Sunday, May 20, 2012

TV Review: Sherlock - "The Reichenbach Fall"


Benedict Cumberbatch Martin Freeman and Loo Brealey in The Reichenbach Fall
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman with Loo Brealey as Molly Hooper

Sherlock has become very famous thanks to his recent high profile cases. Moriarty has some truly nefarious plans in store for Sherlock. To achieve his ends, Moriarty deliberately gets arrested and Sherlock is called in as the main witness.  Moriarty gets acquitted thanks to some behind the screen shenanigans. Right after his acquittal, Moriarty pays Sherlock a visit at 221B and promises that he owes Sherlock a fall.


Mycroft had given a lot of information about Sherlock to Moriarty (when he was jailed) in order to gain some information in return. Using the said information, Moriarty has a reporter put the entire life story of Sherlock in print. The catch is that the story paints Sherlock as the man who perpetrated the crimes.


Sherlock works on an abduction case and figures out the location where the abducted kids are being kept. One of the abducted children seems to be highly alarmed by the presence of Sherlock. Sgt Donovan, never a big fan of Sherlock, raises the question: does Sherlock set up the cases that he alone solves time and again without any official help. In the very first episode A Study in Pink, Donovan had warned John to stay away from Sherlock. Credit is due to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss for providing such a well thought-out character and story arc for the series.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott in The Reichenbach Fall
Sherlock and Moriarty have a face-off

Meanwhile, a reluctant Lestrade has been ordered by his superior to have Sherlock arrested. But Sherlock has no intentions of being incarcerated. Soon Sherlock and John find themselves on the run from the official force, after resisting arrest. Sherlock arranges a meeting with Moriarty atop St Bart's Hospital. Moriarty has already hired sharpshooters to off Lestrade, John and Mrs Hudson unless Sherlock takes the fall which in this case is a literal leap to his death.


Sherlock takes the fall or so John and the rest of the world thinks. We have to wait for the next season for the answer(s).


The newcomer with a significant screen presence is Katherine Parkinson as Kitty Riley, the reporter. Cumberbatch and Freeman continue their solid work. Gatiss and Graves have considerable presence in this episode and as always are a pleasure to watch.


Loo Brealey makes a comeback as Molly Hooper and continues her work as the counterpart of Twilight's Bella Swan with Sherlock as her Edward. The pining on her behalf, the so close yet distant Sherlock. The parallel to the Twilight series is not insignificant, if you ask me!

Katherine Parkinson with Benedict Cumberbatch in The Reichenbach Fall
Katherine Parkinson with Benedict Cumberbatch

Andrew Scott gives yet another over-the-top performance as Moriarty. The script writers have done an amazing job with the way Moriarty plans to discredit Sherlock, but it is the way Moriarty is portrayed that is a big letdown.


For canonically accurate portrayals of Moriarty, I would recommend 
SherlockHolmes: A Game of Shadows and The Mortal Fight. Both Jared Harris and Viktor Yevgrafov gave amazing performances that stayed loyal to their canonical roots.


My favorite parts in the episode:

1. The cameo by the great Douglas Wilmer as an elderly gent in the Diogenes Club. For the uninitiated, Wilmer played Sherlock Holmes in the classic 1964-65 BBC series with Nigel Stock as Dr Watson.

2. Moriarty’s story about Sir Boast-A-Lot - captured perfectly the excessively show-offish nature of this version of Sherlock Holmes.


Douglas Wilmer as a Diogenes Gent in The Reichenbach Fall
Douglas Wilmer in "The Reichenbach Fall"

The stuff that did not really work for me:

1. Despite Sherlock and John being fugitives, they are able to visit the St Bart's hospital and 221 B Baker Street conveniently, without taking any precautions (to the best of my knowledge) whatsoever to avoid getting arrested. This seems quite improbable, considering that Scotland Yard must (logically) be keeping an eye on these 2 places to apprehend the fugitives.

2. Moriarty referring to the original story The Final Problem a gazillion times. Yes we get it; the episode is based on that particular story.


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24 comments:

  1. We at TwoTicketsFor..absolutely love this show! It is without a doubt one of the cleverest shows out there! Loved last nights episode and wish it wasn't over for the season. Great review!

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    1. Thanks Guys. Your feedback is most appreciated :)

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  2. You seem not to have actually read any of the Twilight series -- well, though neither have I! They are unreadable for certain sorts of people, even as the movies are unwatchable.

    However, Bella doesn't pine for Edward. She pines to have sex with him and be a vamp all her ownself. Edward adores her, and wishes to save her from the fate of everlasting never growing old (old in the Bella universe is over 17), and that blood thang. But, they work it out and Bella gets what Bella wants.

    Love, C.

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    1. Guilty as charged!

      I have not read the books or seen the movies, and have absolutely no intention of doing so ;)

      Thanks C for the clarification :)

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    2. I cobbled together my responses to Reichenbach finally. It took a while, because I'm so uncertain about so many elements, elements that we won't know are brilliant or just bad writing until the Resurrection next year! FWIW (about 1/2 a cent!) I put it up on my place.

      Love, C.

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    3. I read your review and loved your take on the episode.

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    4. Whew! Thank you! You all know so much more about the canon and all the Holmes's incarnations than I do!

      It's interesting to me personally -- not to anyone else -- how much both "Scandal" and the "Fall" got under my skin, meaning how much time and space the head has given to those two episodes, while not so for the other four.

      Am I mistaken in thinking that the true blue Holmes afficianados have generally done the same for the two canon tales that were the single Irene Adler tale, and the -- what is it? two? -- tales containing Moriarty? That might be a clue then, why these episodes have nested in my little grey cells. Or maybe these are the two that were most carefully written?

      Love, C.

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    5. I personally did like the stories featuring Irene Adler and Moriarty. But interestingly, 'A Scandal in Bohemia' and 'The Final Problem' do not involve much of Holmesian deductions. Both do involve Holmes donning some disguises...

      Moriarty does make an indirect appearance at the end of 'The Valley of Fear', but has nothing much to do with the actual mystery per se. 'The Valley of Fear' is my favorite novel and is one of the best by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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    6. Perhaps then the writers of Sherlock found the source material easier to work with in terms of their writing strengths than the more deductive "Hounds?" Because those two are far better written, obviously, than that one!

      Love, C.

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    7. C, You are spot on with your theory as to why these 2 stories were chosen.

      The writers were probably looking for stories, that would lend themselves to melodrama and histrionics rather than mystery and detection that are the usual hallmarks of a Doylean mystery. The writers definitely hit the bull's-eye by selecting these 2 stories.

      Cheers!

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  3. I want to watch this one. My sister and I just finished the Hound, which we liked MUCH better then the Adler one, but I still don't like as much as the first season. Though, it was good. Anyhow, I've heard this one is really good. But, since I've yet to see it, I'm going to put off reading your review. But I will be back 8-D

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    1. I look forward to seeing you soon :)

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  4. You'd be surprised how many people didn't make the connection to the "Final Problem." Of course they are usually the viewers who haven't read the original canon. I agree they did title dropped a lot in this episode. Hopefully it will encourage people to actually read the stories before next season.
    However, I really do like Andrew Scott's Moriarty. I like that he actually is frightening to me. He's unpredictable, criminally insane. He was also a nice contrast to Jared Harris's more traditional take on Moriarty in Game of Shadows.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Odessa.

      I have seen Jared Harris's take on Moriarty and absolutely loved it. In my humble opinion, he surpassed Eric Porter's performance in the Granada series.

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    2. Agreed on that point. Porter was a little lacking. Granada series is excellent in almost everything else though.

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    3. I would recommend the Russian adaptation with Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes. Viktor Yevgrafov makes a very menacing and masterful Moriarty. I would rate his performance on par with that of Jared Harris in 'The Game of Shadows'.

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  5. Ah I did see the Russian adaptation of Hound and enjoyed it very much. Have not seen their Final Problem yet, but I'll add it to my list.

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    1. The Russian version of 'The Hound of Baskervilles' is in my humble opinion the best adaptation of the novel, rivalled only by the 1968 BBC adaptation with the late, great Peter Cushing and Nigel Stock.

      Their version of ‘The Final Problem’ is also top-notch and the Holmes-Moriarty encounter at the Reichenbach is captured perfectly. The location, the background score and the acting add immensely to the scene. In short, a perfect feast for a Holmesian :)

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  6. Thanks for commenting on my blog. It was fun to read a review of this episode from someone so clearly devoted to Arthur Conan Doyle's work: I'm a Holmes fan too, although my knowledge is nothing compared to yours! Good work.

    http://xandermarkham.blogspot.com/

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  7. nice idea.. thanks for sharing..

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  8. Not sure how I feel about Moriarty outsmarting Holmes to such a huge degree. =/

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    1. I guess we will know how Holmes outsmarted Moriarty in the next season :)

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