Well, it has been two long years for us Sherlockians to wait for season three and the time has finally come…and passed for most fans, but we here at PopWrapped decided that in order to respect people that wanted to watch it when it came out in the US and not want to worry about too many spoilers we were going to save our full recaps for now. But now that the boring introduction is through let’s get to the episode, shall we?
Fair warning, this recap will be full of spoilers, so if you continue there is no looking back!
“The Empty Hearse” obviously centred on the return of everyone’s favourite consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. It can also be argued that the episode paid tribute to the amazing fans that have been waiting for two years now for the actual answer to this question.
The episode starts off reliving the last moments of the previous season’s finale, only things are happening a little different. At first we fans may think that we are finally going to understand how the great Sherlock Holmes survived that fall, but who are we kidding? Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss would never allow something to be so easily discovered. Instead we are treated to a hilarious theory that was come up with by Anderson as he is trying to convince Lestrade that Sherlock is alive. It is probably one of my favourite scenes, mostly because of that damn hair ruffle and kiss combo (you know what I’m talking about).
Mr. Reality (Lestrade) isn’t buying any of what Anderson is saying and calls him out on feeling guilty because he is indirectly the reason why Sherlock was put in the position to jump in the first place. Then Anderson retorts that he “believes in Sherlock Holmes” and I swear I almost put the three finger salute from Hunger Games up in respect (even though Lestrade does have a point – but us fans can just relate to Anderson in that moment, you know).
The episode also makes it completely clear that Sherlock has been cleared of all charges and the real identity of Moriarty was revealed – which is good to know considering Sherlock is about to come back and all.
Then the shot fades to John, and it is heartbreaking. Kudos to Martin Freeman who manages the look of utter sadness in his eyes that makes the fandom want to curl up in the fetal position. But then the mustache happens and you can’t help but laugh, this is also the first time we meet Mary! YAY MARY! It’s a moustaching moment (badumtss).
Our first look at Sherlock is him tied up and being beaten, Mycroft is undercover and makes himself known to Sherlock after the beating to ‘help’ his “baby brother.” Insert Sherlock smirk and thousands of squealing fans here.
Once the scenes are back in London the scenes are back and forth between Sherlock (getting all cleaned up) and Mycroft, and John and Mrs. Hudson. Also, a lot of shots of the London underground…foreshadowing, anyone?
John’s storyline: Arrival at 221B, flashbacks about Sherlock, pissed Mrs. Hudson – because John hasn’t called or visited – who doesn’t like his moustache because it “ages him” (Sherlock and the rest of the world agrees), John reveals he has met someone who he will be proposing to and Mrs. Hudson – bless her – laughs when he tells her it is a woman. She will never believe that Sherlock and John were not a couple, much to John’s chagrin.
Sherlock’s storyline: bro-talk (what Sherlock has been up to), bro-banter, getting a new suit and a lovely new crisp white shirt, the reason for Sherlock’s return is a planned terrorist attack that needs to be solved, basically a love letter about London (the way he speaks about that city makes you want to learn it as he knows it – it sounds much better than just going on a hop on hop off bus that’s for sure), and of course discussing John and his whereabouts (and his moustache).
I know that is very condensed but we have 90 minutes to cover, we have to get this show on the road!
Another thing that needs to be planned is how Sherlock is going to surprise John, and he mentions jumping out of a cake. I think we all need to just stop and take a second to imagine how amazing that would be….ok, you good? I’m good, let’s continue.
Sherlock is completely flabbergasted at the idea that John has moved on with his life because as he so eloquently put it, “What life? I’ve been away.” I really have no words to describe how much I love this character.
AND THEN HE PUTS THE JACKET ON AND HE’S BACK, GUYS! HE’S BACK! Ok, I’m done freaking out (not really, but we can pretend).
Completely oblivious to the amount of pain his return may cause John, Sherlock decides to crash John’s very special dinner with Mary in the best way he knows how – in a disguise…as a French waiter. It’s everything you didn’t know you wanted until it happened.
I just need to once again applaud Martin Freeman, he is just so, so, so good in the scene when he finally notices Sherlock. And then, you know, he does the only thing that seems logical – attack Sherlock…multiple times. It’s great.
Also, John finally listens to everyone and realises that no one likes his moustache. Sherlock and Mary also start forming a bit of a friendship and it’s adorable really.
Once the most important person knows that Sherlock is actually alive and back in London he makes his rounds to everyone. The best reaction is probably “Graham” (Lestrade) who gives Sherlock a huge bear hug despite Sherlock not being able to remember his name. Kudos to Mrs. Hudson, most of us yelled like that two.
And then it is time for another theory! This is the best one. By far. Taken right from fanfiction; #ShoriartyIsReal. The Sherlock Holmes fan club, The Empty Hearse, is the best.
JOHN SHAVES, GUYS! Mary and John are so cute; I bet she buys him an “I don’t shave for Sherlock Holmes” shirt for Christmas.
The game is on, guys; Sherlock is doing what he does best and is trying to put the pieces of the terrorist case together. Mycroft and Sherlock are showing their brotherly love once again over a game of….Operation – didn’t see that one coming did you. I just love these too, they hate people so much. Then they play deductions, their childhood must have been so interesting.
Now we have the best bit of editing ever. I don’t know how else to describe it but to go f-cough and watch it again.
Here is a twist – Sherlock asks Molly to help him solve crimes! But we still have the editing cutting between John working with patients and Sherlock trying to solve them. Bonus points to John who thinks the guy with the strong accent is Sherlock in disguise, more bonus points to Sherlock who hears John mocking him in his head while working on the case. It’s all really sweet in a weird way.
Sherlock and Molly head to someone’s place because a man has gone missing on the security videos of the underground, sounds like the perfect case for Sherlock. After they leave the place it is clear that while Molly enjoyed going around with Sherlock it just wasn’t for her. There is actually a really, really sweet moment between her and Sherlock where he thanks her for what she did for him and lets her know that she matters to him. Like I said, it’s super sweet.
John is on his way to see Sherlock when he is drugged and kidnapped right in front of 221B! Not good.
Mary receives a text that sounds a bit cryptic but she brings it to Sherlock and tells him it is a skip code – they have to go save John…so they steal a motorbike. Badass much?
John reawakens and he’s is in a small, dark, smoke-y area and you know this isn’t good. Sherlock is trying to get to John as quick as he possibly can, doing is awesome calculating route thing that he does.
We now realize that John is about to become a human bonfire for Guy Fawkes Day if Sherlock and Mary don’t turn up on time – queue the pounding heart.
They arrive, but it’s already on fire and now every person at home is panicking along with Sherlock and Mary. Sherlock literally dives into the fire, moves things out of the way and pulls John from the fire. He is safe, and you can now all breathe again.
SHERLOCK’S PARENTS! WHO ARE ALSO BENEDICT’S PARENTS! Mycroft is taking them to Les Mis (jealous), and John is completely shocked at how normal they seem.
After all that drama we actually get to talk about the terrorist attack again. He’s filling John in and I don’t know about you but my ears perked at the name Moran….
Sherlock’s eureka moment: “It’s not an underground network, it’s an underground network.”
Thanks…really cleared that one up.
The man that disappeared on the subway (Moran), yeah not the only thing that disappeared. A whole carriage went missing! It’s Guy Fawkes Day…things are going to go boom, and it looks like it is going to be Parliament.
Turns out there was an abandoned station at Sumatra Road; looks like we have a location. So Sherlock and John head on over and walk through the underground to look for the station and the missing carriage.
Once they get there they find the platform empty, but Sherlock does is mind magic and realizes it will be further up the tracks. And voila! A tube carriage accessorized by lots of explosives.
Time to bring those heart rates up again…especially when Sherlock says he doesn’t know what to do. Uh oh. And then the timer goes off and we are all sweating.
John demands Sherlock goes to his mind palace, but Sherlock has nothing. He is apologizing to John for everything and it’s just so emotional. John didn’t want him to be dead, and now they will probably die because he is back. John finally accepts Sherlock’s apology and says, “you were the best and the wisest man that I have ever known. Yes, of course I forgive you.” FEELS.
However we don’t get too long to process what just happened because we get into the explanation of what happened last season. Mycroft gave Moriarty information on Sherlock for hints of his knowledge – it was all a set up. Sherlock had to fake that he has lost to Moriarty. When he was up on that building he already had codes for 13 schemes that would get him out – this one was ‘Lazarus.’ And honestly…everything that happened in his survival I’m pretty sure I read in theories online.
Then we find out that this is what he is telling Anderson, and then no one knows if the explanation was the truth. In that moment, the entire fandom was Anderson.
Ok, back to the train and…SHERLOCK IS LAUGHING.
There was an off switch. Of course there was.
Sherlock is most definitely back – the sarcastic bastard that we all know and love. “Killing me, that was so two years ago.”
Side note: the Les Mis fan in me died a little when I heard “Do you hear the people sing” when Mycroft begged Sherlock to save him from the show…and then it was stuck in my head for the rest of the week.
At the post case solving shin-ding Molly brings her fiancée who reminds everyone of a certain consulting detective – I guess she has a type. Not that any of us blame her…
One thing hasn’t been answered though: why was John put in the fire? Sherlock doesn’t know, and as he says he doesn’t like “not knowing.” However at the end we do have a man looking at the footage of Sherlock saving John, and we all know who that is.
Oh, and you know that disbelief from the story he was telling Anderson? Yeah, we were right. Two years of waiting and we still don’t bloody know how he survived.
Now it is time to face the media once again with John by his side and the deerstalker on his head – it puts a smile on all of our faces. Oh it is good to have Sherlock Holmes back again.
That’s it for this episode, next week it is John’s wedding in “The Sign of Three!” See you all then for another 90 minutes of our favourite detective and company.