriarty would kill himself.

Indeed, it is because of this final point that we are offered another clue as to Sherlock's plan. Throughout the scene on the roof, Sherlock is at pains to keep Moriarty away from the edge of the roof after a certain point in their conversation - or rather, is keen to stop him looking down. I wouldn't be surprised if he holds Moriarty over the edge of the roof just to prevent him from looking down at whatever device/plan Sherlock has arranged for himself below.

Clearly, the next series will give us a big reveal, but I'm putting my money on the series of events running along a variation of the above lines. In fact, having recently had a good snoop around various other theories out there on the web, I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a body double, and Sherlock went from roof, to back of the truck, to the floor, splattering himself in blood in the processes, before slipping the squash ball under his armpit (he was seen playing with it earlier in the episode) to prevent his pulse from being detected by Watson. It won't be exactly like that, as Moffat and Gatiss never make it as obvious as I've just made out.

For what it's worth, I also predict that next series we might see a far more undercover Sherlock, with no more of this celebrity status to cloud his crime solving, nor John's blog to get them cases. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original novels, Sherlock returns having faked his death, and continues to live in 221b Baker Street, quietly going about solving crimes. Could we see an undercover Sherlock return in the next series?

Does anyone else have any thoughts?


  1. Here is the secret to the "faked death".

    We see Sherlock on his mobile at the top of the building, this is definitely Holmes. Watson is below on the street talking to him and is told not to move and to keep his eyes on Holmes so he is not to see the upcoming body switch.

    Holmes jumps from the building and seems to land on the pavement below. But in actuality he lands in the back of the red van which is filled with rubbish bags. The "Holmes" which we see landing on the pavement is in fact a dead body dressed up to look like Holmes, which he collected from Molly at the morgue.

    Watson then runs to Holmes but is disorientated by a "random" cyclist. The final shot is of the red van leaving the scene with Sherlock in the back. Safe and sound.


  2. Also worth noting, as he fell from the building Sherlock was perpendicular the entire way down. However, on the last shot when we see him land he is lying parallel to the building. I think the previous commenter was on the right track.

  3. I had some thoughts along these lines, but couldn't be happy with them given the difficulty of Sherlock finding a body of someone who looks exactly the same as him. But THEN I recalled that the episode does in fact hint towards exactly that already happening:

    When Sherlock confronts the rescued son and daughter of the US ambassador, you'll recall how the little girl pointed at Sherlock and screamed - as though she'd recognised him as her kidnapper. Is it pushing things a little too far to suggest that Moriarty had found someone who could look like Sherlock to carry out the kidnapping - or possibly more likely, he had found a master of disguise who could dress up and put on a mask to look exactly like Sherlock?

    If so, it could be that Sherlock does jump in the truck full of bin bags, leaving behind the identical body of... the assassin he'd managed to track down and kill and put a disguise on? Or did Molly just have a spare dead body kicking round the morgue, and Sherlock had a spare face to put on it?

  4. In addition to that Dave, remember first episode he sees Molly at the mortuary, and when shown the Womans body, he says that it is her - when it isn't. Unusual for Sherlock to miss a trick, one that he might later use?

  5. I can't help but think the fact the kidnapped children mistook Sherlock for their kidnapper is vital to the ending... a look-a-like or a mask would make for an interesting escape for the real Sherlock. Could he have taken the mask from Moriarty's body and used said body with mask to replace him? Much safer than jumping himself although it does sound more like a plot from Scoobydo...! And yes then Molly id's the body as Sherlock etc. Probably twaddle and I'm sure the writers have come up with a much better twist.

  6. Sherlock has long, tapering fingers. I noticed this while he was holding his mobile phone and talking to watson. Then cut to the dead body on the pavement. Someone is taking its pulse and we get a close-up of the hand, which has is fat with stubby fingers! Clearly NOT Sherlock's hand!

    1. had another look at iplayer and there is a van with bin bags in the back that does drive off after sherlock has jumped. If you'd just seen someone go splat on the pavement, would you be able to calmly drive off? I think the rubbish bags cushioning the fall has some merit in it...

  7. ...i'm now thinking it was the real sherlock we see on the pavement and he had his fall cushioned somehow by the peope in the van and then he was taken into the hospital and molly somehow helped him fake his death by substituting another body!

  8. There was a bit of a hint in the previous episode when Sherlock when John refused to play Cluedo again because Sherlock insisted that the victim must have done it. As well of course Irene Adler faking her own death via a corpse in the Barts mortuary. Right in the very first episode we had Sherlock standing on a high roof whilst searching for the pink suitcase which he then discovered in a skip which is another sort of rubbish container. And in the canon 'A Scandal in Bohemia' Sherlock fakes his accident outside Irene's house with the help of his Baker Street Irregulars. I'm sure there are lots of other clues too!

  9. something else to add; did you notice how sherlock asked moriarty for a moment of privacy before he jumped and he got him to step back? I think he didn't want moriarty to see him fall because there were things at the bottom to cushion his fall!

  10. Just a few extra thoughts, I think most people have touched on the main things:

    - Moment of privacy on the rooftop could be a hat tip to the original book where Sherlock mentions in his "suicide note" that Moriarty kindly agreed to allow him time to write the note.

    - Watson thought he saw a Hound in Baskerville.....and he wasn't even gassed.

    - Sherlock probably got the fake death idea from Irene Adler.

    - You can hide a pulse easy enough. There's a very famous pulse control "magic trick" using a tennis ball under your armpit to slow the pulse. Sherlock knew John would immediately reach for his pulse because of his medical training.

    - "One big lie, covered up by lots of little apparent truths" Said earlier in the episode to refer to Moriarty's plan. Same could be said of Sherlock. The lie being that he died. He's cancelling out Moriarty by essentially mirroring his actions. Which could lead to the eventual conclusion that Moriarty isn't dead either. A perpetual stalemate..."the final problem". Plus the character was amazing and everyone would love to see him back in some form.

    I could muse on this for hours. There's a lot of really cool ways the writers could explain it. I'm absolutely certain that the next series is going to be just as spectacular XD

    1. Watson was gassed in Baskerville, when he went into the room with all the pipes there was gas leaking out of them. That was his exposure to the drug.

  11. Thanks for pitching in with your thoughts peeps. Keep them coming.

  12. My Theory is based on the following :-

    When finding the ambassadors children, I believe Sherlock found something else, Moriarty's disguise that he used to kidnap the kids. A mask like in Mission Impossible, that Sherlock takes from the scene.

    When meeting the girl, she screams, confirming Sherlock suspicions of someone looking like him, kidnapping the kids. He then walks out, leaving the girl, not even asking Watson to find out why she's screaming or questioning the girl further.

    Moriarty kills himself on the roof, leaving Sherlock with two problems, if Moriarty dies, the snipers kill his friends, if Holmes lives, the snipers kill his friends. Only one solution.

    I think, he dressed Moriarty's corpse to look like Holmes again, putting on his signature coat and scarf and putting on the mask he found earlier. Sherlock talks to John on the phone and asks him to stay away, so John can't get close enough to recognize Sherlock isn't really Sherlock and is now a little shorter (Moriarty is about a foot shorter than Sherlock). He then pushes Moriarty off the building and Splat. Blood from the fall and from the gunshot wound to the head are on the pavement. He arranged for a cyclist to slow down Watson, so he can't get to the scene first and see it's not Sherlock.

    Sherlock stays on top of the building, cleans up the blood from the gun shot, then slips away.

    The "dead" Sherlock (Moriarty) is disposed of by Molly.

    The assassins will believe Sherlock to be dead and believe Moriarty is still alive, leaving the three friends safe.

    Nobody seem to know Moriarty is dead, as Moriarty's death isn't mentioned at all. If Sherlock jumped and managed to survive the fall, an investigation of the scene would find Moriarty corpse on top of the building, and trigger the assassins to kill the friends.

    It really is a "magic trick", one person dies two times to save three people, four, if you include Sherlock.

    1. how do you explain the body/sherlock flailing its arms and controlling its fall?

  13. Hello all, how does the bin bag theory fit with Moriarty stating that if his associates can't confirm Holmes is dead then his three friends will die? Surely Moriarty would have placed people to observe Holmes jumping off the building and therefore any subterfuge involving Holmes landing on anything other than the pavement would have been seen by Moriarty's "associates"

    Bye, Ceri

    1. the only associate we saw was the sniper in the building opposite and his sights were set on watson and it's possible the van with the bin bags obscured his vision of the body but I know what you're saying. i guess it all depends how the writers explain it in the next series.

  14. whoever fell was clearly alive. But you're right, there didn't seem to be any mention of moriarty's death, that is odd. Maybe he's not dead.
    I did notice, after watching again on iplayer and using pause, that when he shot himself there was no explosion of blood and gore from the back of his head. The only blood we see is when he hits the floor. What's to stop him having had some sort of bag secreted about his person with blood in that would burst when he hit the floor to make it look like an injury? Do you think the creators of the show would be so sloppy as to not show the explosion and gore of a suicide to the head? i don't know...

    1. It's also possible that if Moriarty can have a disguise to look like Sherlock, he can also have disguised someone else to look like him.

    2. how would that have worked? can you explain your reasoning as i'm not sure i follow, thanks

    3. It's probably a safe bet that if Sherlock is indeed not dead, then neither is Moriarty. Just like Saddam Hussein employed many "doubles", it's possible Moriarty has people in his organization who look like him. One of the Moriarty "clones" died, but not the real one.

      After the whole incident, we see Sherlock at the graveyard, but nobody mentions Moriarty's death, no mention of finding a corpse on the roof, no newspaper headline declaring Moriarty dead, or murdered by Sherlock.

      If the Newspapers were really out to discredit Holmes that badly, they would have jumped at the chance to implicate Holmes in the murder or Moriarty and then jumping to his own death.

      The cyclist we see riding into Watson, could have been the "Real Moriarty", who was observing what happened in the little charade on top of the hospital.

      It really is all Smoke and Mirror. Interesting indeed.

    4. There is really only 3 ways their could be no body left on top of the hospital.

      1. The body was dressed as Sherlock and thrown off the top, Sherlock coming up with some way to make it look more "Alive"

      2. It wasn't dead at all, Moriarty just got up and walked away after Sherlock jumped.

      3. It was dead and disposed of later by either Sherlock, or one of his friends, ie Molly.

    5. It's plausible that the bike rider bumped into watson to delay him but not plausible that it was moriarty, what reason would he have had to bump into watson?

      i think a clone is taking it a bit far, IMO anyway. If he was a clone then he was a bloody good one, to have looked exactly like him, spoken exactly like him, thought exactly like him, knew every little detail that he, it just doesn't compute! LOL

      I think moriarty faked his death for the reasons i gave earlier. I also believe it was sherlock who jumped, for the reasons i said earlier. It's just 'how' was it done that's the missing bit.

    6. When you said the producers didn't show his head exploding do you not think they just want it to be sutible for kids and stuff and they just don't want it to become horror.

    7. Moriarty IS dead. In the original story, Moriarty dies, Sherlock fakes his death, and one (two, if you count Mycroft) person knows he is alive. In the original the one who knows he is alive is one of Moriarty's cronies. This time it is Molly. I don't think they would write a living Moriarty, when they have to explain the living Holmes. That would be too convoluted.

  15. All very interesting ideas here. I think, for the fall to be coushioned so obviously, the crowd around Sherlock should have consisted of Mycroft's people or Sherlock's homeless 'crew', not just random passers. Although the ideas with a masked, twitching throughout the fall body double and the softened fall by a truck sound very plausible, why not entertain the idea that is rather close to the original story? That is, that Sherlock had spread a cord half-way across the building during the night to break his fall or, rather, used a sort of Bungee jumping cord concealed under the coat? A bungee jumping cord (with a tennis ball as a hint) which allowed him to make a soft smack and which he had unattached after hitting the ground?

    1. i thought the original story was set at the reichenbach falls and both he and moriarty were believed to have falled to their deaths after a fight at the top of the waterfall?

      if there had been a bungee cord involved, we would have seen it surely?

  16. + used some sort of paralyzing drug to appear dead (as his eyes were wide open but didn't blink when John saw him on the ground).

    1. The first thing I said when I saw it was "yeah, that's not a suicide. People who commit suicide usually close their eyes." and since at the end, he's alive, I wasn't wrong (also fits with original story etc)

      Another point: doesn't Ms. Adler owe Sherlock for saving her life? Just a thought.

  17. okay, my final thoughts for now are...

    With help from molly and possibly mycroft, sherlock arranged for a hospital truck full of bags to be there for him to jump into. You see him trying to control his fall, as if he is aiming for it. He tells John to keep his eyes on him so he doesn't see the people in the truck shove a dead body (made to look like holmes, probably surgically altered by molly et al) onto the pavement and the body we see land ha actually fallen from the truck and not the roof. Meanwhile sherlock has landed safely in the back of the van which then drives off. The body is quickly whisked away by molly's team where she can fake a death certificate etc.

    oh, and he gets him to stand in such a position where he can't see the truck or the pavement because if you recall, he has to run round a corner before he sees the body. It's also possible the cyclist injected him with something to make him woozy so he can't really see properly and thefore can't totally identify the body.

  18. I'd discount the 'Mission Impossible' rubber mask. That is real fantasy. Even if Molly had taken a plaster or alginate life-cast and thus make a latex 'positive'of Sherlock's face from it, it would have to be applied, stuck on and dressed to Moriarty's face, and the process would take an hour or so. Neither could he have pulled a full-head mask over Moriarty and have it assume the characteristics of a living (or recently killed!) other person. It might work (only just!) on stage and film but does not work in close proximity. But prosthetic make up is far more subtle these days; Merill Streep was not wearing a Margaret Thatcher latex face! The end result of this would look like a lumpy condom. Watson and the others would have seen right through it, as it were.
    So I'm still with the leap monitored by Molly, Holmes dropping his phone being the signal for action, and he would of course have calculated the exact time of descent into the rubbish van, with instant real fresh blood applied as Holmes is slid from a chute onto the pavement. Stop the pulse (or would there be time to substitute a corpse's arm up Holmes' sleeve for 'pulse reading' purposes? Would that fool Watson?). No, I think not. A soft-ball under the armpit would suffice. Into the ambulance and Holmes is home in time for another cup of tea!

  19. Tony John Allibone22 January 2012 at 18:01

    Moriarty intended to use a double of Sherlock;a surgically altered brainwashed duplicate who believed they were the real Sherlock Holmes,to discredit the original. The little girl screamed when she saw Sherlock because the look-alike was her kidnapper. All the information needed to enable the plan to succeed was provided by Mycroft Holmes. The fake Sherlock received the message to meet Moriarty on the roof of the hospital along with the real one. Being brainwashed, he believed the message was for him. The real Sherlock saw his double arrive, hid, and watched the events unfold. The double, being mentally unstable, leaped to his death. Sherlock is later driven to and the from the churchyard by one of the few people who know Sherlock is still alive; his brother, Mycroft.
    Tony John Allibone

  20. Tony John Allibone25 January 2012 at 16:24

    The Apparent Death Of Sherlock Holmes
    Moriarty intended to use a double of Sherlock; a surgically altered brainwashed duplicate who believed they were the real Sherlock Holmes, to discredit the original. The little girl screamed when she saw Sherlock because the look-alike was her kidnapper. All the information needed to enable the plan to succeed was provided by Mycroft Holmes. The fake Sherlock received the message to meet Moriarty on the roof of the hospital along with the real one. Being brainwashed, he believed the message was for him. The real Sherlock saw his double arrive, hid, and watched the events unfold. The double, being mentally unstable, leaped to his death. The main clue which most people missed is in this sequence: Sherlock is seen to cry, something the real Holmes would not do. As to the question of how Sherlock faked his own death; he never intended to. He believed he would die at the hands of Moriarty and was mentally prepared for it. Sherlock is later driven to and from the churchyard by one of the few people who know Sherlock is still alive; his brother, Mycroft.
    Tony John Allibone

    1. The double of Sherlock believed he was performing a magic trick, not leaping to his almost certain death.Mycroft was at the scene.

    2. The above reply to my own theory is to suggest that the big clue that everyone missed (according to Steven Moffat) is the"Magic trick" line spoken by Sherlock's double.

  21. A Few observations:
    When Sherlock takes his first look down to the pavement from the roof there's a rectangular area on the pavement clearly marked out (with raised square cobble like stones, perhaps a designated parking area). This is to the right hand side of the bus shelter. Thus it is clear that the "Landing Zone has been carefully chosen. In that shot the landing zone is screened from view of anyone the other side of the road by a Halted or parked double decker bus. When Sherlock falls he is clearly alive and windmilling his arms and kicking his legs, as if to aim at a selected spot on the ground as he falls. He is falling face first and has his feet pointed towards the building. When his "body" is seen on the pavement he is lying parallel to the building, not in the position in which he would have landed. By this time the parked bus has been replaced by an open backed truck containing rubbish sacks... or are they? They look more like Hospital laundry bags, all of which are well stuffed full, every bag is round and they look as though they might well contain foam rubber or something similar. The cyclist has clearly taken careful aim at Watson and runs him down quite deliberately, screening Watson's view at the critical moment and pushing him away and to the far side of the impact zone. The Van with the laundry bags is parked exactly next to the chalked area on the pavement and Sherlock's "body" is shown to be lying on it's side. No facial damage can be seen, which is strange because Sherlock appeared to fall face down, (Essential because he had to see exactly where he intended to land. The Laundry van pulls away as a surprisingly large number (7) of "passers by" surround the "body". The pavement is wet, (odd because it hasn't been raining), and the blood has spread out in a convincing way. Most of the "Passers by" are now seen to be hospital workers, One man with a stethascope is checking for a pulse, and other nurses and an ambulance driver seem to be more concerned with helping Watson away from the "Body". Watson only gets four seconds max to check for a pulse before he is kindly pulled away from Sherlock and looked after. The "body", which should remain on the pavement until a police forensics team can examine the scene, is immediately loaded onto a stretcher and taken into the hospital. Whilst it is clear that the assassin who had Watson in his sights saw what he was supposed to see, and bagged his gun up before heading downstairs, it isn't so clear how the friendly workman who was to kill Mrs Hudson got his recall notice. Everyone seems to have commented on the obvious fact that Molly has organised the hospital staff to help, but not so many people have noticed that Mycroft Holmes has been in a position to help as well. His resources are far greater than Molly's and were doubtless decisive in pulling off the trick.

  22. The Episode is called The Reichenbach Fall. Moriarty was playing an actor - Richard Brooke (in German Reichenbach). It was Moriarty (Richard Brooke) who FELL = Reichenbach Fall.
    My 2cents

  23. I agree with a lot of the previous post. The way Sherlock struggles to maintain his position vertical to the building doesn't jibe with his body being parallel to the building after landing. He doesn't necessarily have to land IN the truck as others have suggested. The bags seen inside the truck could actually be a disguised air mattress that is pulled back into the truck after he lands and rolls off of it, which may also account for his final position being parallel rather than perpendicular to the building.

    There is something peculiar about the timing of Watson coming around the corner, seeing the body behind the truck, and being struck by the bicyclist. After he sees the body behind the truck, the camera cuts away to the approaching bicyclist - just before impact, a crowd has gathered and the truck has already moved out of the frame. The next shot is an overhead view - and we see the truck just beginning to move away as the crowd begins to gather!

    This discontinuity in time leads me to believe that we may not be seeing everything precisely in the order it occurs.

    Let me throw something else out there. Sherlock found the camera hidden in their flat and quickly tapped in to the network getting the feed from it using his laptop. The camera was planted by one of the terrorist networks (etc.) who are vying for the computer code. It actually happens to be a very convenient size for hiding on one's person (maybe behind one of the buttons on Sherlock's coat).

    On the rooftop of the hospital, Sherlock gets Moriarty to admit that there is no computer code. Revealing this fact to the handlers of the hired killers would be a way to stop the assassins - no computer code, no use in killing Sherlock's friends for Moriarty. It would also turn the tables on Moriarty, putting him into a very precarious position - making a lot of terrorists, hired killers, etc. angry with him for fooling them. That, in turn, leaves him with the same choice as Sherlock - faking his death by suicide - "you are me...".

    Sherlock doesn't bother to check Moriarty's pulse to see if he is dead (hint) and carries out his own faked suicide to recover his anonymity. And the game is afoot...

  24. The comment right above mine is by far the best I´ve read on the internet. I mean the part where you describe how Sherlock might have used the camera to expose Moriarty´s treachery (perhaps, hence the PS in the message "Got st of yours you might want back."). Then Moriarty somehow (I think that the key shot here is the point where he flips from being overconfident to fear which you can see in his eyes - this is a very weird scene "Nah. You talk big..." but then it might be irrelevant beacause him being a complete nut)realizes he is now a target for his clients.
    But let me just point out several facts which in my opinion somehow stick out but I cannot see any connection between them and someone might.

    Sherlock is a very verbal show so I think it is safe to assume that the choice of words may also play some role (perhaps as well pointed out by Moriarty when Sherlock says: "I don´t like riddles." Moriarty replies: "Learn to.").
    - the constant use of IOU (and emphasis which Moriarty himself puts on it) - the smile at the beginning makes IOU too, then the windows after the girl screams...

    Also, the screaming of the girl lead us all believe there must be some double but try to find something about mercury poisoning. It readily affects brain, mostly memory, auditory and visual perception. What if he just lead them to believe it was Sherlock which might have not been hard in their susceptible state...

    I also believe that the body which is found by Watson isn´t Sherlock. Supposing that the theory about the armpit ball magic trick (again mark the choice of Sherlock´s words: "It´s a trick. A magic trick.") is true, notice that when Watson checks the body´s pulse, the fingernails are already quite a bit cyanotic. This means that the ball must have been in the armpit for a longer period of time. It couldn´t have been Sherlock´s hand because we can see him jump with his arms stretched out (as somebody cleverly noticed to balance the fall). There would not be enough time for him to probably get off the truck, put the ball under his armpit and have it there for sufficient enough time to become that blue. Also the body couldn´t have been dead because Watson, trained doctor, could not possibly miss that the body is cold and stiff (if you ever touched something that is several hours than you know what I mean). So this leads me to believe that somebody else must have been waiting near in similar clothes and with a ball under his armpit.

    How come Watson didn´t recognize that it is someone else? The sole purpose of the bikeman hitting him when he runs to the scene is not only to delay him but also to disorientate him. I could not possibly accept that Moffat and Gatiss have made their life easier by repeating themselves with the drug from the Hound of Baskerville. But the hit was precisely planned in terms of the location of the impact. If you watch the scene, you notice that he hit himself to the temple (also another hint is that you hear that ringing sound and nothing else around - this happens when you hit your head in the area of the temples really hard). But the part of the brain affected is also concerned with other than auditory perception - and that is visual perception of faces and scenes - yeah I am not kidding :-) Sherlock might have actually used the idea of senses being compromised from the experience with that girl screaming (and recognizing him under the influence of exposure to mercury).

  25. So the question is who is the person that Watson takes the pulse of? And this is just my very wild guess and long shot based only on the fact that Mycroft didn´t looked surprised at the news of Sherlock´s death (and rather had the face of "he really managed it, I can´t believe it") that the person might have been Mycroft. Before anybody recommends me to have myself checked by an ophtalmologist, I know they don´t look alike. BUT you have to remember that Watson saw Sherlock jump ("Keep your eyes fixed on me."), he BELIEVED he jumped and than acquiered severe head trauma with impaired face recognition...(as already mentioned by the author of the article, anybody, who saw Derren Brown´s show, must appreciate the depth of possiblity in Sherlock mind-playing with Watson).

    1. When did Mycroft hear of Sherlock's death? I don't recall the appearance of Mycroft anywhere in this episode after the jump.

    2. If you watched on PBS, they cut that bit out. The US version of the series cuts out various bits here and there. Stream the original BBC and you'll see Mycroft reading about Sherlock in the tabloid after his 'death'.

  26. My theory is that he absailed down (yes, it sounds weird.) the evidence:
    moffat said the the key to finding out how he did it is something sherlock said. i believe it was 'you repel me' or rather 'you rappel me'. the normal definition for repel is to hate someone, so you would think he sad 'you hate me'. however another meaning is to absail. also, when he falls, he falls with his arms straight out from his shoulders and he falls flat and straight, like a board as if absailing.
    another theory supporting a body switch is that when sherlock was at the top of the building he had one not in his scarf, but on the pavement he had two. whether this was because it was filmed on a differet day or intentional thats all i know. also, a drug that cuts off your pulse often makes your eyes water, and he was crying which seemed very out of character.

  27. Sherlock did not die.
    1) Watson is a man who believes his own eyes. Therefore, he is sure that the corpse must be Sherlock - after all, he "saw" him jump. He is so shocked, that he cannot even try to think that the corpse might be someone else`s.
    2) There is a moment when a man is putting a rifle into his bag and runs away down the stairs. This "killer" is actually Sherlock.
    3) When the people turn over the corpse, it is clearly seen that the corpse has quite long hair, much longer than Sherlock`s. Mycroft mentioned that one of the killers hired by Moriarti is a woman. Maybe that corpse is hers, dressed in Sherlock`s clothes.

  28. you can clearly see that he is not dead in the scene where he gets rolled over, watch the top of the screen. he moves his hand, a sign for john? also his eyecolor is strange in this shot.

  29. What very observant, smart people have been posting! I like that it was all about "Rich Brook's Fall." Yes, Moriarty is dead, at his own hand, spiteful and psychotic to the end.
    Thank you Afterthought for providing a forum for us to talk about SH!

    My two cents: Sherlock is not a psychopath. He believes himself to be a high functioning sociopath and that is probably close to being true. Lestrad's comment to Watson in the first episode sticks with me: "Sherlock Holmes is a great man. If we are all very lucky, he may one day be a good one." I was relieved to see that Sherlock felt ashamed of himself and actually strove to moderate his cruelty towards Molly. So, at last he found a limit to impose upon himself. Further, what kind of sociopath would even care if bad guys got the Code, or whether Moriarty's assassins murder three innocent, plodding, orrrrrdinary people? Sociopaths cut their losses, not the same as self sacrifice.

    Mycroft watches Sherlock from afar. Concerned about him. Mycroft reveals in Reichenbach Fall that, "We watch people like Moriarty," and I wonder if that is also why he keeps surveillance on Sherlock? I hope he recorded the rooftop confrontation. Mycroft seems to do all in his power to make sure that this strange younger brother continues to be on the side of the angels, even if he may never quite be one of them.

    I can't add much on how Sherlock faked his suicide. I agree that it was a conspiracy, with Molly and Mycroft lending aid. What I enjoyed observing was the evil genius of Moriarty's red herring. Mycroft and Sherlock both fell for the great McGuffin: a single line of code to bring the world crashing down. Bringing in assassins from his "client list" gave the ruse great believability. There were more than the four assassins Mycroft knew about--and one assassin remains unaccounted for--Olga.

    I observe that Sherlock's desperate gambit to plunge from the roof was truly frightening to him. He did NOT want to put his trick to the test. Even landing on a padded truck is not a guarantee of safety at all. I agree that a "Sherlock" disguise was used at some point to terrify the kidnapped children. The bloody head injury and a terrible fall from a roof top, along with Watson being in shock, knocked over, physically restrained--any facial distortion or lapse of detail in the "Sherlock" disguised corpse would be offset. Our brains often "fill in the blanks" to complete discontinuities. That's what really good magic tricks rely on.

    Here are my questions:
    1) What did Sherlock slip into his coat pocket as he left the lab to meet JM? He nicked something, a vial?
    2) Did you hear a chirp or a click during Sherlock's "moment of privacy" before he stepped back from the ledge?
    3) That "Sherlock" corpse had fat fingers--it wasn't Sherlock

    Thanks to all, I could talk about SH forever--have loved him like little Molly Hooper since age 6!

    1. ....And what was that "thunderous" or hydraulic lift sort of noise, when Sherlock is telling Moriarty "I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one minute that I am one of them." It's as if Sherlock is trying to force Moriarty to focus only and entirely on their interaction. And, Sherlock was horrified when Moriarty shot himself. JM might sacrifice himself for spite and hubris. What would Sherlock sacrifice himself for? No, SH is not a psychopath.

  30. From the beginning this is a plan to discover if JM really has a code to unlock everything. Notice someone actually stops the cab for Watson, who can never hail a cab, on his way back to the suicide scene. It was Sherlock who sent him away in the belief Mrs. Hudson was shot. His timing getting back is too perfect. The entire episode, from Mycroft giving Moriarty personal information about his brother, is a set up. In their conversation, Mycroft is telling JM that if he wants him dead, he should die too. The fact that he does it so quickly is a shock to Sherlock, but then again, maybe they both realize each one is faking, and gives each room, as the only object is to verify there is no code. IMO.

    1. "In their conversation, Sherlock is telling JM that if he wants him dead, he should die too." Correction.

    2. I think you are right, in fact one of the theories on the internet says (and I am inclined to think that it is quite so) that Mycroft with his precision and intellect never would have given information about SH to JM and let him free. Instead, it was a plan right from the beginning SH and Mycroft agreed on. Mycroft would hypermotivate Moriarty to destroy Sherlock so as to make him use every string of his criminal web and thus reveal it in the process. Mycroft could not aquire any information about his contacts during the interrogation, that is probably the point when he realizes the possibility to use the enmity between his brother and JM. Mycroft also warns Watson because at one point he realizes that all that is becoming extremely dangerous.
      There are facts all over the episode to support this (as any other theory on the internet though ;-) - SH appears to record the conversation on the roof with JM, what happened to the camera they found in 221B?, right up to "the moment of privacy" SH appears to act, moreover he seems dumb - he asks questions instead his usual answering, JM does all the talking.

  31. The series writers claim there is a clue all the theories have missed; that Sherlock acts out of character at one point. Two scenes jump out: Sherlock makes tea for JM, almost waiting for him as if they had made an appointment. They were placed in cells side by side when Sherlock deliberately ran afoul of the judge. Not sure what this could signify.
    Second, why does Sherlock walk everyone through the kidnapping crime scene at the school without being asked? He always justs throws out the conclusion and marvels that no one else sees what he sees. He usually rapid fires his observations only when begged. His behavior in this scene is what plants seeds of doubt with the detectives. Not sure why this would have been done deliberately, however it seems pretty convincing, as noted earlier, that the entire episode is a plot hatched by Sherlock with Mycroft to expose Moriarty.

  32. Anyone ever noticed the graffiti on the wall next to 221b?
    You can see it right when they make there escape - cuffed together, which I found quite funny BTW :)
    I can´t wait to see the actual conclusion.
    I just know that fire fighters have something for people who have to jump out of a burning house, just don´t know how fast this thing can be built up and down.
    PS: Sorry for my english, I´m from germany :)

  33. One thing that wasn't mentioned was the dummy Holmes had in the episode (the one being hanged) and like it said Moffit doesn't usually add pointless things so could that have been the body double used. For the way the girl screamed and all could Moriarty have used a mask? That could explain the 'body' of Holmes but whatever happens it will be an interesting answer.

  34. Some points to consider:
    We have seen in earlier episodes that scenes at the beginning of the episode often has several clues. Like in the episode where they were going to fake a terrorist plane crash, they used dead bodies and we see that SH had been getting several petty cases of dead bodies disappearing. Then there's that luminous rabbit case too. Anyways, so I was watching those parts again and observed the following:

    For the two cases beforehand, SH gets two tokens of appreciation: Diamond cuff-links buttons and a tie pin. And hen again we see that the Crown Jewels were reached by JM by breaking the glass with a small diamond, small enough to fit in a cuff-link! We also see JM at least once going to the lock up escorted by police with a quite fancy tie pin, fancy enough to be gifted. Now we know SH doesn't require these items, but's is it just coincidence that similar items were in possession of JM? I don't know what to make out of these observations, just some observations.

    Can anybody infer anything?

  35. On a lighter note, here's Hitler demanding more episodes of Sherlock:

  36. The mask theory is kind of ridiculous, even for some low end crime show not to mention one with characters as ingenious as Holmes and Moriarty.

    The truck theory also falls flat due to something people seem to have missed; in the shot with him hitting the pavement the rubbish truck is not there. It probably is involved in the trick somehow, but it pulled up after he hit the floor.

    Consider also that Sherlock obviously never planned for Moriarty to kill himself, so whatever the plan was it would have to work even with Moriarty alive, and simply jumping onto something wouldn't have as he would have seen it.

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