Explaining the ending of Sherlock series 2

News Louisa Mellor 17 Jan 2012 - 21:15

The finale to series 2 of Sherlock posed viewers one or two head scratchers. Luckily, the internet has risen to the challenge and provided these answers. Massive spoilers ahead...


This article contains spoilers.

From Silver Blaze, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

“It is one of those cases where the art of the reasoner should be used rather for the sifting of details than for the acquiring of fresh evidence. The tragedy has been so uncommon, so complete, and of such personal importance to so many people that we are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture, and hypothesis. The difficulty is to detach the framework of fact – of absolute undeniable fact – from the embellishments of theorists and reporters.” 

You can say that again. Sherlock Holmes may have been on about a disappeared horse when he uttered the above, but a plethora of surmise, conjecture, and hypothesis is a pretty spot-on description of what the internet has steadily been filling up with since Sunday night. 

The tragedy of Sherlock’s flappy coat seeming to have flapped its last flap in The Reichenbach Fall was of such personal importance to so many people that, unwilling to wait eighteen months or longer for an explanation, the web’s hive mind set about doing some deducing of its own. And by Jove, I think they’ve got it.

This round-up is indebted to the tireless work of the commenters on this site who have sifted through details to provide theories and observations galore. Here goes then, just how did Sherlock pull off the mother of all fake-outs?


As soon as the latter stages of Moriarty’s game dawn on Sherlock, it’s off to Molly he runs, to tell her not only that she counts, but that he needs her help.

We can assume then, that Molly Hooper is in some way instrumental to Sherlock’s false ending. Conveniently, she wasn’t one of Moriarty’s three targets, despite being on the Baker Street Christmas party invite list, and despite Moriarty knowing about her thanks to those three dates they went on (she sure can pick ‘em, that Molly Hooper).  

Molly not being tracked by a sniper meant she could gad about falsifying coroner’s reports and fiddling with corpses to her heart’s content. Or to Sherlock’s content, we should say.

Her access to dead bodies, pathology reports and medical personnel make her a sure thing for some kind of involvement. But which was it? A corpse-swap? A false report? Both?

The rubbish truck

Killer7 was the first but by no means the last of our commenters to cite the significance of the red pick-up truck in Sherlock’s Houdini-like escape. Filled with rubbish bags (but is that all it's filled with?), the open-backed vehicle was parked next to the spot on the pavement spot where the body landed, and pulled away just as the crowd rushed to the scene. 

That’s some damning evidence right there. Casually driving off when a man has seemingly jumped to his death mere feet away is unusual behaviour to say the least. Clever commenters have suggested that the truck – if it was indeed Sherlock who jumped – was a prepared and cushioned landing spot, parked precisely to block Watson’s view (and presumably that of the sniper Holmes was also trying to fool) giving Sherlock time to break a blood capsule or two and move relatively unharmed to the pavement where he played dead. 

If not that, then the truck could still have been there to obscure a switch of some kind, and to carry off the non-Sherlock body, whoever that may be.

One interesting observation arrived from commenter Aranya, who remarked upon the clearly chalked out rectangle on the pavement surrounding the spot the body landed, a shape which tallied precisely with where the truck was parked. Chalk? Suspicious driving? Bags of rubbish? It’s got plan written all over it.

The cyclist

This was no accident, our commenters screamed. On his way to the body, Watson was knocked down by a timely cyclist, disorientating him and keeping him away for precious seconds.

Holmes made reference to his homeless network earlier in The Reichenbach Fall, and the consensus seems to be that that’s where the mysterious cyclist (again, who fails to stop when confronted with an apparent suicide just yards away) hails from.

Wilder imaginations have linked the cyclist and Watson’s discombobulation to a swiftly administered dose of fear gas from The Hounds of Baskerville, making Watson see what his mind expected him to when he eventually reached the body. We're yet to be convinced this last point isn't one complication too many.

The screaming girl

Now this is an interesting point. Part of Moriarty’s plot to discredit Holmes involved framing him for the kidnap of the ambassador’s children. To achieve this, Moriarty somehow conditioned the young girl to be deathly afraid of Holmes, hence her screaming when Sherlock entered the police questioning room. 

There are various theories on how this was done, from the extreme: Moriarty using plastic surgery to make one of his goons into a Holmes lookalike, to the mundane: a bespoke Holmes mask or dummy (the latter of which does pop up in a later Conan Doyle story) or simply pictures of Holmes being used to traumatise the children. It wouldn’t be the first creepy video Moriarty had knocked together in that episode...

If there is a Holmes lookalike around, and one in the habit of kidnapping children, then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to chuck him off a building we suppose, though we’re going to need more convincing on the body double idea. It just doesn't seem, what's the word? Elegant.


Mycroft, remember, practically is the British government. He’d have the resources at hand to stage any number of fake public suicides one would imagine, and he's not squeamish around corpses as the flight of the dead proved. But Mycroft's involvement rests on this: would Holmes have gone to him for help? 

Unlikely, we think, judging from Moriarty’s speech to John about there being too much history between them, too many old scores and resentments.

Though what are we to make of Mycroft’s pensive expression after reading his brother’s story in The Sun? Is that grief and regret we see flash across Mycroft in the Diogenes Club, or could it be the careful poker face of someone in on the plan?


Sceptical lot that you are, many just wouldn’t accept that a self-administered bullet through the brain could kill off Moriarty. There was talk of prosthetics, blanks, fake blood, and the suspicion that there wouldn’t a corpse by the time anybody came looking. 

We’re not really sold on this particular conspiracy. The Reichenbach Falls have ever meant the death of Moriarty, and there seems little incentive for Moffat, Gatiss and Thompson to deviate from source on this particular point, especially when they’re at liberty to do as Conan Doyle did and move back and forth in Holmes’ timeline.

No, Moriarty’s not just resting, we know a dead parrot when we see one. But is his the corpse that gets lobbed off the building in Sherlock's coat? Well that rather depends on our next candidate...


After returning from the wild goose chase, Watson arrives at the scene and is made to fix his eyes on Holmes. Witnessing the fall, he’s then knocked down by the cyclist, and blocked by the crowd (of Sherlock employees?), before he eventually reaches the body. 

If the body was indeed Holmes feigning death on the pavement after landing safely in the rubbish truck, his heart would be racing. How then, could a medical doctor be fooled into thinking he had no pulse? 

A tricky one, this, with possible explanations being that either the body was indeed dead and made up to look like Holmes, or the more prosaic solution that Watson was in no fit state to make medical judgements.

There is precedent in the Conan Doyle story The Adventure of the Dying Detective for Holmes to trick Watson’s medical instincts, but we may just have to wait for series 3 to get the final part to this puzzle.

So there we have it. The curious case of the rubbish truck, the well-timed cyclist, and the faked coroner's report. Any advance on that?

Follow Den Of Geek on Twitter right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

Disqus - noscript

You really have 'missed a clue'.
You can tell on a overhead camera shot that the pavement has a 5X10 meter patch where Holmes fell, likely a cut-out sectioned cushioned. Homage to the original stories is paid by keeping Watson away from Holmes perfectly healthy body, as the Doc would be able to tell. 

There's always the chance SH is telling the truth. Remember, SH tells JM that SH is JM. What if JM and SH are twins. What if the twin JM, pretending to be SH, did hire the actor to play JM. What if the actor can't tell them apart, until SH confesses that he is JM? What if none of the characters can tell them apart? Perhaps the real SH hired the actor to play JM on more time, to deceive his twin. Thus, we know why the little girl screams, and we know why the real SH doesn't die on the roof. His twin, the real JM now exposed, does.

If I were Moffat, this is what I would write.

Also, it would explain why SH confesses to Watson that he is a fraud, and that he did invent JM. It was JM's last attempt to destroy the real SH.

My two cents, the chick he saved was the driver of the truck. She owed him one. He wouldn't care if the world thought he was dead. He made a text b4 he started laughing on the ledge. He was on top of this. He let Watson leave the lab cause he knew he was being watched. Had to look like he was still trying to figure it out. I think he did go to his bro, realized that's where moriarty got Sherlock's backstory. Convinced him they could bring down moriarty by his own hand. And he would need to rely on mycroft's ability to deal with the possible threat to his friends for their own safety. As for moriarty's death, his death seemed legit. His demeanor seemed right. And he thought his death meant sherlocks death. If not immediately then eventually through being lonely and lacking the friends he needed to accomplish as much as he has and can. Sherlock can't live a life of mediocrity.

Yeah but there's a question of agency: Evil SH/real JM wouldn't care if the three friends of real SH got killed, in fact he would prefer that to happen.   He certainly wouldn't commit suicide to kill them.

Ooops, to prevent them from being killed.

“How then, could a medical doctor be fooled into thinking he had no pulse?”

Go back and watch the scene again — the crowd around Sherlock actively kept Watson from getting too close. You even see a woman's hand gently take Watson's as Watson is attempting to hold on to Sherlock's hand/wrist, and Watson never gets to touch him for very long nor in a vital place.

Also, there's another man already there with his hands in place on Sherlock's body, looking as if he's taking a pulse and other vitals, so that Watson would witness the proper medical attention a victim would receive.

The crowd keeps Watson at just enough of a distance the entire time. There's no ambulance to have to follow — they just had to take Sherlock back into the hospital building from which he had just leaped — so Watson probably wouldn't think twice of losing sight of Sherlock once he sees the body moved into the hospital by the paramedics.

 Yes, but just as “The Doctor lies,” we've seen that Steven Moffat lies: I remember an interview during the first few episodes of the most recent season of Doctor Who where, to answer emerging fan speculations, Moffat specifically denied there was a connection between the names “River” and “Pond”.

It's theory btw. And what I percieved is a desperate moriarty who thought he had sherlock by the balls. He clearly did not thanks to the final seconds of the episode. A fact I realized as soon as I looked up (immediately after the most recent pbs air, for i am late to the game. But losing cable is a god send due to my intro to Sherlock and fine pbs programming. I consider myself supremely grateful I had the pleasure of seeing each episode in sequential order with no break between S1 and S2) for sure that the show was renewed for a new season. This simple fact alleviated all suspicion I held about the final scene portraying a post mortem Sherlock. Final season gives off an heir of "we meant to end it that way". Season finale equals a highly concocted plan in which Sherlock, like a chess game, sees a few moves ahead; endures the feiging of realization, and emerges triumphant. My question: How will existing relationships with Sherlock evolve, and what reprecusions cold result therin considering the recent abject use of them; unawares as pawns. I could watch an entire episode concerning just such a problem.

Sorry, I've seen 5 minutes of a Dr. Who episode. Wish i had those 5 min.s back.

Has no one else percieved how volumes were spoke during moriarty's portrayal as a paid actor? A lot seemed to be said during silence.

This is the point in which the internetz should set ablaze with a possible hankering with an emerergent villain which could topple moriarty. The actor theory is easy. I don't like it.
And if he bests moriarty...what challenge be worthy of sir holmes?
I need to purchase the books :'( and read them.

Fear is not completely out of character for Sherlock at least it wasn't in Hounds of Baskerville. In that episode Sherlock was in shock and fears his acute senses are failing him when he "saw" the hound. 

I do admit however that Sherlock's emotions on that rooftop seemed out of place for him. Especially when he is talking to Watson on his cell and seems to be whimpering. 

I really think you have a good, logical explanation! It all would certainly make sense that way.

Does anyone think of the possibility of Watson recieving a concussion after the incident with the cyclist? I know from experience that a concussion will cause you to lose all memory of events leading up to and after it happens.

Watson's hand is removed from Sherlock's wrist quickly (while jostling to make a perfect pulse difficult) by a woman's hand wearing a woman's diamond watch.  Irene Adler is almost always wearing a watch, which changes, but sometimes includes a feminine diamond band.  She owes one to Moriarity and is in debt to Sherlock.  Another accomplice in addition to Molly and the homeless horde?

Note also that any dead body taken to that hospital immediately goes to Molly, of course.  

Finally - Sherlock sends a text to someone saying meet me on the roof of the hospital.  That text begins with a PS - obviously a continuation of another note.  What did the first part of the note say?  We don't know.  Is the text to Moriarity (as I assumed) or to someone else (Adler, Molly)?  We actually don't know.  He could have sent texts to multiple people.  Thus someone else could be on the roof before, during, or after the Holmes/Moriarity confrontation.

One very clear clue that I have not seen noticed (but I have not read all the comments) is that Holmes falls in perpendicular orientation to the roof line (feet toward it) but when we see a body hit the pavement it is oriented parallel to the roof line. So, the body we see hit the ground is either someone other than Holmes or we see Holmes hitting the ground only after landing elsewhere (e.g. in the garbage truck) and jumping onto the pavement. 

Also, as Watson attempted to take Sherlock's pulse, an older woman is seen prying Watson's hand off the "corpse".

The episode is called "The Richard Brook Fall" (In English) I think it clearly tells us who fell.  There was already a dead body on the roof which nobody mentions after the fall.  I think this is crucial.

The "solution" doesn't have anything to do with how Sherlock faked his own death. It has to do with why. It took me a week of thinking about it and watching it three times but I GOT it! It was amazingly clever and all the clues are right there&  not "hidden" at all. I'm not going to tell anyone because it was such a thrill to realize the "solution" to the mystery (and exactly what the mystery was anyway.) There is not one key to it nor one clue...the answer is in looking at the whole thing not just each scene. 

Some times on Doctor Who, you got the feeling that Moffat is using most of his time for Sherlock ... It's pretty depressing to notice, that Neil Gaiman's "The Doctor's Wife" was the best episode of two Moffat-seasons.

Regarding the faked death: Sherlock's faked death is at least plausible. The Doctor's is not. When River refuses to kill him, the whole of time and space is going to crumble to dust. When the Doctor fakes his death, nothing at all happens and life goes on as normal as can be. How can that be, if the Doctor's death is "supervised" by universal law (and not just any kind of people, like the Silence). AND if no-one is to know that the Doctor is still alive (because the universe again would cease to exist), why the f*ck does he go and tell the Ponds?

Yes, Sherlock's death and ressurection leaves you with a bunch of questions on how he made it. But there aren't any logic holes that you can fly the TARDIS through without even touching the edges ...

Oh, come on. Now you're being cruel.
Give us a hint at least.

If you read the original Conan Doyle, you'd be pretty sure it was to protect his friends from the underlings of Moriarty.  If Sherlock is alive, his friends die.  Moriarty is at the center of the web, but certainly isn't the only "bad guy"

Anyone notices how the truck disappears in the shot with the cyclist and then reappears an instant later? Is this just a mistake, or does it mean anything - like for example that we actually see two different places, one with Sherlock on the roof and one with Watson, seeing a double of Sherlock? Does that make any sense?
And why did the building change? When Sherlock first sends text to Moriarty, we see a shot of St Bartholomews Hospital at dawn, it has a big gate, and the street does not look like the one where he later bounces. Curious...

I hope people are still pondering this, because it still bugs me. 
I agree with much of the speculation:-JW getting knocked down/ delayed is significant.  Also that Sherlock wanted him at a particular vantage point for the jump (stay where you are).  Maybe to block JW's view, maybe that the assassin's couldn't see Sherlock jump, only JW's reaction?-Molly is involved, but she is a technician, not a forensic pathologist or coroner, so she would still need help in covering up a death (from Mycroft?).  She may also be helping Sherlock live "off grid" (he asks her if she would still be willing to help him even if he is not what she thought- my translation- if he is a fugative, thought to be a fake...would she still help).  In the cannon, Mycroft was his source of money after his fake death, but maybe Molly serves this roll in this version.
-Sherlock knew Moriarty wanted him to jump (all those references to a fall), and Sherlock picked the building- significant.
-Moriarty is dead, and Sherlock was surprised by that.
-Sherlock was not surprised by the call to JW from the paramedics about Mrs Hudson- who made the call- Molly?  Homeless network?  JM?  Right after the phone call Sherlock gets a text from JM that he is waiting- coincidence?

Things I'm not so sure about:

-I like the ideas about a mask or double because of the scream, but how would Sherlock have access to the mask/double just when he needed it.  JM wouldn't be carrying around a Sherlock mask.
-I like the catch about the truck pulling away with possible cushion....but it seems so 1970's Starsky and Hutch, not a 21st century Sherlock-worthy explanation.  That would disappoint me a bit (or maybe I'm trying to be clever when a simple explanation fits).
-Is there a key code (not important to the solution, maybe)?  But Mycroft thought there was one and he is flipping brilliant, and the assassin told Sherlock there was a key code.  Does that have anything to do with IOU?
-Anyone notice 2 pigeons flying from the building as Sherlock is being carted away.  Would they have flown away already when Sherlock jumped?
-Sherlock was at the top of the building phoning JW, and on the concrete (I don't think it was a double), but what happens in between?
-How long would it take JW to take a cab to and from Baker Street from St Barts?  That is how much time Sherlock had with JM in discussion, plus any "coverup" he needed to do.
-Why was it important for Sherlock to emphasize that he was a fake to JW?  To give him a clue that his death was a fake?  Were the assassins listening in on his phone so he had to be convincing?   Why not just say- "John, this is something I have to do" rather than going on about being a fake?

I end up with more questions than answers.  Hopefully the solution is not "it's a TV show", but something worthy of SH.

Has anyone else noticed that Sherlock went off the top of that roof face-first, but somehow when they turned "the body" over on the pavement, the blood was only coming from the back of his head and the face was untouched? I think it adds credibility to the theory that somehow they chucked Moriarty off that roof. 

Interesting...could the blood be from the side of the head (trying to think how a body would fall).  Definitely have to watch that again.

Has anyone noted Shelock did not correct Watson when Watson said Sherlock knew everything about his sister when they first met? Though Sherlock claims to have researched Watson prior to their meeting, he doesn't remind Watson that he thought Harry was Watsons brother not sister. I thought this was a subtle message to Watson. Any thoughts?

The one thing that i noticed was sherlock saying thank you a lot which is very unusual, not sure what it meant but it did mean something! That was definitely off character.

Two unusual behaviors: playing with the ball and asking for time to still his emotions before suicide.  The thank you's, on the other hand, are part of his character development and continued training by Watson about how not interact less abrasively with other people.

The 'thank you's' are part of his continued character development, I think.  Remember in a Study in Pink, LaStraad says he needs Watson to humanize him and become a great man.  His first surprising attachment to Mrs. Hudson (and defense of her against Mycroft's inconsideration), his apologies to Molly after he was so cruel to her at Christmas, his vague awareness that children's trauma is somewhat different than other's trauma (look on face as Moriarity ratchets up how 'vulnerable' and 'pitiable' victims are when testing him, turning down coat collar when told to be gentle with traumatized kidnapped victim - something Watson had told him in Baskerville he only did to be 'cool').   

Playing with the ball was highly unusual for Sherlock.  Not his kind of nervous tick - when he's thinking, he sits and temples his finger - not fiddle with a ball and rub it between his hands.  I like the kill the pulse with the ball theory.  Note that he also stands on the roof looking at Moriarity, holding his hands behind his back and flexing the fingers of his one hand).  Odd posture.  He uses that to signal Moriarity but it could also be keeping a numbed hand from becoming non-functional.
I was struck at how grateful the mad Moriarity is when Sherlock beats him.  He - like Sherlock and the taxi driver - is forever bored.  And Sherlock ends his boredom by besting him and making like challenging.  Yet he (Moriarity) thinks he still gets to win because he will force Sherlock into a situation where he has to kill himself.  He will be left on the roof with the body of a many he was supposed to have framed for the kidnappings/murders and cement his reputation as a fraud.  He will spend the rest of his life in prison if he lives - and all those he holds close will be murdered.  Or he can kill himself.  

Thus from Moriarity's perspective, he has found Sherlock to be a worthy opponent, ending his life of boredom.  Yet he has bested him by forcing Sherlock to choose between lonely, living disgrace and responsible for a murder and suicide and disgrace.  

Sherlock (who you can see has a plan because he acts hysterical and for time alone, but as soon as he turns away changes his face to one of serious and rapid thought), however, has a plan.  This is when he spots and sets up Watson to be in the right position.   Asking for time alone to get his emotions in check was the second unusual behavior.

Sherlock didn't have his violin (composing helps him think) so maybe the ball is just a displaced behavior.  A bit odd, I agree, but remember how agitated he was when he didn't have a case (bored!!).  He was also fidgeting with the ball when the "paramedics" called about Mrs. H, and he clearly was not surprised by the call.  BTW, did anyone think it was odd that JM texts Sherlock immediately after that call.  But I love the thought about a numb hand, and having to move it to keep some feeling in it!

The first time I saw the episode I thought the cinematography was a bit over the top when Sherlock convinces JM that he is not one of the Angels.  There are beams of sunlight, then, when the "spell" is broke, JM blinks, and is transformed into thanking Sherlock, and Sherlock blinks, both like they are breaking some sort of spell or trying to wake up from a dream.  Maybe just a dramatic device.

Do you think that maybe Sherlock asking for a moment of privacy was just a ploy for time to think?  Even his brain needs time  ;-)

Maybe the odd behavior is that Sherlock admits to himself that he needs Molly (Alone protects me).  I think she helps him live off grid while he straightens everything out and tracks down JM's underlings.

On the roof top, why did JM tell Sherlock that he told all his clients-the last one to Sherlock is a sissy.  Then a minute later he is admitting that Sherlock has to kill himself or his friends will die.  So are the assassins there for Sherlock (last one to Sherlock is a sissy) AND his friends?

Wow. There are some great theories here. I've worn out the pause button and come up with my own...

1). The screaming girl has nothing to do with SH's suicide. Moriarty conditioned the kids some way (pictures, voice recordings, creepy homemade videos, etc) so they would associate SH with their abduction. The scream is what really clued in Sgt Donovan that SH might be behind all of this. The abduction storyline fits in with JM's creepy Sir Boast-A-Lot / King Arthur video. It is the start of SH's public disgrace. Nothing more.

2) SH set up the fake call to Watson about Mrs. Hudson. That fits in pretty well with the canon. He needed him out of the way while he dealt with JM.

3) When Watson leaves, he tells Watson "Alone protects me." Watson's reply was "No, friends protect people." Funny...SH sending out Watson is doing just that: he is protecting his friend.

4) Molly is obviously involved. My guess is that he needs her help falsifying medical records, doing his fake autopsy, etc. She might have obtained scrubs for the "paramedics" to wear as well.

5) SH first peers over the ledge. There are 2 red double decker buses parked along the curb. An old man with a can stops to talk to the bus driver. Perhaps telling him to move?

6) JM tells SH, "Looks like you have an audience now." You see a woman on a park bench just below SH with several unidentified bags sitting on the bench. Packets of blood to spill on the pavement later, perhaps?

6)  What is up with the strange chalk-like outline in front of the bus? Landing zone?

7) When SH asks for a moment of privacy, you can hear the bus drive off. Then SH laughs. Is that because his orchestrated death site is coming together as he wanted it to?

8) At 1:18:59 you can see the building from Watson's point of view. There is a short building between him and SH. Watson is prevented from being able to see the ground.

9) Holmes must not have researched Waston too closely (we know he really didn't) because he would have known that Watson has a sister, not a brother. I think he was a) tired of all of the media attention and missed being an obscure private detective, b) needed to be completely discredited and forgotten so that he could go underground and destroy JM's remaining network

10) JM is dead. He shot himself. His corpse remained on the roof (at least until Molly or someone else came to collect it). He is not coming back.

11) SH cries on the phone. That is very unlike him. He has cried in previous episodes, but it has always been a hoax or an act. SH is weepy throughout the phone call, but then in the end when he says, "That's what people do, isn't it? Leave a note?" he returns to that calm, controlled, calculated tone of voice that is void of all emotion. He was stringing Watson along to get Watson emotional as well. Then he turned it off and got down to business.

12) It is SH who jumps off the building. No body switching. No tossing a dummy. No throwing bodies out of windows. The flailing arms and legs show that it is SH jumping; perhaps he is trying to control his fall.

13) There is a shot of SH landing on the sidewalk, you just don't see him literally land on the sidewalk (meaning, did he land on a little mattress or something) that was quickly tossed into the garbage truck that drove away? The sidewalk behind him is also completely empty of people, but then suddenly so many are there. Waiting for impact, perhaps?

14) During SHs first peek over the ledge, look at the orientation of the rectangular phone booth in relation to the busses. When SH lands, you can see the telephone booth (which was between the sidewalk and the garbage truck) which indicates that SH didn't jump far enough to clear the sidewalk and land in the truck. I also think the sniper would notice SH landing in a cushy garbage truck. That would have been visible from his viewpoint, I think.

15) He jumped and should have landed perpendicular to the building. When Watson gets to him, he is parallel to the building.

16) The cyclist is a Baker Street Irregular (homeless network guy). His job was to delay and disorient Watson. No drugs needed. Watson probably had a concussion.

17) Watson tried to take a pulse but he missed the pulse point. He was also disoriented and had people pulling him away. No need for a fake arm or a corpse - Watson was not capable to making medical decisions in his physical and emotional state. There were also a lot of people pulling him away from the body (which was still SH). Perhaps they didn't want Watson to notice that SH, while bloody, didn't really have his head bashed in.

18) The medical team got there in an awfully big hurry. I think they were in on it, too.

19) I think Mycroft really believes SH to be dead and that it's partly his fault. In the canon, I think he believes SH dead as well until SH comes asking for support and money. He seems distraught enough when he reads the paper - probably about as upset as he is emotionally capable of being with regard to the brother he has been semi-estranged from lately.

Sorry. That was a lot. Thoughts?

I agree with everything you say (great summary, by the way).  However, given your #14 above (which I agree with), how did he survive the fall?  

I think he survived by landing on something (see point #13). Whether that something was a mattress, some cushy foam, or a giant marshmallow, I have no idea. I think that whatever it was came off of the truck, had SH land on it, and then went right back onto the truck before being driven away. I think the jump and landing posed a genuine injury risk to SH, but not necessarily a fatal one.

A few other thoughts I had recently...

SH acts very strange on the rooftop once JM kills himself. SH seems surprised, disoriented, indecisive, and afraid of what he is now forced to do: kill himself. But we all know that he has everything planned to the smallest detail. Is all of the stress and anguish on the rooftop just an act and part of a greater plan?

We never saw what SH did with the mini surveillance camera that he found in 221B. Could he be wearing it on the rooftop? Is he transmitting JMs confession to someone? Is that why he acts so distraught about his impending jump? Why he lies to Watson about being a fraud and doesn't just say "Hey, I need to fake my own death here. Play along"? Because he needs other people to believe that he is a fraud as well? Because the camera is transmitting everything?

SH also walks up to JMs corpse and inhales deeply from his coat sleeve, almost as if the scent of the corpse bothers him. But the scent of corpses has never bothered him before. I have heard some suggest he took a drug (the rhododendron from earlier in the episode) to help him relax during the fall and/or make his pulse harder to take. Perhaps he inhaled some of it then?

I also found Sherlock's silence very interesting.  

I've never liked the theory of SH jumping onto something soft for 2 reasons:  1) it seems too 1970's stuntman (maybe I'm trying to be too clever) and 2) more importantly, he planned to "fake his death" by jumping (which I believe he knew ahead of time he would have to do due to JM's comments about a big fall, etc.) and how could he get away with deceiving JM with a big bag of cushions if JM was watching from the roof???  JM would just watch him jump and see the cushions.....  

But your comments made me think....I couldn't come up with a better way to survive a fall.  So how could he have deceived JM?  He asked for a moment of privacy.  Being SH, his mind was racing, and he realized that JM must have a re-call code for the assassins, so he laughed, he thought he had a way out of jumping.  But that was not the original reason for the moment of privacy.  What if he asked for privacy to get JM to walk away from the edge of the building, when SH jumped, S had time to "land" and fall onto the pavement, and have the truck drive away (or what ever happened) before JM could run to the edge and see what happened.  JM would only see SH jump, then the final landing spot, but would miss the landing and quick "clean up" because he had walked away for the moment of privacy.

SH WAS genuinely surprised when JM shot himself, so he realized he had to go through with the fake suicide to keep his friends safe.  Then the rest of the theory of why SH made JW turn back the way he came and stay back, and get knocked down by the biker all works too.

I really like your reasoning about why SH asked for the moment of privacy... both of them look over the edge and see concrete, SH asks for privacy, JM walks away. Cushy landing zone appears (perhaps while SH falls) and is quickly removed once he lands. JM returns to see the final demise of SH spilling onto the concrete.  It would make sense.

But something still bothers me...  Watson hadn't returned yet. Was the moment of privacy also a stall tactic to give Watson time to arrive? And if it was, would SH still have made that phone call and told Watson that he was a fake - especially if JM was right there, listening?

If SH would have jumped right then, Waston would have missed everything. Was the elaborate cover-up (cyclist, cushion, fake blood, fake paramedics, etc) for Watson's benefit alone, or for Watson and JM's? Only Watson wasn't there yet...

SH's friends were safe as long as JM was alive. SH realized that on the ledge when he thought about the recall code. But how did he expect to keep JM alive? They couldn't stay on the rooftop forever. At some point if SH didn't jump, the snipers would have to shoot. They had no idea that JM was dead. How would they know if he was still alive? And despite what he said, I don't think SH could force JM to do anything he didn't want to do.

JM seemed pretty bored with life (hence the disdain for the song "Staying Alive"). I'm wondering how far out SH worked this plan, and if he really did foresee the answer to the Final Problem as being the death of JM as well as his own. Only SH cheated...JM died, he did not. 

All this speculation has been really fun to think about...I'm just ready to know the answers!!!

I think the deception was originally set up to fool JM.

 JW got the phone call to "get him out of the way".  It was just bad timing that JW returned as SH realized he had to jump.  That is why S was genuinely emotional when he spoke to JW.  The bicyclist was ready to knock ANYONE down who might spoil the secret landing, and JW just happened to be there.  There were probably other homeless network in place to keep the street clear by various other methods.

Then SH gives JW plenty of clues that things are not what they seem (I'm a fake, I researched you, etc) and that Sherlock is not really telling the truth to JW, which JW picked up on at least subconsciously, because he told the grave marker "don't be dead".

In the original Conan-Doyle Final Problem, SH was willing to give up his own life if it meant that JM was also gone.  And in a Study in Pink, SH was ready to take the pill, showing that he is willing to take risk to win the game.  And, in the end, he had to take the risk of "jumping" (how ever he survived it) to protect his friends and uncover the rest of JM's web.

I'm also ready for the answer.  It's going to kill me to wait until sometime in 2013 to see the conclusion.  And Moffat promised an even bigger cliffhanger at the end of series 3.   Sigh.....

 I agree with your breakdown of events, and will add only that it could have been handy for Molly to have a cadaver's arm handy in the truck for Sherlock to slip into his sleeve. Good luck getting a pulse from THAT, Dr. Watson.

That was the continuation of the text where he wanted Moriarty to meet him on rooftop of the hospital. Then he wrote the PS part where he tried to tell him that he discovered the key code. So both texts were sent to Moriarty.

I noticed that,when john is hit by the cyclist,there is a whole crowd of people around sherlock (you can see it in the photo with the cyclist),and when he gets to sherlock's body,you can see that everyone has just arrived,and the rubbish truck is just driving away.

I noticed that,when john is hit by the cyclist,there is a whole crowd of people around sherlock (you can see it in the photo with the cyclist),and when he gets to sherlock's body,you can see that everyone has just arrived,and the rubbish truck is just driving away.

'It’s something that Sherlock did that was very out of character, but which nobody has picked up on.'
...remember sherlock stretching out his hand to john on the roof?I don't think that a gesture of friendship to john,but the sign that he wanted to jump.
and he throws his handy on the roof,and that's possibly because he could be tracked by it...(but this doesn't help a lot to deduce how he 'killed' himself ;))

aah sorry I meant phone instead of handy xD sorry I'm german

Everything is very interesting, but I want to know how did the killer with Mrs. Hudson back at Baker street knew that he was to leave the lady alive and leave the place?

Are you talking about when he stretched out his hand when he said - stay where you are at (don't remember the exact words)?  I think he was just emphasizing that JW "stays" (like the hand signal to a dog).

Your ideas about the phone made me think.  Some have postulated that SH recorded a conversation with JM in the hopes of providing evidence, but the government already knew JM was dangerous (not only with the key code, but JM texted Mycroft telling him he knew of the "plane of death" in Scandal).  I love the idea about tracking SH by the phone...always thought it was a "hole" in the plot that JW was phoned up by the "paramedics" while he was a fugitive (why not just call SH to find him?).  He was still using it to text at least.

I think SH had to leave the phone behind so no one (random person) found it on the ground as, or after, he fell.  Even though SH knew that JM intended him to jump (with all the hints at "falling"), SH did not know JM was going to shoot himself.  I think S asked for Mycrofts help, despite their differences, after JM shot himself (who else could conceal JM's death?).  Maybe he texted Mycroft (S prefered to text over phoning), had to throw the phone down on the roof to leave it behind and prevent anyone from finding it and reading that text?  Who ever cleaned up JM (i.e. Mycroft's people) also retrieved the phone?

Agreed: bookwyrm's points are spot-on, but cushions and soft landings are silly. Worse, they require an elaborate set-up, and so are less likely to succeed. The same goes for corpse-dumping and the like: too many variables, too many opportunities for a screw-up. Besides, it's pretty high up: landing on something soft will not necessarily save you unless it's fairly high up (before you pick up too much speed), and will likely leave you quite broken anyway.

Simpler, more elegant solution: SH actually jumps, but is wearing a harness under his coat which is in turn attached to a wire. That seems borne out by the billowing of his coat as he falls ('course, it *is* a TV show, so if they did film a jump, there was probably a wire involved anyway--the billowing may or may not be a clue). Molly's there for the paperwork, Watson's kept in place but with an obstructed view for genuine emotion, which in turn placates the sniper. When does he attach it? Irrelevant: too much camera work to know for sure. Could have been in the moment alone, could have been after JM's death if he planned for that (although that again smacks of too much intricacy).
The missed clue? Just look at SH's behaviour on the rooftop. He actually cares about his reputation, despite repeatedly (and emphatically) denying it throughout the episode. Worse, he's babbling and flummoxed, and apparently read too much into JM's behaviour (re: the 'code' and so on). None of that's in character.

got another theory about sherlocks out-of-character-moment: he obviously planned his 'suicide',but when moriarty says something about killing himself (don't remember exactly what) ,sherlock apparently doesn't understand him and then,after some seconds he adds:"oh,of course,my suicide" or something like that.sorry about the bad description of the scene,but I'm sure you know what I mean ;).Probably that's just to make moriarty really believe he is killing himself.

what bothers me about the theory of sherlock just pretending to be dead are his eyes...did anyone notice them?they're open,and TOTALLY still and absolutely not moving,he isn't even blinking (would be a bit obvious if he did). but I don't think anyone could keep his eyes open and unmoving that long ....any ideas?

I agree that a wire would be simpler. But how does that fool JM (who S did not expect t0 shoot himself, so he (JM) would be alive and watching from the roof if things had gone as S planned)? S didn't know JM would shoot himself, so his plan had to work if JM was on the roof.

I agree that S's babbling is out of character. I think that is because he did not expect JW to return so quickly. S arranged a call to JM to get him out of the way (don't know who actually made the call) because he did not want JW there to interfere, or to witness the "death". S didn't know there would be assassins watching his 3 friends, so he had no reason to have JW as a witness. S is developing as a character, and he realized that JW seeing him jump would hurt JW, and that is why S is so emotional, and babbling and flummoxed.

I don't like the pillow idea much either, but can't come up with anything better...

I disagree that the greatest criminal mastermind would simply off himself on that rootop. JM prided himself that no one could get to him. I believe we saw an actor JM had in such a position that the actor's only choice was to kill himself. JM was behind the scenes pulling the strings and SH knew it. I'm not convinced we've seen the real JM.

How did Sherlock know that Moriarty was going to ask him to commit suicide - by jumping? How then was preparing to fake his suicide ever part of of Sherlock's response?

MOTHER OF GOD!! when SH was telling JW that he was a fraud, he said( exactly these words):- "It's all a magic trick"... simple is that!?

I had a long comment typed and then my computer erased it..so all I can say is thank you for using "discombobulation" in your post. I've enjoyed reading your thought provoking blog entry.


One more thing I have noticed which no one mentioned. The first time SH stood on the edge of the rooftop and jumped back to the top, there was no blood. The second time he stood there, after JM killed himself and before he jumped, there was blood. Does that ring anything?

Sherlock looked down at some point and laughed rather maniacally. Any theories on the reason for that laugh?

When SH says, " Oh I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them" to JM, you can hear thunderous beats ( sudden revelation kind of music), while the sunlight is blocking a clear view for the audience. And immediately afterwards, JM behaves a little weird after they look eye to eye. As if, Sherlock slipped him some kind of drug or summat. Thoughts?

Does anyone think that Sherlock could have jumped onto the floor where there was a mattress or something to impact his fall, because we dont actually see sherlock hit the floor. We see him roll slightly, My theory is Sherlock jumped down off the hospital roof onto a mattress, then be brought into the truck and have someone fake as the decoy, but watch closely as sherlock is taken away, it isnt actually him. Hope this helps :)

At one point when Watson first arrives, he says "No stay exactly where you are... keep your eyes fixed on me." Perhaps trying to keep John from seeing the plan -whatever it is- ????

The mystery of the missing pulse is one easily solved - the squash-ball-in-the-armpit trick. It is a little known medical fact that squeezing a squash ball or similar into the armpit cavity can prevent a pulse from being detected in the wrist.
Additional evidence to back up this theory is the certainty that Moffat and Gatiss would never have Holmes playing with the squash ball at such a crucial moment in the episode if it wasn't of some importance.
Furthermore, Watson was only stable enough to check for a pulse in the wrist and didn't have the chance to check the life-sign in his neck. If the writers wanted us to believe it was a cadaver, dummy or Moriarty's corpse, surely they would have made this fact clearer to the audience?

I think it's weird why JM even wants to kill SH. Isn't he JM's only equal? Why would he kill the only fun thing in his life. And I understand that JM was bored (the song and the risky actions at the beginning of episode 3 series 2. I mean why risk his reputation and relieve his face to everyone? Did he think it would be fun. Would get some thrill out of it?) If he wanted to kill himself it would explain it. He wanted to kill the only person that was at least similar to him. But if he planned to stay alive...? Then his life would be even more boring then with SH in it.

Another thing that I don't completely understand is the final problem. What is the problem? Why so suddenly? After how long? Months, maybe a year. JM suddenly remembers about SH. Why? What's the problem? (I understand I'm not that clever and I haven't read the book so maybe I don't understand everything, but can someone explain?)

How did the killer who was with Mrs. Hudson back at Baker Street knew he SH had jumped and he was now supposed to leave the lady alive and get out of there? The killer aiming at Watson had a clear view of the action so he knew he had to go...

sherlock also could have stopped his pulse by putting that small ball that we see him playing with earlier in the episode underneath his armpit - it stops the bloodflow to the arm, therefore slowing or stopping the pulse on your wrist temporarily.

Nice one.
Agree with everything except one biggie: JM's death. Why is there no newspaper report about the death of SH's "collaborator"? Obviously no body was found. So either the body was collected by someone prepared in advance, or JM got up and strolled away (either possibility explains the birds flying away from the roof after SH had already jumped).
For someone to have been prepared in advance, either SH knew JM would kill himself, or it was someone from JM's team who was nearby and came in to clean up the (unexpected) mess.
I don't believe SH knew JM would kill himself - he was genuinely surprised (unless you say that was an act for the benefit of JM's observers), and that would also presuppose he was much further ahead in the chess game than sounds plausible; JM's no slouch. [arguing against myself: SH points out that JM is insane to which JM replies something like "are you only just figuring that out"...but SH is not just figuring that out, he already knows that...so there is indeed a possibility that he's playing on JM's insanity...now back to my argument ;-) ]
So we're left with JM taking the elevator or one of his staff carrying him out in a body bag. The latter doesn't make sense - why would JM's collaborators care about his body? They have no incentive either way...
So I conclude that JM is alive and kicking and scanning the papers to ensure SH is truly dead and buried.

The girl screamed as she was getting the fear gas, as Watson at the end.Sherlock's dead body is wearing a mask. Finally Moriarty is not dead, hopefully!!!
The Greek!!

Just finished Reichenbach ... Noticed that it is "bookended" with JW talking to therapist. He's wearing same clothes in both scenes, as is she. Is it possible that what we have seen is JW's remembrances of what led to SH's death? Given the trauma, could it be that JW does not recall what happened accurately? He "sees but does not observe"? Just a thought I wanted to share.

About JM's death. SH had to have prepared for JM's death because otherwise his plan would not have been flawless for JM would have seen the hoax. Although, I do believe it was SH's last resort to jump and hoax his death.

For SH to prepare to hoax his own death, the surprise on his face and deductions he made to make JM believe the ball was in his court had to have been an act. Otherwise JM would have never reached the conclusion of killing himself because SH knew that eventually one of his few ending options would be to collaborate with Moriarty.
Only one question: did SH plan to have JM's body moved or did JM's people move the body? If SH knew that JM would commit suicide, then it would be plausible he would have the body cleaned up after. It's beneficial for SH to have JM's body cleaned up because it would have further stained SH's name with more suspicions and speculations.

It would seem that since JM was willing to kill himself, that the plan was for JM to follow through with the lie for the rest of his life, possibly making him believe his life was meaningless and that his whole purpose was to take down SH. So why would JM's people move the body? Leaving him there would be beneficial to their cause.

What would have been the point of the truck with the trash bags that arrived right before the jump and fled the scene after the jump? With these series, all the evidence is given subtly, ideally nothing more or less. Your theory is a possibility, but not likely in this case.

When he asked for a moment of privacy, it was to give time to make sure that his plan was going accordingly so that if worse came to worst, he would follow through with his last resort to jump. I think he already knew that one of his options would be to join them. And I'm sure he preferred that over jumping.

Also, I don't think that the moment of privacy tied in with Watson's return. I don't think it's necessary for Watson to be at that exact location when SH was ready to jump, but SH accounted for it and had the proper precautions in place. He was more worried about making sure his landing wouldn't kill him. Afterall, SH is a self centered selfish character. If he wasn't he'd have more friends than just Watson, Mrs. Hudson, and Lestrade (who isn't even his friend)

Honestly I believe that all the medical physicians who arrived to the scene so abruptly were in on it. Reason being that they were pulling Watson away as if doing it with a purpose.
One major issue that ties in with SH's plan is how he set the meet on top of the St. Bart's hospital where he could be gurneyed away without an ambulance or commotion. These people were notified of the situation, that's how they specifically arrived to the scene with a gurney from the hospital and brought him back in, rather than an ambulance

Did anyone notice how SH set the meet on top of St. Bart's hospital? This in itself gives proper grounds to assume that SH planned the jump and hoax of his own death. SH must have had Molly reach out to those at the hospital and have them help in faking his death, since emergency paramedics and nurses arrived at the scene fairly quickly.

This may be old news by this point, but I think the pulse is actually a very simple thing to explain. Sherlock was seen several times in the episode playing with a small rubber ball. If one were to place a small object, say a ball, underneath the armpit at exactly the right spot, one could use it to compress a pressure point leading to one's arm. This could drastically slow or even temporarily stop a pulse in that arm. While prolonged application of pressure to the point could result in permanent damage or dead tissue, it would only need to be applied long enough for Watson to miss the pulse.

One thing no one has mentioned is that Moriarty gave Sherlock the "recall" code right before he shook his hand. Listen to the words Sherlock says and compare them to what Moriarty said. His "confession" was the recall code. Sure him dying and all would be instruction for the snipers to wait, but the recall code was his confession showing up in the papers. When the headlines hit, the hitman saw the code and no longer continued tracking their targets.

I'm not sure if anyone else has mentioned this yet, and I take no credit for this idea, but has anyone given thought to the ball that Sherlock had in his possession prior to meeting JM on the roof, and whether or not it had any significance? There is a trick where you keep a ball in your armpit, and to cut off the pulse, you squeeze it.

The reason why Watson was fooled when checking Sherlock's pulse is because Sherlock used that rubber ball, which is seen numerous times throughout the episode, and put it under his armpit which is a well known way of restricting one's pulse.

Your concern of a pulse is easy to solve. The squash ball SH was playing with just prior to JW rushing off. Pressure to the axillary artery (armpit) such as squeezing a squash ball under his arm will reduce the pulse sufficiently. JW checked his radial artery (pulse in wrist). Having said that, I don't buy it as a plausible act in all too many ways. Mainly because I don't think bags of garbage in a truck would be sufficient to prevent death or at least GBH occurring to someone jumping off a building that height. Then we assume that nobody other than Molly ever gets near to the body again.

I do enjoy the Sherlock series and like how they have redone the stories. However they go too far in two directions. Sherlock may have been a genius but never god-like in abilities. He never had an eidetic memory (able to remember JM's finger taps) as shown by his collections of books on people he had to reference is the stories. The other way, is that JW was never that helpless and that overall other people were not as useless as they were in this series.

Most importantly, Mycroft was a fatty who was lazy but smarter than Sherlock. Where did that go?

I still keep asking myself, when Holmes leaves Mollys Laboratory he grabs for something and he seems to be awfully fond of this ball. Could it be some kind of airbag to soften the fall?

He could not have changed the bodies, because right before jumping he looks at the body of Moriarty.
I dont know if just the garbage truck would suffice to soften the fall.

Did anyone else notice that there was no ambulance at the scene? and directly after the "paramedics" get him on the stretcher they pull him into a dark building? this was a dead give away for me

nevermind. Remembered that the building is a hospital lol

For twenty years I picked up murders, suicides and accidental death victims. A body falling from that height and face down would not be recognizable when turned over. It doesn't play well to me when DR. Watson would know better. When SH talks to Molly, it is apparent he is planning a trick of some sort, but the way this whole thing played out onscreen was ludicrous. No matter how they explain the switch in season three, it's going to be lacking except to those with mediocre taste in television. Very sadly disappointed in the writers of this series and will likely not wait for or watch season 3, especially with yet another probable "end" to SH for the season finale.

No comment on Watson's sniper looking like Holmes? There is also a running theme of using actors through the episode.

I don't think sherlock could of jumped into the rubbish truck because he steps of the edge he doesn't jump, so he wouldn't land on the street, he would end up on the sidewalk where the body we see lands

Anyone remember Sherlock being given the cufflinks (don't wear cufflinks) and tie pin (don't wear ties) but Moriarty did, and he had a tie pin on when taken to court. I think that will be how it will open next episode, Watson will be given 'Sherlock's' possessions and there will be cuff links and a tie pin and Watson will know it wasn't Sherlock, it was in fact Moriarty they buried. Also, as mentioned by Maggie, Watson will know Sherlock wasn't a fake, because he wouldn't have slipped up on Watson's brother in fact being a sister. Not sure how the suicide was faked, but definately linked with Moriarty (both bleeding from the head) also, Sherlock kept body parts in the fridge at home, and he needed Molly :-)

the fact that sherlock had no pulse comes from Rhododendron poisoning. earlier in the episode is mentioned a Rhododendron and because Moffat and Gatiss are prone to mix up Holmes canon and movie adaptations one can assume that this is a reference to Guy Ritchie's Holmes movies in which Rhododendron poisioning was used to fake an execution. That's how he had no pulse.

Not sure if it has been mentioned. But at closer look one can see that it is not a rubbish truck - but rather seems to be more of a laundry truck ( the bags appear cotton not plastic)

What about the window that is open? And then, when he jups, the window is close.

1. SH didn't jump like Spiderman so that he could reach a buss full of marshmallow. Double check the time he took off.
2. A little mattress can never save a man jumping from that height from which he jumped.
3. The chalk sigh was for parking or something else and wasn't a landing zone for obvious. It's like hitting a dirt to the the small circle which is a kilo ahead.
4. The person who was at ground was real SH and that is why Watson didn't get chance to check the pulse or have a close look. Also see the dead body as it was the carbon copy.
5. There is no chance to put JM's body in the ground because there is no match with SH's body and his.

Ok-IMO the ‘out of character’ clue that the writers were talking about is Sherlock getting stressed out. He puts his hand behind his head into his collar, just after Moriarty shoots himself, and just before he jumps. The back of his neck is where the blood is coming out of the body on the ground, from under his collar. Beforehand, he asks Molly for something. What?
I reckon it was blood. She could get some easily, she has a healthy supply of dead bodies. It’s blood in some kind of breakable container, like a small, tight balloon, but not a balloon-the noise it would make is too loud. He somehow predicts that Moriarty is ‘Prepared to do anything’ to beat Sherlock, so he makes Moriarty kill himself by saying that, as long as Moriarty is around, Sherlock doesn’t have to lose. Moriarty is tricked into killing himself in this way. Then, with Moriarty out of the way, he plants the blood capsule in his collar, and uses the ball-in-the-armpit trick everyone’s talking about. He jumps into the garbage lorry Molly or some other accomplice (Mycroft? Homeless network?) has put there, and either the shock of the jolt bursts the capsule, or he just climbs out really fast and slams to the ground, breaking the capsule. Meanwhile, the accomplice (male, so not Molly actually…) delays John. When people get to Sherlock, he is lying on the ground with no pulse (due to ball-in-armpit) and blood all over his neck (due to blood capsule). Seeing no pulse, the ambulance people take him to the morgue, I guess. Maybe Molly has a hand in this. Then Mycroft sneaks the Sherlock-body out the same way as he did all of the bodies on the airoplane. Again, it is possible Molly helps in some way.
The medical team arrives too fast-Mycroft’s influence?
Also, the lorry could drive away just so that no-one guesses – not because it’s containing Sherlock’s body.

Parachute cloak to low and control the fall?

Anguished because is he is putting a fake blood capsule in his collar.
Good idea about inhaling

Bored with life idea-wow. So Sherlock could have persuaded Moriarty to shoot himself, as Moriarty was liable to do so anyway, just to win ang to go out with a 'bang'.

Yeah but no but yeah but, see ... the pavement is DRY, right? But then it's WET! I think once you realise this everything else falls into place.

Just thought I'd add something. If you put a small, rubber ball in your sleeve at the right spot, you can slow down the circulation to your hand, especially if your sleeve is tight (which SH's would be, as he wears shirts). Which makes sense. We see SH in Bart's earlier in the episode, playing with a small black ball, with no explanation. Possibly this ball is what he used to slow his blood flow in his wrist for when someone took his pulse after he had jumped. And it probably didn't help that JW was disorientated and obviously shaken up when he took his pulse.... Just a thought...

The key to the ending is said by Sherlock himself when he points his finger at Lestrade's head, and says (parphrased): "You can get anyone to believe anything once you place an idea here." His emotional call to Watson was planned to put the idea in Watson's (and our) head that he would commit suicide, so Watson would believe that Moriarty's body was Sherlocks. The truck is merely to obscure the landing so that Moriarty's body could be arranged to obscure his face. Molly and the cyclist are all in on it.

Just noticed a little inconsistency....as Sherlock falls to the ground, his body is oriented perpendicular to the length of the pavement; but in a later view from overhead(and also at the actual moment of impact), his supposedly lifeless body is shown to be lying/falling parallel to the pavement.

He probably notified the others

My theory is that he didn't land in the garbage truck - that was a device to obscure vision and cart away evidence. A mattress wouldn't do much either. However, if we assume the crowd first on the scene are all in on it, isn't it possible that they used one of those little trampoline things fire departments use? Break falls safely, only require people to hold the edges (aka the crowd).

I agree with most of the stuff you said and have 1 point to add- the bouncy ball that SH was playing with before he jumped- he could have used it to stop his pulse by squeezing it under his arm so when the paramedics checked they thought he was dead.

Somebody is already checking Sherlock's pulse at the side of his neck when John gets to him.

I get almost everything;
1) No pulse due to the ball or the rododendron ponticum
2) The blood is definitely fake, as it's suppose to be all over his face so maybe he got that from Molly or the woman with undefinable bags on the bench though I believe that a bit far-fetched.
3)I don't think Watson was supposed to arrive yet so that may be why Sherlock is so keen on keeping him in one spot so he cannot see him, he does't see Sherlock land anyway.
4) The chalk outline is something of a landing spot.
5) He fell perpendicular to the roof, but lands parallel.
6) The cyclist (homeless network?) is there to delay John.
7) Sherlock definitely doesn't believe in the code, as he doesn't tap the rhythm from Bach but rather a random one.
8) Something, not sure what, was changed at the hospital. In A Scandal in Belgravia Sherlock reads a newspaper with the headline: Refit at historical hospital. This must have been St Bart's.

But for the landing, I'm so confused! It's the only thing I don't get!

One of the things that I have picked out from the scene is a key line.
"I want you to tell Lestrade, I want you to tell Ms Hudson, and Molly. In fact tell anyone who will listen to you" Sherlock
Perhaps this is less of a confession and more of an instruction.

Unfortunately the chalk outline is in actual brick and mortar outline, presumably where an old bus stop stood. This exists in real life so is unlikely to be a sign

There is also the matter of the camera positions. We see shots of Sherlock close up, shots of Watson close up, a view of Sherlock from Watson's position but not very clearly and a view of Watson from Sherlock's position without Sherlock being in the shot.
These points of view is likely to allow for any switches.

This is one very extravagant theory that kind of butchers the original story but it is technically plausible. That Watson is more clued up than we would originally presume. This would violate the story behind the books but would allow for a different body to be dropped from the roof. After all, not a lot of people are going to instantly recognize Sherlock Holmes.
As a bystander looking in, all you would see is a body surrounded by medical personnel that fell from the roof. The only person who would recognize the body instantly would be Watson, who has conveniently been told to inform everyone about Sherlock before he has "died". This would imply that the fake suicide was set in Watson's knowledge and that his reaction is the trigger that called off the assassins which is why the cross-hair was still trained on him after Sherlock had "committed suicide".
This could also help explain why nothing was ever mentioned about the body of James Moriarty on top of the same roof Sherlock Holmes jumped from. As an inspector or even as Watson, would you not find that suspicious that the actor hired by Sherlock Holmes shoots himself with his own gun before Sherlock himself jumps off the roof.

All in all this theory is as far-fetched as the theories about Sherlock jumping onto mattresses or rubbish bags to survive a 5 story fall so I'll let the internet be the judge.

In truth I have no hope of knowing what truly happened until it is revealed, but it just makes the theorising more exciting!!

When SH goes to the roof top,initially it is seen he is playing with something in his hand,then suddenly his hands are empty and then again he is shown with his fist close and JM said "Good you brought that too"...camera??

There are people who survive at 5 story heights. You have to be extremely extremely lucky but it happens. Doesn't seem so impossible to have a recognizable face (btw. my colleague fell 20mts on soft dirt. She stayed 4 months between hospital and immobilzed in bed but now she walks and is all ok apart the occasional backache)

sherlock is dead moriarty is dead and thats the end of it

he jumped off a hospital roof- so obviously it'd be easy for the medical peeps to get there fast. Apart from that, I like your theory :D

I think that the cyclist gave John some..thing so that when he checks Sherlock's pulse,he thinks that Sherlock is dead.That's what I think.

I think we're missing something here guys.

If you remember Sherlock talking to Molly. He has a rubber ball by that time, quite often when one donates blood, they use the ball to squeeze and allow an easier time with finding a vein. This way, the blood given would be Sherlocks own blood and thus makes the fall appear more legitimate. It also allows Sherlock to have less blood in his body when his pulse is taken, weakening it to the point that disorientation from being struck plus the ball pressed to his underarm keeps his arm from displaying a pulse. He fell, landed in the lorry, quickly hopped out and fell on the floor, splattering whatever blood he'd taken from himself.

Also, Sherlock demanding that Watson stay right where he was helps paint a picture that Sherlock wants Watsons view to be obscured slightly by whatever was in the way.


SH stopped his pulse with a small ball squeezed under his armpit, this stop people detecting pulse at the wrist, when he was thinking we see him siting down bouncing the ball earlier.

I agree with all these things.But I have to say something

1. .Lets take the case that Sherlock had planned to fake his death.HOW IN THE WORLD did he know that JM was going to ask him to jump down?It was not JM whose chose the location.It was Sherlock . I mean how did Sherlock foresee that if he chose a tall building JM would ask him to Jump.If the location Sherlock chose was not a random one he could have very well prepare for the worst.But how did he know that JM was going to ask him to jump?I also recall that JM tells that he is going to burn Sherlock(Not something to take seriously).

2.If Sherlock put down JM's body instead of his with some impossible surgery,make up or mask, how did the falling Sherlock look lively and shake his arms and legs while falling if he was JM's dead body.

3.JM was an intelligent mastermind who can break through any kind of security.Then why did he kill himself just for sake of the death of 3 people who have not at all harmed him or Sherlock holmes whom he could have killed with same gun in his pocket.Probably he didn't kill him because he wants to make it look like a suicide.Then he could have pushed Sherlock off the edge.

Sherlock is a chemestry genius, he could have pulled the shakespeare and used some death syrup to fake death for a couple of hours therefore fooling watson, and any other that came to collect his body... Maybe he paralized his body and Molly was the only one to know about an antidote.

I also dont think that SH would trust that many ppl to fake his death... he wanted the world to believe he was dead so the less ppl knowing it the better. Somehow he pulled it with only mollys help

I think viridis is right - he jumped, Molly organised a body to be thrown out the highest window that the truck could obscure John's view of, and Sherlock landed in the truck.

This may not be of any significance but no one seems to have remarked on how in The Hound of the Baskaville at the baskerville center it is mentioned that they are developing human clones. This coupled with the rubbish truck and the time for Sherlock to switch the bodies could explain Watson not finding a pulse as the Sherlock on the ground was actually just a dead clone.

these are all great points and I believe molly has defiantly something to do with it, for after the last scene with her in we see nothing else of her. Also something that nobody has mentioned yet, when WTSN is at the bottom of the building and hlms at the top talking on the phone hlms tells wtsn to keep looking at him while wtsn goes to look away. Weird why would hlms want wtsn to stay looking at him so intently? perhaps somthing to think about there...

how can we not know that people who were standing around sherlock ARENT ACTUALLY HOMELESS employed by him in the first place

How about the Mercury in the Chocolates given to the Children? Also, I do think this could have some connection to 'The Hounds Of Baskerville' - Sherlock throws Moriaty's body in his coat, Watson could be intoxicated by that chemical from 'The Hounds Of Baskerville'?

A couple of things, and a load of questions.

Firstly the girl screams and points, everyone thinks it's at SH but it's actually at his coat & scarf. She's seen them before but they were worn by....Anderson, the forensic guy. It's no secret he hates SH & he's the same hight & size (roughly) as SH. Did anyone notice the look Anderson gave SH when at the Police station trying to figure where the children were? SH makes a comment about the Police taking bribes & Anderson gives him a very nasty look. Anderson is working for JM. He is also having an affair with Sgt Sally Donovan, I don't think she's working with JM but Anderson is definately in a position to influence her regarding anti SH feeling & getting him arrested. Also, Anderson didn't go to the factory where the kids were found but did walk in with SH when SH went to talk to the girl.

Wild theory 2. MH is in on it. Earlier in the episode MH shows JW photos of his neighbours. The hired assassins are clearly being watched by MH people. Later when JW went back to Baker St. when he thought Mrs Hudson had been shot, he didn't recognise the workman covered in tattoos working in the house. If this workman had been on one of the photos JW would surely have recognised him. The same workman was later seen setting up a gun. Was he an assassin working for JM or MH?

And now a load of questions

1. why, when on the roof, was a big deal made of SH clasping his hands behind his back?
2. Why ask for a moment of privacy?
3. Why did SH tell JW to go back & then"Stop there"? ('though I think that one is well covered)
4. Why did SH want JW eyes fixed on him?
5. When getting the taxi at the end why does the pedestrian say to the driver ""thanks a lot"? Would you say this if some one was pinching your taxi? Were they (driver & pedestrian) also working for MH?

When John arrived at the hospital, Sherlock was sitting on the floor playing with that ball.

Well, I think that the showdown on the rooftop with Moriarty had already taken place by then.

We saw Sherlock then text Moriarty summoning him to the rooftop but I think Moriarty was dead already & that text was used to give the go-ahead for someone to phone John about Mrs Hudson being shot. The reply text was to let Sherlock know that John was on his way back to the hospital so he could take up his position on the ledge.

That would give them more time to rig something up to aid Sherlock's with his fall.

Moffat said that we were missing something important....& I think that was the 'Good Old British Weather.'

Moffat said that SH did something out the ordinary that no one picked up on. SH rang rather than text John. He always said he prefers to text. I don't know how that's relevant though.

Another theory could be, even if John had been knocked down and disorientated he may still be able to make the observation that Sherlock has no pulse, but not if Sherlock was really the dead body but having a thrilling Poker Face and gripping the Rubber ball we see him playing around with earlier if the episode that is one of my theories! :) Also cant wait till series 3! :)

Sherlock gave Jim all the clues before he threw himself off the building he told him he was a "Fake" and that it was nothing but a "magic trick", he also gave him the story about researching him prior to their meeting when we all know Sherlock got it wrong.
I believe it was out of character not to ask for help it was the fact he told Molly that "She Mattered", I also find it unusual that a man that was throwing himself to his death ( Even though we knew he was not going to die) threw his cell phone back on the roof top, had he recorded the whole thing on his cell phone????

Houds of Baskerville is the proof that fear is out of SH character.
Yes, he feared, but only due to a drug. And it was because he feared that he knew there was a drug or something. And he was even able to use his racional senses to overcome the fear effect.

I say, the rubbish truck is how he landed, molly helped him by providing him with a chemical formula that would slow his heart rate enough to fool the paramedics, and retrieve him later. As for the cyclist, it was a mere ruse to entice us, and we an accidental incident.

So, has anyone noticed the headline when Sherlock is reading the paper? "Renovations for historic hospital" or something to that effect, in reference to St Barts?

The phone conversation- Sherlock distinctively says that he is a fake. Also he says he MADE UP (make up) Moriarte.

Obviously, the first part says that it WASN'T THE REAL SHERLOCK WHO FELL. The next could be an obscure way of saying that SHERLOCK USED MAKE UP ON MORIARTE'S DEAD BODY.

Happy to hear what you think about my theory

The bouncy ball that Sherlock had: a ball that size placed under your arm will make a pulse undetectable. He takes it with him to the top of the building. What other purpose of it is there? I think we all can safely agree that Sherlock knew he would be facing the exact scenario which he did face, so why else would he have it? Ergo, if he uses it to hide a pulse, he is alive at the bottom of the building so what we need to figure out is how he survived the fall.

It is Sherlock who jumps and it is in the back of the pickup where he lands. He gets out of the truck onto the pavement. He uses a tennis ball in the arm pit to stop his pulse (Old magic trick). He would have put the blood on his face in the back of the pick up. Possible that the cyclist who knocks him over also sprays him with some of the fear gas from Baskerville. This would serve as distraction for to stop him seeing Sherlock getting out of the truck and the truck driving off. Also people are missing the fact that there is a one story building between where Sherlock supposedly lands and Where John Watson is standing. Molly would have faked the post-mortem reports. Sorry for the spoilers. That is the most likely way this would have happened. I guess we will see in the beginning of Season 2.

This might be late, but this is my theory

Neither of sherlock or moriarty are dead.

First the reasoning...

Moriarty had no real reason to kill himself. That was staged. Even Sherlock had no real reason to kill himself. He could work his way out of it, but he did not want to. Why?, he was too popular thanks to watson, and could not remain "private". Also, there would remain a constant threat to his friends if he was alive. So he killed the public figure known as Sherlock Holmes. Moriarty is a lunatic who would kill himself just to puzzle sherlock. He could work it out and get someone to kill himself for him and thats what he did.....killed a look alike (surgical it seems)

The plot of Sherlock....

Sherlock had already decided to jump off...even before he asked Moriarty to come on the roof (remember he planned the location...hospitals rooftop...and was playing with a bouncy softball). "Alone is what I have, alone protects me". He sent off watson citing Mrs. hudson is shot. He took Molly's help to get some kind of chemical to stop his heartbeat for as long as he wanted. And then Molly helped her out of that condition at that hospital.

No one but Molly would know that Sherlock is alive. He trusted only her for that.

The plot of Moriarty....

He had made himself extremely popular but not for being popular...he just wanted to make Sherlock kill himself and admit defeat. The screaming girl was the last nail in the coffin of Sherlock while there was only one way to do that....another surgical experiment to create look alike of sherlock...who Moriarty would have killed himself to reduce proof. The camera footage was necessary in 221B for the surgeon as there was almost no clear photographs anywhere else.

I don't know much, but a friend had told me this:

Remember that flower (I don't know which one) that slows down your heart rate and clots your blood?

Sherlock could have eaten it.

When Moriarty and Sherlock shake hands, Moriarty is actually feeling Sherlocks pulce. Knowing that Sherlock has won. He commits suicide.

This theory can fit into the loose bits of the 'Watson' theory.

Note: I heard this from a friend, and I'm not sure if its correct.


I think Moriarty is still alive. He forced Sherlock to have to jump and the only way to do that was to fake shoot himself. S having already anticipated this, then had to go thru the whole rigmarole of not just jumping and "dying" but playacting the tears and confessions of fraud to John, to convince the still living M that M's plan had worked..thereby also preserving his friends from M's killers. Now "dead" with molly and mycroft's help S can take time to figure how to take M finally down. What a supremely elegant plot!

I believe Moriarty is still alive. He forced Sherlock to have to jump, and the only way he could do that was to "shoot" himself. M deliberately told S that "mistated" bit about M still being able to stop shooting of S's friends cos he wanted S to figure it out and so M's shooting himself would seem logical - but that would paint S into a corner and have to jump. BUT S had figured that all out already and had prepared Molly and Mycroft to help him fake his death. That's also why S had to go thru the whole rigmarole of "crying" and confessing his "fraud" to John. That act was to convince M that S had believed M was dead and therefore had to kill and malign himself to save his friends. Now S has time to find a way to take M down finally...see Season 3!

I don't know about SH but Moriarty didn't die simply because the papers had nothing about him on them. The news could be about both of them dying as he was just as important as SH.

Well. He used bungee ropes to fall of the building ,when he was far to the ground he clipped the bungee ropes of of him ! All the people crowding around him were in on it as Molly helped him . When watson fell over by the bycle ( also Molly's trick ) Sherlock could smear blood on his face ! And the crowd would not let him take his pulse as he was still alive ( Watson didn't know that ! )

So there that's how Sherlock died but didn't .
From Amy .

You didn't mention the homeless network

OK I have a few ideas:

1) I don't think that there would be enough time to hide a mattress or a pillow of sorts, but what about a blanket type of thing, hidden in a secret compartment in the bin lorry thing, 2 corners would be attached on the inside so that it would only take 2 others to hold the corners.

2) and if my above theory is correct, then there is a chance the chalk outline could be where the edges of the blanket will be.

3) also I think part of Sherlocks plan was for Moriarty to kill himself, he couldn't risk him seeing him alive, so when Sherlock asked for privacy he might have been checking everything was ready before he tricked Moriarty into killing himself.

I can't remember any more of my theories but I was pretty sure there was more....

What about a blanket? It could be somehow attached to the truck and then hidden quickly, not to mention it would only take 2 people to use it.

Also I think that JM's death was part of the plan all along, SH wouldn't be able to
have such a flaw in his plan as having JM see him fake his death, so for that reason JM had to go, or it could be that that was SH's master plan, to have JM tricked into killing himself, because he was SH's only true rival (unless you count his brother).

Oh and the chalk on the pavement could be to show SH where the "blanket" would be.

Oh and to the people who are thinking that SH hadn't planned JM's death, think about this, we know that SH doesn't mind dead bodies, but he still flinches, I think this is because he thought of JM as a sort of "equal?" as in he saw JM as a sort of evil and twisted version of himself, because as we know, they are both regarded as very different from "normal" people. Who wouldn't flinch at the death of someone like them...

I can't be bothered typing anymore.

the ground is rubber

I am pretty certain that Sherlock jumped of the building, landed on something soft that came from that truck, and then laid down on the pavement where he made it look like he was dead with the help of Molly and all those people who 'just happened to be around'. (I think they were some of his homeless 'friends' and some medical personel who were asked to help by Molly.)
Also, I thought it was very obvious that his body was staged. When he jumped off the roof he fell horizontally. The way he fell he should have landed on the pavement with his head pointing towards the street. Yet, when Watson sees a glimpse of him he lays aligned with the street. All the other shots also show that he lays aligned with the street instead of with his head pointed towards the street.
Just wanted to share my vision :)

Here's a thought; Moriarty sponsored the cabbie in Study in Pink. The cabbie tells Sherlock that "he was warned about you". Therefore Moriarty knew about Sherlock Holmes before he appeared in the lab as Molly's date. We also see in the pilot that Mycroft tells John that he "worries about him. Constantly." This is an obvious reference to when Mycroft betrayed his little brother to Moriarty. Mycroft's concern is actually a realisation of what he has done.
Now it appears that the Holmes boys are distant and don't care about each other, but Mycroft is aware of what he has done and by a queer means is determined to right his wrongs to protect Sherlock.
Has anyone given any thought to Anthea, Mycroft's assistant? Why is she always texting while at work, is she relaying live information to another M?
What else have we learnt from the pilot? John refused to act as the go-between with the Holmes boys; Sherlock has not established a connection or even an active interest in Moriarty.
As far as Molly goes, I think that it was a happy coincidence that St. Bart's had hired a lonely pathologist who was deliriously lusting over Sherlock. Sherlock sees Molly for her usefulness when it is most convienent to himself, John, Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade even Mycroft and Moriarty.
Now for the hard bit: I.O.U a fall. What favour has Sherlock - unknowingly? - done Moriarty for Moriarty to be indebted to him? Sherlock's "Fall" has three connotations: 1. The Reichenbach Falls by Turner 2. Sherlock's media-soaked fall from grace and 3. The act of falling.

Link all these factors together, deleting the fluffy parts from the fact and that's WHY Sherlock faked his death.

Good luck Sherlock.

Very interesting theories. Maybe theres more to think about, for example the "network of homeless" of Sherlocks, which was mentioned but not seen in action..I guess that will be for example the bicycle guy but i bet theres more - such as the guy who wanted to take the cab before Wattson (and he told him hes police) - he could do something, for example use the baskerville gass already then. And for the fall theories - i think it could be simplier then we think - just look at the name of episod: The Reichenbach Falls :)

Okay, I've argued with a friend over this since it aired. The rubbish truck is important, yes but doesn't jumping into it seem a little dumb Hollywood. And mostly too obvious.

It's also bit risky and as 'Sherlock Holmes' Watson said 'Don't worry, dear. Suicide is not in his repertoire. He's far too fond of himself for that.' Faking it is one thing but actually risking his life..?

My theory is that Sherlock pushed another body off. There are two feasibilities here. 1, he pushed Moriarty off, or 2, Somebody else altogether. When Moriarty shoots himself there isn't nearly enough blood from the exit wound. Either this is a clue or they're trying to keep it more family-friendly by not showing bloody horrific death.

Watson watches on, believing the body to be Sherlock under the influence of the gas from Baskerville. The snipers couldn't see clearly who falls so they either look out for any body or they're going by John's reaction.

Watson is kept away from the site by the rubbish truck (a handy place to dump the decoy body) and the cyclist either to allow time for Sherlock to replace the fallen body (presumably not taking an elevator, maybe a ladder), or for his anxieties from the gas to build further (it takes a while for him to associate being shut away with the hound).

When Watson gets to the crowd around Sherlock he either sees Sherlock and takes his pulse which is made unreadable using a little trick with a ball (there's a good explanation of that on Tumblr if you can find it) he was seen with earlier. Or the body he believes to be Sherlock from Molly's involvement and the gas.

Molly fakes some records and the whole world is none the wiser.

I know it's filled with options but I tried to link my explanations together as that's Feel free to point out the flaws or suggest more alternate routes.

About 90 minutes into the 6th episode, SH says 'there's only one thing he needs to do to complete his game and that's to...' And in the very next scene he's asking Molly for her help.

The little elements that are missing are that Molly will have access to all the morgues in and around town, and Moriarty wouldn't leave a loose end like a SH doppelgänger around to upset his plans... So SH sets Molly off to find his doppelgänger in a morgue somewhere and that's where the body on the pavement comes from, looks like SH, and has no pulse... The rest is accounted for in the theories above... The plants,the crowd working for SH, the boy on the bike, the 'getaway' truck leaving the scene with the real SH...

My 2 cents.


There is a magic trick where you can stop your pulse that would fall even a well-trained doctor like Watson (even if he was in perfect condition) this trick would've worked in this situation to make it appear Sherlock had no pulse!!

You haven't got the 7th one? Sherlock was playing with a squash ball earlier in the lab, and that could be used to trick John.

ive had the same ideas going through my head too n they all seem reasonable n i do think he used the garbage truck to survive but as he did with miss adler, he could have had a body made to look identical to him and had one of his homeless accomplises in the back of the truck and another driving, ready to push the body out as the real sherlock landed in the truck (this would have had to have been timed perfectly so people around who weren't paying attention wouldn't notice the switch and so put 2 and 2 together to say he just fell. The biker was there to disorientate john because at close examination he may have noticed the body had been dead for sometime or that it didnt look enough like sherlock to fool him properly, given the short time sherlock and molly had to prepare,Sherlock would have wanted john to stand behind the buildings so he didnt see him fall into the truck (as john was the only one to know Sherlock was going to jump) and when the body was braught in, molly would have done the autopsy so signed it off as sherlock.
Finally the sniper may not have noticed the switch either because of his angle to the top of the truck so it might have looked as though Sherlock fell behind it rather than into it or the sniper seeing Sherlock jump, instantly averted his attention to John.

that's about the best theory i can figure and it seems more elegant and slightly more complex than everyone in the immediate vicinity was part of the homeless network and was in on it except john.

If the killers can aim at watson ,why can't they see sherlock faking his death?They must be at the top of some building which is evident from one of the scenes!

How is it possible that the assassin who was called to kill john didn't witness Sherlock faking his suicide?He was shown in one of the top floors of a building assembling his sniper rifle! So from that height he should have been able to see it!Or if not him there should have been some sidekick of moriarty who could have witnessed sherlock's faked suicide!

Read the original books and there may be clues in there!
In 'THE FINAL PROBLEM', Holmes knows that Sebastian Moran, Moriarty's right hand man is with Moriarty in Switzerland. Moran shoots at Holmes AFTER Moriarty dies.
The gun men in SHERLOCK are all set to kill if Sherlock doesn't die.
The fake death is ALL about flushing out Sebastian Moran.
However, in Sherlock they have taken Conan Doyle's writing and truned it upside down in some cases!
Mycroft has ALWAYS been in on the scheme. In THE FINAL PROBLEM it is ONLY Mycroft who knows Sherlock is still alive!
I don't profess to have a theory as to how Sherlock faked his death. But i will note a few things. His shoes are "high wire" type shoes. You get a clear shot of them when he is sitting on the floor bouncing the ball. They are NOT his normal shoes!
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Moriarty was in fact Sebastian Moran, and that the real Moriarty, a master mind who never gets his hands dirty, has NEVER been seen, but is orchestrating everything! Mark Gatiss can and does turn loads of Sherlock stories on their heads!
Also, Mycroft filled a plane with all those corpses, so it's no stretch to imagine that he could have used one of them to put in Sherlock's place. Remember, in those moments in The Reichenbach Fall, it is ALL from Watson's point of view. If he sees Sherlock fall he will automatically assume that it's Sherlock lying dead on the ground! The blood, Sherlock's hair conceal a lot of his face, and John is disoriented remember. Also, with Derren Brown involved i think it's safe to assume that hypnotic suggestion is involved. Derren Brown's character was probably the taxi driver who took John to the hospital, all the while softening John's mind for the next few moments!

one last idea about how Sherlock faked his death, "If anyone out there is
still interested," to misquote John. Sitting in the garden, drinking tea
and mulling it over, I suddenly thought about the fact that the little girl had
screamed as though she had recognised Sherlock and set the whole suspicion
rolling - what if she HAD seen Sherlock, or a very good look-alike acquired by
Moriarty? I can imagine Moriarty being able to persuade some poor, out-of-work
actor to have a bit of plastic surgery to look like a celebrity detective! He
might even have kept him as his live-in ordinary person! Moriarty could have
persuaded his pet look-alike to do the kidnapping, or to oversee it in the
disused sweet factory. Having achieved his aim of making the children likely to
identify Sherlock as their kidnapper, Moriarty would then be likely to wrap up
the loose end of his look-alike by killing him off. Moriarty has now really set
up Sherlock for the kidnapping, which explains the IOU on the windows and the
film in the cab. If Sherlock realised this, especially after discovering
Moriarty pretending Sherlock had employed HIM as an out-of-work actor
(repeating his modus operandi again, as he did with the botulinum poisonings)
Sherlock might have found the stooge's body and persuaded Molly to keep it in
the morgue at Barts, in cold storage. Sherlock would then be ready to text
Moriarty to meet him on the roof, particularly once John was called away to
look after the supposedly dying Mrs Hudson, probably by Moriarty if following
the original story.

thing that has caused a lot of argument in our house was the single ring of a
telephone, as John hit the ground after the cyclist hit him. I'm sure it was a
telephone ring but nobody else in the family was! Following on from Molly's
putting the body in cold storage, that single ring, maybe from the telephone
box on the corner, may have been to alert her to push the body out of a window
to land on the pavement where Sherlock should have fallen (Sherlock did chuck
away his mobile too, when he jumped – why?), which would explain how we saw the
body actually hit the pavement with some force. Fresh blood over the hair and
face would not have been difficult to acquire in a hospital, surely? In the
meantime, Sherlock disappears in the mysterious lorry and John staggers over to
feel the lack of pulse in the Sherlock look-alike's wrist. He is in shock, he
is hassled away by the Bart's staff and the body is whisked back into the
hospital. There is now a body to be identified too and Sherlock could have left
blood, hair or some other DNA evidence for Molly to use as further proof that
it was him, for the death certificate, or whatever.

I can't figure out exactly what, but I believe the clue is in the rooftop scene, where Sherlock says "don't think I'm one of them" and looks straight in Moriarty's eyes, and the sunlight blinds JM for a second, and then he looks like something CLICKED in him, like he realized he had been played...

that perhaps SH on the rooftop wasn't the real SH at all? Perhaps one of JM's gunmen in disguise? Moriarty does say "you're me"...that might refer to the fact that he MIGHT AS WELL faked SH for the little girl who then, seeing later in the hospital the real SH screamed because she saw the same face (mask, whatever).

I know this might be a stretch, but I just can't help feeling that eye contact JM and SH have on the rooftop, the blinding light, the somehow out-of-character behavior on SH's part is somehow the key to the whole thing...JM then there realizes he was being played, however, he kills himself believing that this way, SH will at least lose his friends.

The fake death pill is a potassium cyanide capsule that makes the
taker of the pill act as if they are dead. This is used if the person
needs to act dead to avoid being killed by the enemy. The revival pill
is used to counteract the effects of the fake death pill. If the pill
is used for too long then it will cause actual death to the user. It
also cannot fake drownings. The revival pill is located in the tooth of
the user. It was developed by the CIA's technological division for its
field agents circa 1964.[1]
and essentially uses the same chemical pheronomes as real life animals
(i.e., ladybugs, cicada, opossums, etc.) and applies it to spy missions.

I think that it was out of character for Sherlock to hold Moriarty by his collar and threaten him at the rooftop! It was like he didn't have any ideas and had to charge at him physically, which Sherlock never does!

I think that the rubbish truck theory is too obvious to happen, although it is a good theory!

At the rooftop when Moriarty tells about 3 bullets to 3 victims, why doesn't Sherlock name Molly? Even Moriarty knows that Molly is a friend of Sherlock! So how Sherlock could have possibly known the victims chosen by Moriarty???????????

Has anyone remembered, in the episode with The Woman, Mycroft said: 'It would take SH to fool me..' So he has faked a death before..

Molly + "You are me" = case solved

Great theories, but just to comment on the last one, Watson might not have caught a pulse because Sherlock could have been using the squash ball trick. If you hold a squash ball under your armpit tightly, then it can briefly stop the blood flow in your arms, which meant Watson wasn't able to catch a pulse. We also see Sherlock playing with a squash ball when Watson gets the call that Ms Hudson has had a heart attack.

Sherlock could have easily stopped his own pulse in that outstretched arm using the ball he was bouncing earlier on in the episode in the hospital. By placing the ball in his armpit and squeezing his pulse on that wrist would have stopped dead. A trick still used by magicians today.

Uhm...sorry for my english first of all...by the way I'd like to share my thoughts are

Jim Moriarty is dead, no doubt on it, you cannot fake a bullet in your brain, especially if you have Sherlock Holmes in front of you.

But...what If he's not Jim Moriarty, what if, in the end, he's just Richard Brook..?
Think about it, Moriarty should be a criminal mastermind, but certainly not a psychopath. Then he's a professor, and during the trial no one pointed that out!and it's one of the things that press loves!

And we know something that change evrything, all the things that you are saying..there was not a key-code!...he could not change his life..!.the only answer is..he's an actor., hired by the real professor Moriarty.

In several shots there is clearly a low building about the size of a double garage in front of the hospital. Sherlock repeatedly ask John to stay on the other side of the street so the building is between John and the point where Sherlock will land. I assume some associate(s), e.g. Molly, are in the building and rush out with whatever Sherlock is going to land on when the street is empty. (He looks down several times but only jumps when the coast is clear). The cyclist then prevents John from getting to Sherlock while the giant mattress or whatever is removed back into the small building and Sherlock is daubed with blood and brain spatter (doubtless also provided by the devoted Molly).

Why can't we just all agree to the fact that Sherlock is Jesus and returned from the death. That'd be a lot easier.

Oh, by the way. The first thing I thought of when Sherlock said he needed Molly, was that Sherlock was still a virgin and that he needed...er.. dinner. But that's probably not right.

These theories are great anyway. Got a lot more to think about now :')

You can slow/stop your pulse by pressing on a rubber ball under your armpits. Proved. I don't doubt the writers will use this as the explanation why Watson didn't feel a pulse: when have we ever seen SH with a rubber ball before? he had it after he talked to molly, hence it's part of the plan. I'm 100% sure.

Apparently if you put a rubber ball under your arm, it tops the pulse in your wrist. Also, Sherlock was seen bouncing a rubber ball, berfore putting it in his pocket.

I think that too. Because then Watson is fooled with the rubber ball trick and the homeless people play along

How did JW know where SH and JM were ?

If Sherlock pushed the body off, then why was the body moving and flailing his arms about in the air in a way that would be impossible for a dead body????????? Also, I think the gas is just quite weird........ What if there were other passerbys who were told it was Sherlock, knew what he looked like, hadn't been gassed and then saw that it wasn't him????????????????? They would have to release the gas everwhere - which would be EXTREMELY dangerous because drivers would get confused and BANG. A few real deaths as they crash. And would they have had enough time to get all gassed up and ready to spray it into the air??????? Good theories, but I don't think that they used gas or SH threw a dead body over. Also, if he did, then the gun men could have realised and shot. And also, people would hear that 'Sherlock Holmes had fallen out of a window' and then Sherlock would have to stroll through the hospital to get out. And therefore be seen.

Why not into the truck? Maybe it's too obvious but then in your theory he risked the fall and didn't even lie there? Why didn't he die when he jumped if he didn't go in the truck? Glad you abandoned it. It makes NO SENSE whatsoever!

Maybe they're from the homeless network and are pretending

I reckon, one, the hung dummy at the start of Reichenback Fall has something to do with it, and after re-watching Hounds of Baskerville, Sherlocks eye lighten up when hearing that the Baskerville lab is making clones, any thoughts? :)

Hents my theory about using a clone mentioned in Hounds of Baskerville :D

When you watch the part where John takes Sherlock's pulse, the hand was pale white like a cadaver that has been to the morgue. Bodies to pale that quick. The body is a lookalike of sherlock and must have had it's face smashed to prevent easy identification, very similar to how irene adler escaped with her "corpse" that had its face smashed beyond recognition as well. fingerprints and dental records can be lied about thanks to molly who works at the morgue. sherlock must've jumped into the truck and flipped out his double

In the first movie of Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes, it is shown that Dr. Watson did declared Lord Blackwood dead after checking his pulse because Blackwood had taken a drug which had made his pulse extremely slow and thus hard to be detected. So considering the condition of Dr. Watson when he checked the pulse of Holmes and believing that Holmes might have taken such similar drug then it does explains the reason that why Dr. Watson thought him dead even after checking his pulse.

Interesting theories but can't jump on conclusion

This is my theory upon Sherlock's false death.

First off, John Watson is forced to stay in a certain position by Sherlock himself. The cyclist (probably part of the "homeless network") bumps into him purposly and causes him to fall, making him unable to see the true evidence of his final death. Also, it seems that Watson does not see Sherlock landing onto the floor, causing his so called "Death" because of the edge of the wall, blocking his view from the street floor.

While Watson is unable to exactly see Sherlock falling onto the pavement,Sherlock falls into the rubbish bin and finds a source of false blood or uses blood bags provided by Molly. Now he uses an old magic trick using the rubber ball (stated theory below) to stop his pulse on the wrist, which Watson checks. ( I thought of this before reading the comments ehehehe)

Molly comes in when Sherlock's body is replaced and there are false papers confirming that he is dead. A false body is placed into the grave.

It's practically impossible to send a dummy or even a clone off of that building because it is evident that the body is definitely his. There are only a few possiblities in which could have happened. However, what I don't understand is why Sherlock is crying when he is saying his last words to Watson, clearly being aware that he won't die from this jump. Maybe it's to convince Watson to believe his lie about false identity, but I don't think he could see tears from that distance...
And why would he want to convince John that he is false in the first place? Anyways, this is my theory upon his epic escape from death! :D

In response to number 18 I thought I'd point out that Sherlock did jump off a hospital.

Guys think about this: watson, when talking to sherlock's grave, said something about stop playing dead, and the scene where it shows watson checking sherlock's pulse was too focused on. I mean, I think Watson after checking sherlock's pulse noticed that he wasn't dead, if you notice, after that he straights up and let it go, and then the grave talking. Watson know Sherlock isn't dead, he is just waiting for him to come back.

Wow, you really cover everything dont you!

that was an advert, 'hols from £9.50' meaning that you can go on holiday for that amount of money if you collect some coupons or something


1) when Sherlock fell he fell spread-eagle and we can see the "impact" on his legs, but later on when John saw him Sherlock's arms were rolled as if he was turned.

2)If he fell from the building his legs should've been facing the building and his head towards the road, but instead his body was turned parallel to the building.

3) he made sure that john was unable to see where he would land and told John to keep looking at Sherlock, John can't see the truck either because it was blocked by the building

4) so many people suddenly arrived, there was barely anyone there when Sherlock looked down and jumped, also when he landed the benches next to the building were completely empty

5) The marks on the ground near where he landed do seem very suspicious

6) When John tried to check Sherlock's pulse another woman kept on holding his hand and telling him to let go, so he wasn't really able to check Sherlock's pulse well

7) Season 1 Episode 3, he mentioned the "Homeless Network" and says they were his "Eyes and ears throughout the city" , maybe he used their help?

Thats what I've gotten so far by watching the video..

I strongly feel that Irene Adler also has something do with the fake death of Sherlock, she may be the master mind in planning his fake death

There are a lot of thing's I don't agree with there. But then again, it's a very controversial topic. I'll just point out one obvious thing, though. That obvious thing would be 18. The medical team got there in a hurry because Sherlock jumped off of a hospital. He was right outside of the hospital, literally. You do make a lot of valid points, though. Good job....

Sherlock was playing with a ball earlier in the episode, bouncing it off the wall. If you correctly position a rubber ball under your armpit, you can make your pulse extremely faint and virtually non-detectable by your wrist. That's my explanation for that part anyway... ^_^"

Has it got anything to do with IOU?

For 11, I don't think that the crying was an act. Watson is perhaps the one person that Sherlock truly cares about, and I think that even though Sherlock appears cold and emotionless at times, the thought of hurting his friend must be difficult. He is trying to make the one person that truly believes he is good believe that he is a fraud and a villain. Beyond that, he must know that his "suicide" will cause his friend huge pain. So, I don't believe that his tears are part of any elaborate plot.

This is probably one of the more far-fetched theories, but is it possible that between the time Moriarty shot himself and SH jumped off the building that a SH look-alike was able to reach the scene? So, JM shoots himself, no witnesses on the roof, and the sniper who was watching Watson, did not have his sniper set up yet so he could not have been watching SH attentively while putting together his weapon. So, SH walks to the other side of the building, and makes a phone call to Watson. At this time, Watson has arrived to the hospital and while on the phone he sees SH on the ledge of the roof. However, as alluded to earlier in the episode, someone that looks like SH was used by Moriarty to scare the kidnapped children. So SH finds his doppelganger, who we can corroborate was an actor (Moriarty met fake SH while making his alibi up for Richard Brooks) and then SH gets him to stand on the ledge and hold a phone to his head. SH meanwhile makes his way down to street and somehow into the rubbish truck, we can assume all the people on the ground are in on SH's plan. Here is where it gets tricky, SH finishes the phone call with Watson and SH sends a text to false SH who then takes Moriarty's body, perhaps now clad in one of SH's favored pea coats and flings him off the building. Then, the people on the ground remove JM's body, and SH lies down in a pool of blood. Watson is then hit by the cyclist, and disoriented, during this time, Molly who SH asked for help earlier, could have been part of the floor-crew and administered a drug that would mimic death and stop a pulse. This would be possible seeing as she has access to such chemicals. And voila. I think.

I have an idea about the screaming child. In moriarty's fake identity Richard bark or something like that he was a child's story teller i think that the identity is not in fact faked Sherlock would have seen through it completely meaning that it must be real. obviously Moriarty always used a portrayal of Sherlock as the villain in his stories and the child watched those episodes so then immediately linked Sherlock with being evil and after a traumatic experience like the one she had she wouldn't think it to be coincidence that Sherlock looks so much like the villain and immediately assumes that he is causing her to become scared and scream.

I have a weird theory involving a cat. when a cat is in a large fall such as terminal velocity it can survive spreading out its arms and legs and at the last moment pulling them in to slow the fall and land on their feet the will of course break their jaw explaining Sherlock's head injury so maybe he just acted like a cat, his coat would be sufficient to slow down the fall by a little.

He was seen playing with abouncy ball/tennis ball (don't remember which) in the labs. If you were to place an object under your armpit you would then be able to top the pulse from being detected.

The rubbish truck is disappears on the frame where Watson is hit by the cyclist and reappears 2 sec later on the birds-eye view frame. Editing mistake? Or are the scenes not in sequence?

I understand that these are possible theories of Sherlock faking the suicide. But what bothers me the most is that how he would have known about the need to fake his suicide. Apparently, he has to commit suicide to save his friends from the assassins, and this he learns only after he confronts Moriaty on the rooftop. But all of these elaborate arrangements for the fake suicide must have been done well in advance. So does that not mean that Sherlock must have known about the need to commit a fake suicide even before that meeting with Moriaty? So he knew that Moriaty was targeting his friends and he would impose the condition of killing himself to protect his friends? Could Sherlock have been that far ahead of Moriaty's plans? That is what bothers me the most. Are any of you bothered by this too? Any explanations?

How he managed to stop his pulse is pretty obvious indeed. The fifth element in the footprint was vegetation, which Sherlock shouts out to be Rhododendron ponticum. When taken in sufficient doses it can stop the pulse or make it too faint because of hypotension, like Mark Strong did in the Sherlock Holmes the movie.

Sherlock jumped into the bin truck, and someone threw moriarty's body soon after.
John saw a body but he was drugged in the cab ride or by the biker as he got hit therefore his fear of sherlock being dead stimulated his senses making him see what he does not want to. Molly's role in this could be that she threw moriarty's body to the ground or after the body was recovered at the scene, she verified the body to be sherlock and erasing further evidence of him.

Just deducing the facts and possibilities

Did anyone else notice that right before John is knocked over the truck is stationary, and as he's falling to the ground it takes off. When we see the overhead view from the top of the building, the truck is taking off AGAIN.

I think that 'The Woman' had something to do with it. Sherlock saved her life so she owed him a favour and also at the end of the episode 'A Scandal in Belgravia' when he has the camera phone he goes to put in in a drawer and then takes it out again and that is the end so some thing definitely pops into his head to do with her. By this point he knew who Moriarti was and that 'The Woman' did too so there's a chance that 'The Woman' warned him of what was going to happen (after all she did love him and they had that time after she was saved from the terrorists to talk in privacy. Also Sherlock could have contacted her after we see him at the end of that episode looking at her phone). Also 'The Woman' had previously faked her own death and Sherlock fell for it even though he saw a body and identified it as hers and as dead so she has some experience in that department. Also who's to say she didn't use her methods to blackmail more people to help Sherlock or use any information she already had. On top of all of this everyone thinks she's dead so nobody is watching her and she is free to do practically anything she wants. I don't know the specifics of how they could have planned this fake death together or how it was done but my theory is that she was definitely involved.

I was watching the episode 'A Scandal in Belgravia' and noticed about half an hour in he's reading a paper and on the side we can see it says 'Refit for Historical Hospital' and is a story about a hospital being refurbished or something. I was thinking if it was the same hospital that he jumped from and he knew about it that far back then he could have interfered at this point in the hospital to set up the system that saves his life... bit of a long shot I know but I thought it a little too coincidental. Just a theory

In a top gear episode benedict cumberbatch is the guest and he tell that: mycroft is in the helicopter dressed as a women with some kind of pill. Perhaps this could have something to do with it.


Been reading the Metal Gear Wiki? Nb - not a real Wikipedia.

I'm replying to this 2 years later because of how amazingly prescient this comment was. Whether or not your secret theory of the solution is right, the new trailer for the season premiere is almost a direct quote of your comment -- when John says "I don't care HOW you did it, I want to know WHY."

I think we missed something with the IOU thing. I think IOU are initials, or a reference to someone or something. On the roof Moriarty says "Did you almost start to wonder if I was real? Did I nearly get U?" I don't think that meant "Did I, Jim, nearly get U, Sherlock". When Sherlock said to molly "I need You" i think that was "I need U". He worked out who or what I, O and U are.The thing that is out of character is Sherlock never asks for help, as he is so arrogant and cock sure of his abilities. So U is something Molly can get for him?

Also, someone a few comments up wrote 'it's going to kill me to have to wait sometime in 2013 to watch season 3 ha haha hA HAHAHAHAHH AHAHA O.O

You see, but you do not observe! It does make sense, you just have to look harder. I have made some small theories, they may not be right but it's my opinion.

Sherlock Clue.........

*Could have jumped on top of a truck or bus then fell to ground, John getting knocked over by cyclist, just enough time to put fake blood on, lower pulse and surrounded by the "homeless network" so nobody could see until John came and took his pulse.

*Got into the bus?

*Surrounded by the homeless network and could have went back into 221b and put a clone of himself (he asked about human cloning in the hounds of baskerville) and so fourth.

*Cyclist comes out of nowhere suddenly to slow John down, Yet the man just goes past after seeing Sherlock lying on the ground with people around being suspected 'Dead'.

*The truck suddenly drives off, But why would they not get out to check what all the commotion is about behind?

*How did 2 nurses come out of nowhere within very few minutes?

* Sherlock said to John over the phone that he was a fake, but he might not have meant that he was a fake, maybe a fake such as a "Dummie" or clone, when he asked about human cloning in the hounds of Baskerville. - Is this the clue??

*Anderson- Enough said! For those whom are stupid, The man with the beard in the Sherlock fan club, was ANDERSON! Why was Anderson in a Sherlock fan club? In a study in pink, It shows how much Anderson hates Sherlock and Sherlock the same. He could have helped with the forensics and fingerprints and so on.

I know that it is not much and may not be correct, But it is my opinion on what happened. If you have any related theories I would love to hear them:3

Love Patsy x

No one seems to have commented on the timing difference. I really struggle to believe the post edit left it there on purpose. When Watson is hit by the bike, the background shows people already around the body and the cart driving away. When the camera then goes back to plan view the cart is driving away and people are only just arriving. To me this looks like a duplicate scene entirely. I have the feeling it is a whole lot more elaborate than everyone is guessing so far.

You are missing one thing every time. The chalked in square is actually there at st Bart's. Look on google street maps. Also, you look at the sniper who's after JW, you can briefly see a cord or wire. I also looked at SH as he fell. He moves his hands around his hair, nose and face, which could be smearing fake blood, or putting blood capsules or something similar so it looks like he's bleeding. I know it kind if makes sense that SH would throw JM off the building wearing SH's coat, but SH is much taller than JM, so it doesn't really make sense. In an interview, Stephan Moffat said we were all missing a vital clue, something different in SH's behavior. I think it's when SH is talking to JM, and he sort of sings, " I've got you. " I could be wrong, but I don't think SH would normally do that. If you zoom in on the ground when SH is looking down, you can see someone in front of a bench with some large bags or a person, which I think could be a body double, on the bench. Also look at how SH falls, if he had actually landed, he would have been spread eagled, not lying on his side, which makes me think a fake body was rolled onto where SH " landed ". Possibly from a bench. I think SH landed on the truck, but from all the evidence I've looked at, I think that could be wrong. The biker and the big trash truck thing have to be huge in the whole scheme. They both just kept on going after SH " died " if they hadn't been in on it, they would've stopped and ran over, not keep in going, which makes me think the truck was an escape vehicle, and the biker was hired to slow JW down, giving SH a few extra seconds to escape and his helpers, ( pretty much everyone at the scene ) to finish up the scene. There's my crackpot theory, feel free to discredit everything I saying or elaborate on it.

Perhaps Molly cooked up a solution that Sherlock would have taken to slow down his vitals to appear dead. Maybe that is part of her involvement.

In a previous episode Sherlock is reading a newspaper with a headline about building work at a London hospital...................relevant?

Well, "Did you miss me?"

Did you/?

Sponsored Links