Wednesday, 18 January 2012

BBC Drama ‘Sherlock’, season 2 finale – workings out and spoilers.

Here's a bit of loose fiction-logic inspired by a fan discussion on The Guardian website (I do love a debate on the logic in a piece of fiction!) ...

... and by Holmes' famous circumstantial certainties that follow the pattern, if not the spirit, of pure logic.

In the source material by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes faked his own death (as a retcon) and Moriarty died permanently. But we can't make any assumptions from that.

So here's my fiction-logic workings out.

In the TV show:
SH shown at length to be uncomfortable with gratitude and attention.
Conversation with JW - becoming too famous to be a private detective.
Hanging manikin seen - indicated unmentioned line of investigation.
JW dismissed manikin as unimportant, ignorant of its use.
Conclusion - SH already looking into faking his own death prior to Moriarty break-ins.

Mycroft – Very smart. Plans ahead. Exceptionally well informed and connected, distant from SH, but watches over.
Likelihood of involvement – certainty.
Role? Tidying up, hands off, non-direct.
Conversation with Molly evening before SH ‘death’.
“You. I need you.” SH is not romantic. Molly is a mortician.
Homeless network referenced as easy to bribe.
M previously referenced complex-seeming puzzle achieved simply by buying off well-placed people.
Two assassins remain alive with protection of SH their priority.

Conclusion – SH plans assisted by Mycroft, Molly, homeless network and (perhaps unwittingly) assassins.

Is Moriarty dead?
Very hard to fake bullet to the brain at close range.
Plenty of time to check body.
Body not mentioned in headlines – removed? Who by?
Would Rich Brook’s death negate M’s ‘SH a fraud’ claims?
M body moved by SH agents, Mycroft agents or M agents?

M decided SH not ‘ordinary’, distinction between M and SH blurred or lost.
M has erased all records of himself to become Rich Brook, specifically created to ruin SH.
M’s ‘final problem’ is not specified.
In source material ‘Final Problem’ announced SH death, actual at time of writing (meaning of title = SH’s last case).
In TV show ‘final problem’ known only to M, spoken of in tones to suggest dreary, bothersome.
Conjecture – final problem what to do about SH? Two sides to a coin. M seeking unity?
Distinction between SH and M removed, nature of problem changed.
M = fearless, thorough, large ego, arrogant, assumes superiority, unusual sense of ‘self’.
M thanks and blesses SH, then removes himself.
Most expedient way to unite the two sides and hurt/disrupt SH. M’s death drive SH to jump? Symmetry in death?
M assuming he’s out-thought SH and left him no alternatives.

Conclusion – M killed himself confident SH would do same.

SH face, not voice, seemed to cause reaction in kidnapped girl.
Mask - too obvious? Where would SH find it if used in fake death? Alternatives - Look-alike/disguise? Video/photo?
Girl conditioned to show fear of SH. Double? Conditioning using photo and torture? (unlikely as no reference by police to torture)
Spy cams at 221B. Video made by M to scare kidnapped children?
Loose narrative thread to be tied up at later date.

Conclusion – someone or something used SH face.

Is SH dead?
M can’t be impersonating SH if M dead.
SH ‘double’ unlikely to still be dressed as fugitive presumed dead.
SH creature of habit, likely to dress same as usual.
No reference so far to SH skill with disguises.

SH alone in St Bart’s had enough time to make necessary arrangements.
Meeting place chosen by SH.
SH squash ball in hospital - in armpit, trick used by mediums (nod to Conan Doyle) to stop pulse in wrist. Ball already in possession.
SH bouncing ball as if bored – suggests enough time to plan and organise, but without leaving hospital.
Several seconds shown of pulse being taken in wrist.
If SH mask not found/used SH must have fallen. Into what?
Truck only possibility shown.
Chance of truck in place at correct time and rubbish being soft, unlikely. Truck arranged by SH.

Conclusion – SH brought forward and amended existing plans to fake suicide.

Moffat/Gatiss sophisticated writers, not amateurs.
Tendency to play ‘long game’.
Clues in other episodes?
Wholesale lifting of plot from other episodes (e.g. Baskerville hallucinogen) against narrative tradition, may incite calls of foul. Unlikely unless has small effect.
Introduction of character unseen to resolve plot – as above. Deus ex machina.
Plot resembles SH methods, so clues were hidden in plain sight. Referenced throughout series (e.g. Adler measurements, Moriarty code).
More to ‘IOU’ than so far revealed? Much effort made, increased from apple to graffiti in several places.
Who owes SH? Irene Adler.
When ACD’s SH explains to JW the answer always seems obvious once you know where to look.

Conclusion – Nothing new or overly complex will be introduced. Explanation will be simple. No Tesselator.

Could have been cleaned.
SH could have more than one (behind the scenes: costume dept has 3).
If double used by M, could come from him.
Show is in fictional world where Belstaff did not discontinue it.

Conclusion – coat not relevant.


Sherlock was already looking into faking his own death prior to the Moriarty break-ins.
He brought forward and amended them to beat Moriarty and save his friends’ lives.
The faked suicide was assisted by Mycroft, Molly, the homeless network and (unwittingly) the two remaining assassins.
Moriarty killed himself confident Sherlock would do the same.
Someone or something used Sherlock’s face, possibly a double but more likely a mask or video.
Nothing new or overly complex will be introduced as a deus ex machina, the explanation will be simple.
The coat’s appearance in the final scene is easily explained and not important to the plot.
And no Tesselator was used.

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