Most people, if you describe a train of events to them, will tell you what the result would be. They can put those events together in their minds, and argue from them that something will come to pass. There are few people, however, who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backwards, or analytically.

– A Study in Scarlet

We had formed no theories. We were simply there to observe and to draw inferences from our observations.

The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

The rapture of the Sherlock fans is almost complete, as the next season of the superbly-read and written BBC Sherlock Holmes adaptation, er, Sherlock draws near, albeit slowly. Excitement mounts, like a gigantic unruly hound. Den of Geek provided a splendid overview, the coals of which Buzzfeed raked over recently.

Of course, it is not just about the fansites but the fanboys writing it. Gatiss, Moffat & c are clearly steeped in the lore of Sherlockiana. One finds continuous little allusions, nods and winks, nudges. In the closing episode, The Reichenbach Fall, reworking the Final Problem, they set a body of intrigue in orbit.

How did it happen? Part of me feels this is a bit of a blind. We’re all eagerly discussing the ways in which he faked his death, ignoring the annoying fact that we know he didn’t die. It gets in the way of me enjoying finding out how he didn’t die, to an extent. Just to be clear, I’ve been an avid Sherlock fan since I was about nine, so I had a good idea Sherlock wasn’t going to die. Yet for me, knowing that he didn’t die before the episode even finished was kind of a total massive disappointment.

It was a terrible ending, and in fact I have hated it more every time I’ve watched it since. There is no great mystery how it has become a total massive talking point. It is deuced clever to make the focus of the suspense finding out how this apparently impossible trick was accomplished by Sherlock. I just think it could have been even better if somehow there had been a further fictitious suspension of the canonical knowledge that Sherlock survived, rather than playing so blatantly with the audience complicity. It felt a bit of a coddling. Was it like we would have not watched it again if we hadn’t known?

It’s complex. All I can say is that on some deep emotional level, that movement of the camera to reveal Sherlock there in the graveyard elicits naught but a groan of displeasure from me.

Themes of audience involvement, and stretches/inversions of original texts, though, are to be expected, though, and even welcomed. It is a series characterised by leaning heavily on contemporary technology, and the blogotwit publicity and so on is simply an updating and extension of the “You brute!” audience involvement that swayed ACD to revive the moribund sleuth originally. Yes, the modernisation of Sherlock – and society – gives me little techie Sherlockophile shivers of pleasure.

The more one considers it, the more fiendish the shift in emphasis is. In fact, I am a seething knot of jealousy because it works so well. Ultimately more focus on the characters, while seemingly empowering the audience it in fact dangles them further out on the wires between Sherlock’s connivances and Watson’s obliviousness and grief, his alienation and isolation stretched for dramatic effect… Damn you, Moffat, Gatiss et al!

Still groaning, though.

That’s my 2d of pop critique. Back to the fannish clamour. The point is, then, now, of course, yes, how the devil was it done?


I think I tend towards some method of ‘controlled falling’ into the garbage truck, with a bunch of accomplices who helped Sherlock fakie it up. Squash ball techniques combi. Canonistas must point to the significance of the ledge (further supported by the original angles of Gintara on tumblr) …and what of the apparent dead Sherlock on the pavement? How might the tec have fooled his closest comrade? Let us look again to the Empty House:

“The credit of the execution is due to Monsieur Oscar Meunier, of Grenoble, who spent some days in doing the moulding. It is a bust in wax. The rest I arranged myself during my visit to Baker Street this afternoon.”
“But why?”
“Because, my dear Watson, I had the strongest possible reason for wishing certain people to think that I was there when I was really elsewhere.”

Perhaps. Anyway, that’s enough reasoning backwards for this evening. Dear BBC, you can broadcast the next series any time you like now pleasehurryupthankyou.