The much-anticipated third series of Sherlock had us gripped for the best part of two weeks as we were finally let in on the two-year-long secret that had us all scratching our heads – How Sherlock faked his own death!
But, after taking the time to digest the information, which for some viewers was not satisfactory enough an explanation, the end of the series left us with precisely the same riddle, this time for Sherlock’s arch nemesis, Moriarty.
Fans of the global sensation that is the BBC detective series Sherlock, will know how during The Reichenbach Fall, the series 2 finale, Moriarty (Andrew Scott) told Sherlock that he had hit men with guns pointed at all of his nearest and dearest with an instruction to shoot if Sherlock did not jump off the building to his death.
Moriarty then gave his men the warning signal, a gunshot to his own head giving the impression that Sherlock had killed him, which seemed to force Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) to follow out the instructions and commit suicide too.
However, as we saw in the very last scene, Sherlock was indeed alive and well, leaving us all with the burning question, how did he manage to fake his own death?
The answer was finally presented to us on New Year’s Day – Sherlock had managed to fool everyone, including best friend John Watson (who later pronounced his death) into believing that he had died by arranging a series of obstacles to stop certain people at certain times seeing a team of actors bring round a crash mat, then having a look-a-like corpse fall out of the window for John to see hit the ground (we still aren’t entirely sure why this part was necessary) followed by the corpse being replaced by Sherlock himself covered in blood and holding a squash ball under his armpit to temporarily stop his pulse when Watson (Martin Freeman) checked for one.
In retrospect the answer was staring us in the face, but the fate of Moriarty was surely sealed with a royal stamp!
But apparently not as, in the final scenes of series 3 we all saw the eccentric criminal hack into the worlds media to ask Sherlock “miss me?”
Now, it comes as no surprise as to why Moriarty has revealed that his own suicide was fake, given that Sherlock did the same, but it did leave many questions unanswered.
The obvious one being how did he do it, with theories of air rifles and sound effects being bounded round the die-hard fans, but the other, not so apparent question is ‘why hadn’t his death been mentioned in the third series before this?’
It stands to reason that after Sherlock jumped off the building people would have gone up to the roof to investigate the crime scene – Even those who were let in on the secret would have gone to recover Moriarty’s body, and should have had many questions for Sherlock before he disappeared when they couldn’t find one.
Also, no real mention of Moriarty’s demise was mentioned between Watson and Sherlock throughout the third series, surely a pinnacle part of the whole ‘faked my own death’ scenario.
But mentioned he was not, which has lead many fans to believe that the ending of series three was created last minute and on a whim, perhaps to keep the nation as gripped as they had been in series 2, but writer and co-creator Steven Moffat has come out to insist that simply isn’t the case!
Discussing the thought process behind the shock ending, Moffat explained in a recent Empire magazine interview:
“We’ve had certain aspects of what we’re going to do mapped out for quite a while. We can’t say much more than that, but it is not a last-minute whim.”
“You’d have painted yourself into the most ludicrous corner [if you hadn’t planned it beforehand].”
So, what could the explanations’ be? We will probably just have to wait till series 4 to find out, after all it is Sherlock!