So! Reichenbach Falls and the early name-drop of "The Final Problem" and we all know what kind of territory we're in. Sherlock Holmes will be perceived to die; Watson will mourn him; Holmes will eventually return.
Comic moment: that trial scene reminded me of nothing less than the trial scene at the end of The Pink Panther, where Inspector Clouseau is made out to be the notorious Phantom, the jewel thief he has been doggedly pursuing for ages. The annoying professional policemen at the first crime scene in "Study" are here, paying off their petty grudges by accusing Holmes of staging the crimes he solves. They, of course, weren't in the lab to watch him work. Lestrade doesn't buy it, but his hand is forced.
I loved the direction throughout. Must make a note of who did that work.
Now to the problem of Moriarty. The actor… Sigh. I see what they were going for, but this Absence of Gravitas problem bothered me every time I saw him on screen. He had no heft. Crazy, yeah, great, but what was he after? Psychotic or simply crazy-cakes villains are not interesting.
Q: Why'd he do it?
A: Because he's craaaaazy!
Moriarty is insane and he knows it, but he's sort of … What's it with his rooftop suicide? Pure nihilism? He's defeated Mycroft (easily, apparently, what a bloody idiot) and now he's defeated Sherlock and he has nobody else to play with. The final problem: how does one avoid death? To refer to something unrelated: He won't live. But who does? Moriarty will continue living but without anything fun to do. Commit suicide and know that Holmes is defeated? In the ACD story, Moriarty goes to that final struggle on the falls knowing himself cornered. He grapples with Holmes in desperation. This Moriarty seemed anything but defeated. Was it really just a life is meaningless, why bother moment? He didn't want to live to see his schemes pan out? Invent new ones?
I am left wondering WTF. Your theories?
So. The mystery that remains to us to solve over the break is how he staged his suicide. I presume we have all the clues; if we don't then Moffat & Gatiss are cheating and that's no fair. Molly was of course involved. Watson was deliberately distracted from the sidewalk by Holmes and by the convenient bicyclist, but that's a real body on the sidewalk. Watson was in shock, but he held its wrist in his hand looking for a pulse. The paramedics were there too: no fooling them. How much of a question of identification was there? No DNA checks, no fingerprinting?
Good old Lestrade. Rupert Graves, whose Jolyon was the best thing about that limp & dripping Granada TV Forsyte adaptation, is a pleasure as always, though he's never given much of a role in any of these scripts.
Molly gets her due. She was Sherlock's friend before Watson was and he trusts her. He cannot trust Watson, because it's Watson's life he has to save through trickery. Watson, steady dependable loyal Watson, who stays true even after the end.
Martin Freeman's acting in the graveyard scene: so restrained, so meticulous. The little hints of military discipline when his emotions threaten to overwhelm him, so nice. He straightens up and turns precisely and marches away. Where was that scene set, by the way? It looked like I should have recognized it.
Why doesn't Mycroft help? Perhaps he does. In ACD he knows about Sigerson the violinist all along. What a dork he was. Can has the Mycroft & Molly show? He's a civil servant. She's a mortuary attendant. Together, they fight crime. No? Sigh.
In conclusion, Martin Freeman is a wonderful actor.