I’m sure you all are weary unto death of hearing about Sherlock Holmes, so feel free to skip this post and go back to the usual internet findings and book chatter.  For my own enjoyment, I wanted to do one more treatise on the Sherlock series as a whole and specifically on the last episode.  I enjoy writing for writing’s sake, whether or not I have a readership—some people like the sound of their own voice, others like the keystrokes of their own writing, evidently. 😛  If you want to read the short version and have done, here’s an LJ user who gives 10 reasons you should be watching Sherlock.  Can’t say I disagree with any particular point.

Since I already flogged the first episode to death in my first, very lengthy review, I’ll hop along straight to the second episode.  The second episodes of both seasons have been my least favorites.  Still good, but the premiers of both seasons set the bar so high that they make the middle episodes look bad by comparison.  (Incidentally, the BBC Sherlock creators may sue CBS for being dirty rotten copy cats, trying to cash in on the tremendous success of the British production.)

I found the second episode to be pretty predictable, especially compared to the delightfully convoluted plot of the first episode.  I guessed about the sugar before Sherlock did (though we were both wrong, as it turned out), and I figured out that the drug was actually in the fog before he did.  (People kept mentioning the fog: Fletcher said it was foggy when he saw the hound, Henry said Dewer’s Hollow always gave one a cold and fearful feeling, it was foggy in the back lab where John goes—and in which Frankland was always careful to wear a gas mask when we see him in the lab—and the way the fog poured out in the climactic scene pretty much clinched it.)  One’s audience should NEVER be quicker than Sherlock Holmes, writers…make it harder.  I found Henry to be completely annoying and uninteresting, which probably didn’t help my feelings about the episode in general.

Still, there were some lovely scenes (and scenery) and some very witty lines and amusing moments.  The bell rings at the flat.  John: “Single ring.”  Sherlock: “Maximum pressure just under the half second.”  John and Sherlock simultaneously: “Client.”  I desperately want to use Sherlock’s response to the tired old “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you” joke: “That would be tremendously ambitious of you.”  My deep and abiding love for Mrs. Hudson persists: “How about a nice cuppa, and perhaps you could put away your harpoon.”  John pulling rank was glorious, as was him calling Sherlock out on his coat collar habits and cheek bones.  John:  “Oh, please, can we not do this, this time?”  Sherlock: “Do what?”  John: “You being all mysterious with your cheekbones and turning your coat collar up so you look cool.”  Sherlock: “… I don’t do that.”  John: “Yeah you do.”

Watching the characters and their friendship develop is intriguing.  Sherlock’s still a jerk, but he is at least occasionally aware of being so.  John has become the moral compass of sorts, and is also learning to give as good as he gets.  John:  “You being funny now?”  Sherlock: “I thought it might break the ice a bit.”  John: “Funny doesn’t suit you.  I’d stick to ice.”  In spite of their grumbling, both are aware of the other’s value, and I’ll bet every viewer said (or at least thought), “Aww” when Sherlock says, “I don’t have friends.  I’ve just got one.”  This episode cements the friendship, making it all the more poignant when it’s tested in the last episode.

I also enjoyed the multitudes of references to the original Holmes stories scattered in this episode: Sherlock harpooning the dead pig (which Sam had to remind me was in one of the stories, as I had quite unaccountably forgotten), Sherlock looking inside the slipper over the fireplace for cigarettes, the fake-out with first saying he was going to send John alone to the moors for the case, the Grimpen Minefield instead of the Grimpen Mire, etc.  I love how they have Sherlock silhouetted on top of the rock outcropping in Dartmoor; it’s a nice nod to the novel where Watson sees Holmes on top of a rock, but doesn’t know that it’s him.  I may, possibly, have cheered when Sherlock utters a variation on the famous line, “Once you’ve ruled out the impossible, whatever remains – however improbable – must be true.”

While I might have taken issue with a few things in the second episode, the brilliance of the third one thoroughly eclipsed my complaints.  This series is very cohesive, and the third episode felt more like the chapter of the novel that ties the rest of the book together rather than a standalone story.  The character development towards which we’ve been building for two seasons reaches fruition in this episode, and not just for Sherlock and John.  This second season, in general, sees the development of a lot of characters who were rather two-dimensional but nonetheless enjoyable in the first season: Mrs. Hudson, Molly, Lestrade, and Mycroft.  Each one surprises you at some point in the season, and you realize there is far more depth there than you suspected.  Moriarty was always a deep, complex character, but we really get to see more of that in the last episode.

Before I delve long-windedly into the characters, there were a few other little things that I wanted to point out that I adored.   I reread Doyle’s story “The Final Problem” after seeing this episode, and it’s lovely to see the deep, abiding love the writers of this show have for these stories and the way they weave all of the references into the show.  In last season’s finale, Moriarty and Holmes have an exchange at the pool that is pulled word for word from the first such standoff in Doyle’s story: “‘All that I have to say has already crossed your mind,’ said he.  ‘Then possibly my answer has crossed yours,’ I replied.”

I like Turner’s paintings, so I was particularly pleased to see them work his painting in as a way to tie everything together and tie it to the original Doyle story in which Holmes “dies” at Reichenbach Falls.  (Incidentally, the ledge at the real Reichenbach Falls has a plaque written in English, German, and French that reads, “At this fearful place, Sherlock Holmes vanquished Professor Moriarty, on 4 May 1891.”)

I’m not sure if the tea theme was just a neat visual motif to bring back throughout the episode, or if it meant something more.  In the opening scenes, the security guards at the Tower of London, the director of the Bank of England, and the prison director are all drinking tea, and all three spill the tea in some way when they discover the break-ins.  After Moriarty walks free, he and Sherlock drink tea during their odd, civilized, vicious little sparring match at 221B.

(Unrelated to anything at all in the rest of this post, I confess that I nearly fell out of my chair when Sherlock climbs the bookshelves to look for the planted bug.  I had a bizarre and vivid dream months ago about climbing bookshelves in a gigantic library with Sherlock Holmes.)

On to the characters, starting with Molly because I feel like it.  This season took Molly from being a relatively flat character to being a fascinating one, and the scenes in the third episode made it clear that not only has Sherlock been underestimating her, the audience has been as well.  Molly: “You look sad when you think he can’t see you. Are you okay? And don’t just say you are, because I know what that means, looking sad when you think no-one can see you.”  Sherlock: “You can see me.”  Molly: “I don’t count.”  For all of her awkwardness, she understands Sherlock’s character on a level that surprises everyone.  She understands him and still loves him in a way, in spite of the cruel and unthinking way he treats her.

He says to her later, “You’re wrong, you know.  You do count. You’ve always counted, and I’ve always trusted you. But you were right. I’m not okay.”  Molly: “Tell me what’s wrong.”  Sherlock: “Molly, I think I’m going to die.”  Molly: “What do you need?” I would be a little suspicious that he might just be saying that because he needs her help (Sherlock’s not Moriarty when it comes to playing people, but he still has a knack for it), except that he asks her, “If I wasn’t everything that you think I am – everything that I think I am – would you still want to help me?”  He still gives her a chance to back out.  And she just responds, “What do you need?”  Molly gives unconditionally, and has been doing so now for years, evidently.  It would seem that Sherlock finally has realized that.

Lestrade also really became a fully rounded character in this series, and the actor did a great job of portraying the simultaneous admiration and exasperation that the character feels working with Sherlock.  He has a job to do when Sherlock is under suspicion, and he does it; but he still puts in a call to John, telling him that they’re on the way to arrest Sherlock.  Lestrade is in an incredibly difficult position, and his career is on the line every bit as much as Sherlock’s because of the faith he’s placed in Sherlock’s abilities.  Yet he still seems to believe in him, in spite of the evidence against him, and Sherlock counts him as a friend when he lists them off for Moriarty.  As John said in the second episode to Lestrade, “You know he’s actually pleased you’re here? …Well, secretly pleased.”  As an aside, I loved when Lestrade prefaced Sherlock’s meeting with the little girl with “Now, remember, she’s in shock and she’s just seven years old, so anything you can do to …” Sherlock: “…not be myself.”  Lestrade: “Yeah.  Might be helpful.”  And then Sherlock turns down his coat collar about which John has been mocking him, and I laughed out loud.

And then there’s Mycroft.  He grows more complicated all the time, and the relationship between him and Sherlock is baffling.  There’s all this tight animosity—on both sides—but Mycroft goes to extraordinary lengths to protect Sherlock through John all throughout both seasons.  Even as he then goes and feeds Sherlock to Moriarty in exchange for information.  If John was astute enough to deduce that Mycroft had to have been the one who talked, then Sherlock, I’m sure, figured it out as well.  Which is probably why he rejects the idea of going to Mycroft for help when he and John are on the lam: “A big family reconciliation? Now’s not really the moment.”  But John reveals something interesting when talking to Mycroft: “Have you seen your brother’s address book lately? Two names: yours and mine.”  Sherlock bothers to put his brother’s name in his address book, which is saying something.  John says to Mycroft, “This is what you were trying to tell me, isn’t it: ‘Watch his back, ’cause I’ve made a mistake.’”  Mycroft says he’s sorry, and appears to mean it.  He also says, rather wistfully, “Tell him, would you?” as if he’s unsure Sherlock would accept an apology from him directly.  Whatever the story is between the Holmes brothers, there’s still some feeling there.  Oddly, however (very, very oddly, the more you think about it), when Moriarty threatens Sherlock’s friends, he says nothing about his family.  If you were trying to get to someone where they were most vulnerable, hurt them the most, wouldn’t you go first for the family?  But neither Sherlock nor Moriarty so much as mentions Mycroft, or indeed Sherlock’s mother, whom we’ve been informed is still living.  Perhaps Mycroft cut another deal while he had Moriarty in his care?  Difficult to say.  (Unrelated note: the indignant, silent old man at Mycroft’s Diogenes Club played Holmes in a British series from the 1960s.  Lovely!)

Any discussion of Moriarty’s and Sherlock’s characters is of necessity twisted up in the plot of this episode, so the rest of this is going to blur together a bit.  Moriarty clearly was arrested because he wanted to be.  As Sherlock says, “If Moriarty wanted the Jewels, he’d have them. If he wanted those prisoners free, they’d be out on the streets. The only reason he’s still in a prison cell right now is because he chose to be there.”  Sherlock says that it was advertising, proving that Moriarty *could* break in, and that “Get Sherlock” was a message to the terrorists: Sherlock has the code.  But we know that Moriarty’s real motive is to take Sherlock down; the rest is just icing.  “Get Sherlock” serves as a declaration of Moriarty’s intent, and also ensured that Sherlock would be called in to court, bringing him into the public eye even more and ensuring that his fall (heh) from public grace would be all the more spectacular.

The discussion about Bach and the unfinished piece was a lovely little double-edged conversation because of all the unfinished business between the two men.  Moriarty: “[Bach] Couldn’t cope with an unfinished melody.”  Sherlock: “Neither can you.  That’s why you’ve come.”  That’s the Final Problem, really: there can only be one victor between these two, and the problem has to be resolved.  At first Sherlock, for once, isn’t quite self-centered enough to realize that this really is all about him; he keeps turning it around, looking for another motive that isn’t there.  Moriarty comes right out and tells him that the final problem is how to destroy Sherlock, but Sherlock is still not looking for a personal attack against his own.  He initially sees the conflict as two opposing forces battling it out using their wits, a fair fight.  But Moriarty doesn’t fight fair.  Moriarty says, “You need me, or you’re nothing.  Because we’re just alike, you and I—except you’re boring.  You’re on the side of the angels.”  If it were a contest of sheer intellect, Sherlock Holmes will always emerge the victor in their encounters, but he’s “boring”: he’s cruel, but he doesn’t have the mindless destructive capacity of Moriarty, even to use it against Moriarty.  Or so Moriarty thinks.

Moriarty’s whole point is, “I owe you a fall, Sherlock.”  IOU appears in several places throughout the episode, painted on office windows and graffitied on the wall behind Sherlock and John when they make their daring escape from the police (surrounded by dark angel wings, a lovely touch).  Interesting choice of words.  He means to destroy Sherlock, that’s clear—destroy his reputation, his friends, his life—but is there perhaps a hint of meaning to destroy his moral character as well, to turn him into a “fallen angel” like himself?  The thing these two men fear most is boredom and stagnation, and in that sense each is the savior of the other: as long as the other is around, they won’t be bored.  At the end Moriarty says, “All my life I’ve been searching for distractions. You were the best distraction and now I don’t even have you. Because I’ve beaten you.”  But we know that’s not quite right.

Moriarty’s power is better illustrated in the way he makes all of the trained assassins dance than in the way he broke into various British icons.  He plays (at least) four trained killers just for the fun of it, and that was hardly even a subplot for him.  For him, that’s like turning on the tv in the evening to wind down.  The subtle and far-reaching ways he sets about discrediting Holmes are really quite fascinating to watch.  You could see the exact second that Sally Donovan began to doubt.  John cares what people think about Sherlock.  Sherlock says that he doesn’t.  John: “You’d care if they thought you were stupid, or wrong.”  Sherlock: “No, that would just make them stupid or wrong.”  But the truth is, he does care what his friends (and he does have them, plural) think, and Moriarty hits upon the most perfect way to destroy him. After they meet “Richard Brook,” Sherlock says, “He’s been sowing doubt into people’s minds for the last twenty-four hours. There’s only one thing he needs to do to complete his game, and that’s to …”  Then he hits up on it, the method of attack, and that’s when he goes to see Molly, deducing that his death will at some point be necessary to save his friends.  Moriarty has always attacked Sherlock through people (that’s pretty much the entire climax of last season, using John to get to Sherlock), and that’s how he gets to the jury and to the guards at the Tower.  Sherlock already suspected he was going to die (Molly caught him out on that much earlier in the episode); what he didn’t know until this moment was that his friends would likely die as well, if he didn’t act.

The line between Sherlock being a jerk to his friends and trying to protect them is blurred to the point of illegibility in this episode.  Sherlock: “This is my cab.  You get the next one.”  John: “Why?”  Sherlock: “You might talk.”  On the face of it, this is Sherlock trampling over people’s feelings again, but in retrospect, he knew he was already being observed, and he knew Moriarty was working to discredit him.  If it looks as though the Baker Street boys are not getting along, maybe John won’t be caught up in the ensuing mess. John is aghast at Sherlock’s callous attitude towards the news of Mrs. Hudson being shot, but in the original story, Holmes suspected that the sick woman Watson was called away to attend was really just an excuse to get him alone, and I would imagine that this Sherlock is no different.  He knew it was about to get messy, and he didn’t want his friend caught up in it.  Sherlock says, “Alone is what I have. Alone protects me.”  John retorts, “No. Friends protect people.”  Ironically, Sherlock turns that around and does that very thing, “dying” to protect his friends.

The fairy tale motif in this episode was, I thought, a genius touch, and so multilayered.  There are the obvious references to fairy tales: Hansel and Gretel, the burnt gingerbread man representing Sherlock, the good old-fashioned villain in Moriarty.  The only thing Moriarty touches in 221B is an apple, and he leaves it behind with an IOU—a poisoned apple.  Moriarty creates the fiction of Richard Brook, who is himself a storyteller.  The so-called children’s story he tells in the cab, aside from being proper disturbing, connected everything very well.  Lestrade is portrayed as King Arthur in the tale of Sir Boast-a-lot, which was a thoroughly intriguing parallel.  Lestrade was the first to recognize Sherlock’s potential, not as a detective but as a person. In the first series, he tells John something like, “Sherlock Holmes is a great man.  And one day, if we’re very lucky, he might just be a good one.”  Lestrade is the official champion of justice and right, and Sherlock serves the same cause, but he is not morally responsible enough to be the leader in the cause.  Almost all of his opportunities to solve cases come through Lestrade; in a way, he’s one of Lestrade’s men.  The ultimate responsibility for his actions on those cases also rests on Lestrade: he called Holmes in, and he’ll have to answer for what Holmes does on the case.  The king is bound by duty and has to do what is best for the common good, regardless of personal feeling.

Moriarty’s entire concoction about the computer code is one big fairy tale, the modern-day fairy tale for the technological age.  He says, “You don’t really think a couple lines of computer code are gonna crash the world around our ears?  I’m disappointed.”  This is exactly the sort of fairy tale we believe today, with our Y2K and our science fiction tales of technology run amok.  Moriarty is always the storyteller.  Moriarty says, pun probably intended, “I knew you’d fall for it.  That’s your weakness – you always want everything to be clever.”  Moriarty possesses a fearsome intellect, but his main strength lies in using people.  He uses threats and manipulation to get people to do what he wants: he figures out what they value most, and then he takes it away.  He understands what makes people tick in a way that Sherlock does not.  Moriarty says, “‘Genius detective proved to be a fraud.’ I read it in the paper, so it must be true. I love newspapers. Fairytales.”  They both look over the edge of the roof.  “And pretty Grimm ones too.”  The actor who plays Moriarty is utterly brilliant, and I never ever want to meet him.  He’s terrifying and hilarious at the same time.  Sherlock tells him, “You’re insane.” Moriarty, blinking: “You’re just getting that now?”

I’m not sure how much of this little encounter Sherlock foresaw and planned for, and how much he made up on the spot.  He obviously knows some of what’s coming, but he seems genuinely afraid for his own and his friends’ lives.  The thing is, the battlefield was entirely of his choosing, and he had plenty of time to plan.  He knew he was going to have to die (or at least appear to), that much is clear.  That’s why he needs Molly’s help, and why he chooses Bart’s hospital for the showdown.  You’ll notice that after he meets with Molly, he never leaves Bart’s—if he was “killed” elsewhere, Molly wouldn’t be right there on the scene to help.  He invites Moriarty to come and play, and Moriarty does, saying, “Glad you chose a tall building—nice way to do it.”  If they had met elsewhere, I’m sure Moriarty would have contrived things so that Sherlock had to kill himself with the gun that Moriarty brought.

However much Sherlock suspected, Moriarty’s specific trap still seems to catch him unawares.  Moriarty tells him, “Your friends will die if you don’t.”  Sherlock: “John.”  Moriarty: “Not just John.  Everyone.”  Sherlock: “Mrs.Hudson.”  Moriarty: “Everyone.”  Sherlock: “Lestrade.”  Moriarty: “Three bullets; three gunmen; three victims. There’s no stopping them now.  Unless my people see you jump.”  As an aside, it’s a little odd that Moriarty *didn’t* think of Molly just then.  After all, they’re at Bart’s, where she works and he pretended to.  He pretended to date her, and I’m sure if he spent any time with her at all, he would know that she has a crush on Sherlock.  But then again…he would have nothing but contempt for such as her.  I doubt it would even occur to him that Sherlock considered her a friend.  As it is, he seems to find Sherlock’s little entourage somewhat puzzling.  “Your only three friends in the world will die…unless…”  Sherlock: “…unless I kill myself—complete your story.”  Melody complete.  Moriarty: “I’ve told you how this ends.  Your death is the only thing that’s gonna call off the killers.  I’m certainly not gonna do it.”

If Sherlock’s plan to survive the fall is already in place, and it must be, then his demeanor here must be an act, but it certainly doesn’t seem that way.  He seems genuinely like a man trying to come to grips with his impending death when he asks for a moment of privacy, and you see his expression change when he realizes that Moriarty has given him a clue.  Up to that point he looks truly anguished.  Then his laugh is more the Sherlock we know, and Moriarty turns in anger, shouting, “What did I miss?”  Sherlock: “‘You’re not going to do  it.’ So the killers can be called off, then—there’s a recall code or a word or a number.  I don’t have to die…if I’ve got you.”  Moriarty: “You think you can make me stop the order? You think you can make me do that?”  Sherlock: “Yes. So do you.”  Moriarty: “Sherlock, your big brother and all the King’s horses couldn’t make me do a thing I didn’t want to.”

But Sherlock finally understands what makes Moriarty tick, and how to get to him.  “Yes, but I’m not my brother, remember? I am you – prepared to do anything; prepared to burn; prepared to do what ordinary people won’t do. You want me to shake hands with you in hell? I shall not disappoint you.”  Moriarty: “Nah.  You talk big.  You’re ordinary – you’re on the side of the angels.”  Sherlock: “Oh, I may be on the side of the angels, but don’t think for one second that I am one of them.”  And then Jim Moriarty realizes that his time is up.  “I see,” he says.  “You’re not ordinary.  No.  You’re me.”  He thanks him, blesses him, and probably even means it—this is as good as distraction gets, certainly.  Moriarty takes Sherlock’s measure and comes to the conclusion that he’s right: given the chance, Sherlock will beat him.  He IS him, he’ll figure out the recall because he knows Moriarty almost as well as he knows himself.  But there’s still a way for Moriarty to win.  “As long as I’m alive, you can save your friends; you’ve got a way out.  Well, good luck with that.”  And he kills himself, because that’s the only way to beat Sherlock beyond a shadow of a doubt.  His destruction is assured, or so Moriarty thinks as he dies with a smile on his face.

There’s a lot of speculation as to how Sherlock faked his death.  It’s safe to assume Molly has something to do with it.  Sherlock is careful to instruct John to stand in a certain spot, from which a low building obscures the ground where Sherlock lands.  There’s also a truck filled with bags of some kind parked in front of the building during a shot, which further obscures Sherlock’s body and could also serve as a relatively soft landing.  Then there’s the dummy hanging in 221B at the beginning of the episode, which may have been used somehow.  The biker who hits John, delaying him from getting to the body, was almost surely not a coincidence.  A doctor and two nurses conveniently get to Sherlock’s body almost instantly, and they’re among the crowd keeping John away from Sherlock.  They take him into the hospital very quickly.

The writer of the show, Steven Moffat, claimed that everyone was missing an important clue as to how Sherlock faked his death, something Sherlock did that was out of character.  The only thing I could think of that was really out of character was the way he was playing with the blue squash ball in several scenes.  Once he gets to Bart’s, he’s tossing it against the cabinets, playing catch, waiting for John to show up.  Later, when they get the call about Mrs. Hudson, he’s playing with it on the counter.  He always has it with him.  This seemed odd to me, but I didn’t see how this could possibly have any bearing on his death.  I googled for any Sherlock theories involving a ball, though, and felt very foolish, since it seems that the rest of the world found the connection some time ago.  Evidently it’s an old magician’s trick to put a squash ball in one’s armpit in such a way as to block off the main artery, thus producing no pulse if someone tries to check it at the wrist.  So now we know why John didn’t find a pulse after the fall, at any rate.

And yet all of this cold-blooded planning that surely went on ahead of time isn’t quite consistent with Sherlock’s attitude after Moriarty kills himself.  There’s no longer anyone to see his act of distress, if it’s an act, but he is certainly distressed.  Then John arrives, and Sherlock could just as easily have jumped before John even got out of the cab.  But he takes the time for a tearful farewell.  Perhaps because he wanted John to believe that he was a fraud, for his own protection, after Sherlock’s death, and serve as witness to his suicide.  But maybe he really did want to say goodbye.  I think that Sherlock was upset because he knew that to really do a good job of faking his death, he has to stay dead.  That means no more contact with any of the people who matter to him.  That would feel a little like dying, for most of us.  He says, “I can’t come down, so we’ll just have to do it like this,” and “This phone call…it’s my note.  It’s what people do, don’t they—leave a note?”  John’s faith in Sherlock is unwavering, and he doesn’t believe any of Sherlock’s false explanations of his skills.  Sherlock: “I researched you. Before we met I discovered everything that I could to impress you.”  Then Sherlock may possibly give John the closest thing to a clue that he’s going to get.  He says, “It’s a trick. Just a magic trick.”  It’s just possible that he meant that to have two meanings.  To a listener tapping the phone, it sounds like he’s convincing John he’s a fraud.  But it could also be a hint that his impending death, the end of Moriarty’s fairy tale, is just a magic trick.

And though it is necessary, it’s an awfully cruel trick.  Martin Freeman deserves all the acting awards in the world for the “lovely soliloquy that made around 7.9 million Britons’ stiff upper lips tremble,” in the words of The Guardian.  “You told me once that you weren’t a hero. There were times I didn’t even think you were human, but let me tell you this: you were the best man, and the most human … human being that I’ve ever known and no-one will ever convince me that you told me a lie, and so … There.  I was so alone, and I owe you so much.”  This was what the irritating therapist was trying to get out of him, at the wrong time and place.  John’s speech is highly reminiscent of Kirk’s speech at Spock’s funeral, which is fitting, since Spock was modeled in part after Sherlock Holmes:  “Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.” John even called Sherlock Spock in the Baskerville episode, after Sherlock’s outburst against emotions.  In “The Final Problem,” Watson words his feelings similarly, calling Sherlock “him whom I shall ever regard as the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known.”

As John is walking away, he comes back and says, “No, please, there’s just one more thing, okay, one more thing: one more miracle, Sherlock, for me. Don’t … be … dead. Would you do …? Just for me, just stop it.”  He gestures down at the grave.  “Stop this.”  After a moment he wipes his eyes, raises his head, and comes to attention.  Like an officer being dismissed by a superior, he turns on his heel and walks away.  He has his miracle, his magic trick, but he doesn’t know it yet, and for one terrible moment I was afraid that the audience wouldn’t know it either.  The writers craftily withheld this little bit of information until after the episode aired.

Let’s hope that the writers don’t make John (and us) go Holmes-less for three years, as Doyle did in his story.  In “The Empty House,” Doyle brings Holmes back, and Watson faints for the first and only time in his life when Holmes reappears.  I kind of hope this version of Watson punches Holmes; he sort of has it coming.  In the story, Mycroft was the only one who knew that Holmes was still alive.  Mycroft’s reaction in the show could be interpreted either way; maybe he knows his brother is alive, maybe not.  From “The Final Problem” as Holmes explains his return:  “‘I came over at once to London, called in my own person at Baker Street, threw Mrs. Hudson into violent hysterics, and found that Mycroft had preserved my rooms and my papers exactly as they had always been. So it was, my dear Watson, that at two o’clock to-day I found myself in my old armchair in my own old room, and only wishing that I could have seen my old friend Watson in the other chair which he has so often adorned.’”

I’d like to see a reunion like that in the first episode of season three, chasing down the next villain, whom I assume will be Moran.  In the story after Holmes returns, Watson thinks to himself, “‘It was indeed like old times when, at that hour, I found myself seated beside him in a hansom, my revolver in my pocket, and the thrill of adventure in my heart.’”  More of the same, please!

P.S. I pulled some of the quotes from the incredibly detailed transcripts of the episodes done by Ariane DeVere.  If you’re ever not sure if you caught all of that rapid-fire dialogue, this is the place to check!