1. Moriarty visiting Sherlock at 221B after the trial.
2. Sherlock on the rooftop at Bart’s after he laughs at Moriarty.
3. Sherlock on the ledge at Bart’s before he jumps.
So this isn’t so much a theory on how Sherlock survived as it is something about The Reichenbach Fall that consistently bothers me. Every time I watch this episode, the shoes - they make my brain itch.
Maybe it is the way the camera keeps lingering on people’s feet in this episode that made me take notice. The camera is a narrator, after all: it keeps showing us the shoes, telling us to look, perhaps this is our clue. And really, doesn’t it seem like we get an inordinate number of shots of feet in this episode? Like the camera wants us to pay extra attention to them.
The shoes in caps 2 and 3 are clearly different, but the shoes in caps 1 and 3 could be the same pair. It’s the toe seam: Moriarty’s shoes don’t have it, Sherlock’s do. (I know there is a line across the toes in cap 3, but it’s a crease, not a seam like in cap 2. It’s much more obvious in the larger versions of these caps.)
As far as I can tell, Sherlock puts on Moriarty’s shoes before he jumps.
Why? Maybe the wardrobe department was hungover when they shot the rooftop scene. Maybe that first pair wore horrible blisters on Ben’s feet and he had to switch. Maybe the fact that I can’t get a great shot of these shoes and have a limited knowledge of men’s dress shoes means that seam appears on one side of the shoes but not the other, and I’m just a fool. Or, maybe it means something.
As to what switching shoes could be mean, or how it could have helped Sherlock survive the fall…I am at a loss.
(There’s the whole body-double class of theories, but I think that comes in to play later. It’s clearly Sherlock who jumps. Here is a discussion of how Sherlock’s shoes in the lab and the shoes of the body on the trolley are also clearly different.)
All I can tell you is that the lingering camera makes the shoes seem significant, there is no logical explanation, and I’ve been lead to believe that every detail in this scene could hold significance. I would love to hear what you think.
(I haven’t seen any other discussion of this online, but if there is some it would be fab if someone pointed me that way, so me and the other shoe-tin-hats can have a party.)