Monday, January 16, 2012

Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall Review (Spoilers)

The Reichenbach Fall
By Steve Thompson

“Every fairytale needs a good old fashion villain.”

It is here we see the showdown between Sherlock Holmes and Jim Moriarty.  Finally a solution to the “Final Problem” is here and we are the lucky ones that get to see it.  But are we the lucky ones?  Was The Reichenbach Fall worthy of all the hype that it builds up during the past week? 

Well in my opinion I thought this was a remarkable story and a fitting end to series 2.   I loved how the people in charge of writing Sherlock were able to incorporate Reichenbach Falls into new continuity.  It was pretty clever to have the falls be a famous painting that Sherlock found.  Finding that painting more or less catapulted Sherlock Holmes into superstar status.  Otherwise making Sherlock Holmes a famous detective in which Jim Moriarty wants to take down.  Hence how they came up with the title.  The Reichenbach Fall doesn’t mean the waterfall in the Conan Doyle story but instead and quite cleverly refers to Sherlock Holmes as the Reichenbach hero whose career falls apart at the hands of Moriarty. 
I only had one problem with this story and it really isn’t a problem that can ruin your viewing of The Reichenbach Fall.  That problem would be that we will not be seeing anymore great performances of Jim Moriarty by Andrew Scott.  His portrayal of Moriarty was one of the best ever.  It was zany and crazy but not over the top.  Andrew Scott made this episode.  Especially the way he was able to screw with Sherlock.  Just watching Andrew Scott acting as Moriarty made me believe how evil that character truly was.  Now that is a great performance if you can get the audience believing in your interpretation of the character.  Hey Steven Moffat, how about getting Andrew Scott to take over the role of the Master from John Simm.   I think he’ll be great in that role.

The Reichenbach Fall was a very tense and emotional story.   You had to feel for Sherlock.  I mean his whole world was coming down around him.  His friends at the police didn’t trust him anymore, the press was making him out to be a fake and his own brother Mycroft even betrayed him to Moriarty.  Just watching it all unfold and seeing how Holmes and Watson deal with the situation was sort of cat and mouse.  Which was brilliant as it appeared that Moriarty was always one step ahead of Holmes. 
The story for me didn’t get going for me until after the court scenes.  Which were pretty predictable anyway.  You knew that Moriarty was going to be found not guilty.  This sets up the rest of the episode with the classic meeting between villain and hero.  What a scene it was too as two intellectual and arrogant people having a battle of wits to determine who was better than the other. How cool was that.  It was the classic my unit is bigger than yours scenario that alpha males often participate in. 
There was some good character building for Sherlock.  Most notably the scenes with Molly in which she stood up to him.  It was good to see her say something to Sherlock and to tell him how much of a sad and lonely person he was.  Maybe that is why he smartened up and asked her for help towards the end and actually coming to his senses about her.  You know he asked her to make up a cadaver to look like him for that apparent suicide.

The ending was not really jaw dropping for me as I had read “The Final Problem’ and did have an inkling of what would happen at the end.  But what surprised me was how they did do the ending.  By having Sherlock die to save his friends was pretty good since he needed Moriarty to give the signal to not kill his friends.  Having Jim Moriarty put the gun into his mouth and blow his own brains out as the only way to prevent Sherlock from getting the code word to abort the killings of his friends was quite the surprise to me.  Loved how they threw that twist in there making the choice for Sherlock all that more difficult. Jump off the roof and plummet to his death by hitting the pavement to save his friends or save his life and let his three friends die.  Plus having to confront Watson and convincing Watson that he was dead couldn’t have been easy for Sherlock to do.  Not just on the trickery but having to lie to his only friend.  This made watching that scene very emotional as Sherlock was actually crying and Watson powerless in helping his friend.

The ending was good as we saw Watson and Mrs. Hudson at the cemetery.  Here we see Watson doubting what is in front of his eyes as he is hoping for one more miracle and hoping that Holmes is still alive.   The viewer then sees Sherlock Holmes standing far off in the distance watching his friend walking out of the cemetery and leaving the gravesite. That was a pretty cool and chill inducing scene.  Hurray he’s not dead and now we need to know how he will make his triumphant return.
The Reichenbach Fall was a great story and a fitting end to a great second series of Sherlock.  The Reichenbach Fall had a great story and had great performances.  Even though it was 90 minutes it didn’t seem like you were sitting watching a show that was that long.  The Reichenbach Fall was a truly wonderful story that requires return watching.  A true gem that really stays true in a sense to the original Sherlock Holmes story “The Final Problem” .  So bring on the adaptation of “The Empty House”.
Grade A


  1. I wonder why there was a truck full of trash bags sitting right in front of where Sherlock fell? Does that have anything to do with his escape?

    1. yes. it has everything to do with the escape. there are many theories people have formed and one of them is the "truck theory" which i myself have found to be the best fitting. theory says that SH jumped and landed onto the bags in the truck which immediately drove away while molly hidden behind the truck was placing a dead body (possibly moriarty's but more probably some unknown body molly arranged to get from the morgue since moriarty's death was a total surprise to SH too guessing from his reaction when M shoots hinmself on the roof)