On Sherlock’s death, The Empty Hearse, and John Watson

sherlock the reichenbach fall the empty hearse john watson sherloch holmes grave martin freeman benedict cumberbatch steven moffat mark gatiss

You know, I think I’ve figured out what annoys me about the resolution for Sherlock’s death.

I think what sums it up is John’s line – “I don’t care how you did it, I just want to know why”.

And the odd thing is that everything about that explanation seems dedicated to making John think that Sherlock was dead. It was all about where he was standing, from his perspective, etc.

But I don’t see what’s accomplished from making John think Sherlock is dead? Should the assassin across the road have been the one who was to be convinced – and could see the whole thing unfolding anyway? I realise that Mycroft’s people were dealing with him, but they didn’t respond immediately, did they? There was still a chance for him to shoot John when he sees Sherlock and all the kerfuffle.

I mean, there’s the obvious reason – John has to think Sherlock was dead to similarly convince Moriarty’s network, in turn protecting everyone and allowing Sherlock to slip off the grid, as it were. But… that wasn’t used? It seemed to be missing a trick, if nothing else. (And that might have gone further to justify the pain Sherlock causes John)

It’s just… with that explanation, the ending of The Reichenbach Fall became less about Sherlock outwitting Moriarty against the clock, and more about Sherlock pulling a cruel and elaborate prank on his best and only friend.

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