Oh, Steven Moffat is a very clever man. Why? Because even though the ending to the final Sherlock season two season (though can you call three episodes a season?) isn’t especially inventive or creative due to happening in the original stories, the recent film and countless other films and series’ where the hero appears to die but turns out to have cheated death, people will be talking about the end for months to come. It’s nothing to do at all with what happened on screen. Instead, it’s the words of Steven Moffat that will keep people rewinding the videos, streams and DVDs until the next series. All because he claimed that we missed a vital clue.
The belief of a vital clue in these types of shows isn’t exactly new either but it’s guaranteed to keep the viewers involved in the series until another season can be developed. For years, the rumour persisted that there was some vital clue in the very first episode of Lost that hinted towards larger things until finally the producers came out and basically just said that all the clues had been found and to stop worrying about it. The truly strange thing is what they found when they thought there was something. People actually believed that they saw a wisp of black smoke fly out of the engine before it exploded leading many to believe the smoke monster was responsible for the entire crash. By season six though, it’s fair to say that bringing people to the island isn’t really the monster’s intention, and it’s far more likely that it was Jacob. Though how he manages to keep bringing boats and planes to the island is never quite revealed.
Yet, the idea of some clue to a higher meaning has been prevalent in society and culture for centuries. We all know the legends of the Holy Grail, though possibly more so due to Monty Python rather than actual Arthurian legend, but procurement of the Spear of Destiny was rumoured to be Hitler’s real aim during the Second World War and it’s impossible to count how many places have been suspected of being Atlantis. A more recent explain would probably be the Philosopher’s Stone, which was thrust back into popularity by Harry Potter, or The DaVinci Code which has spawned a generation of people who believe that there is a conspiracy behind the Catholic church. I’m fairly certain most of the these legends were born of people with too much time on their hands, guessing that because Jesus was a pretty powerful dude due to being the Son of God and all, that if he drank from, or got stabbed by, something then that thing would possibly have taken on some of his power. In fact, anything that touched him at the time of the crucifixion tends to get this treatment. Of course, someone decided that the evil person at the time must know this and be secretly searching for it.
There’s probably a comfort in believing that you’ve cottoned on to some vital piece of the puzzle. It’s a nice feeling to think that you’re a little smarter than everyone else for seeing it first, but then again everyone feels like this because everyone will have picked up on a million different little things, like how Benedict Cumberbatch was standing on the ledge or that he laughed during a conversation with Martin Freeman. From either of those minor details about a hundred different theories will be drawn up and debated between fans on forums or blogs for months. Of course, I’m going to throw my own theory on top of the heap in just a minute too because really what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t, but I do want to point out that I haven’t went looking for any clues.
That’s not to say that I think that there isn’t a clue. I do. There has to be, if only because Moffat will lose a sizable chuck of his viewership if he turns around and says that he was joking about the inclusion of a missing clue. You need to be able to believe producers and writers when it comes to understanding their shows otherwise you might feel cheated by Moffat pulling your leg for a few months. It’d be the sign of a bad writer if they had to resort to those cheap tactics to keep viewers interested in the show while it was off air. The show needs to be captivating and engaging on its own. It’s fair enough for him to point out a vital clue that will make the show more engaging but to make it up would just be frustrating. Besides, given that Moffat introduced both the flesh gangers and the Teselecta into Doctor Who a few episodes before they were revealed to have played a part in Kovarian’s plot and the Doctor’s final death defying escape. Moffat generally does put the work into his set up.
Personally, I believe that Sherlock Holmes threw Moriarty off the balcony. Molly was employed by Sherlock to forge the DNA samples. It is possible Sherlock gave her some blood to analyse and that Watson didn’t have a clear view due to being knocked down briefly before reaching the body. Maybe he mutilated the face slightly before dropping it because it seems like the face is oddly coloured when showed later. Maybe Mycroft played a part. Maybe the squash ball is important. I don’t really know the details but that was my immediate belief. Moriarty fell from the building, not Sherlock. Where better to lock up your nemesis than in your own coffin?
This ending, while good, probably suffered due to the recent film already killing Sherlock Holmes and bringing him back. Furthermore, A Game of Shadows, featuring Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. cast a better Moriarty, with Mad Men’s Jared Harris taking on the role. The film Moriarty seemed like a genuine mastermind to whom Sherlock was just a plaything, not the main thrust of his plot. Like a mouse avoiding the cat as it chases the cheese. Moffat’s Moriarty felt like The Joker without the face paint, though I do believe Lara Pulver is superior to Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler. But they’re very different shows in their execution anyway, so it is possible to enjoy both.
Overall, I don’t think the clue matters greatly. Sherlock will return with a third season where the man himself will explain everything probably by appearing anonymously through the episode, only to reappear at the end and reveal what Watson, and the viewers missed. The importance of the clue isn’t in the bearing it has on the show but instead the anticipation that it stirs up in viewers. And it works. I can’t wait for season three.