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Cult Recap

'Sherlock': 'The Reichenbach Fall' recap

By
Jim Moriarty, Andrew Scott, Sherlock

© BBC

Season 2, episode 3 | Aired Saturday, Jan 14 2012 at 1:08am EST on

Sherlock Holmes is hailed as a hero by the press following a string of high-profile cases - including the recovery of the priceless painting 'Falls of the Reichenbach' - but John is concerned that things are getting a little out of hand...

But he and his detective pal have bigger problems - Moriarty is back and has committed the crime of the century, simultaneously stealing the crown jewels, breaking open the Bank of England vault and busting down the doors of Pentonville Prison...

Surprisingly, the arch-villain is apprehended by the police and Sherlock is summoned to testify at his trial. However, our hero isn't able to resist showing off his keen observational skills - held in contempt, he's placed in a cell, just like his nemesis.

Once John's bailed his friend out, the trial continues and Moriarty makes a baffling decision - despite entering a 'Not Guilty' plea, he offers no evidence in his defence. But what comes next beggars belief even more - Moriarty is found not guilty and walks free. His first port of call? 221b Baker Street...

Moriarty reveals to Sherlock that he threatened the lives of the jury's loved ones to guarantee his freedom. The evil genius also declares that he committed his recent crime spree using a computer key - a code that can hack into any system in the world...

Bank accounts, nuclear codes and more are now at the psychopath's fingertips, with the trial simply intended as an advertisement, marketing the consulting criminal to potential clients. But Moriarty's real motive is not money or power - he wants to solve "the final problem" and tells his rival: "I owe you a fall, Sherlock."

Two months later, John meets with Mycroft and is warned by the elder Holmes brother that four top international assassins have recently relocated to Baker Street. Suspecting that Moriarty may be involved, Mycroft warns John to be cautious...

Soon after, Sherlock and John are assigned a new case by Lestrade - the US Ambassador's son and daughter have been kidnapped. At their boarding school, Sherlock discovers that the kidnapped boy has left a trail using linseed oil and stuns his partner by announcing that Moriarty is behind the crime!

Sherlock S02E03: 'The Reichenbach Fall'

© BBC / Hartswood

Sherlock S02E03: 'The Reichenbach Fall'

© BBC / Hartswood



Performing chemical analysis on the oil sample, Sherlock finds traces of chalk, asphalt, brick dust, vegetation and a mysterious fifth element in Moriarty's footprint. Other items recovered from the school include a sealed envelope - identical to one John had earlier discovered outside Baker Street, stuffed with breadcrumbs - and a copy of Grimm's fairytales...

Realising that the kidnapping is being staged to resemble a fairytale, Sherlock deduces that the mysterious fifth element is PGPR - a chemical used in making chocolate. Using his "homeless network", the great detective locates the traumatised children in a disused sweet factory in Addlestone.

The Ambassador's son is still unconscious, but his daughter Claudette screams her lungs out at the sight of Sherlock. Soon, the police - even Lestrade - begin to suspect that Sherlock's miraculous powers of deduction may be a front - could he be the real kidnapper?

Boarding a taxi alone, Sherlock is stunned when Moriarty - in the guise of a kids' TV presenter - appears on the on-board TV to taunt him. Moriarty claims that his real plan was to frame Sherlock as a villain...

Exiting the cab - which Moriarty himself is driving - Sherlock stumbles onto the road and is pulled from a second car's path by a burly figure - one of the hitmen who now resides on Baker Street. But seconds later, the assassin is himself shot dead.

Sherlock realises that the hitmen are not out to kill him - instead, they are competing and all want something from him. But before he can ponder more, the police arrive in force at 221b - Lestrade has been ordered by his superior to bring Sherlock in...

John is also cuffed after assaulting Lestrade's smug boss, but Sherlock is able to slip out of his own binds and soon he and John are on the run! The pair confront one of the Baker Street hitmen and the killer confesses at gunpoint that he and his rivals are after Moriarty's computer key code, which he planted at 221b Baker Street during his brief visit...

The second hitman is also shot dead, but moments later Sherlock and John spot a newspaper - journalist Kitty Riley (whom Sherlock briefly encountered during Moriarty's trial) is running an exposé on the detective, with info provided by one 'Rich Brook'.

Sherlock S02E03: 'The Reichenbach Fall'

© BBC / Hartswood

Sherlock S02E03: 'The Reichenbach Fall'

© BBC / Hartswood



The crime-fighting duo pay a visit to Kitty's home and are shocked to discover that 'Rich' is none other than Moriarty. But now, the villain claims that Richard Brook is his true identity - he's a hapless actor that the machiavellian Sherlock hired to pose as 'Moriarty'.

Moriarty escapes, but Sherlock finds that he has plenty of evidence to back up his fake identity. Accused of inventing both his nemesis and the crimes he has 'solved', a desperate Sherlock turns to one of the few people he can still trust - faithful Molly Hooper…

John confronts Mycroft - how exactly did Moriarty accrue all the evidence necessary to frame Sherlock? A shamed Mycroft admits that he abducted and interrogated the villain for information on his all-access computer key, but explains that Moriarty would only open up in exchange for information about Sherlock's life...

John reunites with Sherlock, who announces his plan to find Moriarty's computer key and use it to eradicate the 'Rich Brook' identity, unmasking the true villain. But while John is distracted, Sherlock secretly sends a text - summoning Moriarty to the roof of St. Bart's hospital…

Moments later, John receives a phone call - their beloved housekeeper Mrs Hudson has been shot, but Sherlock appears unconcerned and refuses to accompany his friend to the hospital...

With John absent, Sherlock finally confronts Moriarty on the rooftop and answers come spilling out - Rich Brook translated into German is 'Reichenbach' and the computer code was not hidden in Sherlock's flat, but inside his mind - he'd unwittingly observed Moriarty tapping out the binary code with his fingers during his visit to Baker Street...

But there are more twists to come - when Sherlock makes it clear that he will use the code to 'kill' Rich Brook, his nemesis reveals that the code is a fiction - a ruse for Moriarty's own ends. In fact, he'd pulled off his 'crime of the century' using more mundane methods - bribing security guards and the like…

Meanwhile, John returns to Baker Street and is stunned to find Mrs Hudson unharmed. Realising he's been duped, John races back to the hospital...

Sherlock S02E03: 'The Reichenbach Fall'

© BBC / Hartswood

Sherlock S02E03: 'The Reichenbach Fall'

© BBC / Hartswood



Sherlock's confrontation with Moriarty turns violent and he dangles his foe on the edge of the hospital roof. But Moriarty reveals that he has men ready to kill Sherlock's friends - John, Mrs Hudson, Lestrade - unless Sherlock leaps from the roof. His death will be the logical conclusion to Moriarty's frame-job - exposed as a fraud, the shamed detective commits suicide...

But Sherlock refuses to play along. He's more dangerous than Moriarty suspects and warns his enemy that, eventually, he will force him to call off his hitmen. Moriarty even agrees that Sherlock will be able to break him - "As long as I'm alive, you can save your friends - you've got a way out."

To thwart his eternal nemesis, Moriarty delivers one hell of a parting shot - literally - and blows his own brains out. Now Sherlock has no other choice - he must kill himself to save his friends...

John arrives just in time to see Sherlock step onto the edge of the hospital roof. After bidding farewell to his best friend over the phone, Sherlock leaps to his death.

John races towards his partner's prone form, but his body is quickly spirited away by paramedics. With Sherlock apparently dead, Moriarty's hitmen retreat...

The news of Sherlock's death is widely reported by the press, who now believe the 'tec to have been a fraud all along. Only one man still believes in Sherlock - John Watson.

Visiting Sherlock's grave, an emotional John breaks down and begs his friend for one last miracle, "Don't be dead," he sobs.

John recovers his composure and leaves, but a mysterious figure is watching him from afar. It's Sherlock! But how did he survive his apparently fatal fall? And will John ever discover the truth? WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?!

Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Sherlock
The Game is On!
• It's pretty difficult to oversell 'The Reichenbach Fall' - 2012 has barely begun and we suspect that we already have our TV highlight of the year. In fact, this is one of the best pieces of television we've seen in quite a few years - superbly written, acted and produced.
• On an intellectual level, Moriarty's plot is pleasingly complex - we suspect that you'd have to be a detective of Sherlock's calibre to guess where this twist-filled episode was headed.
• 'Reichenbach' works on an emotional level too - Martin Freeman's performance in those final scenes is heartbreaking and Benedict Cumberbatch gets to show a more sensitive side to Sherlock, particularly in his scenes with Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey).
• Speaking of which, it's nice to see Molly used as more than comic relief - the character is portrayed with far more depth than ever before and Brealey doesn't disappoint, delivering her best ever performance.
• Sherlock's estranged brother Mycroft has had a far meatier role in series two and it's great to see that continued here - we're always happy to have more Mark Gatiss on our screens!
• But we're sad to see the barking mad Moriarty go - while we'll admit that it took us a little while to warm to Andrew Scott's interpretation, he's really grown on us this year and it's a shame to see the character (apparently) written out of the show for good.
• And so onto that ending - how exactly did Sherlock survive? Did an impostor take the plunge from the hospital roof? Why did Sherlock turn to Molly for help - was she involved in the cover-up? And was John's collision with the cyclist in the moments following Sherlock's 'death' significant?
• With the team behind Sherlock busy working on other projects for the forseeable future, we get the feeling that the wait for answers could be a long one...

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