I’m not turning my phone on, checking the interwebs, Facetube or Twitter until I have watched Sherlock. This isn’t just about avoiding spoilers, this is about the biggest television mystery since, well, I actually can’t think of another example. There have been shows I’m eager to see the return of but nothing that has had me puzzling quite as much as the Sherlock series 2 finale The Reichenbach Falls.
Before I even watch The Empty Hearse I’m going to put down my theories. After it was revealed that Holmes did not die I, along with countless other fans, took to the webs and thrashed out multiple possibilities. All of which Moffat says are wrong, some of which probably aren’t because, like The Doctor, sometimes Moffat lies. He claims (Moffat not the Doctor) that there is a clue, something really small and obvious and everyone has missed it. It’ll be something that, when revealed, everyone will kick themselves and go ohhhhhhhhh! This wouldn’t surprise me; look at how he dealt with the regeneration limit in the final outing of Matt Smith’s Doctor. We all knew the Time Lords themselves, mainly Rassilon, were the only ones who could change the rules, but how was he going to find and free Gallifrey in order for that to happen in an hour whilst also fitting in Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angles and the Silence? By being a clever, sneaky, genius bastard, that’s how. And that is how he will have managed to fool us all with Sherlock.
So how did he do it? Obviously I won’t know for sure until I’ve watched the episode (although I already know the solution offered in the first few minutes soon becomes one of a number of theories so maybe I won’t.) but before I do I want to lay claim to my ideas, just in case I’m as clever as Moffat, and Gatiss who is responsible for The Empty Hearse and as equally as tricksy as Moffat. Then I can sit back and smugly say ‘I told you so’, maybe…
(NOTE – the ideas presented are a combination of a number of plausible ideas which have been doing the rounds since the moment The Reichenback Falls ended. I do not claim genesis of these ideas, some I had whilst watching the episode others I read and thought ‘yes, that makes sense’. Where I can I’ll try to identify which I thought and which I read.)
1. Molly – Sherlock clearly asks her for a favour, she is a coroner; therefore it is a fairly easy assumption that she either provided him with a body or faked his autopsy/death certificate. I’m fairly certain she’s involved and my thoughts at the time pointed to the latter, that she provided falsified documentation confirming the ‘death’ of Sherlock. I’m certain she plays a key role in the events.
2. The Baskerville Drug – Following Sherlock’s fall Watson is knocked over by a cyclist. Several theories I read suggested that, at the same time, the cyclist released a little of the Baskerville hallucinogen which would cause Watson to see what he feared he would, a dead Sherlock. I like this theory, although I suspect it’ll turn out to be wrong. Despite that I’m going with it – if nothing else because every time I think of the Baskerville episode I have Russell Tovey’s voice in my head repeating “a gigantic houuuund”. Never gets old.
3. The Rubbish Truck – The Rubbish truck parked conveniently at the scene in such a way as to block Watson’s line of sight. Pretty darn suspicious, albeit maybe a little too obvious? The idea posed was that Sherlock uses it as a soft landing a ‘fake’ body (see points 1 and 6) is laid down where he would have landed, the truck drives off et voila. Too obvious or not, as soon as I read this I though, yeah, of course, sense makes! As with the Baskerville drug, I now think it’s unlikely but I’m laying claim to it just in case it’s a double bluff.
NOTE – recently I read another theory that Sherlock uses this to break his fall and then jumps down from the truck to lie on the pavement, this combined with point 5 could work.
4. The Homeless Network – As Watson is rushing to get to Sherlock, a crowd gathers. Many people on the interwebs suggested the crowd is mostly made up of Sherlock’s homeless network. I concur. Their purpose, to further confuse and obstruct Watson so that he misses the obvious – i.e it’s not Sherlock or he isn’t actually dead.
5. Rhododendron – I only came across this the other day and, considering Moffat has already stated that the clue is small and once you know what it is damn obvious, I think it could be a winner. Also it didn’t do the rounds at the time when Moffat was claiming everything so far discussed was wrong. I didn’t know this, but apparently Rhododendron can be used to slow vital processes down thus creating the appearance of death. Assuming Watson is distracted it’s plausible a faint heartbeat would have escaped his notice. I like it, if I were a betting woman I’d put money on this one.
6. Moriarty – Again I only came across this the other day, the idea being that Sherlock actually throws Moriarty’s body off the building. I only considered this one as at the time it seemed odd that Sherlock took it on faith that Moriarty shot himself. Yeah I know it happened right in from of his eyes but if Sherlock was already planning on faking his own death would Moriarty – Sherlock’s equal – not have considered doing so himself? It also fits in with the original story, in which it is revealed the body that eyewitnesses reported seeing fall was in fact Moriarty and not Sherlock.
The only thing I know we find out for sure (?) is that Mycroft knew about the ruse, a number of theories have indeed suggested his involvement. I don’t think he did anything, I don’t think it’s really his style. I may be wrong. Hell, we could all be wrong and Watson could wake up in the shower realising the last two years have all been a dream. We shall see…