Did you miss him? Of course you did! Is he really back? Only time will tell. But if writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss don’t deliver on the return of Moriarty after the teaser at the end of tonight’s Sherlock series three finale, fans are likely to lynch them…
At the premiere screening of His Last Vow, Moffat had fun failing to make things any clearer: "You don’t know what’s going on there... we know what’s going on there but we’re not telling you," he told the audience gleefully. "It must be hell watching this show. But obviously we enjoyed that we get to see more of the wonderful Andrew Scott."
Scott’s Bafta-winning villain had already appeared earlier in the episode, in a sequence set entirely inside Sherlock’s Mind Palace – but as much fun as it was seeing a crazed Moriarty chained up in a padded cell, that was just Sherlock’s imagination.
What fans certainly weren’t prepared for was his re-appearance just moments before the credits rolled in a repetitive animation (not unlike the gifs Sherlock fans are so fond of creating) on TV sets across the country and emblazoned on the giant advertising screens at Piccadilly Circus, asking "Did you miss me?"
And while that alone didn't prove that Sherlock's most notorious adversary had somehow survived blowing his own brains out at the end of series two, the final post-credits frame – in which the man himself appeared facing the camera, is hard to interpret in any other way.
Moriarty is back.
Either that or Moffat and Gatiss better start thinking up ways to fake their own deaths...
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