The 3rd episode of Sherlock season 2 is a bit of a cracker. Some of us feel that it is the best so far. ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ is inspired by “The Final Problem” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the episode follows Moriarty’s plot to discredit and kill Sherlock Holmes.
At the start of the episode John Watson is sitting in a session with his therapist, his first in 18 months. As he struggles to explain his visit he chokes out the word that his best friend, Sherlock Holmes, is dead. The episode flashes back to three months earlier, with Sherlock receiving plaudits and gifts from various people for whom he has solved cases, along with much unwanted media attention, especially for his recovery of a Turner painting of Reichenbach Falls. At each case, rather humorously he also receives a gift, a useless one for him as he cribs to John, but is scolded by his friend to accept them graciously. Moriarty then sets his plan into motion, breaking in to the area where the crown jewels are kept and at the same time using computer codes sent from his smartphone to open the vault at the Bank of England & unlocking the gates at Pentonville prison. He allows himself to be caught while wearing the crown, robe & jewels. Sherlock is asked to testify at his trial, where he rebukes the prosecutor for asking the wrong questions. Moriarty doesn’t have any rebuttals and his lawyer simply says that they have no witnesses or questions and rest their case. Unknown to everyone else, Moriarty has has threatened the families of the jurors and they come back with a unanimous “not guilty vote”.
Moriarty goes to visit Sherlock, who apparently knew that he would be set free and the two have tea at the latter’s flat and our villain tells his rival “I owe you!” before leaving. Meanwhile Mycroft warns John that 4 professional assassins have rents rooms next to theirs on Baker Street. Sherlock & John are then called to investigate the kidnapping of the children of UK ambassador to the US from their boarding house and although Sherlock leads them to where they are kept, the suspicions fall on Sherlock and the police begin to see him as having invented the character of Moriarty. This theory is later enhanced when the young girl reacts with fright on seeing Sherlock in her hospital room. A reluctant Lestrade is forced to arrest Sherlock, but Sherlock escapes with John handcuffed to him as his ‘hostage’. The two realize that Moriaty left a message ‘Get Sherlock’ to various agencies who want the computer code to break into places like bank vaults and prisons, a code that can bypass all security systems and hence the assassins who have surrounded their residence. The duo break into the house of a journalist who had wanted to write an expose on Sherlock and find that her boyfriend is Moriarty; posing with documents showing him to be a actor named Richard Brook (Reichen Bach in English) and he claims that Sherlock hired him to create the facade of a powerful, intelligent villain named Moriarty. The brilliant Moriarty has destroyed all evidence of himself and instead has proof that he is this actor! Moriarty, escapes from the building before Sherlock can catch him. Now a wanted man, Homes leaves Watson contacts Molly at the hospital, where he confesses that contrary to what she herself believes, she does matter to him, and that he’s always trusted her. There he reveals his vulnerability to Molly, confirming her earlier “deduction” that he was “not okay”, that he’s going to die and asks her if she’s willing to help, telling her that he “needs her”.
John meanwhile meets with Mycroft and is appalled to learn that Mycroft divulged Sherlock’s personal information during interrogations of Moriarty. Meanwhile, Sherlock deduces that the anti-security program was encoded in the tapping of Moriarty’s finger during his earlier visit. Sherlock texts Moriarty to meet on the rooftop of the hospital and upon him arriving, tells Moriarty that he has the code and can now electronically delete all references to Brook and bring Moriarty back. It is then that Moriarty reveals that there infact was no code; he instead bribes the security guards at all 3 places. He then says that Sherlock must commit suicide or else the assassins will kill Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson & Watson. Sherlock realises that Moriarty has a fail-safe and can call the killings off. Sherlock then convinces Moriarty that he is willing to do anything to make him activate the fail-safe; after acknowledging that he and Sherlock are alike, Moriarty tells Sherlock “As long as I am alive your friends are safe,” then commits suicide by shooting himself in the mouth, thereby denying Sherlock knowledge of the abort codes and the ability to prove that Moriarty does exist. With no way to stop the assassin, Sherlock calls Watson on the phone and claims that he is a ‘fake’ and that he created the character of Moriarty to get acclaim. Sherlock then jumps from the roof of the hospital and falls to the street as John rushes to the spot. After being knocked to the ground by a cyclist, John stumbles over to watch, in a daze, as Sherlock’s bloody body is carried away by hospital staff.
Sherlock’s name in put to shame in the papers, labeling him as the fake genius who committed suicide. Later, John visits Sherlock’s grave with Mrs Hudson. There, he reaffirms his faith in Sherlock and begs him not to be dead. However, as he walks away, Sherlock looks on from the shadows before also walking away.