Review of Sherlock episode – The Reichenbach Fall

Everyone loves the TV show Sherlock. It’s so clever and cool. One of the episodes though is not like the others. The last one -The Reichenbach fall. It’s stupid. In fairness to it the camera work and the effects are very clever. The story is that Jim Moriarty, Sherlock’s arch nemesis is setting him up to take a fall from grace. This reversal of roles between Moriarty and Holmes is done well with the photography. One example being where Sherlock offers Moriarty a chair but Moriarty instead takes Sherlock’s chair. Another being where Sherlock and Moriarty change their positions in their jail cells.

Now for the stupidity. Sherlock is a show that is supposed to be based upon logic and inference. This episode surprisingly lacks either. During the episode Sherlock is in the process of investigating a case of children being kidnapped. He goes about solving it by finding out what the chemical composition of a footprint. Also as part of his investigation he has to investigate a small girl who is in shock after being freed from kidnap. She screams when Sherlock enters this room. The fact that this child in shock screamed taken in combination with the cleverness of Sherlock’s deductive method is transformed into a general accusation that Sherlock engineered the kidnap in order to seem clever. That he was a fraud.


Two investigators (one being involved in forensics) suggest that this unproven claim of Sherlock engineering a kidnap to appear clever applies to all of the past cases he has been involved in. Another leap of logic! Now I have problems with the deductive method of Holmes in real life. I don’t think that it would work necessarily. The things that Sherlock uses to work something out I think would be more ambiguous. A calloused finger might indicate that a person plays guitar or something else entirely. I would imagine that several factors or indicators would be needed to deduce something properly. In the world of Sherlock though this deductive method has been shown to work over and over again. It was very publicly and undisputedly shown to work a number of times. Earlier in the episode he uses his deductive method on the whole jury much to their embarrassment. Additionally his method is one thats reasons are laid bare after he explains them.

So to suggest that his whole career was fraudulent on the basis a child’s scream and a clever deduction seem preposterous. Additionally if Sherlock faked everything then why were there earlier antagonists, battled often in public, who are not mentioned in testing this claim that Sherlock made everything up. There was a taxi driver serial killer, a chinese gang who attacked Sherlock and Watson in public, there was Frankland who invented a gas and was caught by the police. It simply does not hold up.


The logic being so poor emotion is needed to keep this convoluted plot line going. After Sherlock is asked to come to the station and refuses Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade, is sent back to arrest Sherlock. How did this escalation occur? It was because of a conversation with his higher up. His higher up gets angry that an ‘amateur’ detective has been involved in investigating a great number of police cases. The response to this issue is conflated with the separate issue of Sherlock being a ‘suspect’ in a kidnap case. First of all is he a ‘suspect’? Is there not some sort of formal process for making somebody a suspect especially when they are a member of the investigative team just doing their job. Second of all we are supposed to believe that the higher up in the police did not know that Sherlock was involved in investigating cases. This despite the fact that a massive point is made about Sherlock being in the public eye and on the news at the start of the episode.

Anyway Sherlock is arrested for no reason. Watson then punches the police higher up and Sherlock grabs a gun and they make their escape. Not a smart move for either of these ‘logical’ men. Actually committing crimes is not the best way to disprove patently absurd claims. Despite the fact that the police are chasing them though they sort of disappear and are not an issue for the rest of the episode. Watson responds to a text saying that the landlady has been shot and shows up to his apartment unmolested by the police.


Now for even more irrationality. Jim Moriarty pretends that he was an actor hired by Sherlock to commit crimes for him to solve. A few photos and cvs are supposed to create a parallel world in which Moriarty did not try and blow them up. Again emotion is used to drive the point home here where logic cannot. Sherlock refuses to respond to any of the things Moriarty is saying which he could surely do rather easily. This in spite of the fact that he later reveals that he knows that the name Richard Brook adopted by Moriarty is wordplay on himself the Reichenbach hero. Sherlock instead angrily chases Moriarty and this uncharacteristic response is what evinces the doubt that we may see flicker across Watson’s face.

So basically the episode is fucked. I feel bad though for not including enough of its good points. So I’ll do that now. First of all I adore the following lines uttered by Jim Moriarty – ‘I own secrecy’, ‘Suddenly I’m Mr. Sex’ and ‘I love to watch them competing…Daddy loves me best’. I love the camerawork -I’ve already said that. It’s so good they had to have a tea spill out of two different cups during the episode. Oh is that thinly veiled criticism. I can’t help it again somebody needs to be doing this.


(From the distilled wisdom of conversation with James Van de Waal and Timothy Costigan while watching Sherlock)



One thought on “Review of Sherlock episode – The Reichenbach Fall

  1. Mort

    A really nice review . When I finished the episode , I was actually wondering wether it had caused some major uproar in the fandom of Sherlock , and beside this review and maybe some others appearently not ….which seems weird , but anyway, thanks for the review ,cheers.

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