Sherlock – Series 2 comes to a dramatic end

(Warning – Spoiler Alert)

Last Sunday the second series of
Sherlock came to a dramatic close on BBC. The cat and mouse struggle between Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) and Sherlock (wonderfully portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch) was turned on its head as Holmes was given a morbid decision of taken his own life to save his loved ones’.

The BBC series was created in 2010 by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (who plays Holmes brother Mycroft) in the hope of not only modernising Sherlock but also to bring back the deductive, although more precisely “inductive”, aspect to the story. Over the previous century many portrayals of the Sherlock series were heavily interpretation based and usually skipped over the detecting aspect of story but the current series aimed to tick both boxes and did so quite well.

The episode on Sunday that went out to 16 million British viewers saw many of the themes that occur in the Arthur Conan Doyle’s books. For one the episode touched quite warmly on the friendships Holmes has and Dr Watson (Freeman), Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs), and DI Lestrade (Rupert Graves). Particularly in the former case the bond between both men was brought from the comical sense that it had always been depicted as to a more serious and, embarrassing enough, tear jeering way. If Martin Freeman knows anything it’s how to play emotion with looking awkward and uncomfortable.

Another convincing motif of the Sherlock genre was the portrayal of Moriarty and his interaction with Holmes. One of the best features of first series was casting the villain as unknown actor. This played up much to the unpredictable characteristic of Moriarty and gave the series a much more “edge of seat” feel. It did seem rather strange at first to have Moriarty rather suave and Irish but playing with the modern element an Irish consulting terrorist does make it seem authentic and the idea of Britain’s greatest detective being upended by an Irishman does have many patriotic tones for viewers on both side of the water.

…and then the cliff hanger. It’s always interesting to see how people take the demise of both characters. Before it all ends Moriarty evil intellect falls down to nothing more than gifted brutality mixed with master planning and all of a sudden Moriarty’s sense superior intellect is turned on its head. I too like many other viewers from Sunday night thought that his expiry was too shift but it did feed in well to the psychopath concept that the modern version plays at with Moriarty. Arthur Doyle’s Sherlock sacrifices his life, or seems to, for the greater good but Sunday night’s episode saw Moriarty take his own to destroy Sherlock’s. Truly a desperate, twisted mind.

The BBC had commissioned for a third series when they commissioned for the second but unfortunately we wouldn’t get to find out how Sherlock conceived his fake suicide till the start of 2013 at the earliest. If you want to watch it all again the DVD of the series comes out on the 23 of this month and like my speculating below you can try to figure out Sherlock did it.

How did Sherlock do it?

The Evidence: From the audience’s perspective we see the outline of Sherlock from behind standing on the ledge hanging up his phone and dropping it. After a short cut to Watson we go back to a Sherlock jumping off the building. We then see a long shot of a body, which appears to be Sherlock, falling. Next what we see is are only the pair of somebody’s legs hitting the ground from a height that can only be presumed as higher than the camera’s view point. Watson, whose view of the ground area is obscured by a small building, begins to run over to Sherlock. Before he is knocked over by a cyclist and disorientated we see head of a body lying in the ground whilst the rest of the body is obscured by a lorry with green and white bags in its back compartment.
Cutting to a bird’s eye view of Sherlock’s body we see the lorry pull away. Returning to Watson now on the ground, we see scores of doctors surround the body. Finally we see Watson make his way through some of the doctors to take the pulse of a dead body and while the camera shows the head of what appear to be a longer haired individual resembling Sherlock.

Whilst on the phone to Watson, Sherlock turns around to look at Moriarty’s corpse which is still on the roof. Now from earlier in the episode we come across the hanging mannequin for the case of the suicide of Henry Fishguard. We also know that the American Ambassador’s daughter is under the illusion that Sherlock was the man is who kidnapped her so there very small hint of Moriarty hired/created a double of Sherlock, although I doubt this is very likely. The main point it that we are definitely led to believe that Molly helps Sherlock in whatever happened. It is also acceptable to consider that Sherlock arranged the cyclist to knock over Watson to bide more if there is a switch.

Theory 1:
Sherlock jumped of the building into the back of the truck whilst Molly pushed a cadaver from the morgue out a lower window which was obscured from Watson’s view. This would play into Watson seeing Sherlock’s dead head and the no pulse and Watson maybe presumed that he sees Sherlock if the cadaver has any similar features to Sherlock.

Strengths: Plays into the pulse of dead person.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t explain why the cyclist knocks over Watson nor does it explain that we see Sherlock’s head lying on the ground.

Theory 2: Sherlock jumps of the building into the back of the truck. He then climbs out of the back of it to falls onto the ground. While Watson lies on the ground, accomplices to Sherlock at ground level help Sherlock in creating the impression that he’s dead.

Strengths: Brings into account Molly and the hypothetical cyclist idea.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t explain the dead pulse. More accomplices on ground level means it’s a harder plan to pull off as may start to wonder what’s going on.

Theory 3: Sherlock jumps into back of truck while Molly pushes Moriarty’s body off the building afterwards. Sherlock jumps out of the truck while Watson is being knocked over and switches his body with Moriarty’s.

Strengths:  Creates the gruesome blood splatter for Sherlock to imitate. It also disposes of Moriarty’s body.
Weakness: A lot of switching on the street. Doesn’t explain the pulse Watson checks.

There are many variations to the above theories. For instance, the mannequin shown at the start seems to crawl up in a lot of people’s theories about it. What method was taken it will not please everybody and with the hype of expectation the bar can only crawl higher so let’s hope it’s a good one.

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Sherlock Holmes – a Game of Shadows

ImageQuite like the dreaded ‘second album syndrome’ of the music business the sequel in the movie industry can make or break a franchise. In 2009 Guy Ritchie step away from his usual gangster genre (while we step away from the Madonna jokes) and directed a new take of the Sherlock Holmes story. Following that release the movie was well received from audiences, critics and most importantly by the diehard fans of Sherlock Holmes. It was gritty, dark and much more appealing to the twenty first century than the Peter Cushing series of the sixties.

Now the recent update, titled Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, follows the similar line to its predecessor but jumps bounds in terms of the storyline.  Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) is investigating a series of seemingly unrelated events that are occurring around Europe and believes them all to be connected to his nemesis Professor Moriarty (Jared Heart). Dr Watson (Jude Law) is preparing for marriage to his beloved Mary (Kelly Reilly) and is no longer a resident of Baker Street. However as a result to Sherlock’s probing into Moriarty’s affairs the crime solving duo are driven into an action packed pursuit across the continent encountering gypsies, bullets and a comical donkey.

Like most of Ritchie’s works the casting is always a highlight. Jared Heart’s Moriarty is spine tingling dark. His unemotional faces along with a pair of piercing gloomy eyes underline the evilness of the character and the major theme of the story, that theme being there will (always) be consequences to the disruption of his plans. The other most notable addition to the film was the introduction of Stephen Fry as Sherlock’s older and more astute brother Mycroft. Who better to niggle at Sherlock’s supremacy than Britain’s most beloved quizmaster.

The problem however with this instalment is that despite having the material to be a Sherlock story it doesn’t feel like it is being portrayed as one. The little rewind moments to show how Sherlock foresight gets the upper hand over a foe can be a little bit ludicrous at times and the audience is often left wondering if Sherlock’s actions were always intended and built up or were his actions quickly scribbled by the writers as an easy was out to his (and their) predicament. In this way A Game of Shadow does not live up to its predecessor.

Alas however the detective and ‘whose done it?’ genre is always an impossible one to portray and get right on screen. As it may say Sherlock on the tin it will probably be best to consider it as nothing more than a thrilling action movie that is good humoured and is about understanding the uniqueness of boyish friendship. Law and Downey play off each other very well and in a Sherlock movie with little detecting that is what is needed. To me the most outstanding parts about it are the interactions between Holmes and Moriarty. These scenes are intense, well-acted  and pay a honourable homage to the famous rivalry.

So if it’s the crime solving Holmes you’re looking for than this isn’t for you and I would wholeheartedly recommended the BBC series now on Sunday nights (or Basil the Great Mouse Detective).