Welcome back to our Sherlock
rewatch. We’ve almost reached the end…
The episode begins with
several government officials questioning a man named Charles Magnussen for his
frequent meetings with the prime minister. After this meeting, he corners Lady
Elizabeth Smallwood, one of the officials who questioned him, and blackmails
her with events in her husband’s past (involving letters and correspondence with
an underage girl.) Yeah, this Magnussen guy is on a bit of a power trip. Lady
Smallwood, on her way home, decides to ask the help of Sherlock Holmes to stop
The now married couple of
John and Mary Watson are awoken one morning to a distressed friend asking for
help in finding her son, who didn’t come home the previous night. They make
their way to the drug den where his mother suspects he’s staying, and they find
him. You know who else they find there? Yeah, Sherlock’s there too. John is
upset with him, of course—it’s been a month since he’d heard from him—but Sherlock
claims to be undercover on a case.
John and Mary drive Sherlock
to the hospital, along with Ben Wiggins, whom they picked up from the drug den
after John may have, ah, purposefully sprained his arm. At the hospital, Molly
tests Sherlock for drugs and slaps him after finding a lot of them in his system. While getting his arm mended, Ben also
turns out to be pretty smart with making deductions. (#MiniSherlock?)
John brings Sherlock back to
the 221b flat, where Mycroft is waiting. Anderson is also there, with a fellow
fanclub member, searching for drugs throughout the apartment. As soon as
Sherlock mentions he is working on a case involving Magnussen, Mycroft makes
sure Anderson and his partner leave, then warns Sherlock not to engage in this
case. A very high Sherlock is angry with his brother, and forces him to leave
Not long after, Magnussen
himself visits the flat, and refuses to budge in regards to his possession of
the Smallwood letters. He stares at Sherlock with dead eyes—described by
Sherlock as “like a shark”—and seems to be making his own sort of deductions
about him, determining the sleuth’s “pressure points.” Before leaving, and
simply because he can (plus he’s just that kind of creepy person), he urinates
in the flat’s fireplace. (At this point, John basically equals us, the
viewers.) Magnussen also reveals, on his way out the door, that he has the
letters right there with him; Sherlock notices, and quickly makes a plan to
retrieve the letters that night.
Sherlock goes to take a bath—one
must be clean before breaking and entering places—and who should show up out of
his bedroom but Janine, the bridesmaid he sort-of befriended at John and Mary’s
wedding. (And again, John = us.) Sherlock has a girlfriend; just repeat that to
yourself and try to process it. Janine leaves for work, and there’s kissing and
loving gazes and…what. Just what.
That night, Sherlock and John
meet at Magnussen’s newspaper headquarters, and enter his personal apartment
through effective use of a corrupted key card and a marriage proposal. Yep,
Janine is Magnussen’s personal assistant, and Sherlock is such a user. (Perhaps
the most simultaneously brilliant and evil thing Sherlock has ever done.) When
they reach the apartment, they find Janine and the guard unconscious, and
Magnussen being held at gunpoint by none other than Mary Watson. (Can you say “plot
Mary shoots Sherlock in the
chest, and he enters his mind palace to process the sensation of basically
nearly dying. In his mind, Molly and Mycroft guide him through falling, and as
he goes into shock, he finds his childhood dog, Redbeard, to calm himself down.
(Granted, I’m an emotional wreck as I near the end of this rewatch, but…this
scene KILLS ME.) As he begins to lose consciousness due to the pain, he
encounters Moriarty in his mind, and by “escaping” him there, he manages to
eventually regain consciousness.
In the hospital, Janine comes
to visit Sherlock and she is understandably 100% annoyed with him. (I mean, who
wouldn’t be?) They manage to end their sort-of relationship with little to no
bloodshed, however, so that says something.
Later, John and Lestrade
enter the room to find Sherlock has escaped. The detective arranges to meet
with Mary that night, and he discovers that she has a history as an assassin
and secret agent, and that Magnussen is blackmailing her with that knowledge.
She makes it clear that she doesn’t want any of this revealed to John, but
Sherlock managed to hide John where he could hear the entire discussion.
They return to the flat to
interrogate Mary. John expresses confusion as to his choice in a wife, and
Sherlock explains that John is addicted to danger, which explains why he fell
in love with Mary, a woman with a mysterious past. Mary gives John a flashdrive
containing information about her and her past. Sherlock also concludes that
they can trust Mary, because when she shot him, she purposefully shot him in a
nonlethal spot, then called the ambulance, saving his life. Just as he finishes
explaining this, Sherlock begins to faint due to his unhealed injuries from
earlier, and the paramedics arrive.
Bit of an eventful day, wasn’t
Several months later, it is
Christmas day at the Holmes family house. That’s right—Sherlock, Mycroft, their
parents, John, Mary, and even Bill, Sherlock’s self-proclaimed prodigy, are all
under one roof for the holidays. (Lots of tension, of course.) Having barely
spoken to each other for those months, John and Mary finally discuss the
situation they’re in. John throws the flashdrive into the fireplace, refusing
to look at its contents; he says he still loves her as Mary, but is still
understandably pissed off at her. (Nice that the air could be cleared between
them a bit though…)
With the help of Bill,
Sherlock manages to drug everyone there except for John. (Ah, the best memories
are made at Christmas.) He steals Mycroft’s laptop and they take off in a
helicopter to Magnussen’s home, supposedly the location of the vaults
containing all the information he uses to blackmail everyone. When they arrive,
the question is finally answered as to who kidnapped John back in the events of
“The Empty Hearse;” yep, it was Magnussen. Sherlock offers Magnussen the laptop,
which contains top-security government information, in exchange for entering
the vaults, but Magnussen reveals that the vaults are nonexistent; there is
simply an empty room in the house which he enters to visit his mind palace, the
real “vault” containing the information. Magnussen also makes it clear that he’s
aware the laptop given to him is being tracked by Mycroft and they will soon be
surrounded by security forces. This clever guy doesn’t care if he’s caught,
because there are no vaults to physically prove he’s a blackmailer. So now, the
tables have turned—Sherlock and John shared vital government information with
him, therefore committing treason, while Magnussen can walk away unharmed and
legal. Evil genius, isn’t he?
As they await the arrival of
the security forces, Magnussen takes advantage of his ‘power’ over John and
Sherlock by flicking John’s face. (He’s a power-tripping and a creep; great combination.) Mycroft and the police arrive, and
Sherlock decides to shoot Magnussen, freeing all those who have been
blackmailed by him, but also turning Sherlock into a murderer.
Mycroft manages to persuade the
government to keep Sherlock from being sent to prison, and instead decides to
send him on an MI6 mission in Eastern Europe. At the airport, Sherlock says
goodbye to Mycroft, John, and Mary. (He also makes a point of suggesting John
and Mary name their child Sherlock, but they don’t go for it.) They all know
that these goodbyes will likely be their last time to ever see each other, so…yeah,
this is emotional.
The plane takes off, and
suddenly, on every single television screen in the country, a certain face
appears, saying a certain phrase… Jim Moriarty, asking “Did you miss me?”
On the plane, only 4 minutes
after taking off, Sherlock receives a call from Mycroft about the situation,
and just like that, he’s on his way back to London. Let’s face it, the world
just can’t survive without Sherlock Holmes.
And on that note, in true
Moffat fashion, let’s just cue the credits and leave viewers hanging for YEARS.
But we won’t go into that any further.
We’re almost caught up, guys.
See you all next week for a rewatch of the Sherlock special, “The Abominable
Bride.” Then we’ll all cry together or something.