Written by Stephanie Bell
Sherlock is a show that deals in suspense and intrigue—its fans have to stay on their toes to keep up with the intricate plotting and lightning-fast dialogue. Sherlock has dealt with some intense subject matter: kidnapping, murder, torture, and suicide to name just a few. It takes a lot to be shocking on Sherlock. That said, here are our top five shocking moments from the show.
5. Sherlock Gets Scared – The Hounds of Baskerville
Perhaps a more low-key surprise than others on this list, this is still a shocking moment as Sherlock shows some rare cracks in his façade after going out on the moor with Henry Knight. At the Cross Keys pub, his shaky hands and agitated state betray his terror at seeing—or thinking he saw—the gigantic hound. Sherlock admits to being afraid for the first time, uncharted territory for him.
4. Irene De-frocked – A Scandal in Belgravia
Planning to give him a shock, Irene Adler arrives for her meeting with Sherlock in her “battle dress”, which doesn’t appear to offer much protection. Perhaps not surprisingly, Sherlock maintains his cool exterior, although he is undeniably intrigued by The Woman. John, on the other hand, “knows exactly where to look.”
3. Merry Christmas, Mr Magnussen! – His Last Vow
When it turns out that the “vaults” of Charles Augustus Magnussen, the “Napoleon of Blackmail,” are all in his head, Sherlock has no way to save John from Magnussen’s manipulation of his “pressure point”: namely, Mary. With all other options closed off, Sherlock decides to alleviate that pressure and shoots Magnussen right between the eyes. It’s fair to say neither John, Mycroft, us at home, and certainly not Magnussen himself, were expecting that!
2. That Jump – The Reichenbach Fall
This Series Two finale is full of twists and turns: Moriarty breaks into Pentonville Prison, the Tower of London, and the Bank of London at the same time, and manages to be acquitted of all three crimes. He systematically destroys Sherlock’s reputation through a series of well-orchestrated lies and innuendo, enlisting the unwitting aid of reporter Kitty Riley along the way. But the most shocking scene is saved for the end: Sherlock jumps off of the roof of St. Bart’s to prevent Moriarty’s henchmen from killing his friends.
1. That Explanation – The Empty Hearse
Though we see at the end of The Reichenbach Fall that Sherlock is, in fact, still alive, we don’t know how he faked his death. The show’s fans had to wait two years to find out how Sherlock, Mycroft, Molly, and a gang of approximately 25 accomplices helped Sherlock foil Moriarty’s plot to drive Sherlock over the edge (literally). Using a well-placed air cushion, fake blood, a corpse resembling the consulting detective, a bicyclist and a cast of supporting players, Sherlock takes the fall. And then bounces back two years later in a rather ill-conceived “reveal” to John. Good thing Mary likes him!
Tell us about your favourite Sherlock shocking moments in the comments…