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At the end of the second season of Sherlock (from BBC 1), we see that sherlock tries to fake his death. The next session begins with an explanation of his method (using a rope and Moriarty's corpse). But there is another explanation which Sherlock reveals himself: he jumped on a crash mat, a similar-looking, dead person is brought to the pavement, and Sherlock replaces him. I'm just confused!

  1. Which one was the real explanation?
  2. Why did he have to fake his death? Moriarty was already dead, and Mycroft had convinced the snipers to cancel their plan by phone calls. Who was Sherlock trying to fool?
  3. Why did they use the similar-looking corpse (according to Sherlock's own explanation)? When Watson got to the corpse, it had been replaced by Sherlock! There was no need to this part of the plan.
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marked as duplicate by Andrew Martin, Tom, Paulster2, GµårÐïåñ, Ankit Sharma Mar 28 at 12:36

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1. All explanations could be fake - To quote Mark Gatiss, who wrote the episode: We’ve left in the possibility that Sherlock is lying his ass off. –  Oliver_C Mar 27 at 18:39
    
2. Sherlock faked his death so he could covertly take out Moriarty's network. - But he didn't need to actually jump to fool Moriarty's men because none of them was there to witness it. Plus, the 'Lazarus solution' only worked when viewed from the exact spot John was standing in. I'd say it appears as if the actual 'fall' was designed to fool John alone. –  Oliver_C Mar 27 at 18:40
    
3. The way I see it Sherlock could have just lain down on the sidewalk himself. - Instead he runs out of John's sight so a man can put a bit of blood on his forehead, which seems pointless though, because once he does lay down on the sidewalk (replacing the corpse) his helpers put blood on his face again. - And there is no blood to be seen when the corpse is lying on the ground. The blood is poured on the sidewalk after the corpse has been removed and Sherlock lies in its place. –  Oliver_C Mar 27 at 18:42
    
@Oliver_C Any objections to put that into an answer? –  Sonny Burnett Mar 27 at 21:20

2 Answers 2

1.Which one was the real explanation?

No one knows. It has never been revealed.

2.Why did he have to fake his death? Moriarty was already dead, and Mycroft had convinced the snipers to cancel their plan by phone calls. Who was Sherlock trying to fool?

He was trying to fool the snipers (possibly others who have not been revealed yet). I do not recall Mycroft convincing the snipers to cancel their plan? Even if he did Holmes would not have been sure.

3.Why did they use the similar-looking corpse (according to Sherlock's own explanation)? When Watson got to the corpse, it had been replaced by Sherlock! There was no need to this part of the plan.

If this had been part of the plan then Watson might still have seen the body falling. They do not seem to make a big deal of it in the series but Holmes has a high respect for Watson's intellect. If Watson had noticed that the falling body looked different he might well have seen through the entire plan.

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In Sherlock's explanation Mycroft sends teams after the snipers to "persuade them to reconsider". The sniper on John being taken out is essential for the plan to work since otherwise the sniper overlooking John, and therefore the hospital, may well have seen the fakery. –  Nigel Harper Mar 27 at 16:34
    
I thought that the directors stated they had not provided the definitive explanation of what happened and therefore this might or might not have been done? –  Stefan Mar 27 at 16:49
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I assume that point 2 was specifically relating to Sherlock's explanation as given, since that's the only way it makes sense. You're right that we don't know for sure whether Sherlock's explanation is true. –  Nigel Harper Mar 27 at 16:55
    
Oh, sorry - yes I see where you are coming from now. –  Stefan Mar 27 at 17:00

1.Which one was the real explanation?

So far it's been left deliberately ambiguous. It may never be revealed. Moffat is like that.

2.Why did he have to fake his death? Moriarty was already dead, and Mycroft had convinced the snipers to cancel their plan by phone calls. Who was Sherlock trying to fool?

The world in general and Watson in particular. Sherlock wanted to go undercover and take Moriarty's global network apart in detail - the network presumably is still a major threat even with its head removed. To do that he needed the world to think he was dead.

That at least is the in-universe explanation as I understand it - whether you believe it or not is up to you.

3.Why did they use the similar-looking corpse (according to Sherlock's own explanation)? When Watson got to the corpse, it had been replaced by Sherlock! There was no need to this part of the plan.

According to Sherlock's explanation John is allowed to see "Sherlock's" corpse from a distance before he's run over by the cyclist to delay him. Real Sherlock is at this point being made-up with fake blood so the similar-looking corpse is used as a stand in.

It does seem a bit overkill to go to the trouble of tracking down a Sherlock-shaped corpse for that brief cameo; again whether you believe it or not is up to you.

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