Part 2! Welcome back. Read Part 1 if you missed it. Here we learn how to succeed in life a little easier.
Picking up where we left off…
Every fairy tale needs a villain:
I don’t envy his life. He’s so driven to excel! Constant striving is his life. Instead of feeling satisfaction in an accomplishment, he experiences a spike of pleasure that turns into a crashing low of emptiness at the realization that the game is done. Makes me wonder what he’s distracting himself from. Why can’t he be at peace with himself? It’s not an unsettled consciousness, that’s for sure, as he’s burned his own heart until he can’t feel a thing. I wonder if he was ever able to feel?
Has his antisocial personality disorder (tentative diagnosis) never allowed him to experience emotions like other people do? He understands emotions, something that’s obvious when we look at how well he can manipulate other people’s feelings to make them do exactly what he wants. I’m sure he was about as accepted in school as Sherlock, so did that play a role in destroying his humanity?
Moriarty revels in being the villain. In most fiction, and in real life for that matter, villains and antagonists are the heroes of their own stories. He’s embraced his villainous life nature 100%. Sherlock is boring because he hasn’t embraced the villain within and is “on the side of the angels.”
“Every fairy tale needs a good old fashioned villain.”
It’s almost more terrifying to conclude that Moriarty has always been antisocial with psychopathic tenancies. I can picture him quoting Hannibal Lecter: “Nothing happened to me. I happened.” It’s just who he is. His villainy isn’t the result of a traumatic childhood. Rather than using an excuse, he embraces who he is. Evil is more pronounced when it exists without a precipitating event. Understandable reasons for bad behavior are like a gray background for the darkness of evil. But without those reasons, evil is black against a white backdrop. Evil without rationale is disturbing by its very existence. It becomes semi-sentient at that point, taking on a life of its own.
Aim high, so it’ll look more impressive when it crashes:
On the roof:
“You were the best distraction, and now I don’t even have you!”
Moriarty can’t enjoy his accomplishments, because a victory means the game is over. He lives for the ongoing game even more than the win. Though Moriarty set out to burn Sherlock, he ends up burning himself, because he has to “go back to playing with the ordinary people.” Moriarty moans and groans in dramatic style about how easy it was to beat Sherlock and how horrible it will be to go back to the mundane world without Sherlock. It’s like gloating but verges on regretting. Killer’s remorse?
When the conversation gets round to the “key code,” Sherlock continues to believe it’s real. Moriarty is heartbroken/enraged Sherlock hasn’t figured out that there is no code.
“No, no, no! This is too easy. There is no key, DOOFUS!“
Moriarty played on the old fear that someone will hack into the world’s digital data. Anyone who knows even a little about computer systems would know a single line of code could not accomplish everything Moriarty’s done. “I’m disappointed in you!” All the “apps” did was send texts to key people.
Sherlock has always been blind to the contributions of others. Moriarty, the villain with a 5/5 on the cruel scale, realizes just how powerful a small cog – a person everyone overlooks – in the right place can be.
“Genius detective proved to be a fraud. ‘I read it in the newspaper, so it must be true.’ I love newspapers. Fairy tales.” Ah, the power of the media. Moriarty realizes how even one reporter can make or break someone. As I said above, Sherlock is oblivious to the ways in which people can be made to help him. Or for that matter, the ways they choose to help him because they like him. In the bathroom at the courtroom, Sherlock tore apart the very reporter who could have helped him.
Of course, we learn later that Sherlock does in fact use other people to help him escape. And not only to escape, but also to save Mrs. Hudson, Greg Lestrade, and John.
“Your friends will die if you don’t. Three bullets.”
This is a beautiful gambit: if Sherlock jumps, he dies. Win for Moriarty. If he doesn’t, he will burn when his friends die. Win for Moriarty.
Open your mouth and remove all doubt:
Moriarty lets something slip: “I’m certainly not going to do it [call off the assassins].” Meaning he can call them off. Sherlock thinks he can make Jim say the magic words. Moriarty is doubtful, since even Mycroft couldn’t make him talk. “I’m not my big brother, remember? I am you.” Sherlock will do anything to make Moriarty say the fail-safe code. Bluffing and staring ensue.
“I see. You’re not ordinary. You’re me.” Then, “As long as I’m alive, you can save your friends. You’ve got a way out.”
He draws a Beretta, sticks it in his mouth, and shoots himself. Sherlock now must jump. Apparently Moriarty is confident enough in his plan to believe it will succeed without him. He can die a happy man knowing he beat the great detective.
At the end of the ep, we see Sherlock is alive. Fast forward to S3:E3 His Last Vow and we see Moriarty is also alive. (Maybe.) They’re just alike; inverted, but nearly identical.
So what’s the Final Problem?
Being superior in life? Maybe. But it’s boring at the top. The real problem is how to stay alive without dying of boredom. They’re all facets of the same problem: finding a reason to live.
Life is painfully, dreadfully, insufferably dull. Like a druggy looking for a fix, he’s always hunting something bigger and better. A bigger thrill, a better challenge. He fears nothing. He’s an adrenaline junky, but one who plays with the legal system instead of rock climbing or jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.
♦ What does Jim Moriarty represent?
Villains embody themes, morals, warnings, dangers. They are symbols and parables that help us live better.
So what about Jim Moriarty? This is just my opinion, but I believe he embodies a number of themes:
- The ultimate result of working from pure intelligence and cold reason without morals.
- The person Sherlock could become – his evil side.
- What happens when there is no regard for life.
- The Devil.
- Death brought to artistic levels.
- The fear that we are being manipulated.
This isn’t exhaustive, of course.
♦ What Jim Moriarty teaches us about how to succeed in life:
Play the long game. Develop your plans to lead into better, long-term goals rather than just the immediate payoff.
Notice how people behave. A person is usually consistent in how they react to situations. Watch them: Do they get mad? Are they easily intimidated? What motivates them? How do they behave under stress?
Notice how you behave. Same questions as above.
Do what you love, love what you do.
It’s okay to be obsessed with something. If it gives you a reason to carry on and improve yourself, great. But don’t start killing/hurting people because of it.
Realize that people die. It happens to us all. Ignore it, deny it, try to escape it…but it’ll come. Realizing this prepares you for the eventual passing of your loved ones.
Keep the mind active by challenging yourself. Don’t stagnate. Don’t rest on your laurels. They wilt and start staining your clothes anyway.
Look for others who can challenge you. Don’t settle for the same mediocre interactions and conversations. Just don’t kill people…
Dress the part. People judge by appearances. Have fun with that! Your attire even affects how you think of yourself. Dress for the job on want, not the one you have. But be careful you don’t end up at HR because you showed up in a crown and robe.
Remember that every person has value – and not just to unlock vault. People can be your greatest strength.
♦ Mach(iavelli) Tip:
“One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.”
♦ Tzu Tip:
“The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
♦ Further reading:
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments. Perform your own assessment with the Villain Matrix. Use the Villain Matrix spreadsheet that come free when you join the Research Team, where you’ll also get our newsletter with it’s exclusive updates and content.
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Author: LC Champlin
About me: Writer, traveler, adventurer, prepper. Lover of all things Geek and Dark. INTJ. I share my experiences because they can help you adapt, advance, and achieve.
I write fiction because the characters in my head have too much attitude to stay in my skull, I want to see the world through different eyes, and I want to live life through different souls.