Spoiler warning: This is the line you cannot cross if you haven’t yet watched Sherlock’s finale, “Reichenbach Fall.” Please, I’m begging you, watch the episode first. I promise it’s worth it.
WOW. I mean, WOW.
It all comes down to one question: How did Sherlock do it?
“This phone call, it’s my note. That’s what people do, don’t they? Leave a note.”
Oh, the theories abound. Remember when I said that the Sherlock fandom is huge and lives on Tumblr? Ever since Reichenbach aired in the UK back in January, fans have been busily postulating elaborate theories, researching the physics of falling to medical expectations of brain spatter. I think the best place to peruse these ideas, from the impressive to the hilarious, is the theory index on finalproblem’s Tumblr account. What are the details used the most while theorizing? Molly’s involvement and coroner expertise. The garbage truck parked on the curb. Sherlock’s network of homeless individuals, and the fact that John was kept away from the body.
Then producer Steven Moffat riled up his fans (as he loves to do) even further by stating that “there is a clue everybody’s missed.” Many fans have seen that as a challenge. This afternoon, PBS Masterpiece did a live chat session with Moffat. Fans plied him with questions, trying to get answers about the finale. One of my favorite exchanges:
Mharielle: Describe in one word the story of how Sherlock faked his death.
Steven Moffat: Cleverly.
“And, honey, you should see me in a crown.”
Right on the heels of Sherlock’s Final Problem mystery is a second question: Is Moriarty really dead?
Some people think his death was fake as well. I’m not so sure. I don’t think Moriarty’s suicide was part of Sherlock’s rooftop plan—his face looked so shocked and horrified when it happened! Many people cite the fact that there was so little blood when Moriarty shot the gun (and that if he really died there would be a bigger mess), but that may only be a TV rating restriction. However, during the recent chat with Moffat, we did get this tidbit:
DeJune H.: What are the chances of Moriarty coming back from the dead? [Actor] Andrew Scott has been amazing in the role.
Steven Moffat: Did you SEE all that blood???
Now, this is misleading because there wasn’t that much blood. Moffat is well known for teasing his fans and leaving very sneaky hints. Consequently, I wouldn’t always take his words at face value—he might be using this moment to point out how little blood there was. After all, the fake dead Sherlock had a lot more blood than Moriarty’s body did.
While all of the theories are fun to read, my absolute favorite outcome of this episode was the #BelieveInSherlock meme. Fans all over the world have been showing their support for Sherlock Holmes, as if his world was ours and there was currently a smear campaign in progress trying to discount his version of the Moriarty story. If you keep an eye out, chances are you’ll find posters with phrases like:
“We know the truth. I believe in Sherlock.”
“Richard Brook was a fake.”
“I fight John Watson’s War.”
“Don’t believe the lies.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely going to leave a few of my own Believe in Sherlock posters around!
“It’s got flaps. Ear flaps! It’s an ear hat, John!”
But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Let’s discuss the actual episode, shall we?
The acting was phenomenal. I was particularly impressed by BAFTA-winner Martin Freeman (John Watson). The subtlety and emotional depth in his acting brought tears to my eyes. Literally. Andrew Scott (Moriarty) was also fantastic. I loved the range of his facial expressions! I was so glad that Louise Brealey’s character Molly Hooper was given such special scenes with Sherlock. (Speaking of the BAFTAs, this year’s award ceremony is this Sunday and Sherlock is nominated all over the place.)
One last shout-out: The soundtrack selection, from the return of “Staying Alive” to the classical number during Moriarty’s big break-in. I’ve been listening to Sinnerman by Nina Simone on repeat.
Hats off to Moffat and Gatiss! While I don’t think that the second season solved any of the gender issues that Sherlock is kind of infamous for, it did give us three intelligent, impressive examples of what TV really can do. And there’s more to come in the next season!
Before I wrap this up, I have to give a big thank you to the Sherlock experts I’ve chatted with to help with this blog series, especially TV and geek fandom specialists Audra, Nicole and Faye. They gave me all sorts of great advice and links, from Sherlock as an otter to John as a hedgehog. Yes, the Sherlock fandom is wonderful and crazy.
But, as a newly inducted member, of course you already knew that.