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The Contender
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The Ending to Sherlock was bad

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/7/2013 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,369 times Debate No: 34587
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Good evening,! This is my first debate on this site and I'm rather excited now to be honest. I had actually expected to launch myself straight into argument, but I feel I must first offer up my appreciation for the format, so prolific as it seems in general, and just for the order of it otherwise. I was just making argument on YouTube only moments ago and felt my efforts wasted... So, yes! Thank you!

And now onto what I want to debate. I am of the opinion that the ending to the TV mini-series 'Sherlock' is bad. And that's about it. My opponent will be arguing otherwise, that it is good, or at least not bad.

bad -

And that's the parameters for the debate set.

Now, let's set the scene:

Sherlock and Moriarty's battle comes to its climax atop some roof or other, snipers everywhere, it's all very hectic.Very good. But the table seems slanted for Moriarty's advantage. Sherlock must kill himself - jump from the building - or snipers will kill his loved ones, Moriarty having taken himself out of the equation. But no, that's not how it happens. Instead, Sherlock hypnotizes Moriarty into killing himself, suggesting they're both the same, positing himself as Moriarty's purpose in life pretty much, and then he throws the body he'd brought from the morgue with him off the building, fooling Moriarty's henchmen, and Good Game, Sherlock wins!

...booo! *throws tomatoes*

I mean, come on... That was some pseudo-intellectual bullsh*t right there. And then where are they even going to go with it? *Next episode, new season* Watson: "Oh Sherlock, you're alive!" Sherlock: "Ya, brainwashed that idiot Moriarty and threw a corpse off a roof YOLO" Watson: "Ya, good episode man 420 blaze it" (LOL) No, but seriously... that sh*t was anticlimactic...

Let's further analzye how this sh*t might play out:

Scenario 1: see above - YOLO 420 blaze it

Scenario 2: Holmes the Megalomaniac - "Haha!" laughs Moriarty from Bin Laden's cave which the latter is finished using. "What a f*cking idiot!"

Scenario 3: Holmes and Moriarty are both Freemasons. (RIP Bin Laden)

Let's consider Doyle's rendition, The Final Problem:

It comes down to the primal, both parties having expended their intellectual powers, a brutal and sensible ending. And an actual ending.

In conclusion:

...the ending was obviously bad. It was just bad. They shouldn't have done it. Holmes said "kill yourself" and Moriarty killed himself... -_-


Challenge accepted!

One thing that I feel like pointing out pointed out is that it isn't quite correct to call this the ending since season 3 has been confirmed, and as a result speculation on the events pertaining to Sherlock's can't really be called evidence.

Now onto the argument.

The conclusion to season 2 of the hit BBC mini-series can hardly be described as bad.

Brief Summary and Refutation of Hypnosis Argument

The first hour of the episode Riechenbach Falls is spent building a complex puzzle centered around the antagonist, Jim Moriarty. He has broken into three of the highest security buildings in London only to allow himself to be captured. As we learn at the end the entire episode was a game to Moriarty, a game of cat and mouse between himself and Sherlock Holmes. At the climax of the story a violent intellectual battle between Holmes and Moriarty ensues and Homes seemingly called Moriarty's bluff, but what he doesn't realize is that Moriarty has nothing to lose, his entire life is a game that Holmes has just won, so Moriarty kills himself. Holmes didn't want Moriarty to kill himself, he wanted to use him, torture him if need be to, call off the hit-men and save his friends lives. As we can tell be his desperation after Moriarty killed himself, Holmes didn't hypnotize Moriarty and had to adjust his apparent "grand plan" to prevent his own death and that of his friends.

Refutation of Cadaver Arguemnt

The assertion that it was simply a dead body that was throw off the building is false since Watson saw Holmes hang up the phone and then jump. Another argument against this flawed conclusion is that a body from the morgue wouldn't bleed as violently as Holmes' body did since blood is not being pumped out, but rather just leaking out due to gravity. The final nail in the coffin is that it takes at minimum 3 days for minimal plastic surgery to fully heal, and if the body was needed to be an exact replica of Sherlock's, the time needed would be far greater than the few hours portrayed in the episode. While some help from the local mortician, Molly, in faking Homes death likely this is not how it happened.

Refutation of "YOLO 420 blaze it" Argument

Unfortunately Sherlock won't be "blazing it" with Watson anytime soon, since his return after being pronounced dead will likely attract the mercenaries that were meant to kill his companions.

Refutation of "Holmes the Megalomaniac" Argument

Meh... It's possible.

Refutation of "Freemasons" Argument

As if Sherlock could be a Freemason, he would have figured out all their secrets the moment he joined and then left to do something else.

Why the Episode was Good or at least not Bad

Not only does the final episode of Sherlock Season two present many questions for fans to ponder during the break, but also culminates with the final,probably final, showdown between two of the most brilliant people in the realistic fiction genre. One of the greatest things about this engagement, is that it does not even end when Moriarty is dead because the mess he left will most likely follow Holmes for the rest of his life, and test the few relationships he had made. All and all it was a brilliant finale that leaves fans in anticipating the next season.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank you for your arguments, SimplyE. To be honest, but not at all modest, I was almost given to considering that I had provided far too solid a case for the resolution in my opening round. But as Holmes himself states in the episode 'The Great Game' of the series, "People don't like telling you things. They love to contradict you," and thankfully it seems that that quirk of humankind has come to my aid - Sorry to be so condescending, but it's Holmes! And I must fit my lore in somewhere...

But yeah, you're wrong. The ending was in fact bad. (And I meant the ending to the Holmes/Moriarty beef, sorry.)

Brief Summary and Refutation of Hypnosis Argument

Yeah, I'm actually right here. I'll expound though. See the first video here please. It's bad. It's a mix of the song Call me Maybe with clips of Sherlock and Moriarty together throughout Sherlock. But at 0:39 - 0:40 there's a very important scene as regards, well, what happened, that you must see. In this second we see Sherlock and Moriarty face to face, the sun at Sherlock's back shining into Moriarty's face. This is textbook hypnosis, or storybook hypnosis anyway, as per Hannibal Lecter and Clarice for one, but more relevant, as per Moriarty in his meeting with Inspect MacDonald in Doyle's 'The Valley of Fear,' the bright light shining into MacDonald's face all throughout the meeting. Indeed, it seems that throughout storyland the bright light offers much manipulative support, and thus this makes a good case for interpretting this ending to Sherlock as I would have it, rather my opponent. That is, hypnosis. But taking it further, there's all the suggestion that went with that bright light too, such as Holmes' claiming to be just the same as Moriarty when he very clearly wasn't. QED, it was hypnosis. (Also, yes I do actually like the Call Me Maybe video.)

Refutation of Cadaver Arguemnt

We see Holmes afterwards and he's very much alive. He couldn't have jumped off the building. I don't know what else to say here.

Refutation of "YOLO 420 blaze it" Argument


Refutation of "Holmes the Megalomaniac" Argument

"Meh... It's possible."

It's actually what I'm hoping for, because it's the only way the show can continue to own after that last episode.

Refutation of "Freemasons" Argument

Okay, I'll give you that one.

Why the Episode was Good or at least not Bad

I'll just quote this from my opponent first off: "Not only does the final episode of Sherlock Season two present many questions for fans to ponder during the break, but also culminates with the final,probably final, showdown between two of the most brilliant people in the realistic fiction genre. One of the greatest things about this engagement, is that it does not even end when Moriarty is dead because the mess he left will most likely follow Holmes for the rest of his life, and test the few relationships he had made. All and all it was a brilliant finale that leaves fans in anticipating the next season."

Now, I disagree with all of this. But of course it's also all subjective, so that sucks. IMO the questions suck, the showdown sucked, neither Holmes nor Moriarty were realistic (far from it), the future prospects of the show are awful and it's just bad. The show ended with Holmes telling Moriaty to kill himself and Moriarty killed himself. THEY REALLY DID GO THERE. Tacky and bad. No mystery, very little psychology, just pop culture, it was bad. It was bad.

The final scene was literally Holmes telling Moriarty to kill himself and Moriarty killed himself.

Okay, I've changed my mind. The ending owned.


Over to you, SimplyE...


I apologize for a subjective conclusion, but it is almost impossible to have a completely objective argument.

Refutation of Hypnosis

Though the Hypnosis argument itself is plausible one needs to take into account Holmes reaction. After Moriarty kills himself, he acts distraught, nearly falling over, but for who? The only two situations where this is nessary are:

1. Moriarty wasn't really dead and Sherlock had to convince him that he jumped out of desperation.

2. Holmes was truly surprised by Moriarty's actions and after gaining composure, continued on the plan to fake his death.

In the first situation hypnosis isn't necessary, and in the second situation the question needs to be asked, why does he act this way if there is no one to see it. Even if a third party was watching, almost everyone assumes Holmes is a heartless machine so, while they would have been suspicious, they would still have seen Holmes jump off which would put their doubts to rest.

Why Explanation 1 would still be a Good Ending
While in my first round, i speculated on a possible explanation of why Moriarty killed himself, it was just one of the many speculations that answer the Moriarty dilemma. In that argument I stated why it would not be a bad ending to the conflict, now i will explain why the only other possibility is also not a bad ending. Something to point out is that Jim Moriarty is almost, if not as, clever as Holmes, he would not pull such an elaborate stunt or decisive move unless it was completely necessary. *Inserting my Opinions on The Holmes-Moriarty Incident* I imagine Moriarty isn't really dead, but faked his death to have Sherlock kill himself. If Sherlock turns out to be really dead, then he was just normal, if not, then the game continues and the next season is filled with drama, secrecy and action[1]. Since we don't know what is happening in season 3 it is impossible to judge whether or not the ending is just a simple conclusion to a extremely well set up plot, or an even more complex hidden story only to be revealed later.

This entire debate comes down to one thing, whether or not Moriarty is really dead. The Pro asserts that if Moriarty truly killed himself, the main antagonist killed off in an anticlimactic manner, then the main conflict in is a failure, as i proved false in my first round, if Moriarty is dead then the story is just beginning and even more drama awaits.

Refutation of Cadaver Argument

Sherlock as we know faked his death with some help from Molly, and if Sherlock herbology knowledge is as extensive and imaginative the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock, then the hydrated rhododendron(note the plant itself is real, but the effects are not) could have been used to fool the first responders and Watson [2]. The Cadaver argument is completely illogical and is easily refuted.

[1] (plausible explanations that show that moriarty may have faked his death)
[2] (only mentions the plant and, it's use in 2009 Sherlock movie)

Back to you PrivatEye
p.s. I thought the video was pretty good
Debate Round No. 2


"I apologize for a subjective conclusion, but it is almost impossible to have a completely objective argument."

Meh. Our job was actually to hammer a bit of objectivity into the subjective which we pretty much completely neglected in arguing about what actually happened in the show instead. But I'm sure we've left some insight to our conclusions along the way so it's not so bad. And we do still have this round.

Moriarty got hypnotized like a bitch:

Holmes reaction wasn't actually very severe and didn't actually last very long at all. It was over by the time Moriarty hit the ground for sure, very plausibly all just an act to spur Moriarty along. And then considering the genre and the history of hypnosis throughout it, and that the scene is highly suggestive of hypnosis (lol), I'd say we can safely conclude Moriarty did in fact get hypnotized.

Refutation of Cadaver Argument

The point is there's very little mystery there. He either used a cadaver or faked his own dead body otherwise. Or maybe he hypnotized Watson or something, but this still isn't very intellectually stimulating.

The debate:

Unfortunately, the object of this debate wasn't to argue about what happened in the show, but to argue over whether the show was good or not. And we have neglected this. Fortunately, however, there is considerable overlap, as interpretation of something of course plays a huge part in the valuing of that something, and so we're not too badly off.

Basically, my arguments for the show being bad have been: 1) lack of mystery; 2) bad taste; and 3) that it's just bad. My opponent's arguments have been rather the inverse - basically: 1) that the show generated considerable mystery; 2) that it was realistic; and 3) that there's a lot of places left for it to go. And I guess I'll now give a more comprehensive run through the above.

1) Lack of Mystery

There is very little mystery. Sherlock either threw a cadaver off a roof or faked his death otherwise. And he hypnotized Moriarty. If Moriarty remains alive in the next season, well then the creators are basically admitting their last episode was retarded and unrealistic. You tried to hypno-kill Moriarty? Really Sherlock? How much of a f*cking megalomaniac are you. I mean first there was Irene Adler and now THIS? Seriously guys...

2) Bad Taste

Sherlock told Moriarty to kill himself and he did it. Pop culture and bad. James Bond has never went "boo!" and had all the villains scatter before them. Nobody would watch that. Sherlock just wrapped his doing so up in pseudo-intellectualism so it's less conspicious, but he still did the exist same thing. I'm a Holmes fan for the mysteries and a James Bond for the action. Good job, Skyfall.

Also, Sherlock told Moriarty to kill himself and he did it.

3) It was bad

Nothing more really to say here. I enjoy saying things are bad.

The Subjectivity of it all:

Of course, everything I've said is a matter of opinion. It's all subjective. Where I see no mystery, SimplyE sees mystery. Where I see bad, SimplyE sees good. And there is no formula we can fit Sherlock into to gauge objective value. So the debate will be won solely on taste pretty much. Here I make appeal to the intelligent and die-hard Holmes fans since long before Sherlock: What a pseudo-intellectual load of sh*t. To fans of Moriarty's character in the show (he was awesome): Look at how they had him go! And if you think Moriarty lives on: You're basically calling Sherlock a big retard. There is no ending besides the obvious. There cannot be. If there were, the belittlement would be criminal, an affront to the eternal Holmes, unacceptable. And so I rest my case. It's down to you now, voters. Do Holmes proud!

Aside (not to be considered with regards to voting):

The show actually owns. Lol Sherlock said "kill yourself, Moriarty" and Moriarty killed himself. Awesome ending.

And I'd like to thank SimpyE for accepting the debate. It was fun, dude. And I'm glad to see you have an appreciation for this awesome show. You got this, man ;D


I agree this debate did stray a bit from the original topic. XD

But arguing the ending may have been important in determining whether the ending was bad or not. I would condense the base arguments into main points, however the pro already has.

1) Lack of Mystery

I believe the fact that we could have the majority of our debate revolve around the "true" conclusion reveals that there is quite a bit of mystery to be seen. Both the Pro and myself have presented compelling arguments why our interpretation of the ending is the correct one, in the end though we can't know, and it is this uncertainty that creates mystery.

2) Bad Taste

As the Pro stated in his Round 2 the hypnosis was seen in many classic mystery books, including Sherlock Holmes. To say that the ending using hypnosis is bad taste is similar to condemning the original sources as well. My opponent stated in his third round that my argument was that the ending was realistic, this isn't true, throughout the entire debate i haven't argued that it was at all realistic, Sherlock Holmes is a fiction story, I believe it stayed true enough to create realistic drama that made the ending very good. And as I must admit, being a fan of the Sherlock Holmes books, the show does not have the same type of intellectualism, i believe it still preserves it enough to remain true to original, while including enough drama and action to make it a popular show.

3) It was bad

I completely agree with PrivatEye that the subjectivness of the debate itself does make it hard to judge. He says it's bad I say it is good, it all comes down to arguementation.

In my 3 rounds I have refuted the Pro's arguments why the ending was bad by providing plausible conclusions to the possible resolutions for the Sherlock season 2 ending and stating why each of those was still a good ending, including the hypnosis ending. Due to this fact, I believe the audience should vote Con.

Aside (not to be considered with regards to voting):
This was a really fun debate PrivatEye, this is one of the things i really enjoy about mysteries like this there are multiple interpretations and endings. In the end we can agree to disagree on how it ended but we can agree it is an awesome show.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by SimplyE 3 years ago
I thought about bringing up some more stuff, but it felt unsportsmanlike, because you would have no opportunity to refute it.
Posted by PrivateEye 3 years ago
Well that was a bit of a letdown. I had hoped you might try to kill me in conclusion. Oh well.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by SlaterJ23 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Good debate but Con gets the spelling and grammar point and his arguments show both subjectivity as well as objectivity.