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Sherlock - Episode 3.01 - The Empty Hearse - Recap & Review

After a two-year break from the show, here we go again. I’m gonna try to cover all three episodes, if the time lets me, so, without a longer introduction here’s my recap and review of season 3’s premiere, “The Empty Hearse”.
“I believe in Sherlock Holmes”
We start with the theory number one. According to Anderson, Sherlock faked his death using a mask, Moriarty’s body and a rope. On his way out of a building he also shared a kiss with Molly and used a hypnotist to distract Watson long enough for Sherlock’s other accomplices to arrange the crime scene. And then… the theory is quickly dismissed by Lestrade. Apparently it’s not the first one he’s heard from Anderson in the last two years. And they seem to be getting less believable each time. The guilt has changed Philip, the fact that he took part in Sherlock’s fall caused him to lose his job and start a group (fan club) which main focus is solving the mystery of Holmes’ “death” and find him.
“The holiday is over, brother dear”
But Anderson’s behavior is not the only thing that has changed since the last episode. After extensive police investigation Moriarty’s plan is revealed to the public clearing Sherlock’s name. Meanwhile, Watson found himself a girlfriend and is planning to propose. Also he’s trying out a new look, with the moustache. And Sherlock… Sherlock’s currently being tortured by Serbians after breaking into their facility. He’s not only fighting the pain but also manages to deduce something about his attacker and his wife’s affair, which causes the torturer to leave the room and Mycroft (who was calmly hiding in the shadows, undercover) uses the chance to take Sherlock home after informing him about the possibility of the terrorist attack in London.
“You really have moved on, haven’t you?”
After the opening credits, John finally decides to visit his old home on Baker Street 221B, contacting Mrs. Hudson for the first time since the end of last season. She’s quite angry at him for forgetting about her and is the first person to point out the fact that his new moustache ages him. Eventually, he explains his reasons to stay away and tells her about his new life and learns that even Mrs. Hudson believed him and Holmes to be a couple. At the same time, Sherlock cleans himself up in Mycroft’s office and reveals that he spent the last two years dismantling Moriarty’s network and that the Serbian side was the last part of it. The brothers, as always, spend most of their conversation arguing: about Mycroft’s late intervention when Sherlock was being tortured, the field work, which apparently is not his strong suit and more. Also, they mention the underground terror cell that Sherlock has to find in order to stop the upcoming attack and discuss John: his ancient look and current whereabouts. It’s also clearly stated that Holmes has absolutely no idea what he did to his best friend and expects a happy reunion.
“It is familiar, but with the quality of surprise!”
The next part takes place in the restaurant where John plans to propose to his girlfriend Mary and Sherlock wants to reveal himself to his friend. His idea is to use the disguise at first, waiting for Watson to figure out it’s him. It’s a very entertaining little montage. Then, enters Mary and John proceeds with his plan, completely ignoring Sherlock’s attempts to surprise him. Until, he finally looks right at him and immediately gets both angry and upset. Holmes trying to “apologize” just ends up in him getting brutally attacked by Watson in the middle of the restaurant. Next thing we know, Sherlock, John and Mary find themselves in a place far less elegant than the previous one, where Holmes tries to explain what happened back there on the roof, all the 13 possibilities he came up with two years ago. But Watson doesn’t care about the “how” of the situation, he’s more interested in learning “why” he did it. It turns out that Mycroft, Molly and about 25 members of the homeless network were all involved in the plan and knew about Sherlock’s death being fake. The reveal of this information ends in another attack from John which leads to… yet another place, even smaller than the last one. There, the subject of the moustache comes up again, with Watson learning that not even Mary likes it. Later, there’s a lot of screaming on John’s side, clearly frustrated with the lack of trust and lies from his friend. And finally Sherlock asking for his help ends in a one more punch from Watson. It also finishes the conversation between the two, but Holmes, now covered in blood, gets a chance to talk to Mary, who seems to make a good impression on him after promising to talk to her boyfriend on his behalf and later admits to John that she already likes Sherlock.
Next, Molly receives a visit from Sherlock and he informs the rest of his friends about his return: Lestrade, who hugs him and Mrs. Hudson who screams seeing him. Also, he lets everyone else know, which we see via Anderson’s group called The Empty Hearse (the title of the episode!). One of its members, Laura, presents us with one more theory about the fall. Theory number two basically suggests the romance between Sherlock and Moriarty and using a puppet on the roof. Even Anderson doesn’t believe it. But his faith in Holmes’ return is proved to be true when the news spreads on BBC channel, Twitter and other social medias.
"Not really in the picture anymore"
Then, we get a glimpse at John’s life with Mary when he decides to finally shave (since everyone hates it) and she gets to read his old blog for the first time. Sherlock’s back at his apartment, again bickering with Mycroft, but like (happy with his return) Mrs. Hudson notices, the two are secretly glad to see each other. Despite their argument about who’s smarter, making friends and Mycroft’s loneliness. They also decide to play a game of deductions, using a hat that belongs to one of Sherlock’s old clients. But since it’s time for everyone to get to work, we see John’s new job and some of his particularly unpleasant doctor-patient visits, while time slowly passes. And after his refusal to help Holmes, Sherlock looks for a new partner and asks Molly to join him in his investigation. The duo starts their work interviewing new clients. John, on the other hand, has a problem at work after he assumes that one of his patients is Sherlock in disguise and almost attacks him. Later, Holmes and Hooper join Lestrade at the crime scene. It appears that Sherlock can’t forget about Watson when he starts hearing his voice in his head. Greg and Molly quickly notice his strange (or rather, stranger than usual) behavior. Still, Holmes impresses them by explaining that mystery corpse they found are staged and the whole thing is just a fake.
“Save John Watson”
Later, new partners pay a visit to Mr. Shilcott, owner of the hat from the earlier scene with Mycroft. He works on the Tube where he noticed something bizarre on the footage. A disappearing passenger. When Sherlock takes a moment to think everything over, Watson shows up in front of their old home and is attacked and taken by two men in the middle of the street. Holmes thanks Molly for her help with faking his death and realizes she doesn’t really want to take part in this investigation with him, she’s moved on with her life, is engaged and they part ways. And then we get to the part where John wakes up somewhere, unable to get out or scream for help. He's hidden under a pile at the kids' Firework Night party and about to burn alive. Fortunately for him, Mary receives some strange messages that’s she able to decode and shows up at Sherlock’s to ask him for his help in finding missing John. The two move quickly through the streets of London on a “borrowed” motorcycle, desperately trying to locate Watson using the coded texts. They manage to get to him just as the pile under which he’s trapped is set on fire. Sherlock saves his life and both he and Mary are by his side when he loses consciousness.
“It’s not an underground network, John, it’s an Underground network”
The next day, back at Baker Street 221B, an older couple talks to Sherlock but he looks bored and uses John’s entrance to ask the two to leave. They say goodbye and Holmes reveals to Watson that those were his parents, not clients. The doctor, quite surprised by this news, then continues their previous conversation, still angry about the secret his friend’s been keeping from him for so long. After the attack on his life John decides to stay and help Sherlock with his case. It’s not long before the detective figures out the mystery of the disappearing passenger (who also happens to be a Minister for Overseas Development) and deduces that the carriage this man was travelling in got detached somewhere between the stations. The entire tube department disappeared somewhere in the tunnels. The entire plan is becoming clear for Sherlock. It’s November 5th and there’s an all-night sitting to vote on the new anti-terrorism bill at the House. This Minister, a “rat” with ties to North Korea, plans to use a bomb to kill everyone in the building. The bomb in placed in the missing carriage right underneath the Palace of Westminster, which Holmes and Watson figure out after talking to Shilcott. The two immediately leave the apartment to go and find that car and stop the attack. After arriving at the Tube, Sherlock refuses to call the police, saying they could only make things worse so the duo is on their own.
"Time to go and be Sherlock Holmes"
Holmes and Watson eventually find the right place and the bomb, but it appears that neither of them knows how to disarm it. The moment of disbelief and panic ends in John telling Sherlock how he really feels and forgiving him, only to learn that his friend lied about not knowing how to stop the bomb and used the situation to mend things with John. After the initial frustration, the two finally share a kind of understanding. It turns out that Sherlock did call the police after all and the Minister is arrested. The scene is briefly interrupted during their conversation, when we see Holmes telling Anderson how he actually faked his death. The third theory, most likely the right one, reveals that Sherlock expected Moriarty’s plan to be destroying his reputation and forcing him to commit suicide. That’s why Mycroft and his men took care of the killers who threatened Sherlock’s friends’, Molly found a body similar to him and the homeless network staged the crime scene and helped the detective with his jump using an air-bag. Anderson is quite disappointed but not entirely sure whether it’s really what happened. However, after Holmes leaves his place, Philip appears to finally be able to let go. After the events at the Tube everyone is back at Holmes’ place and John and Mary's upcoming wedding gets a date. Also, Molly shows up to introduce her fiancé Tom, who reminds everyone of Sherlock and is welcomed with the general enthusiasm. Then, Watson and Holmes change a few words about what it feels like to be Sherlock Holmes the hero again. And later they meet with the press waiting outside the apartment. The very last moment of the episode, is the man, probably responsible for John’s abduction, watching the video of his rescue. It seems we have a new villain of the story.
My thoughts:
After an incredibly long break we finally got a new episode and I couldn’t be more happy with it. I loved it, especially John’s reaction to Sherlock being alive which was done pretty much perfectly. I didn’t expect so many funny moments in the premiere and all those theories about the fall. The second one had me laughing for a while. It seems that things are getting back to normal now. Although, I have to say, I was quite surprised that John didn’t attack Sherlock one more time after everything that happened at the end. Really, who makes his best friend believe he’s going to die just to hear something nice and honest from him? Especially when they’re not in a good place. “Can you believe his nerve?” Still, like Mary, “I like him”. And speaking of Mary, what a delightful surprise she was. I think I liked her almost immediately. And her and John make such a lovely couple. Also, despite all the problems, it was so good to see Sherlock and Watson back together. With the wedding and a new villain on the horizon things look really interesting for them. And I can’t wait to see them in action. I missed the show, clearly, since I watched this episode three times in one busy day. Still love it. Hope you all enjoyed it too! And feel free to share your thoughts, favorite things about the episode, theories about the future and more in the comments!

Other fun quotes:
“Mrs. Hudson, how many times? Sherlock was not my boyfriend!”
“What life? I’ve been away.”
“I agree, I’m the best thing that could have happened to you.”
“I don’t shave for Sherlock Holmes. You should put that on a T-shirt.”
“What, do you think I’m gonna be fooled by this bloody beard?”
"I asked you for one more miracle. I asked you to stop being dead. I heard you."

Justyna JJ Kubica
21. Student. SpoilerTV Writer. Loves Movies, TV Shows (Supernatural, Doctor Who, Fringe, Person Of Interest, Arrow, Psych, Teen Wolf, Merlin, Sherlock, Once Upon A Time, Sleepy Hollow etc.) and Books (Harry Potter!). Fantasy&SciFi geek! Scene Of The Week articles author. Member of SpoilerTV team since 27th November 2011.

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