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Joalro

"I.O.U." Theories

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So I am very clearly not the first person to ever beieve there to be significance in the fairytale theme in Sherlock, nor a significance in I.O.U. However, I do believe I may have a new theory as to how to combine these clues. There are three main sections to Moriarty's plan: The crimes/trial, the kidnapping, and the "proof" of Sherock's fraud. I believe that these three sections relate to the Grimms fairytales Twelve Brothers, Hansel and Gretel, and Cinderella, and I have evidence to support this claim.

I.O.U.

This phrase is repeated throughout the episode by moriarty, the apple, and the windows. Moriarty says it right after he tells Sherlock to get used to riddles. When a direct converstion to numbers (a=1, b = 2, etc) is done, we get the numbers 9, 15, 21. If you compare these numbers to the order of fairytales in Brother's Grimm (such as the book Moriarty gave to Sherlock in the chid's room) you get the stories 12 brothers, Hansel and Gretel, and Cinderella.

The most obvious connection is hansel and Gretel with the children leaving clues, the bread crumbs in the mail, and the "death by candy". One connection is a coincidence, so let me make two.

Twelve brothers is about a King and Queen who have twelve sons. The queen gets pregnant again. The king says he only ever wanted a daughter, and so he says if a girl is born he is going to start fresh and kill his 12 sons. If it's a boy, then he is going to let them live. The queen wants to spare their lives, so tells them to move out into the forest. If she shows a white flag, she had a boy and it's safe to come home. If she shows a red flag, then she had a girl and they should stay in the forest as their lives are in danger.

This is HIGHLY similar to the 12 jury members, whose lives were in danger based on a binary outcome (guilty, not guilty).

So the first part of his plan is aligned with 12 brothers, the second part is VERY aligned with hansel and gretel. I believe, somehow, we can find a connection between the Grimm's version of Cinderella and the fall (both metaphoric and literal) of Sherlock.

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Hello Joalro, Welcome to Sherlock Forum.

 

Some interesting thoughts there, and you're right it does all seem to piece together quite nicely. It will be interesting to see what our other members think.

 

:)

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Welcome to Sherlock Forum, Joalro! :wave2:

 

Good heavens, I am amazed -- you have set us a very interesting intellectual puzzle!

 

By the way, the "IOU" theme appears at least twice in addition to Moriarty's voice, the apple, and the windows -- there is the elaborate winged graffiti on the other side of Baker Street, and something John says in the cemetery ("I was so alone, and I owe you so much"). The latter is presumably a coincidence, but the former is likely to be Moriarty's work, in some sense.

 

Well, then, Cinderella -- the Grimm Brothers' version, presumably, which I'm not really familiar with. Wikipedia outlines a number of versions from countries as far apart as Egypt and China, then says, "Another well-known version was recorded by the German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century. The tale is called "Aschenputtel" ("Cinderella" in English translations) ...." Here's their link to the plot of Aschenputtel (which is considerably different from the Disney version!).

 

So our challenge is to match up elements of that story with post-kidnapping elements of "Reichenbach Fall." In addition to Moriarty's scheme to ruin Sherlock's reputation, mightn't that also include Sherlock's plan to save himself?

 

I'm going to have to sleep on that!

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Well, then, Cinderella -- the Grimm Brothers' version, presumably, which I'm not really familiar with.

 

Yes, it must be the Grimm version. Not only does Moriarty give Sherlock the brother's Grimm book, but he also says on the rooftop "I love newspapers, fairytales. Pretty Grim(m) ones too".

 

I REALLY do not believe he used the word "Grim" by accident.

 

Secondly, I would like to note that this is a collaborative effort between my friend and I. Together we are a think tank, and if there is a connection between Cinderella and the episode, we will find it.

 

And yes, I have read the Grimm version of Cinderella, it IS very different, so anyone looking for connections should NOT use the disney version as reference. Otherwise you will be looking for a fairy god mother in Sherlock, but there is none of that in the Grimm version.

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Well then, welcome to both of you!

 

OK, here are a few random thoughts: Cinderella's debasement by her stepmother and eventual elevation could correspond to Sherlock's being slandered by Moriarty but eventually vindicated. During the story of Sir Boast-a-Lot, when the King is mentioned, we see Lestrade. The white bird grants Cinderella's every request, just as Molly helps Sherlock in any way she can.

 

Even though this might not turn out to be how Moftiss & Thompson actually came up with the plot, it's kinda fun to play with! Comments, anyone? More ideas?

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I just simply think when Moriarty 1st delivers the message, it really is a promise to Sherlock that he is going to bring about his downfall.

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Hey, I have managed to improve upon this theory quite a bit. It is now much closer to completion. Although Cinderella still is the problem, I now think I know how to go about tackling it. I have retyped up the entire theory, as even with some of the stuff already mentioned, I have managed to improve upon what was already said. This is a realy long post, but trust me, it is worth the read!

 

Some really important quotes from the episode (some may be off, as I don't have these quotes written down, if you wanna correct them I'll edit this first post):

 

"Every Fairytale needs a good old fashion villain." - Moriarty

 

Sherlock: I never liked riddles.

Moriarty: Get used to it, because I owe you a fall. I owe you.

 

John?: What kind of criminal leaves clues behind?

Sherlock: The kind of villain who wants to boast, to show off (something along those lines)

 

"I love newspapers. Fairytales, pretty grim(m) ones too." - Moriarty

 

 

So these are some quotes that I will be bringing up in my discussion. So the first one I would like to mention is the "what kind of criminal leaves clues behind"? When Sherlock responds, he is clearly talking about Moriarty. However, in Moriarty's grand scheme of things, in all the episode, what clues did he leave for Sherlock? The code? Well he stated that was fake, so that doesn't appear to be a clue at first glance. The crumbs? Well that was a clue for the kidnapping portion. The gingerbread cookie? That seemed to be more of a message "run, run as fast as you can". It actually appears as though Moriarty left no hints behind as to what his grand scheme was. But if he left no hints, then why is he so disappointed that it was so easy to take down Sherlock? Surely it would be disappointingly easy to take down anyone with a gun. Moriarty wanted a challenge, and hence he wanted to leave clues. So where are they?

 

This brings me to "I never liked riddles". "Get used to it, because I owe you a fall". So here Moriarty stated "get used to riddles" then "I owe you a fall". I intend to think of this as a riddle itself. The obvious thing to do is to look at it as "I O U" as many people have done before me. Now, I would like to perform a direct letter to number translation. A = 1, B = 2, and hence I O U = 9, 15, 21. So where do we go with that? In the episode, Moriarty gives Sherlock a book of Grimm's Fairy Tales, of which Sherlock skims through. It is even shown in a flashback the table of contents from that book. Matching up these numbers with stories, we get 9 = Twelve Brothers, 15 = Hansel and Gretel, 21 = Cinderella.

 

The middle story is Hansel and Gretel, and the middle of the episode is the kidnapping. The children leave behind a trail to follow (lemon seed oil) like the breadcrumbs, they are taken to a candy factor and fed until they died (as the witch intended to kill them). The connection here is so obvious, Sherlock states this explicitly in the episode, and is even how he went about finding the children. This is clearly nothing new.

 

The first story is 12 brothers. Now, this is mostly an unfamiliar story. I recommend reading it:http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm009.html but here is a short version.

 

A king and queen have 12 sons. Queen gets pregnant. King only ever wanted a daughter, so he says if the queen gives birth to a girl he will kill all the 12 brothers, but if he has a boy he will let them live. The queen sends her sons into the forest and says "If I have a girl, I will wave a red flag, stay in the forest. If I have a boy, it's safe to come home and I will wave a white flag". The queen gives birth to a girl, and so she waves a red flag and they stay in the forest. The daughter then grows up and sees 12 cots, and asks who those belonged to. When she finds out she had brothers, she goes into the forest to meet them. They ends up staying at the cottage with them for a bit. Then she finds flowers and picks them. It ends up those flowers belonged to a witch and put a curse on the girls brothers. The 12 brothers are turned into ravens. In order to break the curse, she must remain silent for 7 years. A king strolls through the forest and sees her and falls in love. He takes her home and marries her. The king's mother says things like "she is evil" and "the devil took away her voice" and things like that. Eventually she convinces the king and the king sentences the girl to death. At that moment 7 years has passed, the 12 ravens turn back into brothers and save her in the last moment.

 

The connection:

 

There are 12 jury members (brothers) whose lives were threathed based on the binary decision (innocent or guilty, boy or girl). So there is a connection.

 

Now here is where things get really interesting...

 

Moriarty stated that "Every Fairytale needs a good old fashion villain". Initially, I interpreted this as the reason why Sherlock needed Moriarty, cause Sherlock needs that villain to be complete. However, I now think this is wrong. Moriarty actually intended to turn Sherlock into that villain.

 

When the two kidnapped children saw Sherlock they screamed. This set up the whole third act where people then began to suspect Sherlock responsible. But I think there is more. To the children, it would appear Sherlock was the witch from the story. Sherlock is the villain.

 

Further, if we now assume Sherlock is the villain of the 12 brother story, that places him as the mother of the King. She spoke out against the silent girl, called her a villain and evil. During the court case, Moriarty remained silent, while Sherlock took the stand and spoke out against him. Called him a villain, said he is not even a man but a spider. Moriarty gave no defence (remained silent) so the judge had no choice but to say he is guilty (as the king did). In the last second, however, the 12 jury members (12 brothers) came to the rescue of the silent one.

 

So with Sherlock as the villain, the entire first story falls into place. So in fact, both 12 brothers AND hansel and gretel are nearly enitirely told through the court case and the kidnapping.

 

I O U a fall. This is actually a list of events.

 

I - 12 Brothers -court case

O - Hansel and Gretel - Kidnapping

U - Cinderella - ??

a Fall - The conclusion to Moriarty's plan.

 

Now, it should be noted that in the end, Sherlock is the villain from the perspective of the newspaper. Throughout the episode, there is repeated references to newspapers. John is constantly worried about how the public perceives Sherlock, while Sherlock constantly brushes it off. Moriarty wishes to teach him a valuable lesson. He says "I love newspapers. Fairytales. Pretty Grimm ones too". It is the newspapers themselves that are the fairytales. At the end of the episode, the newspapers report that Moriarty is innocent, that Sherlock spoke out against him at the trial, and the jury saved him. The newspapers report that Sherlock kidnapped the children and fed the candy.

 

 

This whole time I have been ignoring Cinderella. The last time i mentioned this theory, everyone agreed Cinderella was the weakness of the story. But now I know more. Now we know Sherlock must be the villain of the story, and we know it must be from the newspaper's point of view.

 

So what?

 

I believe that it was actually Sherlock's job to complete the Cinderella story. On the rooftop, Moriarty is extremely disappointed with Sherlock. Sherlock was unable to figure it all out. However, there was a moment things changed. Moriarty and Sherlock stared in each other's eyes and Sherlock claimed "I may be on the side of the angles, but don't think for one second I am one of them". This is the point Sherlock is acknowledging what Moriarty was getting at the whole time. He was the villain. However, I don't think Moriarty would simply accept this, Sherlock had to prove it. Somehow, Sherlock completed the story of Cinderella and had some form of evidence for this. I believe that Cinderella is the key to figuring out what Sherlock did.

 

Now if Sherlock is the villain, then he is clearly the evil step mother. The evil step mother neglected Cinderella, wouldn't let her go out, and would give her tedious tasks to do. I think the clear choice for Cinderella is Molly. When Sherlock solved Moriarty's riddle, the first person he went to was Molly. And then he told her "You were wrong, you do matter". I think this meant more than just trying to make her feel better so he would help her. She was fundamental to the whole puzzle.

 

Further, on the rooftop Moriarty tells Sherlock he is going to kill all his friends.

 

Sherlock: John

Moriarty: Everyone.

Sherlock: Mrs Hudson

Moriarty: Everyone

Sherlock: Lastrade

Moriarty: Three bullets... etc.

 

Why not Molly? Moriarty knows Molly has some sort of relationship with Sherlock. Sherlock is famous at this point, I'm sure any worker in the Morgue would be happy to help Sherlock out, yet he keeps going back to Molly. At the very least, Moriarty knows Sherlock doesn't wish her dead. So why neglect her when he clearly intends for "Everyone" to be the victim. It's because Molly is a person of interest. She is Cinderella.

 

If we can figure out what Sherlock then did, as the evil stepmother, I personally believe we will know if Moriarty is indeed dead, among other things.

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Very interesting and well thought out. It is Mycroft that gives Moriarty the information that as a child Sherlock loved to read the Grimm book on fairy tales. So that is probably where Moriarty gets his inspiraton from in the Hansel and Gretal aspect of his plan as well as others.

 

I understand where you are coming from in the story of the 12 brothers but they saved their sister because she was innocent of wrong doing, the jury members were forced on the threat of violence into setting him free. Find Moriarty innocent or else someone dies, so no, I don't see Sherlock as the villain but that is just my point of view.

 

I can also see Molly as Cinderella, the one is also forgotten, or neglected as in her going to the lab after the humiliating Christmas party. But Sherlock also shows come compassion here. He actually feels contrite in his lack of decorum and kisses her. Later when he goes to the morgue because Mycroft says they have found Irene Adler's body, he tells Molly that she didn't have to be the one to do the autopsy. He also turns to her when he has to make plans to fake his death. Is he playing the fairy godmother here? Releasing her from the confines of the morgue to share in a grand adventure....just a thought.

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Again, you must remember that it is the newspapers that are the fairtales. From the perspective of the public, Moriarty IS innocent (as Sherlock in the end is a fraud), and the Jury members never spoke to Moriarty directly. Hence, as far as they are concerned, Sherlock was the one who threatened them.

 

Although we as an audience member know that Sherlock is the good guy, in this universe, Moriarty is turning Sherlock into the villain. Also, the events you brought up regarding Molly, yes he has in the past shown her compassion. But the overarching theme is one of neglect and tedius tasks, not one of respect.

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Hey, Joalro -- you've really kept working on that puzzle! Glad to see you back!

 

Some really important quotes from the episode (some may be off, as I don't have these quotes written down, if you wanna correct them I'll edit this first post):

Any time you want an exact quote, just check Ariane DeVere's transcripts. They are utterly meticulous. (And I see that -- in addition to all of the Sherlock episodes to date, including the pilot -- she now has transcripts for some episodes of Cabin Pressure.)

 

 

So here Moriarty stated "get used to riddles" then "I owe you a fall". I intend to think of this as a riddle itself. .... It is even shown in a flashback the table of contents from that book. Matching up these numbers with stories, we get 9 = Twelve Brothers, 15 = Hansel and Gretel, 21 = Cinderella.

I had never noticed that in the episode. If the actual table of contents is shown, that does lend more credence to your theory.

 

When I first heard the fairy-tale theory -- as well as the chemical-element theory, where I = Iodine, etc. -- I thought that you and the others meant that "IOU" was a clue to Sherlock's plan -- but that couldn't be an in-universe clue, because Sherlock himself never said it. So I assumed you meant that it was a real-life clue to what was going to happen in the next episode -- and I didn't think that was what Moftiss had meant by "clues" at all. But no -- you mean that "IOU" is Moriarty's outline of his own evil scheme. And you're making a very good case for that.

 

 

The children leave behind a trail to follow (lemon seed oil) like the breadcrumbs, ...

Minor correction -- it wasn't lemon-seed oil, it was linseed oil (i.e., flax-seed oil), which is also used for keeping wood in good condition. The boy apparently had it for oiling his cricket bat (at least, I'm guessing that was a cricket bat). And yes, it does fluoresce under UV light.

 

 

Moriarty stated that "Every Fairytale needs a good old fashion villain". Initially, I interpreted this as the reason why Sherlock needed Moriarty, cause Sherlock needs that villain to be complete. However, I now think this is wrong. Moriarty actually intended to turn Sherlock into that villain.

Oh, wow. I think you may be right. But Sherlock took it the other way.

 

 

This whole time I have been ignoring Cinderella. The last time i mentioned this theory, everyone agreed Cinderella was the weakness of the story. But now I know more. Now we know Sherlock must be the villain of the story, and we know it must be from the newspaper's point of view. ....

 

Now if Sherlock is the villain, then he is clearly the evil step mother.

 

Molly ... is Cinderella.

 

If we can figure out what Sherlock then did, as the evil stepmother, I personally believe we will know if Moriarty is indeed dead, among other things.

Hmm, still chewing on that part. I'm not so certain that Moriarty would have considered his own death to be part of Plan A. But there's plenty to think about, that's for sure!

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So, you are saying that even though the jury saw Sherlock testify against Moriarty.......it was Sherlock that threatened them into setting him free.

 

Not in the past.....his growing appreciation seems very recent in the scheme of things. The respect is growing....he is coming to really "seeing" her.

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I can also see Molly as Cinderella, the one is also forgotten, or neglected as in her going to the lab after the humiliating Christmas party. But Sherlock also shows come compassion here. He actually feels contrite in his lack of decorum and kisses her. ... He also turns to her when he has to make plans to fake his death. Is he playing the fairy godmother here? Releasing her from the confines of the morgue to share in a grand adventure....just a thought.

More like Prince Charming, true -- but that's Sherlock's plan, not Moriarty's. And "IOU" is Moriarty's theme.

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The table of contents is indeed shown in the episode, and actually in a really "placed" way, in my opinion. When Sherlock looks at the book, he merely skims it, and you don't really get to see much. But while they are in lab, after Watson shows him the envelope with the breadcrumbs, we see a flashback of Sherlock looking through the book, and you get to see the full table of contents. Which was completely unneccessary for the purpose of the episode. Unless it was one of those "everything you need is found on screen" things.

 

And thanks for those corrections

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more like prince charming

I thought of that too, after I posted. He is on the verge of showing something new calling her to act...as in the beginning of the warrior's quest? Did Moriarty miss this?

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Near as I recall, the only time Moriarty ever saw Sherlock and Molly together was in the lab, when he was playing "Jim from IT" -- and Sherlock was being a complete ass to Molly. My personal theory as to why Moriarty didn't mention her in his list of Sherlock's friends is that he took that scene at face value, and didn't realize that Sherlock places any importance on Molly. I'm almost wondering whether Sherlock had merely been acting dismissive toward Molly, in order to have her available as his secret weapon, should he ever need her real cooperation.

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I think it's safe to assume Moriarty has a greater knowledge of Sherlock's friendships from just being with him. He has never been in the same room with Sherlock and Lastrade for example, nor Mrs Hudson. Moriarty is more tan capable of having spy cameras and the like to keep tabs.

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True. If Moriarty had any reason to suspect that there was some tie between Sherlock and Molly, it would have been easy enough for him to keep tabs on them -- we really have no way of knowing. And it's possible that Moriarty thought he could manipulate Molly when the time came -- assuming that he wasn't dead by then. Or maybe even if he was.

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That's a good premise. I do believe that Moriarty missed something about Molly altogether. Maybe the kiss finally cemented something between Molly and Sherlock that hither to was just lingering in the shadows of their relationship?(Oh the things that tickle the imagination! That if the wedding has nothing to do with John and Sarah or who ever would be a stand in for Mary Morstan...but S/M?) Something that Moriarty would not be able to corrupt. He did miss something, he threw that question out at Sherlock on the roof when Sherlock stepped off the ledge laughing.

 

But did Moriarty go to that roof even thinking of suicide? Yes, he did tell Sherlock that he really was him. Did he believe that once he had found a way to force Sherlock into killing himself that Moriarty would no longer have a reason to live, that his only true mental match would be dead so there would be any longer to go on? It seems strange to me that he would want to destroy Sherlock's reputation and force him to jump.....unless this was another ploy to force Sherlock into becoming one of his dark angels?

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I do believe that Moriarty missed something about Molly altogether .... Something that Moriarty would not be able to corrupt.

I prefer to think so. She's easy to underestimate.

 

 

Maybe the kiss finally cemented something between Molly and Sherlock that hither to was just lingering in the shadows of their relationship? ... if the wedding has nothing to do with John and ... Mary Morstan...but S/M?)

Strikes me as improbable (and certainly anti-canon), but who knows? Your abbreviation cracked me up, though -- S/M, or better yet S&M -- their entire public relationship in a nutshell!

 

 

But did Moriarty go to that roof even thinking of suicide? .... Did he believe that once he had found a way to force Sherlock into killing himself that Moriarty would no longer have a reason to live, that his only true mental match would be dead so there would be any longer to go on? It seems strange to me that he would want to destroy Sherlock's reputation and force him to jump.....unless this was another ploy to force Sherlock into becoming one of his dark angels?

I assume that Moriarty's Plan A was to prove himself superior to Sherlock by forcing him to die in disgrace -- and his own suicide was merely an optional means to that end. As you say, though, he was already whining that Sherlock was no fun any more, so he presumably realized that things could get even more boring after Sherlock was dead. If no new stimuli presented themselves, he might have killed himself sooner or later anyhow. I suspect he'd have found some other ways to amuse himself, though. Ruining Mycroft's life, for example.

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I suspect he'd have found some other ways to amuse himself, though. Ruining Mycroft's life, for example.

I suppose so although if Mycroft truly was in on Sherlock's "magic trick" he was learning how to deal with Moriarty through Sherlock. Especially his encounter with and through Irene Adler as well. Sherlock always credited Mycroft with being the smarter of the two so I think you are right, sooner or later Moriarty would be finding life boring indeed.

 

I do understand that the bit about Sherlock and Molly and "Wedding" was very tongue in cheek. But fun none the less. I was thinking about how Moffat and Gatiss is influenced by fairy tales,the archtypical hero quest, and other Sherlock Holmes movies such as the "Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. I was thinking along the lines of a secret marriage as many Holmesian scholars like to think that there was one between Holmes and Adler.

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... a secret marriage as many Holmesian scholars like to think that there was one between Holmes and Adler.

Or an affair, at least, resulting in their son Nero. ;)

 

 

However, we have gotten just a wee bit :offtopic:

 

Here's that link again to the Grimm Brothers' version of Cinderella, just in case we'd like to get back to figuring out how that might have inspired a portion of Moriarty's plot.

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However, we have gotten just a wee bit :offtopic:

A bit not good and I do apologize. I will read your supplied link. Thank you for that, Carol it's been a long time since I have read Grimm's versions.

 

It will be interesting to see how Moffat and Gatiss plays this out. In the "Great Game" didn't Molly say that she had been dating "Jim from IT"? Maybe he got an earful of Molly's woes about the unattentive Sherlock or, since "Jim" was more attentive in his trying to grill her for information, and she being shy and kind, not wanting to bad mouth Sherlock, might have just told him that Sherlock just came to the lab for body parts and experiments and she had very little interaction with the man and so didn't place her high on the list of priorities?

 

So when Sherlock finally did show some real emotion i.e the Christmas party, the kiss, and how Sherlock and John started turning to her in "The Fall" could have put the monkey wrench in any kind of manipulation ploy Moriarty had planed for her.

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That's true, Molly later said that she'd had three dates with Jim, and who knows what she may have told him about Sherlock. The way Molly told Jim, "This is Sherlock Holmes," it seems likely that she had already told Jim something about Sherlock. She seemed to be bragging about knowing Sherlock. The implications are presumably in the details, which we don't yet know.

 

As for Cinderella, I've skimmed through the plot outline (following that link) of the Grimm Brothers version again, and nothing is jumping right out at me, other than Joalro quite possibly being right about Sherlock being the evil stepmother and Molly being Cinderella. One interesting bit is that the Disney version is clearly based more on the Perrault version (just below the Grimm version), which has the fairy godmother, the pumpkin coach, the mice, and the glass slipper. Seeing as how the episode showed the Grimm book, any Cinderella-related hints from Moriarty would presumably follow that version as well -- but we can't be entirely certain of that.

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I assume that Moriarty's Plan A was to prove himself superior to Sherlock by forcing him to die in disgrace -- and his own suicide was merely an optional means to that end. As you say, though, he was already whining that Sherlock was no fun any more, so he presumably realized that things could get even more boring after Sherlock was dead. If no new stimuli presented themselves, he might have killed himself sooner or later anyhow. I suspect he'd have found some other ways to amuse himself, though. Ruining Mycroft's life, for example.

 

It seems to me that Moriarty was tired of living, and would have committed suicide no matter what. He says that staying alive is boring, especially since he had no more distractions. He was self-destructive, and no matter what Sherlock did, he was probably going to kill himself.

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