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Meta/Speculation for Sherlock 2.03 - CaffieneKittySpace
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Meta/Speculation for Sherlock 2.03
MAJOR SPOILERS and SPECULATION for Sherlock 2.03. Images may be disturbing to some readers.

Right, here's how I see it. At least as far as the practical "How He Survived The Fall" part.

I'm going to walk this through in as unscrambled a manner as I can because I want to explain why I think things before I say what I think, but it hops around a lot, but it's rather stream-of-consciousness and blithery, going from thing to thing when I think of them, but I'll get there in the end. Something like that. Caps are not in order of appearance in episode either.

I'm sure loads of other people have already noticed all of this stuff by now, I haven't been looking at anything in LiveJournal or elsewhere until I get this all down the way I see it. This is just my record of what I think, so during the opening of Series 3 I can point and laugh at how wrong I was. ;-P

Here we go!


When John answers the phone, Sherlock is very insistent on John going back to this spot, then not moving from his position, and keeping his eyes on Sherlock. I thought while watching that this insistence was so John wouldn't risk spotting the sniper and blow everything to Hell, forcing the sniper to shoot whether Sherlock took the dive or not, but now I'm pretty sure there's another reason.


When John tries to move, he starts to skirt this short red brick building before Sherlock stops him. That building is in the way of the base of the wall Sherlock is on. While John is behind that building, he can't see Sherlock land at all, he can only see the fall and hear the landing. Sherlock did pick the meet location with Moriarty, and if it happened the way I think it did, he'd know where the view of what was blocked from well in advance.


Here, earlier when Moriarty tells Sherlock he's drawing an audience, you can see that this is a bus loop, right close to the road.

This is the last time we see the area directly below Sherlock. The road is clear, there are few people, and they are in motion. With a few plants among them (from the homeless network or other sources I'm holding of on declaring until I get more pondering done on it), easily redirected or cleared away when required.


Incidentally, speaking of plants, guy on bike, waiting, watching John see Sherlock fall, starting to ride toward John when John starts moving. He could be Moriarty's watcher, the one assigned to report to the snipers that Sherlock is dead, but I think it's more likely this is one of Sherlock's homeless network or a similar ally, set to delay John from getting around that building by any means necessary.


Now. Going forward, Sherlock has fallen and landed. John saw him falling and heard the landing, but did not directly see it. John comes around the corner, catches a glimpse of Sherlock on the ground, is knocked down by lurking kid on bike, collecting a knock in the head. Definitely not an accidental knockdown. A deliberate delaying tactic. Something is going on, and John needs to be kept from seeing it.


This is the first glimpse John gets of Sherlock on the ground...

...and this is the overhead shot moments later, while John is laying on the pavement after the bike knocked him down. There is, quite conveniently, a truck of blue and green squashy objects. Sherlock fell face first, but I doubt it was random or solely for dramatic purposes. He was targeting that very very convenient truck of soft things. Planned convenience.

Here's what I think. I think Sherlock fell, landed in the truck, immediately rolled out and landed again, breaking a vial, or bag, or who knows, a blown-out eggshell filled with blood under his head. John caught his glimpse right after that, but gets immediately knocked down to delay him from seeing more or getting closer too soon. While he's knocked down and disoriented, a horde of bystanders show up. Either one of the first to reach him directly is a plant to get rid of the detritus of whatever the blood source was, since at that point Sherlock could not move without bystanders not in on it would see.

That said, that truck was not over-abundantly loaded with soft things, so there is a very good change Sherlock has still been injured in this fall, unless those bags were full of super-dense foam instead of laundry, which, since this is a suspiciously convenient truck, could be. It would keep the look of it down to 'not an obvious crashpad' unlike a fuller laundry truck might.

As to the timing of the landing, well they would have had to cheat on the filming to make this work, HOWEVER, at that point in the show, we are getting John's POV. He did not see Sherlock hit the pavement himself, so that's what John's perspective is of events. So it's a justifiable visual cheat. *handwave*



At one point, John manages to check Sherlock's pulse, and from his non-reassured reaction, doesn't find one.

This is a simple trick that's been around for ages, and not one to be done frequently since it might cause a clot or bruising or something, but that's the least of Sherlock's worries right now. Take some object, put it in the armpit and squeeze (or in Sherlock's case, lay on top of the arm) to stop blood flow to the hand. Something like a tennis ball, or, oh, say THAT BOUNCY BALL HE WAS MESSING WITH EARLIER MAYBE? Ahem, sorry, that was loud. I only just made that connection a second ago though as I typed 'tennis ball', so I got excited and wanted to share. I thought the random ball he seemed to have found in the morgue was a bit odd! So! No pulse in the wrist left so conveniently sticking out to be grabbed by John.


When Sherlock is later readied for loading on the gurney, extra care is taken with that arm that had been extended for pulse-taking. I'm thinking it's so as not to have that ball accidentally fall out. I'm not sure when he put the ball there, since he lifted his arms for the dive off the roof. I doubt he tucked it in after the fall, but he could have, or he may have secured it under his coat with medical tape. Which means it wouldn't fall out, but maybe they're just being extra cautious in case. Not sure. I am sure that ball is the reason for Sherlock not having a pulse there though.

Now, who is attending to Sherlock, since John is being kept away.


The first person to run in and touch Sherlock is this guy with the stethoscope. Judging by his actions, he's not a doctor. He will later grab Sherlock, a person who has just fallen off a building, by the shoulder and move him kind of back and forthish. My first aid is rusty, but as far as I can tell, that's a big no-no.


Here is Stethoscope guy running into the scene. He gets to Sherlock as the orderlies are keeping the crowd back, looks up, seems like he's looking towards John, which a doctor might do if they saw John get knocked down, but he's looking towards this guy coming into frame on the left.


Responder 2. These two are the ones tending to Sherlock.


Stethoscope has his hand on Sherlock's neck as though taking a pulse. Responder 2 is doing something down by Sherlock's legs.


Then as John gets in range, Stethoscope does this odd rolling motion I mentioned above. Assuming that the guy isn't simply a dangerous fool and that Sherlock is alive and mostly fine, what could the purpose of this motion be?

Well, for one, it makes Sherlock's other hand, the one on top, harder for John to reach by tucking it closer in to Sherlock's body. John gets the arm that I figure Sherlock has the ball trick mentioned above going on with instead. As a bonus, rolling Sherlock like that puts more pressure on that arm and the hidden ball to make certain that the pulse in the hand is stopped.

Another potential reason for this motion is to check if a drug has taken effect yet. I'm thinking some form of neuromuscular inhibitor to make Sherlock seem dead, allowing that stare and deathliness without relying on willpower.

Sherlock's got a lot of willpower and might be able to manage it on will alone, but even leaving aside the difficulties having to keep up the sham with John desperate and calling for him right there, there are still things like flinch responses to a sudden motion, a snowflake in the eye, automatic motions and of course breathing. Many neuromuscular inhibitors will suppress breathing reflexes and so forth. This would act as a precaution in case John had broken through and gotten closer to Sherlock than he did. So, the rolling could also be to check the progress of the inhibitor, to see if Sherlock's unconscious muscular resistance or assistance to being moved has been overcome by the hypothetical drug.


After this, Stethoscope and Responder 2 roll Sherlock flat so John and the bystanders (and us) get this very horrible view of his face and can see he isn't breathing and looks very dead. My first aid is far too rusty to tell if there is any medical reason for rolling a person likely to have multiple fractures in this way, but it gives a very clear and grim image of Sherlock with the staring eyes and the blood-soaked hair not only to John, but to any other people in the throng with a particular interest in the state of Sherlock, like Moriarty's spotter, who is doubtless among them.

Very shortly after Sherlock is rolled flat, we get paramedics dashing in with a gurney. If I'm right, and Sherlock at this point has been dosed with something to seem dead, they really do need to rush, because this kind of stuff shuts down his breathing reflex and he needs a respirator or an anti-inhibitor right away. If the inhibitor has stopped his heart, that needs seen to too.


The paramedics load him on the gurney far too haphazardly for a person with multiple fractures and likely spinal column damage, and then run him away far too fast for a corpse. And going with these convenient paramedics is Stethoscope and Responder 2, the only two people who have been actively interacting with Sherlock in a hands-on way through this scene. John barely got close enough to take Sherlock's pulse, and he's still dazed from being conveniently knocked down.


Leaving John with a crowd of strangers. Some of them are likely plants there to keep John from getting too close to Sherlock, as the kid on the bike was, one could have been a plant from Moriarty, there to confirm and report Sherlock dead. There's a large crowd there that dissipates quickly once the 'corpse' has been removed. John's sniper could have been the one to report the death as well, but there was a chance Sherlock's ruse with Mrs. Hudson would have worked better than it did, and John would have been elsewhere with the sniper wherever he was, so a dedicated spotter would make more sense. In any case, much of the crowd evaporates when Sherlock is taken away.

So, there's what I think for How Sherlock Managed the Trick. No idea whether it's right or not. It's probably going to be a very long time before we find out how it was actually done whenever Series 3 starts.

NOW. As to the other hows and whys and whens and whos and where all these allies and such came from and how long who has been planning what and so forth, I'm pretty certain I have the principal operators pinned down, but I'm going to need to ponder a lot more on it before I get a clear image of this plot in full.

I love this. I know what happens in canon, and I'm still needing to go analytical to figure out what's exactly going on. I'm actually mentally setting aside what I know of canon on this point and looking just at actions taken by characters in the show to find support for what I'm thinking.

That's going to be a lot longer to pull together though, and If I don't post this now, I'm going to be fiddling with all of it for far too long.


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20 comments or Leave a comment
i_sudoku From: i_sudoku Date: January 20th, 2012 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow! Quite amazing speculation! The person knocking down John was definitely on purpose, even without analysis I can conclude that. I just didn't have the patience and mean to analyze the rest of the things. I think the thing you mentioned about the ball was right, otherwise it was quite random. I guess Molly helped as well.

I see that you didn't wait until the US air date to watch it ;)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 20th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Couldn't. If I had waited, I would have to stay offline until I'd seen it to avoid spoilers and that's simply not possible. I'll be buying the DVDs when they come out in my country for sure though.
i_sudoku From: i_sudoku Date: January 22nd, 2012 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know what you meant about staying offline. When will the DVD come out in Canada?
shadowfireflame From: shadowfireflame Date: January 20th, 2012 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoyed reading this, and I think you're right. Good call on the paramedics being rather unprofessional. I would never have noticed those two guys following Sherlock in on the gurney without your screencaps.

I've compiled a list of every variable involved in the Fall I could think of here, so I hope you don't mind if I link to this theory post! :D
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 20th, 2012 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really noticed the paramedics because I've got a couple story WIPs where there's a risk of spinal trauma so I've looked into some of the first aid to try and keep things realistic, and while I'm still very fuzzy, that was not an appropriate transfer to gurney for someone that's hypothetically that injured. All flopping around and unstabilized. They didn't even lower the gurney!

I don't mind if you link at all! I'll have to check your post out once I've got a few more things settled in my mind regarding the episode as mentioned at the end here, but I'll add it to the repository of things to check out later. :-)
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: January 21st, 2012 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I was suspicious as soon as Sherlock insisted John keep his eyes on him--magician's trick. The paramedics as well, definitely. Rolling him over my ass! I had heard about how to kill your pulse though, was rather interesting:) The bicyclist was certainly deliberate, and I am wondering if he was one of Sherlock's kids. Love all your minute details:)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: January 21st, 2012 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
magician's trick

Oh very much so. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
From: polyhedron Date: February 2nd, 2012 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I am very very slowly going through your Reichenbach posts -- trying to make them last longer. There's one more thing that you might want to look at. I can't tell if it's a production error or intentional. If you can go frame by frame at 1:23:07, it seems to be someone else on the gurney.

caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 2nd, 2012 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh. LJ flagged you as a spammer. XD

Yeah, I noticed that a few weeks back when I was going through it for details on a few other things, and I'll be making some comments on it when I can get something pulled together.
From: polyhedron Date: February 2nd, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Loved part 1, by the way, trying to see how long I can last until part 2
From: polyhedron Date: February 3rd, 2012 06:16 am (UTC) (Link)
p.s. Spammer? WTF?
Mr_Souffle From: Mr_Souffle Date: September 13th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)


Does that face look like Moriarty's to anyone else, or is it just me? The more I look at it, the more convinced I am...
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: September 14th, 2012 03:01 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: ??

I have another speculation/random observation post here discussing that and some other more crack-filled theories. He looks quite a lot like Mycroft to me, but I don't know how the hell that would even work.
thsfuhqinsux From: thsfuhqinsux Date: February 15th, 2012 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been speculating on this too, and I figure Stethoscope wasn't really a doctor, either. For one thing, why would he be moving him like you mentioned, and another- he has a stethoscope, why didn't he use it instead of checking his carotid pulse with his hand? I think it is to prevent anyone else from checking his pulse there, and the stethoscope was more because when people see a stethoscope around your neck, they tend to do what you say, even if it doesn't make sense. The second responder guy may have been looking for Sherlock's femoral artery to check for a pulse there.

But they may have also been doctors and they moved him because they detected a pulse. If they determined he was dead, they wouldn't have moved the body.

Rather than a drug to subdue Sherlock's vital signs and the ball in his armpit to make his radial pulse undetectable for John, I have been thinking possible honey intoxication. Sherlock mentioned rhododendron ponticum at the police station when they were trying to narrow down where the kids were being kept. It's a plant that grows all over Europe and Asia, and honey made from the pollen of this plant causes intoxication, some of the symptoms of which are very slow heartbeat, low blood pressure to the point that a pulse can't be detected in the radial artery or even so low the blood pressure doesn't register, very suppressed respiration,pupils become nonreactive to light, ect... And in areas where it happens on a regular basis, many people don't consider it dangerous enough to seek medical care because death by honey intoxication is very rare. The effects set in very quickly after eating the honey, and wear off within 24 hours. Given Sherlock's canon retirement, this seems to be a good fit. And Honey intoxication symptoms might have made his vital signs weak enough to explain Stethoscope and Second Responder picking him up and rushing him into the hospital rather than letting people think he was dead so he'd have to stay there till the police arrived.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 16th, 2012 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I did not know that about the honey thing, that's awesome.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 3rd, 2012 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
The second doctor is putting Sherlock into the recovery position, a position that would mean Sherlock has to lie on one arm. Also, you're only supposed to put someone into this position if you find a pulse...
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: September 14th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, I missed this comment, so I'm unscreening it now. If you watch, there is a shake back and forth, rather than a smooth roll, so if he is aiming for the recovery position, he's not doing it right, and then they immediately roll him back to flat on his back, so regardless, something is very dodgy.
auriliawestlake From: auriliawestlake Date: April 17th, 2013 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay, so I'll admit I didn't even know about BBC's Sherlock until just a few weeks ago, but your theories quite match up with my own (and I'm having a heck of a time keeping ACD's canon from interfering with my speculating). However, right after watching all six episodes in a marathon session, the very first thing I did was research how he could have survived that fall. I even looked up BC's height and used it to estimate how far he'd fallen (if you're curious, it was around 45-50 feet). Then I dug out an old physics book and painstakingly computed how fast he would have been moving when he hit the ground (I did not figure for any sort of 'pillow' effect). It's entirely plausible for someone to have survived this type of fall with only minimal injuries - my math came back as saying he'd only been going roughly 30 mph when he slammed into the concrete. I then went a step further and looked up some exceedingly dry reading (research scientists really will research anything); there are actual documented cases of individuals having survived falls from 50-100 feet with only sprains and bruises to show for it. One particularly memorable case-study I found had a fifteen year old kid jumping off of a 75-foot high platform, to land (belly-flop) onto an asphalt road. The kid didn't even have any bruises. Just something to, y'know, think about.

Hmm... I just realized I also didn't compute the amount of drag that Sherlock's Coat of Doom might have had on the speed of descent, so it's likely that he wound up hitting the ground (or that cart of whatever) at a much slower speed than I've already calculated...
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: April 24th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)
There are a lot of theories at this point, it's going to be interesting to see what actually happened, considering how far off everyone was about the resolution to Series one.
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: September 22nd, 2014 05:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, kind of right by what Sherlock said happened, which is still suspect.
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