Sunday, August 11, 2019

Post "Reichenbach Falls" quibbling

If you still haven't seen the penultimate episode of Elementary, "Reichenbach Falls," and don't want to be spoiled, today's ramble isn't for you. Come back after you've watched it.

But if you have, or you just don't care, I have a quibble to discuss with you.

At the climactic moment of the episode, we are led to believe that Sherlock Holmes has just decided to kill Odin Reichenbach as the only solution for dealing withc him. He gets Reichenbach to come alone to a remote and lonely bridge with no traffic and no bodyguards (improbable situation number one). He also needs to have Watson and the police arrive right at the moment to take in the scene exactly as they need to (improbable situation number two). Both of those things are merely improbable, so we'll let them pass. Here's the real quibble:

When Sherlock Holmes pulls the gun on Odin Reichenbach, he's at least five feet away from the billionaire. They are both well away from the outer rail of the bridge, and I believe that bridge even has a pedestrian walkway with a second rail.

We don't see exactly what happened between Holmes and Reichenbach after the gun is pulled, but what we are expected to believe is that the two men fought over the gun, Holmes was shot, and then Sherlock Holmes fell over the side of the bridge to his death. Given all of the distances and rails involved, there is no way that Holmes choreographed the fight with Reichenbach in any way where his foe would a.) cooperate, or b.) believe he was at fault.

Indeed, the only way I could see the results we're given from the beginning of that scenario is that Sherlock Holmes jumped the inner railing of the bridge, stood atop the outer railing, shot himself, was able to go "Here, catch!" and toss the gun to Reichenbach, who then had to catch it, and then fall over the side of the bridge.

As classic Sherlock Holmes was always fond of saying, once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. In this case, however, I might substitute the word "goofy" for "improbable." There's no way that Elementary could have shown us the events between Sherlock pulling the gun and Watson seeing his body fall into the river without the whole thing looking as goofy as hell.

And what about that body, anyway? Are you telling me that NYPD, on the scene when it fell into the river, never recovered it? And, with either no body or some not-actually-Sherlock body, they were going to win a murder case against a well-connected billionaire?

One more episode of Elementary left for us to see how this drama plays out, but while the acting and moments have been good as the show moves toward its end, the show's knack for off-camera deus ex machinas remains one of its weaker elements.

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