Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall
I am finally back from my brief respite (during which I celebrated my niece’s first birthday!), and have at last been able to catch up on my telly–and indulge my Sherlock Holmes obsession with the latest (and last) episode of series 2 of BBC’s hit television show Sherlock.
This week’s episode, written by Steve Thompson and entitled The Reichenbach Fall, saw London’s only consulting detective take on “The Final Problem” in this snazzy retelling of the Doyle original.
James Moriarty possesses the greatest criminal mind that the world has ever seen. Sherlock and John knew he wouldn’t stay hidden for long. But even they never guessed the sheer scale and audacity of the crime that would propel Moriarty back into the headlines. The crime of the century. The Tower of London, the Bank of England and Pentonville prison – all sprung open on the same day, as if by magic! But Moriarty’s plans don’t stop there…
Sherlock and John lock horns with their old enemy in one final problem that tests loyalty and courage to their very limits. Sherlock must fight for his reputation, his sanity and his life. But is he all he claims to be?
If I have on complaint about some of the older adaptions of the Holmes canon, it is that Moriarty never felt particularly menacing. Granted, he appears in only two stories penned by Doyle, but to the popular imagination he is one of the, if not the, greatest criminal mastermind of all time. He should feel imposing. Threatening. But, sadly, most of the time he is not.
I have no such complaint with Andrew Scott’s portrayal of ‘Jim’ Moriarty. He is CREEPY. Ever since his first appearance in series 1 (The Great Game), he has loomed over Sherlock and the audience as this mentally deranged spider, twitching the strings because he likes to watch his dinner dance. The way he manipulates the emotions of his prey while appearing to be a perfectly stable human being is simply chilling. He is indeed a nemesis worthy of Sherlock Holmes.
And it makes Sherlock’s unraveling all the more believable. The dissolution of the world he built around himself–his reputation, his brilliance, his adopted family in Watson, Mrs Hudson, Molly Hooper, and even DI Lestrade–is wonderfully plotted. The audience is strung along with Sherlock as rushes about trying to untangle Moriarty’s intricate web, only to realize, too late, that the wool has been pulled over our eyes the entire time.
Again, I loved the nuanced performance of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and the faithful John Watson. Freeman, in particular, was exquisite. He brought tears (of both laughter and sadness) to my eyes on multiple occasions. He also reminded us all, yet again, why he won a BAFTA.
Other things I enjoyed: synchronized robbery, dear Molly Hooper and her curious role in Sherlock’s ‘death,’ and the ridiculous amount of metaphor. I love storytelling at its finest.
Lucky for us, this isn’t the end of Sherlock. Steven Moffat has confirmed that the third season has already been picked up (it was actually decided a long while ago, though the news was only recently released). Now we just have to wait.
For other opinions on the show, I highly recommend checking out the Baker Street Babes Podcast. You can also find out when Sherlock series 2 is airing in your country by consulting Sherlockology on tumblr.