Sunday, January 19, 2014

S3E3: Moriarty is Dead. Srsly.


His Last Vow will require multiple postings to explore the characters, story, and brilliant performances of Cumberbatch and Freeman. 

That said, the first topic is, of course, generated by the last scene: the return of Moriarty.  The James Moriarty we knew, the James of the pool, who dated Molly, who met Sherlock on the roof, is dead.  Before exploring the possibilities for Series 4, it's important to a make a distinction between:

Moriarty's image.
Andrew Scott's image?
The image at left is a graphic displayed in the show. The picture at  right is a screencap from something shown after the show was completely over, and the very last credit had rolled.

 The image at left is supposed to be James Moriarty. It was not represented as a live shot. But the image at right, a cap from a short message from a living person, who is that? Moriarty or Andrew Scott? Have we missed Andrew Scott? Oh, hells yes!  But will we ever see James Moriarty alive on the show again?  No. Barring flashbacks.


Sherlocks and Moriartys
"The Sherlocked Blog"  explored Moriarty before (Professor Moriarty: Out of the Shadows).  But what we want to do right now is go back to Canon, to Conan Doyle, because Mofftiss always do.

Here is the first mention of the name "Moriarty" in Canon, in "The Final Problem," in which Doyle kills off Holmes by having him plunge to his death into the Reichenbach Falls, taking Professor Moriarty with him.  But it is not Professor Moriarty's name Doyle mentions first:
 "It was my intention to have stopped there, and to have said nothing of that event which has created a void in my life which the lapse of two years has done little to fill. My hand has been forced, however, by the recent letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his brother, and I have no choice but to lay the facts before the public exactly as they occurred."
I was surprised in the show, when Moriarty was named "James," and not called "Professor" or even presented as having the credentials a Professor would.  This could be explained simply by an error Conan Doyle made when he brought Sherlock Holmes back.  He forgot what he named the brother and also named Professor Moriarty "James."  Sherlockians over the decades have explained this discrepancy away in ways both serious and humorous.  In fact, there may have been three James Moriarty's in Canon, by the time Doyle was finished.*


It's interesting in this episode that Sherlock is given a full name: William Sherlock Scott Holmes.  One wonders if Mycroft might also have a name, like "William Mycroft Russell Holmes."  There are obvious parallels drawn between Sherlock and James in earlier episodes.  Why not two Moriartys named "James?"  We can have Moriarty as twin of a dead brother.  We can have Moriarty as something else, a sister even, as has been suggested in The Next Moriarty, and still have Andrew Scott back in flashbacks and faked footage.

And, as seen on this blog, if James was being handled by a Moriarty who stayed in the shadows, we can draw a direct parallel between Mycroft and the Moriarty Doyle referred to as Professor.  From the post linked above:
The pure and quite sane psychopath would be Professor Moriarty; and if there is a candidate for high-functioning sociopath on the angels' side, it is the Iceman:  Mycroft Holmes. Each man is the hidden mastermind of  his respective domain.

Professor Moriarty was, in Canon, a professor of  mathematics.  So was Mummy Holmes, as we found out in this episode.  Did she mentor a psychopath?  Did he use her work on the Dynamics of Combustion to wreak havoc?  Is that the real reason she retired to the wife and mummy life?
The original Drama Queen?

What happens when Mummy turns "absolutely monstrous?"  Why do Daddy Holmes and Mary Morstan, the assassin, recognize one another as "the sane ones?"  And where is that briefly-referenced "other" brother Mycroft referred to?

This blog has a lot of ground to cover in a year.

*This excerpt from Wikipedia illustrates the confusion over how many "James" Moriarty's there were:
The stories give contradictory indications about Moriarty's family. In his first appearance in "The Final Problem", Moriarty is referred to as "Professor Moriarty" — no forename is mentioned. Watson does, however, refer to the name of another family member when he writes of "the recent letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his brother". In "The Adventure of the Empty House" Holmes refers to Moriarty on one occasion as "Professor James Moriarty". This is the only time Moriarty is given a first name, and oddly, it is the same as that of his purported brother; to wit The Valley of Fear (written after the preceding two stories, but set earlier), Holmes says of Professor Moriarty: "He is unmarried. His younger brother is a station master in the west of England."


  1. If Moriarty's sibling is a "station master," which Wikipedia defines as a "person in charge of railway stations in the United Kingdom," could he (or she) also have been involved in the subway terrorist attack in EMPTY HEARSE? It seems to me the name "Moran" was used for a reason; nothing is ever haphazard in this series. We know from the canon that Sebastian Moran acts in the interests of the Professor.

    1. Hello. Yes, you said this TWO YEARS AGO. Longer. There was a baby. And a book. And ... stuff. BUT - this is a very good thought. Because what did it accomplish? It brought Sherlock back. And it was a manipulation worthy of Moriarty. But he was dead.

  2. I honestly love this blog! So much theories that I could not help but loving every bit of it. Such a waste I started late in Sherlock but better late than never! I seem to recall that particular episode having a certain man that was a client to Sherlock. The one that bought Sherlock's attention to Moran. Have seen a couple of theories that he could be the other Moriarty. But I sure do wanna hear more theories. Gonna keep a look out for this blog for more juicy information!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you. Yes, I know this post is a year old. I was writing a book. Sorry. It's never a waste when you discover Sherlock! It just saved you from the longer agonizing wait others have.

  3. Hi! Did you watch the christmas special? Spoilers ahead, if you haven't watched.
    John questiones if it is possible there is a twin bride, which Sherlock very rudely dismisses saying something like there isnt always 'the twins' solution..(something like that, paraphrasing). So is it possible, that out of those possible theories of Moriarty possibly not dead or alive, he does infact have a twin? Especially since ACD canon mentions more than one Moriarty?

    -Aish. :)

    1. Only 7 months late answering! Hah! Might as well be the next day!

      What he said was: "It's never twins." (Apparently he doesn't watch American soap operas.) But "it" might be siblings. There is a prominent sibling theme that runs through Sherlock. John and Harry, the Killer Cabbie's children, Sherlock and Mycroft, the children at the breakfast table before the orange pips came.

  4. We heard about how Sherlock season 4 would be the show's darkest yet. Even Cumberbatch calling the season "myopically dark."This isn't actually a very helpful description, as it gives us little to compare to, but Cumberbatch's insistence that it is "without a doubt" the darkest season yet gives us the context of previous seasons which have included Sherlock faking his own suicide, staying fake-dead for three years while John grieved the loss of his best friend, and Sherlock shooting someone point-blank in the head.

  5. I am working on a Season Four Predictions Post. Whoever shot themselves on the roof of Saint Bart's is dead. I believe all the real clues refer back to A Study in Pink.

    When I get all the predictions wrong, you can come back and make fun of me.