Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Sherlock: Season 2 Finale
OK, so the rest of you all watched the season finale of Sherlock a year ago when it first aired. But see, spending all my time writing the Finding Lost books for five solid years took so much time out of my viewing schedule that, three years later, I'm STILL trying to catch up. Sons of Anarchy, The Vampire Diaries, Downton Abbey, all in various states of viewing right now while I try to see everything good that I missed. Which, of course, means my PVR is loading up on all the shows from this season that I have yet to watch (grr) so now I'll have to catch up on those. Le sigh.
But anyway. I just watched the end of season 2 of Sherlock and was devastated. So beautifully acted by Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch, as you watch it happen you think, "This can't be happening. But it is. But it's not real because, well, it's just not really happening. But... it is." And then, of course, there's the cliffhanger where you realize that, as usual with this show, you were right and you were wrong. And that's what's so delicious about it.
So... what happened? The rest of you all have debated this until you have nothing more to say, but having read none of it — I was somehow not spoiled in the least on this ending! — I can walk blissfully into the fray and offer my take, which I'm assuming has been offered so many times it's the most unoriginal thought out there.
So, for anyone who hasn't yet seen this, stop reading now and go get seasons 1 and 2 of Sherlock (they're only three episodes each; 90 minute episodes, but three episodes nonetheless). And for the rest of you, highlight the above empty space below to see my thoughts.
In all of the newspaper headlines, there's no mention of Moriarty, who at the time was in as many of the headlines as Sherlock. Which would suggest they didn't find his dead body on the rooftop. Which means it's his body that Sherlock flung over the side of the building. Sherlock got away while the rest of the paramedics ran in to recover Moriarty's body.
But... that's not right, because Watson was right there and watched the whole thing, right? And so did we. We saw Sherlock's body, still very alive, flailing all the way down. A dead body can't do that. It would have just sailed through the air like a dead weight and landed, kerflunk, right on the ground. And then Watson ran over to him, the body was turned over, and it was no doubt Sherlock's black hair, not Moriarty's brown hair. And it was Sherlock's piercing blue eyes staring vacantly into space. Watson knows immediately it's his friend.
Or is it? Because as he ran over to the body, a bicyclist smacked right into him, knocked him over, and Watson hit his head on the pavement. So he's dealing with a concussion and his brain's not working properly.
In the previous episode, "The Hound of the Baskervilles," there's a scene where John, drugged up on the foggy air of the Baskerville moors, is hiding in a cage in a science lab and he swears to god he sees a giant hound lurking about in the room. Sherlock, turns out, set him up to see how the human brain works, and he tells Watson that his mind constructed the hound, that because it wasn't shooting on all cylinders, due to the fog, it thought it saw a hound, and therefore it constructed a hound. And by doing so, he believed 100% that he'd seen the hound. But there wasn't one.
So now, Watson's just banged his head, and he's certain he just saw his best friend jump off the side of a building. So when the body is turned over, and Moriarty's brown hair has been turned black due to the blood, then he imagines he sees his friend's blue eyes looking at him. But it's not his eyes, it's just what his brain has constructed, and therefore he believes his eyes.
The bicyclist is Chekhov's gun: Don't introduce a bicyclist in the first part of the scene if you don't want it to be significant later. It's not just a delay tactic to make Watson slower to get there: it means something.
How did the body flail in the air? Again, a trick: the wind would have flung the arms and legs around. I don't for a second believe it would have looked quite like that (those limbs were being moved around by a person very much alive, groping at the air in desperation) but I believe that's going to be the explanation for it.
Or, perhaps, as Watson begs Sherlock to do as he stands by his grave, Sherlock has somehow performed a miracle. But I doubt it.
Now, I'm assuming that this idea has already been stated a thousand times, and has been discredited. What's your theory? I'd love to hear the discussion I've missed on this one.