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February 4, 2014 6:38 pm  #1


The rooftop scene still makes no sense

After the Reichenbach Fall episode first aired, the internet was abuzz with speculation about how Sherlock faked his death.  To me, this was a minor mystery compared to:

What the crap happened on the rooftop before he jumped?

The scene begins with Moriarty gloating because he had beaten Sherlock.  He seemingly convinced Sherlock that the only way to save his friends from snipers was to commit suicide.  Sherlock took a few moments alone and, after somehow deducing that Moriarty had a code to call off the snipers, convinced Moriarty that not only had he not beaten Sherlock but that the only way to have a chance was to shoot himself. 

Having finished series 3, there was as far as I can tell no further explanation of this scene.  Why did Moriarty kill himself?  The motive is clear in theory: Moriarty was convinced that the only way he could win was to shoot himself.  But the details are anything but clear.  What would Sherlock had done to snatch victory from Moriarty if he hadn't shot himself?  What did "victory" even mean, anyway?  What did Moriarty mean when he said "As long as I'm alive you can save your friends"?  Were any of these questions answered in series 3?

 

February 4, 2014 6:46 pm  #2


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

It's a while since I watched it, but as I remember it, with Moriarty alive there was always the possibility of the snipers being called off.
With him dead, the snipers would not stand down under any other circumstances than Sherlock's own death.
But I do recall finding the cat and mouse scene on the rooftop quite difficult to follow.


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February 6, 2014 1:55 am  #3


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

Yeah, I think it was something like, if Moriarty was dead, he couldn't call of the snipers, or it would cut off Sherlock's access to some information that Moriarty had.

But this was one of the hardest things in the whole series for me to swallow: I have trouble seeing suicide as a victory in any story. In some mysteries a murderer, once caught, kills themselves rather than be hanged, but Moriarty wasn't in that situation. Although this turned out not to be the case, Moriarty at that point believed he had the upper hand.

And well, killing himself meant Moriarty was, well, dead. That didn't matter to him?

After all, if he had been alive, he would have been there to direct his network, and Sherlock would have had a harder time bringing it down. And maybe he would have figured out that Sherlock hadn't really died. In a sense, Moriarty's being dead made it easier for Sherlock to pull off his plan.

 

February 7, 2014 8:58 pm  #4


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

In Empty Hearse. Sherlock says he didn't anticipate Jim killing himself. I think it's to show viewers that even though Sherlock seems a bit crazy, Jim is the one who is actually crazy.

 

June 25, 2014 7:28 am  #5


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

I re-watched all nine Sherlock episodes during the last few days, and while watching The Reichenbach Fall I had some interesting thoughts about Moriarty’s death scene.  Up until today I never seriously entertained the idea that Moriaty was not really dead.

The idea seems far-fetched in view of what we saw.  But then I realized just how much we DIDN’T see, along with what we never heard anybody say.  Here’s what I mean.
 
Moriarty whips out that shiny pistol, sticks in his mouth, and supposedly blows his brains out.  Only one thing is missing.
 
The brains.
 
We all assume that the BBC simply chose not to get too graphic by showing a pink cloud of blood and brain matter spraying out the back of his head.  But what if that’s not the case. If Moriarty was faking, we didn’t see the departing brain matter because . . . it wasn’t there.
 
So, what about the spreading pool of blood that oozed out the back of Moriarty’s head?  If Moriarty was faking, where did the blood come from?
 
Actually, that would be easy to rig up.  Moriarty could have attached a wide, flat, plastic bag filled with blood against his back (under his shirt, of course) with a tube leading up to the back of his neck, plugged at the top. When he fell backwards, the impact on the bag popped the plug out and allowed the blood to squirt onto the rooftop the way we saw it do.
 
What about that big loud bang we heard from the gun?  Would any sane person actually stick a gun in his mouth and fire a blank?
 
Hmmm.  That question kinda answers itself.  If anybody is nuts enough to fire a blank into his own mouth, it’s Moriarty.  But articles I’ve read online clearly state that a blank cartridge fired from a gun pressed against any part a person’s body will cause serious damage.  And Moriarty had the muzzle close to the roof of his mouth, if not right against it.
 
I have no answer for that one – but I’m working on it.
 
And, of course, we must face the fact that Sherlock examined the body to be sure Moriarty was . . . wait, he didn’t do that!  He never even looked it again.  Moriarty could have lain there grinning like a fool, rolling his eyes around, waiting for Sherlock to jump off the roof so that the watching sniper would send word to the other assassins, calling off the “hits” on Mrs. Hudson, Watson, and Lestrade.
 
That, I have always believed, was the whole purpose of the fake suicide.  It’s the best explanation for the whole scheme.  And Moriarty might have ancipated Sherlock's intention to torture the "call off" signal out of him to save Sherlock's friends.  So, a fake suicide by Moriarty would virtually guarantee that Sherlock had to jump off the roof so that the watching sniper across the street wouldn't shoot John, and he would call the other assasines to tell them the "hits" were off.
 
Another thing I realized is that absolute nobody in the series other than John and Sherlock talk about the death of Moriarty.  We assume that it doesn’t need to be stated –  and that IS a reasonable assumption, but it seems odd that the closest anyone ever came to confirming Moriarty’s death was when Lestrade told Anderson that Sherlock’s death had been confirmed by Molly – and we know that was completely bogus.  Lestrade might have said something to Anderson like, "Moriarty blew his brains out and forced Sherlock to jump to save his friends from the assasines."
 
If Moriarty wasn’t dead, he could have simply gotten up and walked away after Sherlock jumped.  He would think Sherlock was dead on the street below -- and since the skilled street crew fixed the scene to look real very quickly, Moriarty would have seen exactly what he expected when he looked down from the roof.
 
We know from the quick montage scene of news reports early in The Empty Hearse that Moriarty’s hoax and his fake identity as Richard Brook had been publicly exposed, and that Sherlock reputation was restored.  But they don’t say a word about is how Moriarty died . . . or even state that he's dead!
 
All I’m saying, folks, is that if the producers of Sherlock plan to bring Moriarty back, they haven’t really done much to convince us he’s dead – other than show him sticking a gun in his mouth, falling backwards, and letting blood appear to leak out from the back of his head.  And the operative word here is “appear”.  When you think about, Moriarty's "suicide" would be easier to fake than Sherlocks!
 
This sort of leaves things open for Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss to work they’re creative magic and make a living Moriarty seem plausible.  For example, suppose Mycroft had his men apprehend Moriarty right there at the hospital on the day Sherlock jumped, and he’s been imprisoned ever since – unbeknownst even to Sherlock.
 
Mycroft might have succeeded in extracting info from Moriarty (with torture and drugs) and used this to assist Sherlock in his efforts to disassemble Moriarty’s criminal network.
 
But somehow Moriarty managed to escape – which doesn’t seem a bit unlikely in view of the other amazing stuff he’s done.
 
What do you think, folks?
 

Last edited by Bruce Cook (June 28, 2014 7:39 pm)


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June 25, 2014 8:30 am  #6


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

Hm. We have discussed that scene and what happend there over and over; just search for "Moriarty" in this thread.
I don't understand why everyone seems to assume Moriarty faked his death because there wasn't any brain to see, just blood. They explained why, and (in this case) I believe them. 
And Sherlock did have a look at Moriarty, twice. First time he was about 10 cm away when Moriarty shot himself and second time when he told John "I invented Moriarty."
The last reason for me why Moriarty didn't fake his death is simple: Two fakes in one scene would be just too much. 


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June 26, 2014 8:23 pm  #7


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

agree, Matt. rewatching the episode after TEH I still have a few problems with it...why was Sherlock so shocked with Moriarty´s death? it was one of the eventualities - probably the best one for Sherlock. I really wonder what would happen if Jim hadn´t kill himself..would he watch Sherlock jump down /nonsense/? would he been killed by Mycroft´s snipers /that would be not helpful for dismantling his network anyway/? or what? did Sherlock have a gun? would he kill Moriarty?


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June 26, 2014 10:33 pm  #8


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

Mrs.Wenceslas wrote:

agree, Matt. rewatching the episode after TEH I still have a few problems with it...why was Sherlock so shocked with Moriarty´s death? it was one of the eventualities - probably the best one for Sherlock. I really wonder what would happen if Jim hadn´t kill himself..would he watch Sherlock jump down /nonsense/? would he been killed by Mycroft´s snipers /that would be not helpful for dismantling his network anyway/? or what? did Sherlock have a gun? would he kill Moriarty?

Don't look now, folks, but those are all good reasons to consider the idea that (A) Sherlock had no idea Moriarty was going to shoot himself, (B) Moriarty knew full well Sherlock would consider tryng to torture the "call off" code out of him, and (C) the only way to prevent Sherlock from trying this option, rather than jumping off the roof and satisfying the waching sniper that the hits were cancelled (per Moriarty's instructions) would be to convince Sherlock his nemesis had just blown his brains out.

Come on, folks, admit it.  Which makes more sense?  Moriarty planned the destruction of Sherlock right down to a fake suicide that forced Sherlock to jump to save his friends, or Moriarty missed an obvious flaw in his otherwise ingenious plan, and he had to kill himself with the gun he conveniently had in his pocket?

The first option is more logical and it sounds so much more like the character, Moriarty, than to suddenly do Sherlock a big favor by killing himself.  And the only reason anybody is buying the idea that Moriarty had a "death wish" is because Sherlock throws in that silly idea as part of his obvously bogus explanation for his own faked suicide.  I mean, giant airbags!  Homeless people who seal off a city block!  Dead bodies that just happen to look like Sherlock?

Oh, pa-leeese!


 

Last edited by Bruce Cook (June 28, 2014 7:43 pm)


A good debate is like a fencing match — you don't have to win to get a good workout.
 

June 27, 2014 8:15 am  #9


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

Hm. Could you put your theory in two or three clear sentences, so an idiot like me understands, too? 
You don't believe the solution offered to Anderson, do I get it?
But what about Moriarty's suicide? Not real?
Thanks!


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June 27, 2014 9:07 am  #10


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

I have to say Bruce Cook that your theory is very interesting indeed. It's not perfect explanation but to me it's still better than for example assuming that Moriarty has twin brother. But one thing concerns me - is it possible to fake shooting to yourself when you're standing in about 50 cm distance in front of other person? I mean - plastic bags with blood ok, that may works but what about physiology? For example when alive people are falling backwards it's natural reflex to try to minimalise the impact of the fall. This behaviour is coded in our brains so it's very hard (if almost impossible) to learn how to fall without this security. And after that kind of fall in living organism there are always some kind of movements - not voluntarily done but as a result of nervous system taking control over body (for example pain - when you suddenly feel it and you were not expecting it there is probably no way to hide it, at least for about few seconds right after). So is it possbile that Moriarty somehow learnt how to cheat his nervous system? To me it's very unlikely. In my opinion Moriarty was pretty dead when he was falling, but well, I guess we will be 100% sure only when we see explanation in 4 season http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

Last edited by MartaSt (June 27, 2014 9:08 am)


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June 28, 2014 3:45 am  #11


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

Great points, MartaSt.  That makes two serious drawbacks to my suggestion that Moriarty faked his suicide right in front of Sherlock.  (1)  A pistol firing a blank inside someone's mouth would be almost as bad as a bullet, and (2) a person falling straight back onto a hard surface would land with enough force to cause considerable pain and injury.
 
My only defense for these real concerns would be to say that if Sherlock could devise a way to leap from a six story building, land safely, and fool both a sniper in a 2nd floor window and John Watson on the other side of the ambulance station, then perhaps the brilliant Moriarty could solve these two problems as well.
 
And remember Moffat and Gatliss came right out and said (in the Sherlock special which aired on BBC) that the explanation by Sherlock given to Anderson was their way of just “pulling the rug out one more time at the end” – one last ridiculous description of how Sherlock did it.  So, we still don’t really know how Sherlock faked his OWN suicide, much less how Moriarty faked his!
 
I wrote a long post on the “how Sherlock did it” thread describing the many, many reasons Sherlock’s little joke on Anderson couldn’t possibly be the real explanation, covering things like the fact the big blue airbag would have been in full view of the sniper across the street while the airbag was being inflated and while it was being hidden from John afterwards at the other end of the ambulance station.

http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb106/Allscifi/Sherlock/AirBag1.jpg


http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb106/Allscifi/Sherlock/5515df0b-7330-496d-a6e3-88d945885776.jpg

I still maintain that a simple fireman’s safety net could have been pulled from the laundry truck, set up, used to catch Sherlock, and then stowed back before the truck drove off – all done so quickly that by the time Moriarty looked down (if he had NOT shot himself) he would have seen what appeared to be a dead Sherlock on the sideways.
 
http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb106/Allscifi/Sherlock/Browderlifesafetynet4.jpg

 So, all I’m saying is that Moriarty had his own cleverly planned fake suicide to perform so that Sherlock would witness the removal of his one-and-only way to save his friends when he thought Moriarty was dead.
 
http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb106/Allscifi/Sherlock/Sherlock1-1.jpg

 
http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb106/Allscifi/Sherlock/Sherlock4-1.jpg

 It just makes sense.  Moriarty’s “death” made it absolutely necessary for Sherlock to appear to commit suicide for the benefit of the watching sniper.  We saw that sniper calmly packing up to leave after Sherlock fell.  He certainly was not “persuaded not to make the attempt” by Mycroft’s men, as Sherlock smugly told the gullible Anderson.
 
http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb106/Allscifi/Sherlock/Sniper.jpg

 I think we’d all agree that Moffat and Gatiss wouldn’t suggest that Moriarty was still alive and then palm off some disappointing revelation like, “It’s a new villain just taunting the world with an elaborate hoax”.  I’m sure that fans of the series would much rather learn that Moriarty fooled Sherlock, just as Sherlock intended to fool Moriarty and the sniper (and John, for reasons none of us have figure out yet).
 
The first episode in series four might reveal the actual method Sherlock used to fake his suicide – a simple but effective way of doing it like the one I described in the other thread.  Such a method of performing a stunt like that would seem obvious in retrospect – just like Sherlock’s famous deductions do after they’ve been explained (in the  books at least).
 
But if Moffat and Gatiss can also surprise us with the revelation that Moriarty cleverly faked his suicide as well, the fans might not complain as loudly (like Anderson did when he said, “Well . . . that’s not how I would have done it.”)
 
And we get the added treat of having Sherlock and Moriarty face each other in a new battle of wits.  I was very disappointed in Charles Augustus Magnussen.  He worked twice as hard to be evil and brilliant, but he only managed to be snotty and obnoxious.

Anybody agree?

(As you can tell from the above long-winded post, I just enjoy presenting a strong case for my ideas, and sometimes the results make me sound like a pompous know-it-all.  Hope I didn't put everybody to sleep.)


 

Last edited by Bruce Cook (June 30, 2014 7:01 pm)


A good debate is like a fencing match — you don't have to win to get a good workout.
 

June 28, 2014 7:31 am  #12


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

I have to disagree with you on CAM, I thought he was brilliant.
But I love Moriarty and if it was the twin who died on the roof and Moriarty is still around,I won't mind!


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June 28, 2014 2:50 pm  #13


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

interesting, Bruce! have to think about it!


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June 28, 2014 3:56 pm  #14


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

Bruce Cook wrote:

 We saw that sniper calmly packing up to leave after Sherlock fell.  He certainly was not “persuaded not to make the attempt” by Mycroft’s men, as Sherlock smugly told the gullible Anderson.
 

That. This is one of the reasons that prevent me from buying that last theory. I mean, a couple of things just seem to be far-fetched but I still would have been willing to believe them. But the snipers thing. No.

I can perfectly imagine Mycroft having his men locate the snipers and stop them, but then, what would be the point of the fall? If Sherlock knew Mycroft handled the situation and that John, Lestrade and Mrs Hudson were out of danger, he had no reason to jump. Or at least, I can't see it.

Yet, he jumps, and it indeed doesn't seem to me that the snipers are stopped in any way.
 


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June 28, 2014 4:27 pm  #15


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

Though he still needs to disappear to deal with the network.


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June 28, 2014 4:59 pm  #16


Re: The rooftop scene still makes no sense

Did he? I mean, is Sherlock the only person in the world who could have done it? There're many agents in the secret services and Sherlock's work is mostly about solving puzzles, not spying on people and arresting them. It would make more sense if he had to jump (and arrange that whole play) to protect John, Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson but he also decided he'd use his fake death and deal with Moriarty's network.

And I agree with Bruce and Punch about the snipers. I think Moftiss came up with the explanation before they shot The Reichenbach Fall but not in detail - and the part with the snipers was added later.


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