Un-habeas corpus

This discussion of Sherlock 3.1 is replete with spoilers.

Other reviewers have said the obvious things and said them well.  Last night’s Sherlock was short on plot, but forgivably so, as it was so very long on delightful cleverness and wish-fulfilling moments.  I could go on, but this fellow has done it for me.  Instead I want to say something I haven’t read anywhere else.  I want to describe an irredeemable logical flaw.

Of all the many questions one might have about the way Sherlock fakes his death:  the relative heights of the buildings that stop John from seeing what is going on, the timing of Mycroft’s interception of the sniper and why, if he has the sniper under control, he can’t just halt the other snipers and call it a day, the speed with which it is possible to inflate and deflate an air-bag, the problematic lack of blood under the body — of all these questions and 50 more, one stands out, never raised and inexplicable:  why is there a corpse at all?  Think about it.  Sherlock hits the airbag, rolls off, stands aside while the bag is removed, runs back and lies down:  There is no need for a corpse.

I’ll be interested in explanations, but I don’t think I’ll get one.  It seems clear to me, after a lot of thought, that the whole drama is played out for John’s benefit.  Mycroft must already be at the sniper — the sniper who is to inform the other snipers — who, in any imaginable case, must have seen some of the elaborate set-up, since the only sight-line from which it cannot be seen is John’s.  But John never sees the corpse.

Of course before seeing the show we all thought there would be a corpse, because of the Molly involvement.  But that was only okay because we were all thinking, like Anderson, that it was corpse on the ground, the corpse whose pulse John takes.  In that scenario you need a corpse.  In the one presented, you don’t.

2 thoughts on “Un-habeas corpus

  1. Unless, unless….. UNLESS!!! …. he switched places with the corpse *again* after John had identified it ie on the way to the mortuary. This being TV drama-land, having already been positively identified as Homes the corpse would only need to vaguely resemble him (which it did), and having been chucked out of a window the corpse would have the correct injuries. So – in true Diana/ July 7th style – no autopsies to confirm exact cause of death would need to be performed and the body could just be buried ‘as is’, completing the illusion of Holmes’ death.

    Maybe these points never made the final edit, or maybe I’m doing Moffat (sp?) a favour :)

    Altogether it was pretty silly episode. The torture storyline was absurd. Being hunted down and tortured would give anybody PTSD. You expect Hollywood action heros to be able to stick a knife in someone’s face or get brutally tortured and then be all warm and empathetic to his wife when he gets home…. but Moffat tries hard to throw realism into ‘Sherlock’, which makes shrugging off torture like it was a hard day at the office seem even more ridiculous (and disrespectful for genuine torture victims). It would be like having an female undercover cop getting raped, escaping, having a bath, fixing her hair, asking for her favourite coat and then saying “OK see ya – byeee!”

    Also why are the conspiracy theorists all sitting in a room – were all the internet forums closed for maintenance?

  2. Very clever on the corpse, still it could have been thrown out a window earlier and no precious time wasted. On PTSD: excellent critique. On the conspiracy theorists: har!

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