“My best friend Sherlock Holmes is dead.”
Oh, God. That’s how the episode started, for pity’s sake, and the stakes remained at an all-time high as Steve Thompson took hold of the reins and took us through ninety minutes of intricate puzzle, intellectual warfare and merciless fight to the finish…I’m wrung out.
Beginning with a dashingly confident (and international market-friendly) break-in at three of the most famous places in London, taking in the kidnapping of a modern-day Hansel and Gretel, a bunch of international hitmen ironically trying to keep their target alive, and the key to all doors everywhere, the crimes Sherlock solved this week weren’t just nice little mysteries – not that they ever just are – they were the building blocks for a story of friendship, sacrifice, bitterness and people’s insistence on tearing down anyone who seems clever or special; and what a story that was. Such a tale of heroism and villainy that “even the king began to wonder.” Oh, Lestrade. How could you?
“The Reichenbach Fall” was marvellous. Like the rest of the series, it brought the original story of Sherlock’s downfall stylishly and entertainingly up-to-date, and turned it into a twisting rollercoaster of a season finale, incoporating the show’s trademark wit and humanity, showrunner Steven Moffat’s love of children’s fairy tales, and a supremely elegant, well-deserved attack on the tabloid press to boot.
And if the writing was great, the acting was faultless with Benedict Cumberbatch superb as ever. Whether Sherlock was showing off in the courtroom, despairing on the rooftop, or finally being honest in his brief, moving scenes with Molly, he was mesmerising. But it was Martin Freeman as Watson who broke my heart in both those first few and those last few minutes. His final plea for ” one more thing. One more miracle, Sherlock, just for me. Don’t…don’t be dead.” had me sobbing my eyes out.
I know it could (and will) easily be said that the ending was a cop-out, but it was the cop-out Arthur Conan Doyle eventually made and it’s the cop-out that means we’ll get a season three, so it’s a cop-out I’m more than okay with, to be honest. It didn’t spoil or minimise the impact of what has been a fabulously smart and polished TV series and a fittingly brilliant flourish of a finish. So, cop-out or not, Sherlock – see you soon, eh?