BBC Sherlock Fan Forum - Serving Sherlockians since February 2012.

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

October 31, 2012 5:27 pm  #61

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

But he asks the dying cabbie if he chose the right one. I got the imrpression he needed confirmation, although, being Sherlock, he might have just wanted to receive some acknowledgement or admiration. We know how much he likes John to tell him how brilliant traditional meaning) he is.


October 31, 2012 6:27 pm  #62

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

veecee wrote:

But he asks the dying cabbie if he chose the right one. I got the imrpression he needed confirmation, although, being Sherlock, he might have just wanted to receive some acknowledgement or admiration. We know how much he likes John to tell him how brilliant traditional meaning) he is.

Yes, right, I forgot about his question. But then again, the cabbie dies. It would not be like Sherlock to do an analysis in the lab, which would probably take a lot of time, only to be able to run around and tell everybody about the outcome. It was only important for the moment. Perhaps he even fears that it could undermine his self-confidence if he turned out to have chosen the wrong one, so it might be better not to know.
(That's just my opinion, of course. And I could probably make up ten thousand other reasons if you want me to. )

He’s got a dog. We go to the pub on weekends. I’ve met his mum and dad …
… and his friends and all his family and I’ve no idea why I’m telling you this.

November 20, 2012 9:47 pm  #63

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

On the one hand I think this:

I don't actually see Sherlock as being that much of a risk taker. He analyses things, calculates the risk, then determines whether or not he can succeed, and if he believes he can succeed he goes with it. This is why he had so much planning for the Fall. He wouldn't just leap off the roof and hope for the best (because yes you could survive a fall like that but it's a RISK). He did everything he could possibly do to eliminate the risk. Yes, he enjoys danger and gets a thrill from dangerous situations, but he is still sensible and intelligent enough to know when to back down if the risk is too great.

On the other hand I think this:

The example I gave above was using Reichenbach, which is after he's had around 2 years in John's company. At the end of Pink he was a different Sherlock, more of a risk taker, closer to his addiction days and more of a live wire, likely to spin out of control and needing someone like John to keep his feet on the ground occasionally. So maybe he really would just take the pill not knowing whether he was going to live or die.

I do think both pills are poisonous though. There's just no way the cabbie could "outlive 4 people" would be too risky and highly unlikely that he would win every time, regardless of what he says about knowing how people think. He probably has an antidote that he takes as the others are dying.

Eventually everyone will support Johnlock.

Independent OSAJ Affiliate
     Thread Starter

December 25, 2012 12:19 pm  #64

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

veecee wrote:

But he asks the dying cabbie if he chose the right one. I got the imrpression he needed confirmation, although, being Sherlock, he might have just wanted to receive some acknowledgement or admiration. We know how much he likes John to tell him how brilliant traditional meaning) he is.

With John´s shot the vicious circle was broken, Sherlock was no longer attempted to take a pill. And, after asking the cabbie which pill was the right one, he realized that he had not much time anymore for questions. The cabbie was dying. And there was something much more important to find out: The name of the sponsor, the name of the fan of Sherlock Holmes. That´s for me why he wasn´t anymore interested in the pills.
By the way, I never doubted about two different pills in the game with Sherlock  - the cabbie had nothing to loose anymore, could be a nicer death than a sudden one.
Why has he "won" against his last four victims then? Because he maybe never played with them: I was always asking myself why there were never two different glasses with one pill in each like in the game with Sherlock. You always saw the victims with one glass and two pills in it. I assumed that the "chess play" was only made up for Sherlock (maybe because the consulting criminal wanted it like that). The other victims were "convinced" by the cabbie´s gun to take one pill out of that glass (this he admits). No game, no talk, no psychological play maybe. Just: "Take a pill, so have a 50:50-chance or get shot". He possibly never "offered" them to take the other one by himself. Or is there another explanation for the two pills in one glass? I never understood that really.

Last edited by anjaH_alias (December 25, 2012 1:12 pm)


December 28, 2012 12:31 pm  #65

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

Maybe I'm missing something important, but I was just thinking, was the cabbie actually a genious? Because he could only be Moriarty's voice, Sherlock didn't know Mr. M by that time, but the cabbie was talking like a genious and offering a game that SH didn't know how to play, so he could consider the man a genious. Moriarty had convinced the poor cabbie with money and that "outliving other people" crap, and he played the role Moriarty wanted him to play.
Well, what we know about Conan Doyle's James Moriarty is that he arranges everything and leaves the practice to others. In that episode Jim was testing Sherlock for the first time, I think the situation was under his control, everything was planned by the real genious behind the curtain. I don't think he gives a s*it about the cabbie's life, specially when he's already dying, so he said which was the good pill, but there wasn't one.
Lastly I don't believe Sherlock was taking the pill, and when the cabbie says the name (which is not a genious reaction) he stops thinking of the pills and starts thinking of the biggest game (whatever it is, but I know he figured it out.)
I'll keep confused, and I'm not convinced by the vacant ending. I'm going to watch it again right now.

“The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.” HP and the Deathly Hallows

"Why's it always the hat photograph?"The Reichenbach Fall

July 8, 2013 4:37 am  #66

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

(Sorry i'm a bit late on the discution but this has been bugging me for a while and reading all of the remarks made me realise this..)
Looking back at the final scene, I noticed something (probably overinterpreted but anyways )...
When Sherlock picks up the pill which he thinks is the right one, there is a split second, right before he crosses the screen, that the cabby has an uneasy look on his face... As though he didn't think Sherlock would chose that one. And after that, you can see him contemplating the pill.
It seemed a bit weird to me because he played the game so many times, and he says he knows exactly what move the other ''player'' is going to make, but then, at that moment, he seems surprised or at doubt... It looks like he's going ''Oh sh*t.'' in his head. And then, when he gazes at the pill, he seems at peace, as if he knows he's going to die but he's fine with it... 

Which would look like Sherlock took the right pill. (Duh  )

Last edited by Shophie (August 8, 2013 5:56 pm)


September 1, 2013 4:01 am  #67

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

Sherlock surely took the right pill. The cab driver was meming to the one in front of Sherlock with all his body language since the beginning insiting him to take it. he also took it out of his pocket before the other to make his victims give it more importance. add to that he pushs it in front, while the other sat quietly and descretly in the back since the beginning. All these mind/psychological games added together create strong attachement to the wrong one and make it the default choice. This is why the man survived 4 times. Besides that, Holmes wouldn't let the man die without getting the answer or without having the pills analysed to decrypt the criminal mind better. and he got it when the man, out of shame did not answer which is the one. so quickly and intellegently Holmes shifted the question to know about Moriarty.


September 1, 2013 4:31 am  #68

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

It was a 50/50 chance and Sherlock was matching wits with someone who was suicidal.  Who's to say the cabbie didn't have two poison pills?  Sherlock wasn't an average victim...he was someone that wanted to play the cabbie's game.  I thought the entire point of that scene was to show how wreckless Sherlock could be with his own life in pursuit of excitement- if he's not in danger, that negates the whole purpose of that scene.  Sherlock was gambling with his life...there was just as much chance that he picked the wrong pill as he did the right one.

__________________________________________________________________Bigby: Will you shut up?
Colin: Well, maybe if my throat wasn’t so parched, I wouldn’t have to keep talking.
Bigby: Wait, that doesn’t make se-
Coline: Just give me a drink, please.

November 7, 2013 7:31 pm  #69

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

After watching for the first time today, I went rushing off to find a forum so that I could join the 'two poison pills, antidote in his pocket' crowd. And I like the theory about the game itself being only for Sherlock, not the others--that makes sense to me.  
To add an additional layer of thought--I imagine that the killer murdered not only to confirm his own intelligence in a concrete way, but also in order to prepare himself for death by watching the life fade from the eyes of others in the way that he himself planned to die. I believe that any surprise registering on the killer's face when Sherlock picked up the bottle seemed to be mixed with disillusionment, and the reason for those emotions was the adrenaline-fueled knowledge that (a) Sherlock hadn't figured out his real game, leaving him victorious; having proven his intellectual capability, and (b) that means no one can beat him, which means that it's time to die. If the best out there still underestimated him, still couldn't get it, then what's the point in going on playing the game? So I don't believe he intended to take the antidote this time. I think he intended to die with Sherlock, and let Sherlock find out that way. To look into his dying eyes and have that satisfaction of the poor cabbie beating the great genius.  

I think Watson most definitely did save Sherlock's life in shooting the killer. I think the real trick to the cabbie's 'choice between life and death' game was this: choose the pills, you die. Choose the gun, you live. Sherlock almost won, because he figured out that the gun was a bluff... but perhaps a little hubris crept in, which the cabbie seemed eager to stimulate.  Disappointing and thrilling at the same time, to know that your desired punishment will elude you; bittersweet to find that your mental script for suicide and final relief has not been followed... and to know at the same time that you've proven yourself worthy by defeating a great genius.   
This proves that even the most intelligent person can make mistakes, and is in need of friends. I think it's a very fitting theme for a modern Sherlock.    

Last edited by Wynne (November 7, 2013 7:36 pm)


November 21, 2013 2:58 am  #70

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

I would have taken the gun, becuase If I were to choose and die, I would rather have my family know that I didn't die by choice.


November 21, 2013 4:56 am  #71

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

EverEvi wrote:

I would have taken the gun, becuase If I were to choose and die, I would rather have my family know that I didn't die by choice.

Clever idea, EverEvi! But we know that the cabbie's gun was just a toy gun. So he would have insisted his victims chose a pill anyway. Which he would have taken care of it was a poisenous one. (If not both of them were poisenous!)

John: "Have you spoken to Mycroft, Molly, uh, anyone?"
Mrs Hudson: "They don’t matter. You do."



November 30, 2013 9:36 am  #72

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

Ok, so I only have watched 1 episode and this situation really bugged me.  I think the way I see it,  both the pills are poison, the game is getting the people to take a pill.  Obviously even with the gun turning out to be fake the Cabby still manipulated Holmes to going that far with the pill.. His previous statements all still line up with the real game being getting the people to take the pill. "He knows how everyone thinks"  There was no "Gun or Pill" win either in this scenario as the gun is only a prop to get them to chose a pill.  The real way to win was to not even pick. The Cabby wanted control and he wanted to intrigue Holmes enough to make sure he "won".  The only real way to break people like that is to not allow them to manipulate you. Think trolls here as well, they love it when they can a reaction but have more issues when you just straight up wont take their crap and call them out.  ( at least in my experience this has been the case) 

Also to note: The Cabby was no threat to murder someone in cold blood.  His whole emphasis and thrill was that he only "talked" to people and they committed suicide. If he kills outside of that context it hurts his ego and it ruins his "high" or "thrill" he gets from it. 

Last edited by OrganizedChaos (November 30, 2013 9:39 am)


December 1, 2013 7:16 pm  #73

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

first thing I thought when I saw two pills was 'they are both poisonous, don't fall for that Sherlock!'
and I still think that they were somehow both poisonous. Either it was not harmful for cabbie or he was changing his pill while distracting his prey so that he was able to "outlive" four people. 

I had this strange feeling that cabbie was too confident during the game to have any odds of dying from the pill. Either he was pretty much sure that he could guess how much bluffs his opponent would expect from him or, more probably, he was not plaing a fair game. Sherlock choose correctly when he said I choose gun. But then cabbie managed to change his mind by questioning his smartness. That's my opinion.

Last edited by Lintu (December 1, 2013 7:18 pm)


December 4, 2013 4:46 pm  #74

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

I don't think this trick relies on two poisonous pills. Derren Brown does this trick in quite a lot of his shows. Not with poisonous pills, obviously, but with cards or ten pound bills or something. He even does the talk about the double bluff and triple bluff.

I don't know how the trick works and I'm too lazy to look it up, but I think it's a standard mentalist trick, not something that Derren has invented. What I do understand: the move is crucial, and so is the talk, otherwise it's chance. But while most people will make the same decision it's not fool proof so Jeff was betting his life, but not at a 50/50 base, probably more about 25/75 or something.

I guess most people suspect a double bluff so they go to the object that was blatantly pointed out to them to catch out the magician (that would make Sherlock's move the 'correct' one). When the game is played multiple times, it's about breaking a pattern, most people seem to create a pattern (either same or alternating) and breaking that in the third round. But as I said, I don't really know how it works, I'm sure it's available online for the truly obsessed. 

About all the psychology stuff, this part of the story makes more sense in the pilot, in which Sherlock was really forced to make a choice and John saved him. I think the rescue lost quite a lot of its power now Sherlock has free will to take the pill. But then the twist with the gun was so cool that it made up for it.


December 4, 2013 4:57 pm  #75

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

Interesting that you know a connection with Derren Brown because of setlock.
Mere psychology? Suggest the poisened pill so the victim chooses the other? If the victim chooses correctly pretend that you are perfectly o.k. with his decision to make him change his mind.
Something like that?


December 4, 2013 8:19 pm  #76

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

@Be Well, I was actually reverse engineering, taking it as a given that Sherlock would choose the correct one, I'd have to see how Derren does it again, but I believe his 'victims' tend to take the one that is obviously suggested to them. In my mind it goes something like this:

Magician gives the subject two choices (two cups with one ball under it or whatever) one of which is 'winning' and one 'losing'. 
Before the subject picks, the magician indicates that one is the winning one. He also says that he could be lying, it might be a bluff, a double bluff or a triple bluff. 
The subject contemplates and (suspecting a double bluff) chooses the option that the magician pointed to as the winning one (and loses). 

So yes, that would be just psychology and no trickery involved other than showmanship. There's obviously still an element of chance but it's a lot better than 50/50. (I just remember, I've also seen him do it the other way around, so it's playing with expectations and knowledge and a bit more complicated than I just painted, but yeah.)

And as you pointed out, Moftiss are aware of what Derren does, not only the setlock connection, also the mind palace is from his book, so why not this trick too? He's pretty well known in Britain and I believe Mark Gatiss knows him personally. 


December 4, 2013 8:42 pm  #77

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

I've just never had any doubt that Sherlock picked right.


December 5, 2013 8:25 am  #78

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

(Massive Derren Brown fan here...just saying).

Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.

December 5, 2013 8:35 am  #79

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

if this is right it is a mind game. Some kind of power play to manipulate the opponent into doing what he wants. Derren Brown is influenced by NLP. Quite controversial subjekt, but interesting to research.
I found a little film on you tube where Brown does the trick with cards. The "victim" has to guess  the word on a card. No or Yes.
A bit similar to our pill game. Browm tries to influence the victim into yes or no. He also tries to guess what the victim might say.
The problem is that you can be too clever and or suspect that the victim is cleverer than you think he is.


December 5, 2013 2:44 pm  #80

Re: Which pill was the poisonous one??

@Davina Me too!!

@Be Yeah, it doesn't look exactly foolproof so you must be a bit of a suicidal murderer to do this trick with lethal capsules. Though IRL, Derren also does it in his liveshows, so I guess it's relatively reliable or he has a plan b and c or something. 


Board footera


Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum