Take the 2-minute tour ×
Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In Sherlock, BBC Series, Season 2 Episode 3 - The Reichenbach Fall, how did Sherlock survive the fall? I've read some theories online regarding this, but in this interview, Steven Moffat says "There is a clue everybody's missed". He also says "Yes. We had to have Holmes dying in Watson's arms – and get away with that, which we have."

So how? Does anybody know yet?

share|improve this question
3  
I jsut assumed this would be answered in the next season, but it is a good question. –  DForck42 Jul 19 '12 at 14:11
    
I am glad to see this series get some traction here. Wasn't there an odd scene at the start of the episode in which Watson gets a letter full of unidentified powder? I assumed it would be a clue to something but I think it was never referred to again. –  Michael Stern Dec 25 '12 at 1:14
    
I've been sitting so close to the tv my eyes burn. Freezing frames, rewinding, writing things down, even comparing facial features. Jim's eye color, there brown. Look it up, look at the actor, whatever helps. When there on the roof his eyes are green. –  user4010 Jan 30 '13 at 10:05
1  
@Michael Stern, those were bread crumbs. It was a clue to the case of the missing children. Its how he made the connection that they'd be in the candy factory. –  Matt Mar 23 '13 at 20:13
    
I read a theory that the "clue that everybody missed" was when Sherlock sings "If I've got you..." which is a line from Parachute by Cheryl Crowe. –  anthony-arnold Jan 31 at 6:47
add comment

8 Answers

He jumped into the truck which was in front of the pavement and drove off as soon as he pushed a body out wearing his clothes or he landed in the truck and then rolled from the truck to the pavement.

Remember how he told Watson exactly where to stand? (to make sure he could only see from the correct angle)

Watson was delayed by a bicycle hitting him as he ran over. (to give Holmes and co some extra time)

Watson was pushed back by bystanders telling him not to look? (so he would not spot any inconsistencies but would see enough)

Suddenly medics appeared and rushed off with the body? (to prevent Watson, or anyone else, looking too closely)

Holmes remarking to Molly that he needed her?
(either for a spare corpse or to falsely pronounce him dead)

This fits well with the books where Holmes often keeps Watson in the dark, especially as he is a very poor liar.

share|improve this answer
    
I have been told that the hospital that Holmes jumps off is not one with an A&E dept, but only has labs and similar, therefore the medics who rush Holmes off on a stretcher are likely to be in on his plan (Baker St Irregulars in costume, etc). Can anyone confirm/deny this? Can't remember where I heard or read it, sorry - have been looking! (Hope I didn't dream it!) –  NiceOrc Jul 23 '12 at 2:21
    
"Could whomever downvoted this leave a comment to let me know why?" - Could you leave such messages as comments instead of filling the answer with unneccesary informationless clutter? –  Napoleon Wilson Aug 22 '12 at 22:34
    
No problem: Could whomever downvoted this please leave a comment to let me know why? –  Stefan Aug 23 '12 at 8:16
    
@NiceOrc: Barts hospital has no A&E (sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bartholomew's_Hospital / bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk/for-patients-and-visitors/… ), but it's not only labs, and not implausible there was an ambulance crew nearby. –  Hugo Sep 2 '12 at 16:36
1  
There are few problems with this - we can see Holmes' face as he is rolled over. So are you saying they found someone who looked like him? Also, the fall was a straight drop.. I think. Maybe I will go home and watch it once more. –  Bobby Alexander Dec 28 '12 at 7:15
show 3 more comments

I have my own suspicions about the jump, and I am inclined to believe most explanations are too inelegant for Sherlock to actually perform (and I really do use elegance as my measure of least-most probable). Thus, any explanation involving body doubles or jumping on a truck or bus, I have a hard time believing.

My theory is that Sherlock JUST DID JUMP. He did, however, have a means of breaking the fall presumably by the exact same means that helped one of the CIA operatives survive in 'A Scandal in Belgravia'. If you recall, Sherlock was asked on the phone by Lestrade:

LESTRADE: And exactly how many times did he fall out the window?

SHERLOCK: It’s all a bit of a blur, Detective Inspector. I lost count.

And from Mrs. Hudson when we hear Neilson fall from the room:

MRS HUDSON: Ooh. That was right on my bins.

Since we know that the CIA operative (Neilson) was able to survive multiple falls and he was still in standing-condition, I propose that Sherlock did the exact same thing: foreseeing that he was going to have to jump even from a height much higher than what Neilson had to do, he did so but was more severely injured. The fact that Sherlock also was sitting (rather than standing with a cane) in the final reveal supports this idea.

For me, it's certainly plausible that Sherlock gave the biker some of that hallucinogen to get Watson to believe Sherlock was dead. However, one thing I don't necessarily understand is why he would have required Watson to be alone in that 'poisoning'...in that if he also got the pedestrians nearby affected, they would further corroborate the idea he fell and died (which is what their suspicions were, likely, anyway). Of course, it does make sense that he kept Watson so far away (because then he might have identified the means Sherlock had to break his fall).

Molly assuredly was part of the plan (his means to get past the coroners and proclaimed dead) and because of how Irene got proclaimed dead as well, I have every reason to believe Mycroft was in on it, too (explaining his disinterest when he reads about it).

Lastly, I also believe that this would have had to have been convincing EVEN IF Moriarty did not shoot himself, which makes 'jumping onto a truck' less viable...not to mention it seemed clear to me his downward falling trajectory couldn't possibly have landed on the street, anyway.

On a TANGENT, one of the more popular theories I've read was that it was a double and that Hallucinogen + Facemask is how he faked his jump (akin to how the kidnapped children were afraid of Sherlock). But I refute the facemask idea for reasons of inelegance, as well...not to mention that it seems fairly clear how those children were scared. Richard Brook was a real persona created by Moriarty (as 'the Reader') in which he used the television show to tell stories of Hansel and Gretel and (though not shown on the series), with a very good likeness of Sherlock over television, condition the two orphans (and probably lots more children!) to be afraid of him when they finally saw him.

That's my theory, anyway.

share|improve this answer
5  
Is it just me or....? He beat up Neilson and when Lestrade asked he said he fell out of his window, since the beating was heavier, he asked how many times and Sherlock slyly replied multiple times? I could be wrong but this is how i remember the episode. –  Senthil Kumar Aug 4 '12 at 7:56
    
@SenthilKumar is your question about the cited quotes? If so, I took this directly from these Sherlock transcripts arianedevere.livejournal.com/26848.html. Your recollection does sound familiar, however, so I wonder why this transcript differs--luckily, it corroborates the same point. :) –  hexparrot Aug 7 '12 at 15:08
    
There is one problem with all the explanations here - How did Holmes know that he would be asked to jump from the building? If he had to arrage all this elaborate setup then he had to know. –  Bobby Alexander Dec 28 '12 at 7:24
    
I'm not sure that would be a particular question with any explanation, though.... We take it as a given that he foresaw that he had to fake his death--you and I don't yet know, but we know that Sherlock did (otherwise his talking to Molly and the throwing the agent off the roof had no purpose). We certainly couldn't have known that he would HAVE to jump from the building, but seeing as it would be the only controllable way to fake it and get distance from Moriarty (for whom he couldn't have foreseen suicide), I speculate he would've requested to jump anyway. –  hexparrot Dec 28 '12 at 14:53
add comment

My favourite theory is akin to the answer given above, but with the extra that when the cycle courier bumped into Watson he exposed him to the chemical from the previous episode that induces hallucinations of that person's worst fear.

It's been a while since I've seen the episode but I do remember that Watson got a clear look at the body on the ground, rolled it over and saw Holmes face. My theory is that by this time the body had already been swapped out, and it was the effects of the hallucinogen that made Watson see the body as Holmes when in fact it was A.N.Other.

share|improve this answer
    
That is a seriously nice idea! –  Stefan Jul 24 '12 at 14:03
    
This is a better idea than Stefans. –  Bobby Alexander Dec 28 '12 at 7:19
    
I suppose we'll find out soon enough! –  Rob Dec 16 '13 at 14:07
add comment

I don't think anyone can answer this question for sure until the next episode comes out but my observations.

Sherlock asked Molly for help but the audience didn't find out what for.

Moriarty actually told Sherlock he was going to fall!

Sherlock chose the location, not Moriarty

Could the cyclist who hit John be part of the homeless network?

share|improve this answer
add comment

There are several things that you had to notice to put this together:

  1. Sherlock asks for Molly's help. With what? I'm gonna get there in a sec.
  2. Sherlock talked to the homeless network earlier in the episode for unknown reasons.
  3. Sherlock tells Watson exactly where to stand
  4. There is a truck full of garbage bags near the place where Sherlock lands. Before the truck arrive, there is an out of service bus parked in that spot to save it. You can tell it's out of service because it's parked there for the duration of Sherlock's conversation with Moriarty, and there's even an old man banging on the door with a cane to no avail when Sherlock first stands on the ledge.
  5. Earlier in the episode, Sherlock is bouncing a ball in the hospital.
  6. Sherlock calls the reporter, Riley I think her name was...

Sherlock is on the roof of a hospital, meaning that there is no need for an ambulance. He tells Watson exactly where to stand, and he tells Watson to keep his eyes on him the whole time so that Watson will not notice anything going on at the foot of the building. Sherlock jumps off the building into the truck. He could then get out of the truck and lay on the sidewalk.

The bicyclist that hits Watson is part of the homeless network and hits him to disorient him, so he can't get to the body quickly. Also, the crowd of people that surround Sherlock's body are also homeless network people, because they make it impossible for Watson to see Sherlock's body right away.

Watson goes to Sherlock's body, and checks the pulse. He doesn't feel a pulse, but there is an explanation for this. When the ball Sherlock was bouncing is squeezed between your arm and your body, it makes the feeling of a pulse disappear from your wrist. Sherlock is rushed into the hospital, which does not let Watson accompany Sherlock, and Molly declares Sherlock dead. Watson has to believe this because there is a funeral (for closure), and there is no other explanation.

share|improve this answer
    
agree most part of it, except one. how are you sure he jumped into the truck? –  Senthil Kumar Feb 8 '13 at 4:48
add comment

The bicyclist is Holmes. He calls Watson from his cell so he could be anywhere. Man on ledge is not Holmes he wears the costume Moriarity used to scare the children and that is what he has returned to Moriarity not the key code. Homeless (Holmesless) Network and Molly play the parts in the leap of death magic act.

share|improve this answer
    
interesting, can't wait to find out! –  Senthil Kumar Dec 23 '12 at 15:39
1  
Holmes's plan also had to fool Moriarty/his sniper. If I remember correctly Holmes appeared shocked when Moriarty shot himself, meaning he didn't expect that. –  Oliver_C Dec 23 '12 at 21:40
1  
its not good idea –  Android Developer Aug 8 '13 at 5:58
add comment

He used an inflatable crashmat hidden by a low building, and a cyclist who deliberately knocked John to the ground, buying time for Molly and members of Sherlock's "homeless network" to bloody up his “dead” body and take away the crashmat crasmat, The squash ball under the arm to mask Sherlock's pulse – a technique used on stage by Gatiss's friend Derren Brown was used when watson checked for a pulse

share|improve this answer
    
Well... I don't think it's true cause Sherlock(Writers of Sherlock) was playing(?mocking) Anderson's(fans) theories. As he said everyone is critic. –  tintinmj Jan 13 at 18:09
add comment

Sherlock Holmes asks Molly (the coroner girl) for a favour knowing he would die, so he got her to take a dead body and put a mask of Sherlock on it. When Holmes jumps, there is a red bus parked underneath, filled with bags to soften his fall, and he had Molly dump a body when he would land. The reason why the biker pushed Watson over was so that he didn’t see the body switch. One can tell, because Sherlock jumps when there’s no one around and also because Watson checks for a pulse, which means that the body was dead, and not Sherlock knowing he would survive the fall.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks @theUg for the edit. Even I had given up! –  Mistu4u Jan 6 '13 at 7:35
add comment

protected by Mistu4u Feb 8 '13 at 7:20

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.