Warning: This post contains spoilers from "The Abominable Bride." Proceed with caution.
It’s been more than three years but BBC’s Sherlock creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have yet to offer a definitive explanation as to how the titular character survived leaping off a roof in "The Reichenbach Fall." A number of fan theories include special rigging, padding at the landing site and the use of a body double with a specially-made mask. These ideas were explored on screen in the season three opener "The Empty Hearse," but nothing has been confirmed. Until now.
On Friday, PBS aired a standalone episode called "The Abominable Bride" which finds the crime solving duo working a case in the 1800s. During a scene which takes place immediately after the events of "His Last Vow," Sherlock explains how the use of a body double helped a scorned woman appear as a ghost. “The conspirators had someone on the inside. They found a body just like Molly Hooper found a body for me when I…Yeah, but we don’t need to go into that again, do we?” he said. With those words, the detective consultant confirmed part of this fan theory about the body double and Molly’s involvement.
And if you had any question about Moriarty’s fate, he addressed that too. "Moriarty is dead. No question," Sherlock defiantly says toward the end of the episode before adding, "More importantly, I know exactly what he’s going to do next." So the criminal consultant is dead but his spirit lives on in whatever devious plan he has cooked up for the next series. Strap on your deerstalker, the game is on.