So, when the three of us are in a car for 2 and a half hours with a teacher who is also semi-obsessed with Sherlock, we go a little nuts. We came up with this pretty fantastic theory that we think is necessary to spread all over the internet. Enjoy our shenanigans.
A Study in Reichenbach
Calling Sherlockians frustrated and insane is a ridiculous understatement. Since the cliffhanger that was The Reichenbach Fall, and even well before that, we’ve been analyzing every frame, developing headcanons, ships, and theories to answer all the questions posed by the show. The most popular issues right now seem to be “How did Sherlock survive the fall?” “What is the significance of IOU?” “Why is Moffat such a troll?” “How will Sherlock reveal to John that he’s still alive?” “What was Molly’s role in the fall?” and many others. The focus among the fandoms seems to be the ending of The Reichenbach Fall and the anticipation of series 3. However, there are many puzzling things left unresolved throughout the show that are generally ignored by the fandom, only getting brought up for a little while and soon left alone. What did Molly give Sherlock for Christmas? Why was Sherlock so out of character throughout the last episode? Where is Irene now? What in the world was going on with Mycroft? I’ve read many interesting theories by eva-christine on Tumblr that address some of these issues, but I haven’t seen much about one question in particular: Jennifer Wilson.
Many fans of Sherlock don’t know her name, and even fewer give her more than a thought. She is best known as the magenta-clad woman who is the focus of the main investigation in A Study in Pink.
Within a few minutes, Sherlock deduces that she was writing the name Rachel with her left hand, was unhappily married for 10+ years, worked in the media, was from Cardiff, was staying for one night away from home, and had a string of lovers who weren’t aware she was married. Lestrade informs him that her kids found her dead, and John exposed the cause of death as asphyxiation.
Jennifer Wilson also appeared just a few minutes earlier in the episode at the press conference concerning these “serial suicides.” We can tell she is the same woman based on several facts:
1) Their appearance is the same, right down to the bright pink clothes.
2) Sherlock deduced that she worked in the media, which would justify her being at a press conference.
3) A press conference would be a great excuse to leave her husband overnight in another town.
4) We very clearly see her get into a cab, which we later find was driven by the serial killer.
Of course, this has already circulated the fandom, so many people are aware that we get glimpses of this woman at the press conference before her death. Fewer people seem to have noticed that she appears again: in The Reichenbach Fall as a juror at Moriarty’s trial.
How could Jennifer Wilson be present at a trial that takes place several years after her own murder? What happened to her hair color, left-handedness, and signature pink clothes? What is she doing in the midst of two of Sherlock’s cases? How did Sherlock not notice?
Could this woman be a lot more important than we ever thought she was?
Let’s go back to the cabbie who supposedly killed Mrs. Wilson. A photograph of two children and a woman is noted by Sherlock during his ride in the cab:
Supposedly, these children are the cabbie’s that he wishes to leave money to by means of Moriarty. The woman, whose face is torn off, is supposedly his ex-wife, the mother of his children. From the sliver of her face that we have, it could be Mrs. Wilson, but it could also be any other woman. From this photo alone, we have no proof that Mrs. Wilson is at all related to these children, the cabbie, or Moriarty. However, it is proven that these children do belong to Jennifer in The Reichenbach Fall when Moriarty explains how he hacked the juror’s hotel TVs to target what they love most and threaten.
In this frame, we also see Mrs. Wilson’s new name, MS. Williams. This is further evidence that they are the same woman because Williams and Wilson are very very similar. She also switched her title from Mrs. to Ms.
So the children do belong to Mrs. Wilson, thus, if the cabbie’s story is to be believed, Mrs. Wilson was unhappily married to the cabbie for over ten years. Sherlock deduces that the two have been separated for a while, Mrs. Wilson taking the kids whom she dearly loves, but the cabbie still misses them, and his main priority was to provide for their future.
But if Mrs. Wilson had hated her marriage for so long, why would she continue to wear the ring after they had separated? And more importantly, why would a man only looking out for his children’s future and happiness kill the one woman most important in children’s lives: their mother, whom they probably loved based on the fact they ended up staying with her? Added to the fact that almost everything else the cabbie said was a lie we reach our conclusion: the cabbie was not married to Mrs. Wilson. They are not his children, and that was not his cab. We have to keep in mind whose cab that was, the man who employed the cabbie to engage in this whole charade in the first place. Moriarty.
He even mimics the cabbie in episode 6 by wearing the same hat and driving (possibly) the same cab.
Then whose kids are these? The obvious answer would be her husband’s, but we must remember that she had a string of lovers who weren’t aware of her marriage. Besides, it would be unlikely that Moriarty would keep a picture of a random victim’s kids, unless they were his own.
Jennifer Wilson was sick of her marriage. Her husband was dull, her husband was abusive, her husband was obsessive, whatever. She knew the reason wouldn’t matter, because for the right price, the consulting criminal would get her out. She came to him seeking an escape from her life, even if it meant confessing to her lover that she was actually a married woman. She just needed out, before her husband realized that those kids did not belong to him, and she was shamed forever. That simply would not be beneficial to her career in the media. So he extended a helping hand, though not for free. He helped her fake her own death. There are ways to simulate death for a short period of time. The COD would come out as asphyxiation, and she would be in a death-like state for several days, but she’d come out ok. From there, she’d build her new identity: dying her hair, changing her name to Ms. Williams, learning to switch dominant hands, and discarding her signature favorite color. She insisted that every record Moriarty had access to of Mrs. Wilson’s existence would be erased forever. Several years later, well into her new life, she was put on jury duty. It was the trial of James Moriarty, charged with attempting to steal the crown jewels. She knew that her children, who had lived with her ex since her fake death, belonged to Moriarty, but she could never admit that to the authorities asking if she had any ties to defendant. Were either of them to reveal who she was, her second life would be over. Eventually someone would realize that her relationship with Moriarty would inevitably mean there was something off, and likely illegal, about her. Any attention on her could result in her husband’s discovery of her alter ego and the heartbreak of her children. So she lied, she became a member of her lover and savior’s jury. Then she received the message through her TV. She was fully aware of how heartless he was, how he would willingly wreck the lives of his own children to manipulate her. She caved, he won. The spider knew exactly how her portion of the web would dance.
Obviously, there are some holes and far-fetched ideas in this little narrative I threw together, but I was somewhat dramatizing it. It is completely possible that the children did not belong to Moriarty, and he was only a consulting criminal to her, not a lover at all, though his possession of the photograph indirectly suggests that. Moriarty must have placed the photo in his cab for some reason, probably to plant ideas in Sherlock’s head, which is one thing he is notorious for (eg his gay charade at St. Bart’s
One prominent question has been left unanswered: how could Sherlock have missed all this? It should have been obvious that he had seen this woman before, even solved her murder. He should have known the second he saw her in the jury. He was even in a show-off sort of mood that day, so why not flaunt his precise memory and history of solving impossible murders?
Sherlock did recognize her as soon as he looked at the jury. He knew she was the woman in pink, and his deductions led him to the conclusion that she had faked her own death. He told no one about this, because that’s where he got his idea for how to beat Moriarty at his own game. If eva-christine’s theory is to be believed, Sherlock was somewhat aware of Moriarty’s intentions for the whole of The Reichenbach Fall. He was still searching for the best way to win when he went to Moriarty’s trial, where he saw Mrs. Wilson, recognized that she had successfully faked her own death under his nose, and decided to do the same in Reichenbach Falls.
Of course, his fake death was much harder to accomplish, but the events are parallel. He told no one he recognized her so that no one else would reach his conclusion and guess after Reichenbach that he was still alive.
Only one problem remains: what are the odds that Mrs. Wilson would be chosen for a jury for Moriarty’s trial, where Sherlock was a witness, and consequently planting the idea for faking death in Sherlock’s head? That was no coincidence. This could be considered pretty far-fetched, but I believe Moriarty manipulated someone in power to make sure she was in that jury. He knew Sherlock well enough to guess the plans he would leave that trial with, thus staying a few steps ahead of him throughout the rest of the episode. He allowed Sherlock to choose their final meeting place, knowing what he would do, and planning to do the same. If Sherlock is alive, Moriarty is certainly alive with him. Moriarty won.
So, what do you think?
Are we insane, or does this actually make sense?