...Well, that's just depressing...
Yes, the time has come at long last to review the second season finale of Sherlock, "The Reichenbach Fall". Certainly the biggest downer of the series, known for causing uncontrolled sobbing in the fandom, frustration for not being able to figure out how the heck Sherlock pulled off what he did, and the possible amusement and feeling of victory for the creators and writers. Let's go in, shall we?
And since this is one I can't really discuss without spoiling anything:
|I got a new gif to use. (Strangely works for the episode, doesn't it, Whovians/Wholockians?)|
(Oh, and FYI, I may have a "semi-graphic" picture (it has blood), just... be forewarned, and don't say I didn't tell you)
Sherlock's fame has reached an all-time high. He's been dubbed a "hero", the press has nicknamed him and John (much to their chagrin), and the media seems to love him (which worries John, since he knows they can turn at any moment). But Moriarty's baaaaack, having committed the crime of the century, and manages to get deemed "not guilty". And that's certainly not the final problem Sherlock faces. Deception, depression, and a tragic cliffhanger ensue.
Surprisingly, Steve Thompson wrote this... and it was good. Though, I don't know how much say Moffat and Gatiss had in the episode, or how much the other writers have in the other guy's episodes in general. Who knows, some of the things I thought were terrible in the other episodes could have been the other guy's ideas (Gatiss could've suggested the "John mistaken for Sherlock" thing to Thompson, Thompson could have suggested the terrorists at the end of "Belgravia" to Moffat, Moffat could've told Gatiss Moriarty needs to be 7% more camp, etc.), I have no idea what it's like when they're writing. But, I'll give Thompson the benefit of the doubt. He made the episode work, and it's leaps and bounds better than his contribution last season.
Moriarty here was absolutely magnificent. At his best. Like I said in my "The Great Game" review, I think he toned down this episode. He still does some weird things with his voice (*high-pitched* "Pleeeeeeeeeeease?"). But overall, I think Scott reined it in this time. The whole plan he had was awesome and pretty well-crafted. He ruins Sherlock's credibility and forces him into doing something... drastic. And you got to give him props for having a roughly more than three-month long plan, and almost everything to go off without a hitch. He was absolutely a chessmaster/puppetmaster here. And I loved it. He certainly went out with a bang (in more ways than one...)
Martin Freeman as John was top-notch as far as acting goes this episode. He gave a fantastic performance. This kind of shows why the man has a BAFTA for his role on the show. And, again, shows why they should have sent the whole season to the Emmys instead of one freaking episode. The whole time, you know John is trying to keep Sherlock's best interests in mind, and wants to protect him.
I also loved Molly's character, here. True, I already adored the character, but she was great here. First of all, she's come a long way from the girl we met in "A Study in Pink". And, of course, she wants to help Sherlock. She knows something's wrong with him, and he's hiding it, and she wants to help him sort it out. And you can tell Sherlock's come a long way, too. He's gone from callous and thoughtless when it comes to her, to telling her she's "always counted", and relying on her to... well, we still don't know what he needed her to do, which is one of the many reasons we need the third season to come out.
And now, the big thing I need to discuss: the "death" of Cumberlock. Oh, sweet mercy, the death of Cumberlock. On the roof of St. Bart's, Moriarty threatens to have John, Mrs. Hudson, and Lestrade all killed unless Sherlock jumps from the building, and kills himself so Sherlock can't force him to call off the assassins. Sherlock then has a heartbreaking phone call with John down bellow. He even lies and tells John to tell everyone he really is a fake. Then, he jumps off the building...
|I'm trying to make the fandom laugh a little more and handle the feels...|
|...It's a coping mechanism...|
...Or, not quite. We see him alive at the end. He somehow managed to survive. But we saw him fall. We saw the body. There are multiple theories floating around the Internet, and, of course, the two creators barely help with their clues. The frustration with the lack of season three continues.
The whole last act is rough, and left me wanting to hug every regular character (except Molly, because she's no doubt in on Sherlock's survival and probably fairly fine). First of all, we have Mycroft Holmes. Mycroft was forced to give Moriarty details on Sherlock when he was interrogating him (sorry I'm terrible at explaining everything, just watch the episode if you haven't already). Moriarty then used that to mix with his lie when he tricked the press into thinking Sherlock was a fraud. I feel bad for him. Especially since I don't think Sherlock ever got his apology. And, unlike the version aired on PBS, we get to see him read the paper with the news of Sherlock's death. It made it kind of worse. Fighting or not, selling him out in a human moment of weakness or not, he loved Sherlock.
Then there's Lestrade. He had to arrest Sherlock (who is no doubt considered his friend by now) when they (Anderson and Donovan, mostly) suspected he might've been manufacturing the crimes he solved. I think he still believed (or wanted to believe) in Sherlock. And he wanted to sort this all out correctly. He even warns Sherlock they're coming to arrest him. But then Sherlock ran off with John before anything could be sorted out. The last time he see him alive is Sherlock handcuffed to John and pointing a gun! We never see how he reacted, which is good and bad to me. Bad, because I'm curious to see what his reaction was. Good, because I think if they added his reaction, I would have probably lost it.
Mrs. Hudson's was sad too, I mean, he was like a son to her, it seemed. The last time she saw him was being arrested.
And, of course, there was John. Dear me, John. His whole monologue in the cemetery to Sherlock's tombstone was so sad. Again, thanks in part to Martin's performance. The two were so close! And there's the whole "seeing your friend suddenly die" thing, and... and his life seemed to be so sad before the two met. And... GAH!
Now, before I go to last minute thoughts, I think I should mention my reaction. I thought this was so sad. I didn't cry or suffer an emotional breakdown like some fangirls say (and I've seen...sorta). But I don't cry that much with entertainment. But, I will say this: I almost did. I had a lump in my throat, my eyes were watery, and I felt numb this re-watch. And I can only think of three other times I remember I've nearly cried over some movie/show I've seen (E.T., "The Parting of Ways" episode of Doctor Who, and The Avengers (though the latter was more happy tears)). That is an accomplishment enough.
Okay, last minute thoughts:
- I'm just going to say it now: I think the creator's "Sherlock behaving out of character" clue is him asking for Anderson's help in the kidnapping case...
- Besides the fact the episode is a reinterpretation of "The Final Problem" (as Moriarty constantly reminds us), the canon nods I caught are one of Sherlock's deductions about the reporter, a hanging"suicide" that's not a suicide that Sherlock solves, the abduction of children from a school, and The Diogenes Club. And, as a bonus, one of the men in the Diogenes Club is an actor who's previously played Sherlock Holmes in the 1960's!
- My favorite scenes were most of the ones involving Moriarty, the Molly scenes, and the entire last third of the episode.
- I really liked the song "Sinnerman" from the "preparing for Moriarty's trial" scene.
Anyway, I've waited this long, right?