The finale to the grossly wonderful BBC series Sherlock, ‘The Great Game,’ has probably stirred a lot of speculation, rumours and interpretations of what is what and who is who—I’ve been chewing on my pen for the last few days, and, yesterday, I visited a friend who’s very much into the show, too, and we merrily speculated a bit more, with me taking a few more notes. (Yes, I actually, occasionally, take notes when I’m talking to her!) Anyway, here are our ideas… Warning: made of spoilers for the way things might be related to the original stories, so if you want to avoid those in order to be really and utterly surprised, don’t read this. If you don’t care: HIT THE JUMP 🙂
Sooo. First, the situation at hand: John and Sherlock are facing off with Moriarty, who strapped semtex to John’s chest, which Sherlock ripped off together with his clothes; and now Sherlock’s apparently going to fire a bullet into the semtex, blowing everything up, while there are snipers’ laser dots merrily dancing around on his and John’s bodies. Right. On to the good stuff.
- the C4 isn’t actually real
- Sherlock knows this
- there’s gotta be back-up—either because Sherlock gave Lestrade information as to his whereabouts, or because Lestrade, in a sudden onslaught of genius, kept refreshing Sherlock’s blog until he saw the message. Also, Mycroft. Yes, flipping Mycroft! He’s shadowing them, after all. He must have been keeping tabs on them the whole time, he’d have seen the message on Sherlock’s blog, he would’ve known which pool Sherlock meant, since the latter’s been pestering him and his parents with it when they were teenagers. Goodness! Also, as M. pointed out to me, Mycroft must have been put on the scent by the fact that Sherlock sent his “best man” to talk to him. He knew Sherlock wouldn’t have done that without reason—and what if Sherlock gave Mycroft the real plans, and this was just a formatted, empty, USB stick?
- since Moriarty, of course, knows that the C4 isn’t real, there’s one big problem left: the snipers on the roof. If Sherlock hasn’t realized that the bomb wasn’t real, then it could be a really awkward moment when he shoots, nothing happens, and the snipers calmly take him and John out. (Which won’t bloody happen, but, you know. For the sake of argument.) So, the snipers: they could have been replaced by Mycroft’s or Lestrade’s people while Moriarty was busy getting on everyone else’s nerves. Thus, Sherlock could even shoot the fake semtex and Moriarty could gloat and then suddenly realize that the two were still alive. Oh, he could throw a lovely hissy fit! Until a bullet hits him square in the forehead. Or not. Anyway, he’d be getting arrested, or killed, and everything’s fine.
Dull? Well, here’s Theory 2.
- the bomb is, in fact, real
- so, Sherlock could be planning to sacrifice himself after putting John closer to the exit, giving him a good chance to escape—but, somehow, I don’t think that’s it. Not that I doubt Sherlock’s capacity to actually care, I just don’t think this situation is so very desperately hopeless that Sherlock sees no way of saving himself. There are too many factors we can’t be sure about, which leaves a lot of leeway for Sherlock to be very brilliant, more brilliant than Moriarty.
- that silent conversation Sherlock and John had: John nodded. Sherlock must have a plan, and I don’t think John would’ve nodded yes to a plan that involved Sherlock dying. Most popular hypothesis about that would be: Sherlock shoots the bomb, John tackles him into the pool to use the water as protection against the explosion. Then, they’d just have to manage avoiding the falling debris and drowning. Easy.
- Sherlock fakes his own death. Which is what he does in the books—wait a minute, I hear you say, what about the Reichenbach Falls? Well. There’s a pool. There’s water. There’s a seemingly final confrontation after a good while of taunting and near assassination. Having the two simply strangle each other on a ledge wouldn’t really fit into the look and style of this contemporary Holmes, so why not have it out with semtex and guns? (Although I’m sure Sherlock would enjoy punching Jim in the face for nearly killing his Watson, but that’s another matter.) So, Sherlock could do that. But would he? More to that a bit further down…
“Then I’m sure my answer has crossed yours.”
Actually, this all depends on the titular ‘game’. Moriarty and Sherlock have a game similar to the one the cabbie presented: they have to figure out how the other is thinking, whether how they think the other’s thinking is correct, and whether the other wouldn’t anticipate that and, thus, do the exact opposite, or at least something different. This conundrum reminded me of the Naturally-I-suspected-war the Doctor and the Master have in this Comic Relief episode with Rowan Atkinson and Jonathan Pryce… Back to the point: It could all be very simple, but the thought process leading up to whatever conclusion Sherlock’s got in mind, correct or not, might just tie our brains in a knot. Just saying.
Also, it’s ironic, really: two sociopaths—though Moriarty doesn’t seem to be far from a psychopath, but I’m clearly no expert—are trying to understand another man’s thinking. Basically, empathy. Seriously? I mean, it’s mostly still based on logic, but they both have ambitions, they’re both driven by something. Feelings are a factor, and it makes the idea of the two analyzing away at each other rather hilarious, considering it’s life and death.
Anyway, this all revolves around how much Sherlock’s actually figured out before he went to the pool: he’s always had a habit of not telling Watson crucial things pertaining a case, as I’ve pointed out before—just look at The Hound of the Baskervilles for an example. Phew, wasn’t Watson pissed off. This could be where the new series picks up on this, showing how far Sherlock’s acting skills and propensity to manipulate really take him even with his closest friend. One question, though: Did he anticipate John being kidnapped to get at him? I’d say: nope. Sherlock knows that other people have emotional weaknesses, but I don’t think he’s realized how much John’s friendship means to him until this case came along, and I don’t think he would’ve factored in that Moriarty could already be prepared to use that weakness, one which he hasn’t even perceived as such yet.
Coming back to theory #3 and Sherlock faking his own death:
- It would be a nice way of working the Holmes canon into the new series. It would also give Moffat the opportunity to put us through agony and heartbreak, simply watching an unknowing John mourn, even though we KNOW Sherlock can’t be dead. I’d still be frightened of Freeman’s portrayal of a grieving John, simply because he’s so amazing, and sob into my cereal. But wouldn’t that be a tad, you know, dull? The writers could give a new spin to it, skip the part of finding out in the action proper…
- … and let John know that Sherlock’s only gone into hiding; going about his business while pretending to be devastated. Still depressing to watch, but it would make me feel a bit better. Oh, but, please, show us John’s anger when he finds out Sherlock’s been having him on (if only for a day, not for three damn years, as Holmes had in the original story)—such flashbacks can be fun!
- The only persons who know would be Mycroft, perhaps Moriarty’s henchmen, and, if we’re lucky, John. To keep up appearances, John could inherit Sherlock’s stuff and money—there must be a huge sum of money left from that cheque Sebastian had to write them after they found out about the bank’s security glitch—so he could stay in 221b Baker Street and everything.
- And Sherlock wouldn’t have to necessarily travel: he could stay in London, under a disguise; after all, we haven’t seen nu-Sherlock do that yet, you know, bring on the wigs and fake noses and beards. (With that hair, he’d really need a few very good wigs!) He could stay in touch with John, covertly still working on bringing the rest of Moriarty’s network down, while John just goes on working at the local surgery. Speaking of which: Sarah. They can’t tell her Sherlock’s still alive, too dangerous. Hmm. They could have a fall-out, what with John being annoyed with her fussing—she’ll think he’s lost his best friend, after all—and not being able to tell her he’s fine, really. Yes, I’m not that keen on Sarah, to be honest. She’d just get in the way, kinda, and canon!John’s supposed to be roaming free until he marries. Although, in today’s setting, that could just mean he’s got a girlfriend or two before settling down, but, well.
- Finally, M.’s idea of the next episode:
- explosion—John escapes—sits outside the building, watching the flames consuming it—he gets a shock blanket! -.-“
- next scene: opening of Sherlock’s last will—Sarah picks him up—they take a cab—John rambles to Sarah about missing Sherlock—the driver suddenly says something without turning around, but we all know that voice (and John will think he’s hearing things now, too)—but no-one ever looks at the cabbie, which is good, ’cause it’s Sherlock!
Who knows. It will be fun, that’s for sure.