Moriarty: “Every fairytale needs a good old fashioned villain.”
After 'The Blind Banker' and 'The Curse of the Black Spot', I was less than
optimistic about Steve Thompson's chances of scripting a gripping
finale. Yet as soon as I saw Watson struggling to cope with his grief
in that psychiatrist's chair, I knew that I was going to love this
episode. Not only did Thompson create an intriguing and ultimately
compelling season conclusion, he also managed to achieve the
impossible—he made me love Moriarty. Which is some achievement
considering the frosty reception I gave him last season.
seems to have been something of a Marmite episode. A friend texted me
ten minutes before the end to inform me that she’d lost interest, yet I found
it utterly absorbing. I thought Andrew Scott was superb. His
versatility was astounding. He switched from madman, to simpleton, to
brooding genius, with perfect fluidity. The looks he kept throwing
Sherlock when no one was looking were chilling. I’m not sure whose decision it was to tone down Scott's high-pitched histrionics, but it was the making of his character. Moriarty was easily the weakest link of 'The Great Game'. Tonight, he almost stole the show.
What a pity he had to die. By Moriarty's own admission, Holmes is nothing without him. That’s if he is
dead. If a master detective can fall from a roof into a crowded street
and survive, then a master criminal can shoot himself through the head
and live. (Although Scott's recent interview on RTÉ
seems to suggest he's done with the character.) Moriarty’s final
action was a fascinating act of hatred and defiance. So overpowering
was his need to win, so desperate his desire to transcend the mundane,
that he was even willing to forfeit his life. Luckily, Sherlock was
several steps ahead, but even the great detective himself couldn't
have predicted the lengths Moriarty was prepared to go to best him.
did Sherlock escape death? I think we can safely assume with Molly's
help. Watson didn't actually see Holmes hit the ground. We did, though
whether he hit the pavement directly, or first rolled off some kind of
strategically placed safety net (possibly the conveniently parked
wagon full of bulging refuse sacks), I'm not sure. And what part did
the solitary cyclist play in the deception? (You see what I did?) Why
were John's ears ringing and his speech slurred? Was it simply a side
effect of being knocked down (presumably to buy time to stage the
illusion), or did the cyclist somehow manage to administer some kind of
mild toxin à la last week's Baskerville gas?
behavioural similarities with Molly's father probably explains why she
feels so drawn to him. It's obviously nothing to do with his charm,
tact, or his superior grasp of social etiquette. I found Sherlock's kind
words to Molly utterly charming. He may not be able to give her what
she wants, but he was finally able to give her what she deserves—his
respect. Tonight, she was the key to Sherlock's survival, which I
thought was a lovely pay-off. Moriarty thought he knew Sherlock’s
weakness—his friends—but made the fatal mistake of underestimating
Molly’s importance. Hardly surprising, considering the way Sherlock
Yet, Molly does count. Despite
occasional bouts of social awkwardness, she can read Sherlock like a
book. Her analysis of him in the lab was startlingly accurate. It even
flummoxed Sherlock. Sherlock obviously felt the impending weight of
having to first deceive and then be without Watson—his tears atop St.
Bart's were proof of that. He certainly wasn’t mourning his own
mortality, as he had absolutely no intention of dying. Clearly, Sherlock's
not as detached from his feelings as he thinks. John's refusal to
believe the worst of him seemed to provoke an unexpected emotional
How he managed to fake having no pulse, I’m
not altogether sure. Molly's medical expertise? And let's not forget the
little girl. Why did she scream when she saw Sherlock? Was Moriarty
wearing some kind of Sherlock mask? It must have been awfully convincing
close up. Could Sherlock have jumped to safety, substituted his own
body with a cadaver (courtesy of Molly), and had Molly (or one of his
homeless network) dress it in a Sherlock mask and coat? There would be a
delightful symmetry in Sherlock defeating Moriarty using his own
methods. It would also explain the lack of pulse. Sherlock could even
have been the guy on the bicycle—both his face and hair were suspiciously out of focus.
inability to understand social interaction always makes me smile. He
looked utterly baffled as to why gratitude would be the correct
response to such useless gifts. (Not to be confused with useless gits.)
And Martin Freeman was magnificent as the ever loyal Watson. Him
struggling to maintain a stiff upper lip, whilst visibly crumbling
inside, was worth a thousand tears. But Watson's already had his
miracle. Sherlock lives! Thank you Steve Thompson for sparing us from
what could have been another cruel cliffhanger. And thank you for
confounding expectation. You did yourself proud.
the season finale, both Moffat and Gatiss Tweeted in unison that a
third season has already been commissioned—so I guess we got our
miracle, too. Let's hope we don't have to wait another 18 months to see
—Mycroft reads The Sun? That's somehow more shocking than his betrayal of Holmes.
—I don't remember the storytellers on Jackanory being quite so mental.
—I liked how Watson, even after Sherlock's death, still wouldn't believe his story. Like Molly, Watson knows what kind of man he is.
—The hat’s back... or was. Holmes later took it home and tried to punch the shit out of it.
—It made sense that Moriarty/Sherlock's final confrontation would be a psychological tussle as opposed to a physical one.
—Holmes' fall from the top of St Bart's was reminiscent of the falling
scene from Granada TV's adaptation of 'The Final Problem'.
—I loved those scenes of Moriarty in 221B Baker Street. Him poking fun
at Holmes' violin playing, before choosing the chair he didn't offer,
all contributed to the atmosphere of needle.
Watson: “My best friend, Sherlock Holmes, is dead.”
“First mistake. James Moriarty isn’t a man at all. He’s a spider. A
spider at the centre of a web. A criminal web with a thousand threads
and he knows precisely how every single one of them dances.”
“You need me, or you’re nothing. Because we’re just alike, you and I.
Except you’re boring. You’re on the side of the angels.”
Moriarty: “How hard to do you find it, having to say I don’t know?”
Sherlock: “I don’t know.”
Holmes: “Brilliant, Anderson.”
Holmes: “Yes. Brilliant impression of an idiot.”
Holmes: “Thank you, John.”
Molly: "You’re a bit like my dad. He’s dead."
Watson: “I know you for real”
Holmes: “One hundred percent.”
Watson: “Nobody could fake being such an annoying dick all the time.”
“You’re wrong, you know. You do count. You’ve always counted and I’ve
always trusted you. But you were right. I’m not okay. Molly, I think
I’m going to die."
Molly: "What do you need?"
Holmes: "I wasn’t everything that you think I am. Everything that I think I am. But you still want to help me."
Molly: "What do you need?"
Holmes: "Alone is what I have. Alone protects me."
Watson: "No, friends protect people."
“All my life I’ve been searching for distractions. And you were the
best distraction, and now I don’t even have you because I’ve beaten
you. And you know what? In the end, it was easy. It was easy. Now I’ve
got to go back to playing with the ordinary people, because it turns
out you’re ordinary – just like them.”
Moriarty: "I love newspapers. Fairytales. And grim ones too."
Holmes: "I may be on the side of the angels; but don’t think for one second that I am one of them."
Holmes: "Nobody could be that clever."
Watson: "You could."
Holmes: "Goodbye, John."
Watson: "No one will ever convince me that you told me a lie. I was so alone, and I owe you so much."
"There’s just one more thing. One more thing. One more miracle,
Sherlock – for me -- don’t be dead. Would you do..? Just for me? Just
stop it... stop this!”