9. Surviving The Fall
"It's not the fall that kills you," chuckles Moriarty as he taunts Sherlock, "it's the landing." In many ways this is prophetic of the climax of The Reichenbach Fall where the writers survived orchestrating Sherlock's fall but ultimately failed to execute the landing.
With the eyes of the world waiting to see how Sherlock successfully 'landed', the writers realised that no explanation could satisfy everyone. By Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' own admission they had written themselves in a corner, one from which they were struggling to emerge from. Just like a magic trick, once you reveal how it is done it only disappoints. However, this particular magic trick was on a worldwide scale with millions looking for sleight of hand, theorising on forums and having spent two years waiting for a satisfying explanation.
Ultimately The Empty Hearse employed multiple fake-outs each showing increasingly more outrageous ways Sherlock survived, characters theorising how Sherlock could have done it and a partial explanation from the man himself. Moffat and Gatiss realised that there could be no possible way of satisfyingly showing how Sherlock faked his own death and opted to not show it at all. Had they not dug themselves such a big hole this would have not felt like a crippling disappointment to many. This misfire may have been the first but its ramifications only led to more.