We were told there were 13 ways in which Sherlock could have jumped and lived, but only three potential answers made it on to the show.
After waiting two years for a solution to the "Oh my – no! Wait! How did he – what's happening?" question on everybody's lips, we were offered several in the first episode of Sherlock's third series.
"There were 13 likely scenarios," Benedict rumbled from beneath his Cumber-thatch. "Each one rigorously worked out and given a code name."
How could there be 13 ways to be seen to jump from a rooftop and survive the fall? The programme offered us some blogosphere-baiting possibilities. There was the Mission Improbable version, featuring latex masks, Derren Brown and squalls of electric guitar. There was the slash-fiction-tickling vision of Holmes and Moriarty as homoerotic pranksters. And there was the "actual" version, codenamed LAZARUS after the biblical figure raised from the dead, which kind of suggests they were always gonna go with it.
But what about the 10 other possibilities? Here are some ideas.
1. Holmes jumps, and at the very last second grabs hold of a circus trapeze suspended from a nearby crane – Watson's view is blocked, remember. The trapeze's return trajectory deposits Holmes in the right spot on the pavement where he can pop his old 'squash ball in the armpit' chestnut.
2. Holmes jumps into the parked hospital van filled with laundry bags. Sherlock offered this possibility himself in the show, before discounting it due to an impossibly steep angle. So, er, not that "rigorously worked out" then.
3. Skydivers practise in powerful vertical wind tunnels that help you defy gravity/look like a hurricane has caught you on the toilet. One of these tunnels positioned under Sherlock's impact would save his bacon. They make more noise than a Wembley cup final, but Watson has tinnitus from the collision with the cyclist, remember?
4. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat may come close, but they're not supermen. There's bound to be some crossover between massive flagship projects brought in at a similar deadline. Sherlock's sticky wicket could be perfectly resolved by the intervention of a police box that can fly and travel in time. They are bloody handy.
5. Failing that, Benedict Cumberbatch has been here before, in that Star Trek film where he disappeared from a crashing helicopter by demolecularising himself using a personal transporter device that Simon Pegg invented. Admittedly people have been grumbling about deus ex machina since about 1800, so this probably won't wash.
6. If it's possible to hologrammatically recreate dead rappers to perform with Dr Dre, how difficult can it be to simulate a plummeting Sherlock Holmes made of pure light, while the real one's chuckling in a taxi to Dover? Quite difficult? OK then.
7. Something clever with mirrors. Not sure about details yet, but if you look into a curved mirror from a distance your face goes upside down. Like the flight of bees, science has no explanation for this. What if what John saw wasn't Sherlock falling, but Sherlock flying? This does raise further questions.
8. What if there had been two Sherlocks the whole time? Identical twins, or maybe a celebrity lookalike? Poor Molly, in love with a sociopath, could find one and they could push him off the roof together. She has just scoured the morgues for a cadaver that could be Sherlock, and is engaged to someone who looks exactly like Sherlock. She's not a well woman, but she is very good at finding men of a certain type.
9. As he fell, Sherlock's outstretched arms weren't a messianic visual allegory like you thought. He was actually spreading the panels of his greatcoat, which doubles as a parachute. A tuck, pike and twist gives him a cushioned, head-first landing onto his adorable mop of curls. Cumberbatch's hair is so buoyant chinchillas stuff their pillows with it.
10. Ever hear the Situationist slogan "Beneath the streets, the beach"? Two words - Retractable Pavement. With a swimming pool underneath. Logistically difficult to justify, this would obviously blow the bejesus out of a municipal budget. We've heard that Mycroft "is the government." Is he also Westminster council?
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