How did Sherlock Cheat Death? 10 Great Theories

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

*This article contains spoilers, if you haven’t seen episode 3 of the second series of Sherlock, please do so immediately. It’s good*

Sherlock was confirmed for a third series yesterday (well technically, it was confirmed ages ago, along with the second series!) but the question that is going through the TV watching community like a hot machine gun through butter is: How did Sherlock survive his fall from the top of St Barts? We’ve scoured the internet and collated some of the finest theories we’ve heard so far. It’s highly likely that when it’s revealed next year, the method of his escape will be a combination of several of these ideas – then again it could be something completely different. Let us know what you think..

*Series Three of Sherlock to include ‘The Case of the Speckled Band’?*

1. There are two Sherlocks
We were all a bit confused when that little girl went mental upon seeing Sherlock in Sunday’s finale. Some people are suggesting that she was actually one of Moriarty’s youngest employees, or that she had been threatened with dire consequences like the jury before her, but some of you are convinced that Sherlock has a doppelganger. The fact that this lookalike apparently co-operated with Moriarty’s plans makes him even more of a mystery, yet it is possible that Holmes talked him round and persuaded him to commit suicide on his behalf.
Likelihood – 2/10

2. A Sherlock Mask on Moriarty’s Body.
This theory fits in nicely with the idea that the name Rich Brook (Moriarty’s alias) is loosely German for Reichenback and as such the title of the episode falls into place, yet there are plenty of unanswered questions. Most theories hold the delay between Dr Watson seeing Sherlock fall and him reaching the body as crucial, but this one utilises the gap between the point when the Napoleon of crime shot himself and Watson arrived upon the scene. The bus that drove past after Cumberbatch threw down his phone could have been the point when Holmes pushed his dead adversary over in his place, yet it doesn’t explain why the person falling seemed to be alive on the way down.
Likelihood – 5/10

3. Mycroft Was In On It
Mycroft Holmes is certainly a cold fish, but we thought the reaction to his brother’s demise was dislocated even by his standards. He even looked a bit bored during the scene in which he read about Sherlock’s death in the newspaper. If you also consider the way he completely sold his brother out to his most deadly enemy, something doesn’t quite fit. Maybe Sherlock realised that his death would be inevitable as the scandal rose and enlisted Mycroft to help him out by planting an idea in Moriarty’s mind. But what? And how?
Likelihood – 7/10

4. Molly
By far the most popular theory is that the often-sidelined Molly helped Sherlock fake his own death. There are two cast iron pieces of evidence for this. First of all, she had a stack of corpses at her disposal and could have fixed any autopsy. Secondly, Sherlock called her back and told her that she was important just before his death. The second part of that conversation should explain everything when it’s revealed. Also she fancied his pants off and would have done anything for him. That’s actually four reasons now we think about it..
Likelihood – 9/10

5. Sherlock was the bloke on the bike.
How exactly this would work is unclear, but a large proportion of the internet community are determined that Holmes was actually the bloke on the bike who bumped into Watson, delaying him from getting to the body. The question of how he got down from the roof break-neck speed (you know what we mean) is another puzzler. Hmm..
Likelihood – 2/10

6. Dummy from their room
If you watch the episode again, there are countless references that appear for mere seconds, but could be crucial in the final mystery and one such prop is the mannequin hanging from a noose in Sherlock’s flat. When you remember that it was Holmes who suggested that he and Moriarty meet on the roof of St Barts, it becomes clear that he could have prepared the location in advance with all manner of tools to kid us. Much is also being made of the rubbish truck which was seen hanging around just before his fall and the fact that Sherlock wanted Doctor Watson to “stay exactly where he was!” Obviously his location was vital if he was to believe that Holmes was dead. Maybe Sherlock dropped into the rubbish truck as the bus passed and then Watson saw the dummy falling. Sherlock then swapped places with the dummy as the bike hit Watson. Yet if Sherlock jumped before the dummy – who pushed it off the roof?
Likelihood – 6/10

7. All people on the pavement – including cyclist – were Sherlock’s people
If any body-swap/de-masking/dummy-replacement took place then Holmes would almost certainly have needed help from those pedestrians, who could have aided him while delaying Watson from getting to the scene. Why would he trust a load of people and not Dr Watson though? Possibly because he knew that if the Doctor believed him dead then everyone else would as well. Some boffins have also pointed to the squash ball that Homes was playing with and suggested that he could have used the ‘Squash ball in the Armpit’ trick to disguise his pulse from Watson. Points for cleverness.
Likelihood – 7/10

8. Baskerville Drug administered to Watson
This theory suggests that Holmes administered the drug from the previous episode to Watson and put the idea of him killing himself in his head. As such Watson was hallucinating when he saw Sherlock fall. Plausible, but it doesn’t take into account the fact that Moffat, Gattiss & Co would consider it the height of laziness to use the same ploy in two separate episodes. For that reason, probably a non-starter.
Likelihood – 1/10

9. Scotoma
Scotoma essentially refers to the power of suggestion and the affect it can have over what a person thinks they have seen. Related to the previous theory, many have suggested that when the Beeb give us the big reveal in 2013, it will actually transpire that someone completely different was standing on top of St Barts and we mis-saw him. There are two ways of doing this; with skillful filming and clever editing or by simply showing us the correct thing and then telling us we were mistaken at a later date.
Likelihood – 6/10

10. Moriarty Is Not Dead
We really hope this one’s true – how good was Andrew Scott? Anyone who has read the books will know that the idea of one of Holmes or Moriarty striking such a winning blow (ie. killing the other) was unlikely to happen, as Conan-Doyle emphasised how closely matched they were. Essentially they were both struggling for an edge, so if Holmes can return from beyond the grave, why not his arch-enemy?
Likelihood – 5/10

*CHECK OUT OUR LIST OF THE 10 BEST ON-SCREEN PROFESSOR MORIARTYS EVER*

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kate says:

For Theory 5 it is very probable that it was part of his Homeless circle that was hired to bump into Watson to buy Sherlock some time to switch the bodies/apply fake blood/etc. Also, as Watson was knocked to the ground, his vision was blurred and his speech was slurred and wasnt in any shape to make a medical analysis – like taking Sherlock’s pulse.

ForestZ says:

I personally think that it is a combination of 3,4 and 6. I think both Molly and Mycroft were involved, and the garbage truck would have been a very nice place to slip away, but that would need John to look away for a little bit, hence, the biker, probabaly working with sherlock also.

I also have another fairly unlikely idea, but is it possible that LeStrad was in on it? It’s just an idea

Star Trek and sherlock lover says:

These are all great ways you all think it happened, but there is one thing you all missed. Sherlock is khan! Khan’s cells regenerate enough to save him from anything. HE IS KHAN THAT IS HOW HE LIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ross Connell says:

One thing i have not seen mentioned is in the Scandal of Belgravia, Sherlock hides behind a newspaper that says “Historic hospital gets a refit” – alluding to something at St Barts?

Amy reed says:

another theory is that sherlock has a rubber ball my sister says that if you put it under your arm pit it slows your pulse down ,which is in his coat propley, so when he jumped he would still be alive even though he hit the ground so when the paramedics came and saw he had no pulse it could be that he slowed it down and maybe knocked himself out.

Amy reed says:

when Sherlock falls of the building and hits the pavement there’s a rubbish truck in front of sherlock my theory is that Sherlock could of jumped into that and when he went to molly for help cause she has dead body’s she could of descised one of the body’s to look like sherlock.

also in the episode there a girl screams at sherlock, when he comes in the question her,later on in the episode sherlock is in a taxi and Moriarty is on this TV telling this story. my theory is that while the kids where in another taxi Moriarty could of been telling a story about sherlock and propley that he is evil and shouldn’t be trusted.

lucy says:

25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m94hvkJArq1rx7w9ho1_500.jpg i think he landed in the truck or the was something on the floor where the square was but im sure sherlock ended up on the ground, not someone else. but i dont get why it wouldnt be him on the stretcher? also, not my picture

Jake says:

Well, I was thinking about Mycroft. He sold out Sherlock to Moriarty, if you remember. In A Scandal, he says their biggest security threat is Sherlock. Now, I’m not saying Mycroft and Moriarty were working together, but I don’t think Mycroft helped Sheelock fake his own death. The reason Mycroft looked so guilty is cause he was the one who sold out Sherlock to Moriarty. Maybe he was still mad about Baskerville and The Flight of the Dead when he did it. He clearly felt guilty later on. Also, Sherlock would never go and beg Mycroft for help. Molly helped him. He left in the truck and the fake dead Sherlock was left bloody on the sidewalk. Molly got him the body and faked certificates and papers and such.

Moriarty is also still alive. We haven’t met him yet. Rich Brooke was really Rich Brooke, an actor. However, he was driven insane by the real Moriarty, the one who hired him, and was driven to commuting suicide himself, leaving the world thinking James Moriarty is dead, while he can remain working in the shadows.

Into Darkness says:

Maybe Sherlock had air bubbles and/or magnets in his clothes. The only way he is alive is because he didn’t hit the ground HARD ENOUGH. He could still have hit the ground, he could still have jumped. The sniper would have been watching Sherlock, as he could re-aim at the target (Watson); he is a professional. I don’t think Mycroft was involved, as the fact that he looked almost bored with the news of his brother’s death is extremely, glaringly obvious. He is near a morgue, that is too much of a coincidence in my opinion, and he needs Molly’s help. That was part of it, certainly. I think Moriarty is still alive because, well, he shot himself in the mouth with a pistol and the back of his head stayed intact, with no splatters, and a small, close pool of blood, released upon contact with the ground. Please. The gun had an aerosol paralysing drug in it and there was a blood capsule in his collar/hair. Secondly, no mention is made of Moriarty’s body. Finally, This show has been proven not to stick to tradition so I don’t see why he has to be dead. Sherlock either fell into the trash truck, then rolled out or used air/magnets somehow. The bicycle rode on, even though there was a suicide, so he was in on it. The truck drove away; in on it. The ambulance and paramedics were too quick to the scene; in on it. Holmes was the body, his eyes and cheekbones were obvious. Blood from the morgue was probably used. They rushed him away after Watson was convinced that he was dead, with the least possible evidence. A brilliant trick. Bravo! I cannot wait for the next instalment.

Cat Francis says:

Moriarty can’t be dead – and Sherlock knows it. Any time there was a body, Sherlock looked it over carefully. He doesn’t even check to see if Moriarty’s actually dead, and he does not search the body for clues or information. He knows Moriarty is messing with him and the whole thing he did on the roof was a charade to fool Moriarty into believing that Sherlock just isn’t as good as him. Sherlock and Moriarty are very much alike – Sherlock knows that Moriarty is massively arrogant, just as he is. Arrogant Moriarty will not believe that Sherlock is actually better than he is, so he will believe Sherlock’s charade on the roof. So that’s my conviction: they both faked their deaths, and now they are going to circle each other in the shadows, looking for how to win over the other.

Stevie says:

I think he dumped Jim. John was in shock and had head trauma to add on, so that when John found the body he assumed it was Sherlock. Then Irene or Molly helped him be dead. I like the idea of the passerby’s being Sherlock’s people however. The fault in my theory is the impossibility of getting a dead body to stand erect and not have any of Jim’s henchmen seeing it happen. Either that or he’s really dead and the Sherlock standing in the cemetery was a ghost. I don’t think Sherlock would’ve been so plain too switch places with a dummy or whatever.

–Pemberton says:

I think Sherlock filled the rubber ball with Baskerville drug (see pic of Sherlock holding ball on the roof in my post) and squeezed the liquid onto Moriarty’s coat when he whirled him around.
*Sherlock precipitates a homicidal crisis in Moriarty using the same techniques from Hounds of B.
*Moriarty is finally, completely unhinged and his mental calculus collapses in on itself.
*Moriarty planned how to kill Sherlock, however when Sherlock and Moriarty are the same, then Moriarty’s mind sees his way to suicide because:
*It kills Sherlock twice over: It kills Sherlock because they are the same and It removes Moriarty as a possible savior: ‘uncontrollable aggressive homicide’ per the drug profile.
*Sherlock used classic Prospect theory logic to anticipate Moriarty’s moves so he could plan and execute his fake suicide.
*See The Art and Logic of Sherlock’s Reichenbach Fall at consultingspectator.tumblr.com to see how the drama unfolded, how Sherlock pulled off the suicide and why there are so many clues with meaning that were still to be uncovered.
Cheers!

darren wills says:

The rubber ball. Our attention was drawn to it. Placed correctly under the arm and squeezed, it can give the impression that the pulse is a goner – it’s an old magician’s trick. So far so pulseless. Why did Sherlock keep John stationed ‘exactly’ where he was? Clearly to afford him a certain, and misleading, view of the situation. Our boy landed in the truck full of laundry. Comfy. soft. Check it out, it’s there. He lands in it. He rolls out, Molly provides the blood, Watson is delayed by the cyclist. He takes the pulse, oh gawd, there ain’t no pulse. No Sh*t sherlock. The ‘corpse’ is rushed away instantly, no way would a body be moved so quickly unless pre-planned. Rushed away before John can gather his senses enough to double check the death. This all sounds feasible to me, but I might be missing something. Just watched the episode again whilst tipsy on some nice wine, and it all seemed so clear! But perhaps I’m missing something. Happy ending anyway, our guy’s not dead. But how? Well, I think this is how. Cheers all. Enjoy series 3!

BJN says:

One has to see this episode in the context of the real Sherlock Holmes stories. Moriarty is dead and won’t come back because he in fact dies in the real Reisenbsch Falls. I think the falling dummy with a holmes mask is an interesting possibility since that is what Holmes uses as a decoy in a future story( I don’t want to give away which story to non Sherlockians) but it is important for next years episodes. The garbage truck at the scene pulled away just before Watson showed up which to me means it was involved to substitute the dummy with the real made up bloodied sherlock. We shall see

BJN says:

By the way to those non Sherlockians ,Mycroft is always in on it

BJN says:

One has to see this episode in the context of the real Sherlock Holmes stories. Moriarty is dead and won’t come back because he in fact dies in the real Reisenbsch Falls. I think the falling dummy with a holmes mask is an interesting possibility since that is what Holmes uses as a decoy in a future story( I don’t want to give away which story to non Sherlockians) but it is important for next years episodes. The garbage truck at the scene pulled away just before Watson showed up which to me means it was involved to substitute the dummy with the real made up bloodied sherlowe shall see

SherlockHolmes says:

what if Rich Brook thanks Sherlock at the end, because when he says “I am you”, or “you are me” he is insinuating that Sherlock would fill his shoes once Brook dies. Assuming that Sherlock knew to, that this wasn’t really Jim. Jim is genuinely happy to be relieved of duty. Happy he wont have to put up with his constant need for distractions anymore.

Another random idea i had through out this ‘investigation’ what if the rubber ball was actually full of blood?

SherlockHolmes says:

Just found a full view of St. Barts. there looks to be 5 floors. The building has a rectangular shape, the side Sherlock jumps off of, i will call the left side. The right side of the building (if in the last scene of the fall, from jons prespective it would be to the right of where Sherlock is standing) has some type of artistic looking addition, that goes higher than Sherlock was standing, where as the left side is flat. so from the flat LEFT side of St Barts, Sherlock jumped, you see him pass 2 rows of Windows from the top of the building until he hits the floor, where you see the lowest and last set of windows he passes. Im using the windows as a reference point to show how far you actually see, who we KNOW FOR A FACT is Sherlock, him fall. He passes the highest floor, the floor below that, then we see Johns pretty mug for a second, camera switches back to Sherlock falling, but it goes back a second and shows him falling from a different perspective. then you can clearly see him fall past 2 floors, and then angle switches one last time to see him hit the floor. skipping our view on him falling for an entire floor. anything could have happened. it would have only taken a second to roll a dead body off the truck, as Sherlock lands in the truck. you will also notice that people swarm the scene right AFTER sherlock lands and Jon gets into view. thats like 2 separate seconds un accounted for. So he very well could have made the jump, slowed his fall with the truck then managed to get on the ground with a blood pack from molly and look dead. especially if those people surrounding him are with the homeless network.

that rubber ball is used for something, ill say he stopped his pulse with it. like everyone else. but i hate the bandwagons. and that puts me on one.

for this to be true, and i just realized this, but the sniper wouldn’t be able to see Sherlock for this to work. Unless he was using Johns reaction to gauge the necessity of the fatal shot. Then it wouldn’t matter because Jon was far enough away from Sherlock that the sniper had to choose; watch John, who is the actual target, or Sherlock. This also explains why Sherlock was so adamant on John standing RIGHT exactly where he was. Sherlock knew he had to keep John far enough away to keep the sniper from noticing anything out of the ordinary. Like him landing in a truck,gracefully transferring his momentum then flopping on the ground and spreading blood all over his head and neck, while squeezing his armpit on the rubber ball to stop his pulse temporarily.

SherlockHolmes says:

I agree with “HateMoffat” we havent actually met Jim in person…the actor Rich Brook is who he says he is…and he is employed by Sherlock, just not the Sherlock we know, the Sherlock that kidnapped that little girl..the look alike. This actor is just another host, like the ones from “The Great Game”

(bare with me, im going to build up to my conclusion, slow as it may be)

In “the Great Game” the museum owner mentions meeting an old man, a Genius, who could paint anything authentically and she thought no one could figure out that his paintings were fake. Well Sherlock and the dead security guard were not the only 2 to know the painting was fake.. Jim obviously knew. if she was put in to contact with him, which she was, it was to make the world believe the painting was real. so that she could sell it? HUGE NOTE, she says she didnt know anything about the murders or bombs that “She just wanted her ‘PART OF THE 30MILLION’” part? who else is involved? Jim, Museum owner, and the painter? Golem?

If you got so baffled by this finale, and had to search every part of this episode at least 2 more times, then maybe you noticed the earpiece in Jon Watsons ear? at the scene where Sherlock is apparently standing on the side of the roof? right before Sherlock jumps, Jon pulls the phone away from his ear…and reveals a little James Bond style ear piece…(could be a set mistake, but i dont think they would have showed this angle unless it was important)after noticing that it changes the way you watch this last scene… assuming that earpiece is connected to the phone Sherlock has, then Jon is completely aware of what is happening right now, and not so disoriented when he shows up like we thought he was. also note worthy, you get a couple good shots of Jons ear holes right before he hops into the taxi taht takes him to St. Barts hospital (ear holse look empty but he is moving quickly)..but as he is running to the taxi, there APPEARS to be someone else trying to get a ride, and he yells at him till he leaves, and says “Thanks a lot” keep in mind this random guy, was like halfway in the window when Jon ran up, a bit excessive for asking for a ride, and not getting in first? unless he was really thanking the cab driver, because he gave him something to give to Jon, like an EARPIECE. also remember how many different times a huge plot point is revealed in a Taxi? it isnt that far fetched.

*Remember when Mycroft tells Jon he should get a knew therapist? and you’re lead on to think that she told Mycroft information from a session? and then remember how this episode starts off with them in session again? same Therapist. why is that important? Maybe she gives this information to more than just Mycroft…maybe the real Jim wants to know if John bought the death of Sherlock, and Himself, and finding out through his therapist was his only way.

(still getting there hang on!)

In the very first episode of Season 2, Scandal in Belgravia, The scene starts off exatly where it left off, Sherlock aiming the pistol at a vest of explosives which is located at Rich Brooks feet. when he recieves a phone call, do you remember his ring tone? Its the same song that is playing when Sherlock arrives on the roof of St. Barts…was Rich Brook answering the phone right then for a reason and because of the irony, of the song, we are just assume its Jim M being a smart @$$?

The Bomber knew Carl Powers, he did not like him because he laughed at him, so he stopped the laughing. murdered him, through his eczema cream. kind of smart for someone who had to be so young? (20 years ago, Rich is not over 30) even for a boy genius. Somehow Jim knew this Rich Brook, and knew that he was being laughed at, at school. and knew that he could use it to his advantage, taking him under his wing as his “apprentice” but to jim, its more like Pawn. By saving Brook, Jim gains an ally that has complete Faith in him, and his actions. he truly trusts, loves and worships Jim, because Jim as tricked him, but that makes Rich more than willing to do what ever Jim asks, especially since he helped exact his revenge on Carl. Rich is like a Zealot for Jim…a martyr.

Rich Brook, was Rich Brook, on that roof. He was in contact with Jim Moriarty the entire time, feeding him the correct responses and orders to correlate with the conversation Sherlock was having with him. (there is a point where Sherlock holds Rich over the side of the building, he is NOT very eager to die here, in fact he seems scared, but he needs to reveal his little plan first , then all of the sudden hes okay with dying)Sherlock knew that this was not the right man, he did not know it the entire time, but at some point in this episode it dawns on him. So he played out the roof scene like he thought, Jim would have expected. He lets the real Jim, think that Sherlock actually believes Jim Moriarty is dead, and that in order to save his friends he must jump. so he does this. (Sherlock knew it was always going to end with a jump, Rich Brook made that very clear in Sherlocks Flatt)this is where all the planning with the homeless network, Molly and Mycroft start to take place.

The worst part of my theory is how he deceived death. I’m trying to post a few pictures on here, so we’ll see if that works. would help on the length. But He jumped off that building perpendicular to the street. but his body is perfectly Parallel to the street, when it hits the ground.(pictures don’t work.) the St Barts building is *(&(&*^ tall and we saw him fall 2 floors, then hit the ground. keep in mind that he hit the ground in a different direction than he jumped. we switch camera angles for a second and as John is hit with the bike, the red truck with the open top pulls off, which also conveniently showed up right before he jumped, because if you watch he looks over the side a few times, once there are 2 buses there. then later nothing, then even later, the red truck right before he jumps.

suspicious that right as Jon is pulling up in the taxi, Sherlock calls him. like he knew it was John coming..

Also a bit random, but i feel it ties together for a reason. When they are at the pool where Carl Powers died, Sherlock asks Rich Brook what would happen if he shot him? right now? Rich makes a face of surprise saying that he would be surprised and disappointed. The face is almost identical to the face he makes when he “shoots” himself in the head on St. Barts roof. Why would HE be surprised if HE knew it was a possibility? if HE is as smart as Sherlock wouldn’t he have run the fact that Sherlock would realize he doesn’t have to jump as long as ‘Jim’ is alive through his head? the truth is HE (Jim) did know, which is exactly the reason he has a host like Rich here. now the world thinks that the master criminal consultant is dead, he has outsmarted his arch nemesis, and ruined Sherlocks reputation at the same time. he is like a ghost now.

But because Sherlocks plan was so well executed, and everyone played along so well, Jim Moriarty has not a clue that Sherlock lives. That Sherlock knows about him.

Here is one of my problems with saying that there was a body switch or he dumped the dead body off the side in place of him. you literally see Sherlock walk off the side of the building, and you see him fall past the second set of windows (when counting from the roof, towards the ground of course) but then the angle switches and you see him hit the floor. Rich said that building was nice and tall. i dont think a 3 story building would have been enough for Rich to think Sherlock would die. and for the LIFE of me i cant find an episode that shows how many floors the building really has…because you really do only see sherlock pass the top 2 floors with windows. and i know the next angle shows him smashing the floor, so you’d think he went from top to bottom, but this show is all about observation, and you never see him descend the entire building, just part of it, the floor splat.

I could be wrong about EVERYTHING but its an idea that i haven’t seen on the other websites or guesses either, in fact, i actually haven’t seen anyone else’s theory that agrees we haven’t actually met Jim Moriarty, except for “HateMoffat” and i have to thank him. because i never would have posted this if i hadnt’ seen him start to ponder the same thing i had based my whole theory off of, and i had to be first, it it was truly to be mine.

PS this is MY theory, if it replicates someone else’s fine. we are totally awesome then, but i didn’t steal it. i scrutinized every second of this series to come to this conclusion. and i am not a very good writer either, but i love this mystery shenanigans and i had to participate in the online hunt! and give someone who will listen my 2 cents.

A says:

If Mycroft was in on it, then the moment where he reads the newspaper definitely gave it away. He seems like he is trying to hide his smile when he put his hands on his face. Notice that the shape of his hands completely conceals his mouth, allowing him to smile without others (and the audience) noticing. It also makes him seem like he’s sad for his brother’s death. However, he actually already knows that Sherlock’s death was fake and was trying to hid his happiness.

Solicitous says:

When you see the first person view of Sherlock’s, you can clearly see an outlined rectangle on the pavement. A double-decker is ALSO blocking the view of the ground from where John is standing. Sherlock directly tells Watson to “stay where you are”. He needs John’s view to be blocked and he needs the cyclist to be able to knock him over, allowing him to escape. Molly works at the morgue, thus she has access to God knows how many bodies and can easily get away with an autopsy. Holmes admits to needing her help before he leaves, and she presumably agrees. It is unlikely that Moriarty survived, however, if Sherlock believed him to still be alive, he would have to convince him that he was going to kill himself. He tells John that he is a fake on the phone because perhaps Moriarty NEEDED TO HEAR THAT TO CONFIRM SHERLOCK’S SUICIDE. The sniper is also unable to see the ground where Holmes hits the ground. Therefore, Sherlock can easily fall into the truck and get away while the bus leaves and the cyclist knocks John over. Several people are already sitting at a sidewalk bench and one looks slightly like Molly. Molly is either a) the cyclist, b) the truck driver, or c) the woman on the bench.

Nick says:

My theory – Moriarty SHOULD be dead, and Sherlock jumped. The should is in there to accommodate a pencil whipping from a clever writer. Sherlock knew he was going to jump before he made it to the roof. He enlisted Molly’s help to make his death official. He ordered Watson to remain where he was because he knew that he had one set of eyes to fool – Watson’s assassin. I think sherlocks people on the ground caught him with a blanket just like fireman have been known to do, but the key is the shooters angle of vision. Shooter sees him jump, but his vision is obscured of the landing zone. Watson’s view of the landing area is also blocked. That and following Watson’s reaction, which he was forced to do because his rifle scope was trained on his head. So either way, whether obscuring the assassins view of the landing, or fooling him with a double blind through Watson’s reaction, the play is at the very bottom and no where else. No switched bodies, no doubles, and definitely no cadavers.

bob loblaw says:

mind you the continuity in this scene is brutal…one shot has the truck already leaving the scene but one or 2 beats later the truck is still there and only then just starts to leave…

bob loblaw says:

Sherlock was playing with the ball in an earlier scene which he places under his armpit to give the appearance of his pulse stopping…when watson checks his pulse, sherlock’s hand is bluish…an old magician’s trick

Sherlock jumps and lands on the garbage truck to break his fall…he positions himself on the pavement with blood provided by molly.

he has the ball under his armpit to stop his pulse…the people coming to his aid were his homeless network.

elementary.

Willdan8663 says:

Moffat has said that people have missed a clue! personally I think that the missing clue is Molly. He asked told her that he would need her, I think that the best theory to sum it all up is this:
When Sherlock told molly that he would need her it was to get a cadaver that he could use. Then he arranges the Rubbish truck to be at the bottom of the building for him to jump into. John’s view of Sherlock is obscured by a smaller one story building so he doesn’t see Sherlock land. Also the bike that knocks into Watson seems to do so on purpose, this could be were the drug from Hound of the Baskervilles, is administered to Watson. the conversation that Sherlock has with Watson is to plant the idea that he is going to commit suicide there for when John sees the body that was thrown out of the rubbish truck while under the effect of the drug he sees Sherlock instead of the body.
what do you think?

REALITY says:

THIS BITES

CRONAN THE LIBRARIAN says:

he used magnets to slow his fall the rest is ez

J.D. says:

Here is what happened. Scotoma. The man above on the ledge is not Sherlock. In fact its Moriarty. They realized on that roof top as much as they were “enemies” they needed each other. Hence why Moriarty says something like “O.You think you can make me..”

Moriarty stands on top in Sherlock clothing. He jumps to safety in that truck. Sherlock all along is on ground level ready to lay down. He injects himself with his Domanatrix friends poison, a gift to him after saving her life. Watson feels pulse, mistakenly pronouncing him dead.

Erik says:

Dont forget that the sniper would have to have confirmed Sherlock`s death before taking the gun off Watson. Also the sniper was at a good angle to see Sherlock fall. The bodies couldnt have been switched so quickly that the sniper couldnt see.

Dameon says:

I think sherlock faked his death, I think he stopped his pulse by using the ball in the armpit trick, and faked his death certificit and his autopsy with the help of Molly, I think that it was actually Sherlock who jumped and he survived but he had medically help from Mycroft because I think it was he who sent the ambulance. When John was running towards Sherlock, I think the bicker injected him with the Baskerville drug to ensure John saw what he was supposed to. When the little girl screamed at the sight of Sherlock, I think it was because he lied and said that Sherlock was his employer and said that sherlock was blackmailing him, he then showed the children a picture or described him to them. And to those people who think moriarti hired an actor, I do not believe it is true, in “the scandal in belgravia” it shows moriarti texting Mycroft, I don’t believe moriarti would risk giving the actor his phone, also there was nobody arround him, nobody watching so there was no point in using the actor to sent the message. There is one part I can’t get about it tho is the fact he did a face plant onto the pavement, I don’t get how he would survive that without a scratch, or maybe survive it at all, at the end it shows Sherlock without a scratch, any ideas?

Trisha says:

Just some stuff I noticed:-

A doctor, a rubber ball (there is a scene on the rooftop where the ball is visible in Sherlock’s hand), an “idea” in a little girl’s head.
A truck.
Hands crossed behind back, and not shown afterwards for a while.
Moriarty’s mistake: he has FOUR friends (Molly, she counts)
Sherlock asks for a moment, some privacy (very not him)
Shaking M’s hand, did he take a pulse?
Why did he order John to stand at a particular spot to witness his apparent suicide?
Suicide on a hospital rooftop! Location, location. Does Molly know?

Emily says:

The thing for me that supports the garbage truck theory most is that Sherlock says “stay exactly where you are” for a very good reason- there is a low building perfectly separating the view of the end of his fall from John. He also specifically chose that spot, knowing that he might have to stage his death there. Furthermore, the shot of him falling shows that he is very far away from the building- where the garbage truck would be. When the bike hits John, you can see that Sherlock is already on the pavement- but there is no blood yet. And as someone pointed out, he is parallel to the street rather than perpendicular, as he should be if he truly fell. I think he fell into the trash bin, and rolled out through a side door onto the street again. He probably did use the squash ball trick to fool John.

The other thing that strikes me as really odd is how damn quickly medical staff arrive on the scene- even before John reaches the body- almost as if they were expecting him. They may have been the ones to quickly “bloody him up” before John arrives. I think that these are probably Mycroft’s people – also two people dressed in black are seen wheeling him into the ambulance. For someone so seemingly worried about Sherlock, Mycroft does seem awfully blasé about him dying.

I think Molly’s part in the whole deal was to help fake the death certificate and transfer him to and from the morgue without anyone getting suspicious. She was definitely important, as evidenced by the scene with the two of them, where Sherlock says he needs her. Who else would be able to fake the burial without anyone noticing that something was off? She is trusted by Sherlock’s closest friends to tell the truth about him being dead, so of course no one would think of her faking it. Also, when Sherlock lists his friends that Moriarty is targeting, Molly is not among them. Interesting.

Also notable is that we hear nothing about Moriarty after Sherlock’s “death” not “Actor Found Dead at Scene,” nothing. They would have investigated that rooftop. I definitely don’t think Moriarty is dead- it would have been totally easy for his gun to have fired a blank and had a blood-bag explode at the back of his head. He probably picked himself up and dusted himself off after Sherlock fell. However, I do think Sherlock believed that he was dead, despite stupidly not checking. “Sentiment” got to him there, a flaw that Moriarty knew to exploit.

Also- this stuff about a doppleganger is silly. How many people look like Benedict Cumberbatch, for God’s sake?

Amber says:

There’s one interview with Moffat when he says that the Internet is “missing something” when it comes to this. There’s something that’s there, obvious, but hidden in plain sight. What about “you repel me”? Sherlock isn’t the type of person to be mean to someone out of spite. There’s something involved with that. The woman, Kitty, also says that line later. Could it be hinting that Sherlock rappled off the wall? I think, (and I haven’t seen it, so I’m not sure,) but I think there’s a small clip of video seen from the sniper’s pov that has a rope/bungee in it. (Like I said, I’ve just heard rumors and haven’t actually had the chance to check it out.)
Anyway, I don’t think any of the theories are completely true, at least not the popular ones. Molly was obviously involved, and there was other outside help. I personally find the “garbage bin” theory doubtful. You could probably search the interview with Moffat easily.

Erik says:

At one point in the episode Sherlock was bouncing a small black ball. A small ball under the arm would stop the pulse to the wrist Watson checked. I’m not sure about how he survived but the ball is definitely part of it.

Funky says:

Something that I notifed after watching the finale is that after Sherlock jumps w get a view of the sniper and as he’s moving his gun up he points it at a window in which it appears someone is standing in, This could be Sherlock, he would have jumped into the window somehow then thrown another body down that looked like him

Paule says:

Another fact noone has picked upon yet is that it looked like sherlock was walking along the wall the first few seconds of falling. Yes, this could have been a filming thing, but the series is just too good with filming to allow such a fail in capturing. So sherlock could habe been on a bungee like thing to prevent him from falling to hard. And molly is defenetly involved, otherwise the whole episode wouldn’t make sense however. Much more interesing is the question weather other people were involved as well. Maybe you could consult the orgiginal for more clues?

Jal says:

The IOU refers to first season when Holmes was about to blow up himself aNd moriarty. Morality said it wasn’t a good day to die but wants to cash it in now

Jal says:

The final problem…how can Moriarty and Sherlock both survive and continue to play the game?

Moriarty needs sherlocks help…the code word is IOU once Sherlock agrees

After convincing he is not an angel, blinking out the code and shaking on it, they start the plan…moriarty fakes first so the watchers think he’s dead. Sherlock next, after instructing Watson to tell everyone that moriarty isn’t real. Exactly how he faked it is just a detail

S&M will go back to a more interesting life in the shadows. Hoping next time we see sherlock is in disguise

Kadi says:

I think I have to correct myself, there’s something Sherlock did that was very out of character in fact, something no one’s picked up on yet. This clue was given to us by Steven Moffat and what I’m thinking of appears in the episode he wrote, ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’. It becomes even more likely now that I realised it’s mentioned in ‘The Reichenbach Fall’. We all know that Sherlock isn’t a person to do things because of emotions. Normally there’s a scientific reason for everything he does.

Sherlock wouldn’t throw a man out of a window because he laid a finger on Mrs. H. He lost count of how often the American fell, at least that’s what he tells Lestrade. Vengeance like that just doesn’t suit Sherlock.

So, we have a fall. The final problem is how to draw the conclusions concerning Sherlock’s fall. Mrs. H says ‘That was right on my bins’, a fact that would lead us to think the garbage truck theory might be right, even though I had abandoned that one already. So there still is an incredible lot of unsolved questions the American’s fall can’t solve, for example what Molly was supposed to do, but what we have now is a pattern. I love patterns. And, odd as it might seem, it makes sense. I’ll leave the final conclusions to you and my future self. Thanks for reading once again.

Brit says:

has anyone actually thought about the fact that Irene Adler had faked her own death before and he is still alive and keeping, well kept in contact with Sherlock? maybe he got help from her as well, even if it wasnt shown on the episode

Elliot Faber says:

I have the theories that all fit in…

1. Microft’s Contribution – As Sherlock jumped off the building, there was a garbage truck blocking the sight from Watson of the hit. Sherlock jumped off the building into the truck – supplied by Microft.

2. Bike Blockage – The bike was a set-up by Sherlock to knock Watson over so he could not witness the hit to the pavement. This was why it deemed so important that Watson had to stay “exactly where he was standing” to time it all perfectly.

3. The Doppelganger + Hansel and Grettel – As Sherlock landed safely inside the truck, he rolled out the dead body of Moriarte’s henchman, who had plastic surgery to make him look like Sherlock to frame Sherlock as the kidnapper of the 2 children known as “Hansel and Grettel”, this is why they looked petrified when Sherlock came in to investigate their kidnapping. As for Molly, I think the phone conversation was infact to tell Molly to somehow kill the henchman and supply it for the set-up to roll out from the truck onto the pavement. This means that I do not believe that I do not believe that Molly preformed plastic surgery on the henchman (as far out as that sounds) because how could those kidnapped children look so petrified atthe sight of Sherlock?

HateMoffat says:

ok. we all try to find out if and how sherlock survived. but let’s not forget moffat. because moffat is moffat. so the question should be whether moriarty is really dead.
i have seen a lot of people saying he made it through and faked his death with a bag of blood hidden behind his collar.
i have another theory.

remember how at the pool JM said: “No one ever gets to me…and no one ever will.”?
remember how JM COMMUNICATED with sherlock in the Great Game?
do you know Richard Brook had to exist because it would be IMPOSSIBLE to create him spontaneously?
do you remember RB was an ACTOR?

oh,yes, that’s exactly what i am thinking – we havent seen the real Jim Moriarty yet.
Richard Brook was just an actor who was paid or threatened or sth… His job was to pretend to be the consulting criminal…
i dont think moriarty would kill himself before sherlock – he would want to cherish the moment of victory.
i’ll stick to my theory – we havent met JM yet.
what do you think?

Joe says:

I actually think the first is the most satisfying explanation. Moriarty found someone who looked enough like Sherlock to fool a little girl into thinking it was him. Sherlock tracked him down and used him to finish Moriarty’s story of the fall. He did what Moriarty was planning to do to him. Forced him to commit suicide by threatening something or someone dear to him. That explains the whole “I am you” talk. It also explains why, when he came to Molly, he asked if she would help him even if he wasn’t who she thought he was. He has on his side of course that this is a man who would kidnap children to be killed slowly.

He didn’t want John to be an accessory to murder or thought he would botch the plan, so he fooled him. That is why he got him out of the building and then forced him to stay far enough away that he couldn’t tell It wasn’t really Sherlock. Then he gets him disoriented, so he can’t tell its not him from close up either. That’s the role of the bicyclist. Whether the bicyclist drugs him or not, its clear from the scene that John does not have his wits about him.

Then, I’m thinking Molly fakes the death certificate, and perhaps Mycroft makes it so that the victim never existed.

Not entirely sure about the squash ball. I’m convinced it’s important though. Maybe to fool John when he comes in to identify the body? Seems like a stretch.

maybe, sherlock did a leap of faith into the garbage truck?, or maybe spare body from Molly placed on the street beforehand, moriarty forshadowed the fall at the start, and sherlock worked on it. placing a corpse on the street, and from collision on john by bike caused disorientatation and scotoma on john and the garbage truck obscures johns view of the impact and coincedently leaves the scene as john arrives on the scene maybe with sherlock…

ellia says:

Ok-IMO the ‘out of character’ clue that the writers were talking about is Sherlock getting stressed out. He puts his hand behind his head into his collar, just after Moriarty shoots himself, and just before he jumps. The back of his neck is where the blood is coming out of the body on the ground, from under his collar. Beforehand, he asks Molly for something. What?
I reckon it was blood. She could get some easily, she has a healthy supply of dead bodies. It’s blood in some kind of breakable container, like a small, tight balloon, but not a balloon-the noise it would make is too loud. He somehow predicts that Moriarty is ‘Prepared to do anything’ to beat Sherlock, so he makes Moriarty kill himself by saying that, as long as Moriarty is around, Sherlock doesn’t have to lose. Moriarty is tricked into killing himself in this way. Then, with Moriarty out of the way, he plants the blood capsule in his collar, and uses the ball-in-the-armpit trick everyone’s talking about. He jumps into the garbage lorry Molly or some other accomplice (Mycroft? Homeless network?) has put there, and either the shock of the jolt bursts the capsule, or he just climbs out really fast and slams to the ground, breaking the capsule. Meanwhile, the accomplice (male, so not Molly actually…) delays John. When people get to Sherlock, he is lying on the ground with no pulse (due to ball-in-armpit) and blood all over his neck (due to blood capsule). Seeing no pulse, the ambulance people take him to the morgue, I guess. Maybe Molly has a hand in this. Then Mycroft sneaks the Sherlock-body out the same way as he did all of the bodies on the airoplane. Again, it is possible Molly helps in some way.

Laurel says:

Watson definitely wasn’t in on the death. I really think the most plausible would be the Molly theory and I also really doubt that Moriarty died. I also think that it is very possible that he would not know that he would in fact come out of his confrontation with Moriarty alive and very genuinely feared for the lives of Watson, Lestrade and Mrs Hudson, which is why he tried so hard to fake his death. There are however, slight problems with the Molly theory. Firstly, Molly was not to be found anywhere near the body at the time of the ‘suicide’. Secondly, it would have been a bit difficult to procure the same clothes that Sherlock was wearing, and to make the face of another person look exactly like Sherlock’s. Also, the speed at which she did it must have been astounding and somehow I doubt a simple lab assistant could do something that quickly, even with the planning of Sherlock. Fourthly, this theory does not quite explain why Sherlock needed to be in a certain position and always facing him.

xavier says:

Watson was in on the faked death. No reason other than I’ve haven’t read that possibility anywhere yet. Would be a nice twist I think.

Kadi says:

Sorry for not making clear what I thought very out of character:

In ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ Sherlock apologizes to Molly. You remember his face in the next episode when John wants him to apologize to Mrs. Hudson? Sherlock isn’t a person to apologize.

Nick Martin says:

It is interesting to note that the ‘body’ that hits the ground is parallel to the pavement, where as Sherlock clearly jumps off the building perpendicular to the building and pavement.

Personally I agree with the soft landing inside the back of a garbage truck and a faked body on the pavement with help from Molly