In "A Study in Pink," when Sherlock assumes Harry is a man, he errs. "It's always something," he admits, frustrated. In "The Hounds of Baskerville" Sherlock was wrong, he made a mistake. He promised John it wouldn't happen again. This time, there can't be "something." There is no room for error.
At the Abyss
|Sherlock, alone at the abyss.|
In the 21st century SHERLOCK, the journey to the Falls has already happened in the first five episodes. Our Sherlock Holmes, when the story begins in "The Reichenbach Fall," has already arrived.
|Paget's Moriarty in 1893.|
In our century, the game is afoot and Sherlock is stalking.
Moriarty must believe he is making all the moves and Sherlock must manipulate things to his advantage as much and as subtly as possible. So Sherlock, who always shunned personal publicity, turns himself into a tabloid media star. He accepts accolades and gifts, submits himself to publicity photos and video cameras.
He is planting the seeds of his own destruction. Mycroft plans; Sherlock acts. Instead of having to deal with some plan of Moriarty's they cannot anticipate, Mycroft provides James Moriarty a prop gun to shoot Sherlock Holmes with.
Mycroft wants Moriarty going after Sherlock's reputation, wants time for the game to play out so he can locate all of his operatives. Otherwise, Moriarty, who has "vanished" according to the newspapers, will start another game with Sherlock, one in which they won't know the rules, or even be sure Moriarty is behind it until it's very late in the game. He needs to be lured out of hiding again, into a game of Mycroft's devising and Sherlock's execution.
Whether the press is being manipulated by Mycroft or jumped on the stories on their own, it's certainly working: Sherlock is being used secretly by Scotland Yard, has become the nation's sweetheart, and planted evidence as part of a grand master plan.
But all of this wasn't built from scratch. Planting the idea in Moriarty's mind to destroy Sherlock this way has it's roots in newspaper stories about Holmes and Watson generated by John's blog and the iconic "Hat-man" picture in "A Scandal in Belgravia" taken outside the theater after "The Navel Treatment" case:
So, the police "fear" Sherlock, won't "confirm the veracity" of John's blog and the duo have a "salacious" homelife. And that was six months before Sherlock turned himself into a publicity-seeking prat of a Reichenbach hero. Now all he has to do is wait.
The Reichenbach Fall 2
1 See The Most Dangerous Game for more on Baskerville