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The Reichenbach Falls

There is increased Spoiler alert!

Comment on the edition I have from Karl Müller Verlag: It is not noted (and also not researchable) who is responsible for the translation. The spelling of the "dass" with Eszett indicates, however, that the translation into German must have taken place before the spelling reform. The choice of the familiar "you" between Holmes and Watson is peculiar. Usually the translators resort to the more distant and respectful “you”. Also, the Napoleon of Crime is featured in this book Macalled riarty (see below "Differences"). I also noticed punctuation errors (especially when using verbatim speech). However, I will use all inaccuracies as they are printed in my quotes. I refrain from pointing out every time an error has crept into the book.

Plot: The final problem

The short story begins with a brief introduction, from which it can be seen between the lines that it is a kind of obituary.

It is with a heavy heart that I take up my pen to erect a monument for all time to the outstanding spiritual gifts of my friend Holmes. […] I had therefore resolved to leave it at that and not include the incident that tore a void in my life two years ago, which I still feel today with almost no weakening. […]“

Then the story jumps back to April 24, 1891. (Note the time of publication).

Holmes, who has been in France for some time, visits Watson in his study. Watson can't help but notice that his friend looks emaciated and battered. Holmes closes the shutters, admitting that he is afraid of being shot.


„„You are, it seems, afraid of something? ”I asked.


From what? "

In front of wind rifles. "

The detective suggests that Watson accompany him to the continent for a week. He does not name the exact destination.

When Watson reacts confused, Holmes brings the conversation to Professor Mariarty. He explains that he has been after the criminal for a long time, but has not yet been able to get hold of him. Mararty even visited him and threatened him that if Holmes did not stop disturbing him in his endeavors, he would destroy him. After the meeting there were strange accidents which endangered Holmes. A project was planned that would finally tighten the noose around Mariarty in three days. Holmes emphasizes that he will retire as soon as Mariarty has been arrested as the crowning glory of his career as a detective.

Holmes then gives Watson precise instructions on how to start the journey and leaves the practice.

The next morning, Watson strictly adheres to the instructions and hopes to meet Holmes at the agreed train station. However, this does not appear. Instead, an old priest sits down in the train compartment. Only when the train pulls away does the clergyman reveal himself to be Holmes.

When he looks out the window, he sees Mariarty trying to stop the train. Holmes assumes the professor will take a special train to intercept them in Canterbury. So he suggests that they get off the train there and cross-country to Newhaven. The destination of the trip is Switzerland.

While Holmes and Watson go into hiding in Strasbourg, the detective receives a telegram from London. The raid was only partially successful. The real target - Mariarty - escaped the police. Thereupon Holmes advises his friend to travel to England again. He himself wanted to go to Geneva. However, Watson cannot be persuaded to leave Holmes alone and insists on going with him.

This is followed by a seven-day hike that leads through the Rhone Valley and ends in Meiringen. Meanwhile, a boulder falls down. Although the guide assures that rock falls are perfectly normal at this time of the year, Holmes is convinced that they will be followed.

Once in Meiringen, Holmes and Watson quartered in the Englischer Hof, which is run by Peter Steiler the Elder. He recommends that the two of them visit the Rosenlaui pond and take a short detour halfway to take a look at the Reichenbach Falls. When the friends go back to the original route after visiting the falls, they are stopped by a young boy who writes a letter to Dr. Watson carries with him. The letter speaks of a consumptive who has risen in the Englischer Hof and urgently needs medical help. Since the fatally ill is an Englishwoman, Watson cannot refuse her wish for a compatriot medic and hurries back to the village. Holmes, who keeps the young man with him, wants to wait a while at the Reichenbach Falls before Watson returns.

As Watson descends the path, he looks back one more time. He recognizes a darkly clad figure heading for the Reichenbach Falls. However, his sense of duty drove him on to Meiringen. After almost an hour there, he learns from Steiler that there are no sick women at his farm. However, the old landlord would have seen a thin Englishman. Watson then runs back, but only finds Holmes Alpenstock, his cigarette case and three notes. The detective wrote his suicide note on the latter. Watson, reflecting on and applying the deduction taught by Holmes, assumes that Holmes and Mariarty fell down the falls together.

Plot: The Reichenbach Falls

Watson sits with his therapist and tells her that his friend, Sherlock Holmes, has died.

The action in the episode starts three months earlier. Sherlock is honored for recovering a painting entitled "The Reichenbach Falls". This case ensures that he will become a well-known man. While dominating the media, the Bank of England, Pentonville Prison and the Tower of London are being broken into. Jim Moriarty waits in the Tower for the police and lets himself be arrested without resistance.

Sherlock is called to the trial as a witness. In the toilet he meets the dedicated journalist Kitty Riley. She wants to persuade him to do an interview; however, he's rude enough to tell her what he thinks of her in the face.

Against all odds, Jim Moriarty is acquitted. He visits Sherlock on Bakerstreet and holds out a case to him, which is supposed to solve "the last problem". Meanwhile he speaks of a universal code. His fingers tap conspicuously on his knee.

Two months later, John is called to the Diogenes Club to speak to Mycroft. According to him, Kitty Riley announces that she will publish a scoop in one of the next issues of the newspaper, in which she wants to write the truth about Sherlock Holmes. She names Rich (ard) Brook as the source. In addition, Mycroft warns John that well-known professional killers have moved to Bakerstreet; he suspects Moriarty is behind it.

The ambassador's children were kidnapped from a boarding school. Sherlock helps with the search and can find the students in time before they are poisoned. Donovan becomes increasingly suspicious of him as she cannot imagine how he could track down the kidnap victims with the few clues that were available. When Sherlock tries to speak to one of the children, they scream in panic. Now it is clear to Donovan and Anderson that something is wrong. They believe Sherlock switched sides to make sure he got the spotlight by solving his own cases. The two police officers persuade Lestrade to arrest the detective.

While Sherlock is driving home in the taxi, a video clip is played (via the monitor integrated in the backrest) in which Jim Moriarty appears as a fairytale uncle. Sherlock explains that he will fall from grace. Sherlock stops the taxi and asks the driver to explain where the video came from. He has to realize that Jim Moriarty was driving the car.

Shortly thereafter, Sherlock is almost run over by a car. However, one of the killers who moved to Baker Street saves him. When the detective wants to say thank you, the rescuer is shot. Sherlock searches for abnormalities in the one in his and John's apartment, since he is convinced that the killers are spying on him, and finds a webcam on the bookshelf.

Lestrade comes to Bakerstreet to arrest Sherlock, but lets himself be persuaded not to do so. Sherlock and John have a chat about how recent events have shaken the doctor's trust in his friend. Sherlock is arrested on the instructions of a Lestrades superior. John - who messes with this same superior - as well. Both manage to escape - chained to each other. They meet another killer. At gunpoint, Sherlock forces him to tell him why the hit men are near him. The man admits that it is about a "computer key" (code) that is hidden in the apartment on Bakerstreet - before he is shot. While Sherlock suspects that the code was placed in the apartment to further discredit it, John finds a newspaper with an article by Kitty Riley. You go to the journalist to confront her. While they are still asking her who Rich Brook is, Jim Moriarty comes to Riley's apartment. John tries to confront him, but Moriarty insists that his name is Brook, that he is in a relationship with Kitty, and that he is an actor. He was hired by Sherlock to mime the criminal so that the detective could take the laurels. Jim Moriarty can escape.

Sherlock announces that he still has something to do and sends John away. He goes to Molly Hooper and asks her for help.

John confronts Mycroft - he suspects he may have given Moriarty information about his brother. So he would have warned John about both the killers and Riley beforehand.

At the hospital, Sherlock and John consider how to proceed. John receives a call saying that her landlady - Mrs. Hudson - has been shot. He would like to go straight to Bakerstreet. Sherlock refuses to come. They part in an argument.

John is relieved to find that Mr. Hudson is unharmed. He rushes back to the hospital.

Jim Moriarty and Sherlock meet on the roof of the hospital. Sherlock tells Jim on the head that "Rich Brook" would be the English equivalent for "Reichenbach". In addition, he is certain that Jim's fingertip - at their meeting on Bakerstreet - represented the encrypted code and that it was hidden in Sherlock's head. With the help of this code, Sherlock wants to make Rich Brook disappear and bring Jim Moriarty back to life. Jim reveals to him that there is no code at all and that the break-ins were simple sleight of hand - supported by generous bribes. Sherlock explains to Jim that he is nowhere near as harmless as those he is trying to protect and that he is perfectly capable of killing Jim. Jim warns him against this because he has put killers on John, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade, who will only abandon their goals if Sherlock jumps to his death. From the wording, Sherlock realizes that he can avoid death if he can get Jim to call back the killers himself. Before he can force him to, Jim shoots himself in the head.

Apparently with no way out, the detective stands on the parapet.

John talks to Sherlock on the phone and is informed that this conversation is a farewell letter. Without being able to prevent it, he has to watch Sherlock jump.

John and Mrs. Hudson stand by Sherlock's grave. They are watched by the detective.

The Reichenbachfall: Nice sidekicks and connections to the other episodes

John continues to act as a whistleblower regarding social behavior.

Sherlock (after receiving a present): "Tie pins. I never wear tie pins.

John: "Pssst.“

John (in the taxi on the way to court): "Remember what they said: don't give the head teacher. And please make it short and not too complicated.“

Sherlock: "God forbid the star witness appears intelligent at the trial.“

John: "Smart, yes. Well. But we'll leave the smart ass outside.“

Sherlock: "I'll just be myself

John: "Are you even listening to me ?!

John (at boarding school): "Is it fun?

Sherlock: "Yes, so slowly.

John: "But maybe you leave that smile. Child abduction.“

The bad relationship between Donovan and Sherlock comes to a head; she accuses the detective of having switched sides.

Donovan (to John): "I told them. […] When we first met. Solving crimes will no longer be enough for him. At some point he changes sides. So ask yourself what kind of person would kidnap these children just so he can impress everyone with how he finds them.

Anderson is also convinced that Sherlock has become a criminal.

Similarities between The Last Problem and The Reichenbach Falls

As well in The last problem, as well as in The Reichenbach Falls it is mentioned at the beginning that Sherlock Holmes has passed away.

The deerstalker hat is not worn regularly by either Holmes or Sherlock. Sherlock, who receives it as a gift from Lestrade's department, thinks she is silly.

Sherlock: "Why do they keep bringing these hat photos ?! […] Is that a cap? Why these two umbrellas?

John: "It's a hunting hat.

Sherlock: "I beg your pardon? Should you hunt with a hat? How come? Throw? […] A kind of death frisbee? It has flaps. Ear flaps. That's a hat, John.[…]“

John: "I mean: this is no longer a hunting hat, but a Sherlock Holmes hat.

Both storylines use flashbacks. In The last problem it's two years in The Reichenbach Falls three months.

Holmes is a smoker.

Quote: "With it he lit a cigarette, the calming scent of which he inhaled with obvious relish.

Sherlock tries to suppress his addiction with nicotine patches - but not always successfully, as for example in season 2, episode 2, as well as season 3, episode 1 and 3.

Both Mariarty and Jim Moriarty are drawn as being above average intelligent.

Professor Mariarty visits Holmes.

Quote from Holmes: "While I was now sitting in my room pondering the matter, a door suddenly opened and the professor stood in front of me.

Jim Moriarty is also coming to Bakerstreet.

Holmes says to Mariarty while the professor visits him:

What I could tell you has already been through your mind.

A similar sentence occurs in season 1, episode 3, but Moriarty speaks it here.

Jim: "I would try to convince you, but you have already thought about everything I could say.

Sherlock: "Then you have probably already thought about my answer.

The threats from Mariarty and Jim Moriarty are similar.

Quote from Mariarty: "It is not just a question of danger, but of inevitable annihilation. […] They have to give way or they will be trodden down. […] If your ingenuity equates to causing my downfall, be sure that I will reward you like with like.

Quote Jim Moriarty (Season 1, Episode 3): "Stay out of it […] Do you know what happens if you don't leave me alone, Sherlock? [...] If you don't stop being so cheeky, I'll burn you. I'll burn your heart out

Sherlock reads from the footprints how the kidnapping of the children took place.

Anderson: "And here is the end. We don't know where they are from here. So don't tell us anything.

Sherlock: "You're right, Anderson. Nothing. Besides his height, shoe size, gait and the speed of his steps.

Holmes does something similar in A study in scarlet (see also here).

Quote: "With a casual demeanor that, under the circumstances, seemed to me to be on the verge of affectation, he strolled up and down the pavement, staring blankly at the ground, the sky, the houses opposite, and the row of railings. After he finished his examination, he walked leisurely down the path, or more precisely the strip of grass that lined the path, and every now and then I saw him smile or utter an exclamation of satisfaction. There were many footprints on the muddy ground, but with the police going in and out I couldn't understand how my companion was hoping to find out. […] "Come on, Doctor," he said; “We will go and see him. […] A murder was committed and the killer was a man. He is more than six feet tall, is in the prime of his life and has small feet for his size, for he wore coarse boots with a square toe, […] He came here with his victim in a four-wheeled cab pulled by a horse with three old horseshoes and a new one on his right front hoof.

Holmes ’apartment is set on fire.

Quote from Holmes: "A fire was set on my apartment last night; it didn't do much damage, by the way.

In season 1, episode 3, a bomb explodes across from Bakerstreet 221b. But only the window panes of the apartment burst.

In both versions, Moriarty is called the "Napoleon of Crime".

Quote from Holmes: "He's the Napoleon of Crime, Watson. Half of all crimes in this cosmopolitan city in general, and almost all of those that go undetected, are put to work by him.

Mariarty and Jim Moriarty are compared to an Aranae.

Quote from Holmes: "He has a brain of the first order. He is motionless like a spider in the center of a web, but this ends in thousands of threads, and he feels the slightest twitch of each of them.

Quote Sherlock: "James Moriarty is not human. He's a spider. A spider crouching in the center of its web. A criminal network with thousands of threads and he knows exactly when and how to pull which thread.

Mariarty arranges crimes when asked.

Quote from Holmes: "He does little himself, he just draws up the plan. But he has numerous well-organized assistants. If it is a question of carrying out a crime, for example stealing a document, robbing a house, killing a person - you give the professor the slogan, and immediately the matter is set in motion and carried out.“

In the series, Jim Moriarty is the head of a criminal consultancy (advice).

Quote Season 1, Episode 3:

Jim Moriarty: "I am a specialist, you know? As.

Sherlock: ""Dear Jim, please arrange for me to get rid of my lover's nasty sister. Dear Jim, please arrange for me to disappear to South America.““

Jim Moriarty: "Just like that.

Sherlock: "Consulting with a difference. Brilliant.

Jim Moriarty: "Yes not?

Quote Season 2, Episode 3:

Public Prosecutor: "Criminal Consulting.“

Sherlock: "Yes.“

Public Prosecutor: "Her words. Could you explain that to us in more detail?

Sherlock: "James Moriarty takes orders.“

Watson is called for a supposed emergency and therefore leaves Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls. John receives an advance call that directs him to Bakerstreet; Sherlock is left alone in the hospital.

Holmes leaves Watson notes with a farewell letter.

Sherlock speaks only of one such:

This call is like my farewell letter.

Holmes and Sherlock fall to their (supposed) death.

Both Watson and John witnessed the crash - although they did not (or only partially) see it.

Differences between The Last Problem and The Reichenbach Falls

As in A case of pink the title of the episode differs more or less strongly from that of the original story. However, there is a clear indication of the actual name.

Sherlock: "What is all this for? What for?

Jim Moriarty: "I want to solve the problem. Our problem. The last problem.“

There is also a reference to the modern title in the same scene.

Jim Moriarty: "It'll be soon, Sherlock. The case."(Indicates a fall movement with the hand and whistles a corresponding noise) [...]"I owe you a case, Sherlock. I owe it to you.“The level of meaning is (partially) changed here.

A little later there is a video clip in which Jim Moriarty tells a fairy tale. There he comes back to the final problem.

Jim Moriarty: "But that wasn't Sir Prahl-a-lots's only problem. No. That wasn't the last problem.

In the short story, the death of Holmes is announced through a newspaper (the stories were published in The beach released). On the show, John tells his therapist that Sherlock has passed away.

In the translation before me, Professor Moriarty Macalled riarty. I do not know to what extent this name is appropriate. To make it easier to differentiate, however, I have retained it for this comparison.

In the series he has the first name James (Jim). Interestingly, that's actually the first name of Professor Mariarty's brother.

Quote Watson: "The recently published letters in which Colonel James Mariarty seeks to swear in his brother's memory, [...] "(see also below)

So are we actually dealing with the colonel on the show? ;O)

Mariarty is described as coming from a wealthy family. Jim Moriarty's background remains in the dark.

Mariarty only appears twice in Doyle's stories. Moriarty, on the other hand, is used as a constant antagonist. He is already in the first episode (A case of pink) the real puller.

In The last problem Mariarty is said to hold a protective hand over criminals. However, it is clearly stated that Holmes was not involved in any of these cases.

Quote from Holmes: "For years now I have been constantly struck by the fact that there must be some kind of power behind the criminal, a mysterious power which systematically and systematically stepped in the way of the law everywhere, while protecting the evildoers. Over and over again in cases of all kinds, in burglaries, in other thefts, in murderous acts, I came across traces of this power, and in a whole series of unresolved crimes in which I had not given personal advice, I had to be convinced arrive that this circumstance can only be ascribed to the rule of that power.“

Mariarty is a (quasi) emeritus professor of mathematics.

Quote from Holmes: "He's had a strange career. He comes from a good family, was well educated and has a phenomenal aptitude for mathematics. When he was twenty-one, he wrote a treatise on the theory of bionomes, which has caused a sensation across Europe. This gave him a professorship in mathematics at one of our small colleges, so that it appeared that he was at the beginning of a brilliant career. […] A haze of all sorts of dark rumors formed around him at the place of his activity, so that he finally felt compelled to resign from his teaching post and settle in London as a drummer for the officers' examination.

Jim Moriarty was on trial, but Mariarty was not.

Quote from Holmes: "But the professor was surrounded on all sides by a protective wall so cleverly conceived that all my efforts to make his transfer to court possible seemed in vain.“

Mycroft provided Jim Moriarty with background information on Sherlock. (In season 3, episode 1, it is said that this was probably done by vote.)

Mycroft Holmes, on the other hand, has in The last problem a much smaller gig. Watson is driven to the train station by a coach on his departure from London. In retrospect, this turns out to be Mycroft.

Quote: "There was indeed the brougham standing there with the very stout driver in a dark coat who, as soon as I got on, rushed to Victoria station with me.

Quote from Holmes: "Did you recognize the coachman? […] That was my brother Mycroft. It is worth a lot if, in such a case, you don't have to take a hirel into your trust.

Mariarty has a brother.

Quote: "The recently published letters in which Colonel James Mariarty seeks to swear in his brother's memory, [...]“

Nothing is known about Jim Moriarty's family.

Watson is already married to Mary ("As a result of my marriage and the start of my private medical practice, […], my intercourse with Holmes has become somewhat more restricted.“), But not John yet. His wedding only becomes a (central) topic in season 3, episode 2.

At the beginning of the events, Watson did not yet know about Professor Mariarty, while John already had "the pleasure" with Jim Moriarty in season 1, episode 3.

Camouflaged Cab Driver / Taxi Driver: Mycroft drives a cab that takes Watson to the train station. Jim Moriarty drives a taxi that Sherlock got into.

The main events of the short story take place in Central Europe. The showdown is localized in Switzerland. Watson assumes that Holmes and Mariarty fell down the Reichenbach Falls together.

The Reichenbach Falls however, is limited to London. The showdown takes place in the hospital where Molly Hooper is employed. Jim Moriarty shoots himself in the head and Sherlock jumps off the roof.

The Reichenbach Falls are not visited in the series, instead a painting by William Turner (with the corresponding title) is presented at the beginning of the episode, which Sherlock had previously retrieved.

At the time the short story was written, Doyle actually wanted his hero to die because he had grown tired of him. Steven Thomson (screenplay), on the other hand, lets Sherlock John watch in the last scene how he is standing at his tombstone; a doubt about his death is therefore more than appropriate.

(Completed on May 1st, 2014)