Written by Steve Thompson
Directed by Toby Haynes
Moriarty (to Sherlock): “Every fairytale needs a good old fashioned villain. You need me. We’re just alike you and I, except you’re boring.”
And if there’s one thing that I cannot accuse this episode of is boring. Can it be that the same who wrote both “The Blind Banker” and “The Curse Of The Black Spot” was really responsible for this episode? If so, then Steve Thompson is an adept hand when writing for a pivotal episode.
It’s actually funny when you think about Moriarty in this version of the show. Sure, he’s popped up in four out of the six televised episodes so far but this is the second one where he really gets to shine and honey, this fella certainly knows how to wear a crown and cause chaos in his wake. I apologise but I had to work that line in there somewhere or at least paraphrase the bloody thing.
I actually think at times that Andrew Scott is a slightly better actor than Benedict Cumberbatch and while his depiction of Moriarty has been panned by some as cartoonish (then again, John Simm has had those accusations as well as the Master), his level of maniacal zaniness actually worked in this final episode’s favour as we headed toward the final problem for both Moriarty and Sherlock.
You have to hand it to Moriarty – he really knows how to contrive a situation after a situation – the multiple break ins, manipulating a trial, making Sherlock appear to be both a child abductor and a fraud and even replacing his own existence with an out of work actor named Richard Brook. If Moffat and company can write this well for Moriarty, we can only imagine what could be accomplished with the Master when he returns to Doctor Who.
The ruses were a clever way (along with that computer code and the trained assassins) of slowly unravelling Sherlock and the rooftop confrontation between both private detective and public menace was compelling to watch. Moriarty threatened everyone Sherlock loved – Lestrade, Hudson and Watson and Sherlock made the ultimate sacrifice by jumping towards his death to save the very people he cared for.
Except, even a fatalistic fall like that can’t seem to stop Sherlock. Watson and the world might believe he’s perished but the appearance at the last minute proved otherwise. What exactly did Molly do to help Sherlock because a fall like that should’ve finished him off for good? Also, by that logic if Sherlock can survive, does that mean Moriarty can too? Probably not but if this is the last we’ve seen of Jim, it’s a good ending for the character.
In terms of character moments – I think this episode was rather rich with the stuff. As much as the likes of Donovan and Anderson are annoying, I can actually see why them of all people would easily believe that Sherlock would be capable of faking crimes in order to build a bigger profile for himself and the likes of Kitty Riley I could also see being so easily taken in by Moriarty’s lies too.
I did appreciate the moments where Molly talked about really seeing Sherlock as well and it was a good thing that she was instrumental in how he pulled off that stunt. Also, underneath some of his gruff, it’s also rather clear that Lestrade has a fondness for Sherlock too and Hudson’s moments of grief at the graveyard felt truthful. Even Mycroft admitting to his remorse for putting Moriarty on Sherlock worked extremely well too.
But it was John who shined the most. I honestly do believe at this point that Watson is often the better character of the pair and his moments with Sherlock throughout the entire episode were excellent from start to finish. I can only hope that Watson becomes privy to his friend’s real well being that he’s rather understanding of the situation.
- Moriarty did several IOU moments throughout the episode with apples and windows. Even Watson managed to get in one during the graveyard moments.
- Douglas Wilmer appeared briefly in this episode. He also played Sherlock at one point for the BBC.
- Sherlock was labelled Boffin, Reichenbach and Sir Boast-A-Lot at several points in the episode. Watson got Bachelor.
- Both Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were quick to tweet afterwards that the show had been renewed for a third series, though whether it airs in 2013 remains to be seen.
Now this was a finale. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen but for this show, “The Reichenbach Fall” does represent an undeniable high for the show. It’s gonna be very interesting to see where the show can go from here though.
Rating: 9 out of 10