How Sherlock Survives

The person that falls is not Moriarty’s dead body.  It is clear that the person falling is both (a) Sherlock and (b) moving (which rules out the cunning mask hypothesis)

As Watson runs around the corner (and gets knocked over (deliberately) to stop him getting too close) we see a lorry with a green and white cover on it. This lorry has a crash mat on it which Sherlock jumps onto. He then jumps from this onto the pavement and uses a blood bag (possibly provided by Molly) to make his injury seem bad. He is taken into the hospital and Molly arranges a replacement body which is buried.

It is notable that Sherlock commands Watson to “go back” and “stay where he is” which means that Watson is behind a lower building that conceals the actual point of impact.

It is also noteworthy that Moriarty talks about Sherlock heading for a fall, but that Sherlock chooses the venue for the denoument as being as specific high place, which gives him the opportunity to arrange the lorry with the crash mat in anticipation of this.


I am not sure, however, that Moriarty is dead.

9 thoughts on “How Sherlock Survives

  1. I think it’s a rubbish lorry covered in bin bags, but otherwise totally agree. I think Mycroft was in on it and arranged the bicyclist and the truck (hence why he looked thoughtful rather than distressed at the end). Quite possibly, Molly swapped Moriarty’s body from the roof for Sherlock’s; I don’t think Molly could do this without secret service help. (I reckon Moriarty _is_ dead.)

    I also think it was deliberate that, twice during the scene on the roof, Sherlock names his friends as Watson, Mrs Hudson and LeStrange without mentioning either Mycroft or Molly… I think he was drawing attention away from them.

    • But S3 will be boring if Moriarty is dead and they wouldn’t do that to us. You’re right however that I have failed to account for Mycroft’s influence.

      My alternative theory is that Sherlock decided to play the percentages based on the fact that he would be hitting a pavement outside one of the best hospitals in the world.

      • I _think_ in the books, Moriarty doesn’t appear again after he and Sherlock fall to their deaths at the Reichenbach Falls, so I don’t think he’ll be in S3. I await correction, though!

  2. Whilst I agree with all of that (and worked it out much like you, by watching again), I will make one technical point. Sherlock tips himself off the roof with zero horizontal speed (i.e. dropping, not a running leap) and therefore is unable to make the distance to the truck. Compare with previous scenes looking straight down at the street. Totally incapable of gaining that much horizontal distance, across the very wide pavement. Not a hole in the plot, just a hole in director’s understanding of parabolas.


  3. Do you know what? That worried me too. He needed to launch himself out with a significant horizontal component. But like you I have assumed directorial newtonian dynamical incomptence rather than seeing this as a flaw in my theory

  4. I’m with you on the fall. Not sure about Moriarty. He does disappear in the books, but after a much longer build up in his relationship with Holmes.

    I was quite intrigued by the possibility that the actor chappie claiming he was hired to play Moriarty was telling the truth. Along with the screaming girl, that would have given us two people ID’ing Sherlock as a villain, which was leading me towards notions of doppelgängers and even the Fight Club hypothesis.

    But his suicide scene seemed to rule that out.

  5. I watched it again last night. I still find it hard to believe how Sherlock could co-ordinate all that from the top of roof. (Was it actually Barts they filmed on? Also, I didn’t think Barts had an A&E department…)

    Also – and I can’t be assed to check it out right now – I thought Watson saw Holmes body on the ground before he was knocked over.

    And I am still surprised that Watson wouldn’t ask to see the body, being a doctor and all…

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