Monday, May 21, 2012

"The Reichenbach Fall"

You know when the episode starts out with a rainy day, a choked-up best friend, a therapist, and the words: "Do you want to hear me say it?" it's going to be a doozy. And I mean that in the most tear-filled, heart-felt, crying-into-your-sheets sort of way. The fact that I actually put off watching The Reichenbach Fall until as late as possible and then couldn't even bring myself to write about it this morning-- well, what else needs be said? My heart is too tied up in knots to do the usual live-blogging technique, so today I'm going to subject you to a long Sherlock-filled feelings rant.  

Disclaimer: Here there be spoilers.

We start with a present day John Watson, which I won't get into just yet, and then go into a nice flashback. Our beloved socially-noncommittal Sherlock has just solved one of the biggest cases of his career: The Reichenbach Fall episode, which is an allusion to Conan Doyle's infamous short story, "The Final Problem," involving Holmes and his ultimate nemesis, Moriarty. For those of you who have never read the original versions of the sleuth's adventures, I'll tell you the Doyle fully intended "The Final Problem" to indeed be Sherlock's final problem, as he believed he had written all there was to be written about the hero and his biographer Watson's adventures. (He couldn't have been more wrong, as he would later go on to add to the Holmesian canon. Those darned fans put up quite a stink when their beloved Sherlock fell to his death over the Reichenbach Falls.) But, I'm getting ahead of myself. 

To set the scene we have Holmes having solved quite a few cases and catching the public's eye, and then we have a very worried John who is afraid what will happen when the press turns on his beloved best friend. It does funny things to my heart seeing John's worry and Sherlock's subtle brush-aside of what he thinks is unfounded silliness. But you can just tell, whether you think there are romantic inclinations or just an incredibly deep friendship between the two, John is completely devoted to watching out for this man who is smart enough to realize that there are things in the world that could hurt him but he really doesn't give two figs about any of that. Really, just watch the montage where gifts are being presented to our handsome scarf-wearing detective, he's not got time for accolades or patsontheback. The thing is, Sherlock knows he's a genius. He knows that everyone knows that he's a genius, and he knows that everyone knows that he knows that he's a genius, but that's not why he does the you'vegotastainonyourshirtandashonyourcoatsothereforeyoumust'vejustgottenoffthetube thing. He does it because otherwise he'd go crazy, a person that brilliant HAS to exercise their mind and find the extraordinary in the ordinary, otherwise he'd go stark raving mad. And I'm saying all this to say that when John tells him he needs to chill out and not take any cases for a while, clearly the only solution is to ignore him. Not because he's cocky (although he is that, a little), but because his mind "rebels against stagnation."
Enter Moriarty, arch-nemisis, evil genius- completely bonkers and off-his rocker enough to engage Sherlock in his "final problem." Now from the sound of that we already know we should start breaking out the handkerchiefs and tissues, because if last season's ending tells us anything, it's that Moffat is a brilliantly mean man who likes to play with the heartstrings of our well-developed fangirl hearts. But we don't know how he's going to go about it, and that's what makes the season finale so genius. Although some of us have read every Holmes story, this one has already broken away from the original script, so we watch on, heart-clutching the whole time. 

Which is why, when Moriarty begins to plant his weasley little ideas into those around Sherlock, especially the biggest of all: Sherlock isn't a genius, simply a mad man who researched and created problems that he knew how to solve, thus gaining celebrity status and the thanks of those in the city, well, one can't help but gasp and call Jim nasty names that a proper Southern lady would never use in public. 

Oh dear Lord. I'm just having a hard time continuing on because I know what I'm trying to work my way around to writing about and IJUSTCAN'TOKAY, I just can't. But I know I have to, and my heart's in my throat and the keys on my macbook are starting to look a little blurry and I've got to step away for a moment...
"You can't kill an idea, can you? Once it's made a home." Can I just take a moment to say that I was perfectly fine with the way this episode started out, minus the whole, well, you know (I still can't say it) bit. Life was good for John and Sherlock, lots of cases were getting solved, and life was happy go lucky-ish and THEN Moriarty, whom I would just like to punch in the face, thankyouverymuch, had to go and eff things up. He had to insert those niggling little tendrils of doubt into the minds of those whom Sherlock trusts-ish. Except for John, of course, because he would NEVER EVER NEVER in a million years doubt that Sherlock is anything less than a bloody, brilliant genius. And rightly so. So here we have our hero slowly putting his scarf round his neck, flipping up the collar of his jacket, and having handcuffs placed and around his wrists. And my eyes are tearing up and then I'MSODAMNPROUD because we cut away and John has punched that jerkface commander in the nose and Sherlock has commandeered a gun and they're RUNNING AWAY AND HOLDING HANDS AND ICAN'TBREATHEHEAVENHELPME. All I can think is SHERLOCK, YOU BIG, INCREDIBLY SMART IDIOT, John loves you. HE LOVES YOU! (Take that the way you will...) And he's willing to risk his life and reputation to help you save yours, so it doesn't matter how much you try to push him away, because you can't, you just can't. I'm sorry. My FEELINGS are running away with me at the moment.

So this is why I want to talk about that moment when Sherlock confronts the slaggy reporter lady and finds the Moriarty is holed up in her flat trying to pass himself off as an actor that Sherlock has hired to PLAY Jim Moriarty, evil arch-nemisis mastermind. And if you didn't want to throw your telly across the room before, well, then, you'd surely like to now. For just a moment you're afraid, terribly afraid that John will begin to doubt Sherlock, but then you feel silly, because you KNOW you just KNOW in your heart of hearts that he would never do such a thing, But the problem is, Sherlock wonders, and here is where Moriarty has succeeded. He WONDERS if John wonders and for a moment your heart breaks.
But don't run for those tissues yet, because your heart is about to break even more. When, "I think I'm going to die." Comes out of Sherlock's mouth and he's gone to Molly to ask for her help and she asks what he needs and he says: "You," so matter-of-factly your composure completely crumbles. After everything she's done to catch Sherlock's eye, here he is, declaring himself, and here she is, brushing aside his past callousness and doing whatever she can, however she can, to help this man whom she loves. And of course, she'll never has his heart in the way she wants. But in this moment, what's offering is enough.

Now we're coming to the part I've been avoiding for ever so long. John gets a phone call from someone saying that Mrs. Hudson has been shot and is dying. And so he rushes off, but not until Sherlock has refused to come along, and John says things he doesn't mean, but HOWCANHENOTSEETHETRUTH in Sherlock's eyes? HOW? He's putting everything he has into a last-ditch effort to save his best friend.

And then we're on the roof and that finally confrontation between Jim and Sherlock is going to happen whether we want it to or not because EVERYTHING has been leading to this, EVERYTHING has come down to this one final moment. And I want nothing more than to cover my eyes and hide under the covers and pretend that what I know is going to happen isn't going to happen.
Jim is losing it, and we know this isn't going to end well, but Sherlock still wants to believe that there's a way for him to escape what he knows, deep-down, is going to happen. Then we cut to John, and he's rushed back to Baker Street, but Mrs. Hudson is fine, and that when he KNOWS HE KNOWS that Sherlock is going to do something stupid- to save him and Mrs. Hudson, and even Lestrade. Oh God. "Your only three friends in the world will die." "Unless. Unless, I complete your story."

Then our hero steps bravely up to the edge of the roof and he gets that look in his eyes and for a moment you think that he might just be able to save the day. But then, BUT THEN, Moriarty sticks a gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger and there's no one to call off the ruthless killers hired to off Sherlock's only friends in the world. AND THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING. Because the only way to stop them is for Sherlock to jump, for them to see that he's dead. 
I can't take this. I CAN'T.

Queue the tear-inducing music and a final phone-call between John and Sherlock. SHERLOCK, STOP trying to convince John that you're a fraud, he doesn't believe you and neither do it. And I'm just a massive puddle of tears now: "This phone call, it's my note. That's what people do don't they? Leave a note? Goodbye, John." And if you're still not dead yet, one final, massive tear rolls its way down Sherlock's cheek SHERLOCK, CRYING. And he hangs up and jumps, and you see him land, YOU SEE IT. And John is devastated and there's blood everyone and I'm legitimately sobbing now because, MOFFAT, how are you going to write your way out of this one? HOW I ASK YOU? Dearest John, I just want us to go curl up somewhere and cry our hearts out.

So, now that we've all had our hearts ripped out. We cut to where we began, with John, at his therapist's admitting that Sherlock is dead and he can't handle it. And he's on the verge of starting all over again where he was when we first met him last season, because it was Sherlock, who doesn't admit to liking people or their ordinary lives all that much, who changed John. And John knows it. But he also knows, as we see when he visits the grave site that Sherlock isn't ordinary, and so he sends up a little prayer, that somehow, just somehow, Sherlock was able to use his extraordinariness one last time. And so, we see, he did.


  1. UNNNNNNGGHHH. You made me relive all the trauma. TT__TT

    This episode was way too intense. I've watched every other episode in the whole series twice except this one. I was like you, trying to put off the actual viewing of it for as long as I could - didn't work though, still got sucked into the whirlpool.

    I totally get you - I want to simultaneously wring Moffat's neck and hands. It also drives me insane how he & Gatiss are all smug about the fact that they've left a big clue as to how Sherlock managed to survive and no one's spotted it. I hate not knowing things! Argh.

    Loads of brilliant acting in this one. They kind of outdid themselves. The scene with John at the head stone? So subtle but effective, it does things to my poor heart :( And the way Mrs. H. kept going on about how insufferable he was and you could tell she just missed him. I'm going to make myself watch all of it again once this semester's done for me.

    I badly want to figure out how Sherlock escaped though. So so badly...Damn you, Moftiss!!

  2. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am still processing and must get back to you with actual thoughts later, but for now I just have to say AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA *SOBBING*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Okay... so... this is not going to be coherent or organized at all, but...

    NEVER has a show had me crying in less than 60 seconds. Or... anything at all for that matter! And it's like, you know, I've been seeing stills and gifs everywhere so I knew what was *bound* to happen, but I didn't *believe* it could happen. And then John's voice broke and I just knew it was all happening and started screaming, pulling my hair out, sobbing like an addict, etc. But do we get an immediate flashback? No. No. We have to sit there for 90 minutes and wait for it. And the whole time you're steeling yourself up for it, but it's useless. You're all what the efffffff I will not allow myself to become any more attached to Sherlock or John. Nope not happening- then- ZOMG THEY'RE HOLDING HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANDS!!!!!!! *shakes fist at Moffat*

    Meanwhile the whole story is flawless because it's centered around Sherlock's struggle with "being human." And he is, of course he is. Look at how he tells Molly, "You've always counted." If FEELS could make me pee my pants... OMG. And then John calls him a machine when he's scurrying off to help Mrs. Hudson even though it's the exact opposite. But for the sake of disproving Moriarty, his own pride at being unbeatable, etc, he holds his humanity at a distance. Until John's life is at stake. OH MY GOD WHAT. And then he's standing up there making this heartbreaking profession and John is still saying he believes. He believes in Sherlock's humanity AND his genius and the two can coexist. I can't. I just can't.

    Listen, I am the worst ever at conspiracy theories (you should read all my predictions for The Deathly Hallows before it was released - yikes). But these are the only things I can think of regarding the faked death:
    1. It was someone else who jumped. Sure, Sherlock's standing on a roof and blah, blah, blah. But he directs John in where to look. He looks up, a man jumps, so... was he just imagining it was Sherlock? Were we just seeing what John expected to see? As for the man being identified as Sherlock, who better to do it than Watson? And didn't Irene Adler prove that your identity could be changed even in death?
    2. In his last conversation with Molly, Sherlock told her he needed help. That's the last we see of her. She offers no advice that we see. So did she *do* something for him? After all, she works in a morgue; surely she could be useful in faking his own death. AND John was pushed over in the street by someone on a bike. That can't be coincidence. He didn't actually SEE Sherlock hit the ground... am I right?

    These ideas probably sound as stupid as they are and Moffat will make me cringe thinking back on them later. And I'm staying away from reading other people's theories because I do want it to be a surprise.

    But can we just talk about that final scene in the graveyard? John's speech? Seeing that Sherlock is alive, but not running over to comfort his best friend who is obviously sick with grief? GAWWWWWWWWWDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Okay, I just plucked up the courage to watch the clip above and I guess he did see him hit the ground. FML. I don't know what is going on. I'm just going to resign my theories and go write some fan fiction and adopt a cat or something.

    2. No, Sally, your theories are valid, I reckon. This is gonna be a brain dump, be warned (but you ladies did welcome my comments :P )

      There has to be something in the biker shoving John to the ground. And WE see a body hit the ground but John doesn't see it. That truck (with all the convenient looking rubbish bags in it) probably blocked his view of the part of the sidewalk on which Sherlock supposedly fell.

      And while John's getting up from the biker's shove, that truck pulls away. I think Holmes' homeless network could have easily placed 'another body' there in that time.

      And yup, I also think Molly has something to do with it. She must. And you're right, Adler showed that you can convincingly die, too. Plus I think Mycroft probably had something to do with it.

      Also there has to be a lot more behind Sherlock telling John to keep his eyes on him. Everything Sherlock does is for a reason, and I am not going to be fooled into thinking it was only for emotional purposes. I say this because I was all 'aww that's so cute' when Sherlock makes John coffee as an 'apology' in Hound, while all the time he had an ulterior motive (Damn you Sherlock!). So the 'note'/call and the place John was standing probably has a lot to do with it. *SIGH* I hate Moftiss.

      And can I just say that Freeman is EXCELLENT. In the beginning when he's explaining to his therapist why he's there and his voice just dies on the word 'because' *sigh* it's brilliant. And his whole demeanor during that last call - it's SO bloody convincing. Freeman you're a genius. So is Cumberbatch of course. There's a behind the scenes pic of him standing on that ledge and just laughing and talking, when minutes later he'll obviously have to be shedding tears. They are so talented! Everyone, the actors, writers, musicians and I - I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUU-HUUCCH!


      I just can't emotionally take this. Really, like I knew I KNEW Sherlock wasn't really going to die, because, HELLO I've read the stories, but some little part of my heart over-rode my common sense and caused a major freakout and yeah, Moftiss is a bloody offing genius and I cannot wait to see how they get themselves out of this mess...

      I just hate that we're going to have to wait ages for any sort of resolution. UGH

    4. Yes, yes, YES! The more I think about Sherlock instructing Watson to look at him, the more it drives me crazy. IT HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING!!!!! But I am still so confused! There was supposedly a hint that we've all missed, but I don't know what it is... Did you know that back in the day, readers had to wait TEN YEARS to discover that Sherlock had survived? OMG. I'm glad we got that last glimpse even if it *did* make me lose my mind in more ways than one.

      Martin Freeman definitely stole the show on this one. I think this was his strongest performance in the series yet. Oh my gosh... I just... absolutely stunning. I think their friendship in real life comes through on the screen and it makes it that much more heartbreaking when all of this happens. Also: I NEED TO SEE THIS PICTURE!

      Hahaha Moftiss *snort* - I like it!

    5. Oh yeesh, I KNOW. Ten years - don't know how they managed to keep it together. But I bet half that time was spent being all outraged at Doyle for killing Sherlock and trying to convince him to bring the character back. Clearly they were effective.

      Yup. According to Moffat (everytime I type his name I wanna shake my fist) the big hint that we've all missed is something that Sherlock does which is out of character. The most obvious thing I can think of is the crying, and being way too emotional about his last 'note'. But theories abound. You just have to type it in google and a whole day could be gone.

      Freeman DOES steal the show. I just love his acting so much!! It's genius that it can be so subtle and yet have such depth!

      Haha, ok, well I'll try and find it again. It was on some Sherlock tumblr. Are you on tumblr? If you aren't I advise you to STAY AWAY. It is the MOTHER of all black holes.

    6. I do have a tumblr (sallygator - what's yours?)! It's the devil and an angel all at once... But mostly it's the devil. Because it's really just a Hiddles and Cumberbatch fest. Am I right? Anyway, it's a miracle the ending wasn't spoiled for me. Ah!

    7. Tis indeed the devil. And YES. It's a freakin' CumberHiddles ball of doom that comes to get you. I haven't even seen a smidgen of The Avengers and yet I know ALL about Loki O_O
      Anyway, I don't actually have a proper blog on there, just created an account so I could follow everyone else's (and doom myself in the process) but Ima follow you ^_^

    8. You should just start reblogging the CumberHiddles ball of doom stuff... There is quite a lot of it! Mine is:

  4. This is silly of me but I still can't bring myself to watch Reichenbach. Even though I've read the summaries, I've watched clips, I KNOW what's going to happen... but I still can't actually get myself to watch the episode. *starts crying just thinking about it...*