Sherlock: The Empty Hearse
by Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)
Fans have not been disappointed and newcomers finally understand what all the hype has been about. Sherlock came back the night of the New Year with a splash, a deadly bonfire and a few explosions.
The Fans’ Theories
Over two years an abundance of theories have floated around cyberspace waiting to be proved right or wrong. With this episode in a very Sherlockian fashion, the issue was addressed but we were never clued in to what really happened. The episode began with a synopsis of what had happened; Derren Brown, the infamous British hypnotist, hypnotized Watson’s into a sleepy state while Sherlock jumped off the building wearing a bungee cable and flying through a window to kiss Molly. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and was only the brainchild of a crazed Anderson obsessed with figuring out what really happened to Sherlock. Anderson even went so far to start a secret club ‘The Empty Hearse’ to find reasonable explanations for Sherlock’s survival. One theory that stemmed from this secret club was that Moriarty and Sherlock locked lips while Sherlock flung a dummy that looked like him off the roof. Sherlock himself then explained to Anderson how he did it. He used a cadaver that looked like Sherlock to fake a body hitting the ground. He jumped off the roof as John watched, unable to see the massive float that would break Sherlock’s fall from where he was standing. Then with a bit of fake blood, a perfectly placed biker and a lot of homeless people pretending to be doctors and onlookers – voila – Sherlock Holmes was dead. However, as Anderson represented the crazed Sherlock fans that will never be satisfied with a full explanation, the episode left him with no answers except one: Sherlock survived because he is Sherlock and he wanted to.
Sherlock Telling John he’s alive (and John’s fiancé)
Watching Sherlock tell everyone he was alive was like watching a family reunite after years apart. Except when it came to telling John Watson. That was heart breaking and extremely poorly timed. Watson was in the middle of proposing to Mary when Sherlock waltzed on it (disguised as a waiter in a poor disguise and perfect French accent). In the two years of Sherlock’s absence John found love, “moved on” as he put it. Many punches and a bleeding nose later and Sherlock and Watson had nothing more to say to each other. The extent to which Watson’s life had changed after Sherlock’s death was evident in Mary’s reaction to Sherlock’s appearance at the restaurant. Moffat was quoted stating that the relationship between Watson and Holmes is “completely unspoken, with no affection ever expressed”, but it is the best-written piece of male friendship in literature. Although no affection has ever been expressed, it was up to Sherlock Holmes to try and get it out of John in the final moments of this episode. Facing a life or death situation (a bomb under Parliament they were unable to disarm) with Sherlock tearing up and John sure they were about to die, John finally broke and told Sherlock that he was the worst and best man he has ever met. Sherlock responded in a fit of laughter having already disarmed the bomb… by using the “off” switch.
In order to mourn Sherlock, John grew a hideous moustache. Thankfully, upon Sherlock’s arrival John now only needs to mourn the moustache itself. His fiancé hated it too so we don’t feel too bad about picking on it.
Sherlock’s Parents (and Brother)
Sherlock Holmes has parents and they are “quite ordinary”. He didn’t appear out of thin air and he was not incubated in a pod until his mind reached genius capacity, but his parents brought him into the world and they visited him this episode. A fun fact is that Benedict Cumberbatch’s real parents played his on-screen parents. It was good to hear that Sherlock’s parents and brother knew he wasn’t dead. Then it was surprising to see Sherlock bring up the notion of his brother’s loneliness in a little “game of deduction” at 221b. Sherlock may have hinted on the verge of expressing a bit of humanity this episode.
This Season’s Villain (and what we have to look forward to)
This episode gave us a glimpse of our villain. The setting we first saw him in (watching a video of Sherlock saving Watson from being burnt alive) made me think it could be Charles Augustus Milverton, also known as “The Creeping Man”. Milverton’s way of getting things done is to blackmail people by keeping records of their wrongdoings, always watching people. Another contender is the silver-tongued Henry “Holy” Peter whose ability was to talk anyone into anything. In his story he buried a woman alive, similar to Watson being buried in a pile of wood about to be burned. Thankfully it won’t be another two years until we find out and instead the next episode will air Sunday 5th of January at 6.30pm on BBC One.