Fans have been waiting for the third season of BBC's Sherlock for a long, long time. The modern retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock novels was brought to life by the BBC in 2010, with the second series finishing in 2012. So it'll be almost two years since we've last seen it on our screens.
This is particularly painful for fans of the show, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, because it ended with a sherlockian problem of its own, recreating the fateful moments from Doyle's 'The Reichenbach Falls'. Immediately after the episode had finished people started trying to figure out how Sherlock had done it, how he'd successfully faked his own death after plummeting off of St Bartholomew's hospital.
This is a question that is going to be answered on January 1st 2014 when 'Sherlock' returns for Season Three, but until then let's look at all of the theories that are floating around regarding Sherlock's miraculous suicide survival, just to tide us over.
Some people think that Sherlock anticipated that Moriarty would kill himself, leaving Sherlock with no choice but to do the same, so he made a plan with that in mind, and even used Moriarty's lifeless body against him. The theory goes that Sherlock dressed Moriarty up in his clothes, and threw that body off of St Bartholomew's before running down and switching places.
That rubbish truck
The truck really does seem significant, first of all it drives away despite the fact that a man has apparently plummeted on the pavement right next to it. But secondly because it looks like it's fill of rubbish bags, nice soft easy to land on rubbish bags perhaps. Whilst it's an overused and slightly clichéd way to survive a fall, it's certainly an option that the great detective landed in the truck, before laying in the pavement.
The adorable pathologist who is told by Sherlock that she matters and that he needs her. Obviously with her being a pathologist there are several things that she can do in order to help one fake one's death. First of all she can simply provide a false report claiming someone to be dead, when in fact they aren't. Secondly she could use her access to dead bodies to provide one for a corpse swap. Lastly there's an abundance of things she could do, such as providing fake blood, lending various chemicals, you know general pathology stuff.
Hound of Baskervilles 'fear gas'
In episode two of Season two we see a gas that makes people hallucinate a giant fearsome dog. Is it possible that this hallucinogenic can be used in some way to make someone hallucinate. For example, could the gas be used to make people think their best friend is jumping off of a building? Or perhaps it can make someone falsely identify a body?
Sherlock alludes to his network of homeless helpers, the Baker Street Irregulars are a much celebrated part of Sherlock fiction, but are they involved in Sherlock faking his death. Well they probably are, which would explain the timely intervention of the cyclist who knocks Watson down, possibly to give Sherlock enough time to set in place whatever he needs to set it place. And maybe the Baker Street Irregulars were driving that garbage truck. Maybe they were also the ambulance drivers who arrive on the scene suspiciously quickly and who whisk Sherlock's body away even more suspiciously quickly. Maybe.
Screaming girl suggested body double
The screaming girl who is conditioned by Moriarty to be scared of Sherlock Holmes as part of Moriarty's plan to discredit Sherlock hints at a rather convoluted solution. To condition her to be scared of Sherlock people are suggesting that Moriarty had a body double acting as Sherlock, either through expensive plastic surgery, or a simple mask. Is it possible that Sherlock somehow tracked this double down and used them in some way?
Mycroft has the resources and influences to do pretty much anything he wants, after all he practically is the British Government, so of course he can help his brother fake a death. I mean, if he can stage a flight full of dead people, he can fake one man's death pretty easily. The question is - would Sherlock go to his brother for help, probably not.
Sherlock is seen playing with a ball. That ball if strategically placed under the armpit can be used to stop ones pulse, or at least make it faint enough to not be detected by a panicked friend. The suggestion is that Sherlock used this ball to stop his pulse, and therefore fool Watson into thinking that he was dead. After all Sherlock is not moved until Watson can verify Sherlock's pulse, so it's a valid theory. The ball would have only needed to be in place for that amount of time, and then Watson was quickly forced away from Sherlock and then the detective was taken away.
Sherlock was adamant that Watson had to watch him from a specific place. So was Sherlock faking his death simply a matter of perspective, ensuring that from his vantage point Watson would see deliberate things and have to assume that Sherlock had committed suicide? Again Watson is delayed by the cyclist and then allowed enough time just to check Sherlock's pulse and nothing else. It appears that Sherlock wanted Watson more than anyone to believe that he was dead.
This is a particularly far out theory. But in 'Hound of the Baskervilles' Sherlock asks about cloning, but not just any old cloning, specifically human cloning. This would of course lend some credence to the body-double theory, but add the twist that it really was a very literal body double.
There are many, many more theories involving dummies, Sherlock not actually being on the roof etc etc. But how do you think Sherlock Holmes successfully faked his own death?
Daniel Wood is a graduate from Bristol, who has an unhealthy obsession with crime fiction, a secret passion for superheroes and an avid love for all things fantasy. Consequently he also has a very understanding girlfriend! Follow Daniel Wood on Twitter.
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