Yeah, so, the thing about that is… it’s not actually true.
Like, it’s untrue to an extent that it’s why I’ve said on more than one occasion to not to get me started on the punctuation. But now I’ve started, haven’t I? *sigh*
Here’s the flash drive when Mary gave it to John:
Here’s the flash drive when John held it up at Christmas:
Same prop (though possibly they’ve gone over the ink again in the first shot or it’s worn off some in the second shot), same punctuation. It’s
(Or maybe A.G.R.A if you think the little bit of hesitation at the end of the R’s leg is actually a dot that got too close to the letter.)
Now here’s the flash drive in the fire:
Different prop*, or one that they cleaned and rewrote the letters on. It says
with a clear dot after the R.
And then there’s the document in Magnussen’s mind palace:
(I’ve taken this piece from a Russian LiveJournal since they’ve got the clearest screencap I can find. You can confirm here, though, if you lighten the shadow in Photoshop. Or maybe someone with the Blu-Ray can try for something better?)
One more round of weird punctuation here, with
(Though once again the leg of the R may have a little extra mark at the end, in which case you could say it was A.G.R.A.)
And the Russian version
appears to have no punctuation at all. (Though to be fair, I have no idea if that could be explained by Russian punctuation standards.)
So instead of always being written the same, AGRA is actually written differently on every damn prop. If the punctuation was supposed to be a clue, I consider it more or less botched. Like, what are we even supposed to do with a mess like that? (Note that I only consider it a mess if it was meant to be a clue in a mystery. If it’s just incidental prop inconsistency, it’s no big deal as far as I’m concerned.)
Plus, there’s this:
Sherlock straight-up asked what AGRA was, and Mary said it was her initials.
If it’s not in some way, shape, or form her initials, then the writers are just cheating at their own mystery. They didn’t have to have Sherlock ask and Mary answer, but since they did, that needs to be a fair clue. If it’s simply a lie (with no real way for the audience to determine it’s a lie), then it’s not clever. It’s sad.
I know a lot of people are ready to believe these writers are just throwing any old thing at the screen, but I’m not there yet. I still think they’re mostly on a fair clues / solvable mystery system. If I didn’t, then it wouldn’t matter because I wouldn’t be bothering to try and solve anything.
And there’s your Sherlock Theory Philosophy for the day. As always, YMMV.
* To preemptively answer the next ask: No, I don’t think John switched the flash drive before burning it. I considered the possibility and watched everything he did with his hands between showing the flash drive and throwing it in the fire. I didn’t see him put it back in his pocket or do anything that suggested sleight of hand. Having John switch the drive while not showing the audience a glimmer of a moment when it could have been switched strikes me as too chicken of a move for the people who went out of their way to include a tiny glimpse of Sherlock pocketing a squash ball on his way to the roof in Reichenbach. So I’ll assume it was a prop error unless and until the show says it was actually a cheap trick.
But Friend of Anon, how do you know we haven’t already met?
Maybe I’m standing behind you RIGHT NOW.
don’t turn around