My old theories vs Gatiss and Moffat’s voice, the aftermath.


Since my fall theory apparently turned out to be mostly correct, thanks to a couple of notions, some field work and a bit of common sense, now I feel like taking a blind stab at Vow.

Be our guest

The teaser was Bow, which was depressing because “His last Bow” is indeed the very last of the Sherlock Holmes’ stories. Obviously Vow sounds less menacing but still.

But still

Now, this is postmodern, transformative stuff therefore contamination is needed. We’ve had crime, horror, romance, tragedy, comedy, parody, and now we’re clearly ready for some huge plot turn.


Mary is sweet, smart, supportive, just like in canon. Just like in canon, she has a no-nonsense approach and she encourages Watson to spend time with Holmes, thus allowing us to enjoy classic cases while witnessing Holmes’ heartbreaking loneliness.

So far so good.


Clues are self-evident though.

The telegrams are only apparently a comedy filler. We have Molly phoning Mrs Hudson, then we have Mars Hudson laughing madly and Watson noticing it. This can’t be a harmless comedy filler, there’s no such thing as a filler in good cinema anyway. We are definitely being told that the telegrams are important.

One is from Mike Stamford, one is from Ted and Stella, one is from Cam. Now I will concede that Ted and Stella may be a comedy filler. But who is Cam?

Of course it can’t be a coincidence that the new villain is called Charles Augustus Magnussen, especially since in Conan Doyle’s story “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton” we have the following:

“Will call at 6:30—C.A.M.,” I read.

Universe is rarely so lazy, imagine Moffat and Gatiss.

Yeah, we’ve known since 1904, not exactly a spoiler

Now, Mary flinches upon listening to Cam’s telegram, but it could also be because it’s about her lost family, so she may be flinching about her lost family, which in turn could be aggravating because where is her family in the first place (father disappeared in India maybe) and what does Cam have to do with it?

Heaven help the man, and still more the woman, whose secret and reputation come into the power of Milverton!

So Mary may have a secret about her family which came into the power of Magnussen who is blackmailing her. A secret so secret that not even Sherlock knows about it, although he did deduct already she’s a liar. She may be one of Milverton’s victims, possibly the one who ultimately kills him in cold blood.

Possibly, unless…

Besides, if the bonfire was meant to scare Sherlock, why does Magnussen text Mary instead? Does this make John the heartbroken (dead) husband? A marriage would still be involved.

Also, at the end of Empty Hearse, Milverton is obsessively rewatching footage of the bonfire. We see his (penetrating of course) eyes and we hear Mary shout and shout, John, John. At some point his gaze shift and the the camera cuts to the screen showing Sherlock (or possibly Tom). Therefore Milverton was not focusing on Sherlock before that.

Too complicated. Keep it simple keep it true.

So it’s either Mary or Mike Stamford and clues seem to lead to Mary. But it wouldn’t be canon at all, and Moffat and Gatiss are always canon, well, their own way.

And what are Moffat and Gatiss doing with Watson’s heart anyway? Mary dies in Conan Doyle’s stories and no baby is mentioned. This is sad enough for Watson. I can’t believe Moffat and Gatiss would be so cruel as to write in a baby only to kill it (and with Conan Doyle having lost wife, son, brother and two nephew in the same years, and all). Is Watson the single father an option? At this point the only reasonable option is not to kill Mary at all, but this would change the tone of the rest of the series, compared to canon, we wouldn’t have Watson going back to Sherlock. However, in Moffat and Gatiss’ world, dead canon characters tend to be not literally dead, but either socially dead (Sholto) or as good as dead (Harry). Maybe John and Mary’s marriage might not work, they might become estranged.

Like we said, we’ve been plotting season 4 already

I don’t know. This is confusing, I don’t even have a mind palace.

You do need a mind palace

And what about pirate Redbeard, who took the name of his brother when his brother died and kept being a pirate, all alone? What about Redbeard, why is Sherlock so traumatized about Redbeard? Who’s Sherlock’s “dead” brother? Watson, lost to marriage? Someone else in the past? Victor maybe? Or maybe Mycroft was Redbeard, when Sherlock became an addict?

There’s no way you can imagine who Sherlock’s “dead” brother is. Oh you’re gonna love it.

We have seen the Persian slipper full of cigarettes, which was nice, of course now we need to see something a little bit more disturbing. Canon Holmes uses cocaine (perfectly legal in Victorian England) despite Watson disapproving of it,  so it makes sense that we’ll be exploring a bit of that.

About the sad ending to the Sign of Three, this is how the story goes, in fact.

The division seems rather unfair,” I remarked. “You have done all the work in this business. I get a wife out of it, Jones gets the credit, pray what remains for you?”

“For me,” said Sherlock Holmes, “there still remains the cocaine-bottle.” And he stretched his long white hand up for it.

Like we said, it’s no longer legal

I love this season so much. I love that it’s character driven pastiche. Only I find there are annoying redundancies here and there especially in the dialogues. Why does Watson deliver the “wisest man” speech twice? Why does Sherlock repeat the “you’ve always counted” speech twice? For the lazy public? Why are both Lestrade and Watson tricked into rushing to Baker Stress for nothing? Of course it’s cute. Why is Watson pulling rank twice? I will admit it’s hot. Not being able to find a valid function for these repetition, I’ll have to conclude they are glitches. Or aren’t they? Maybe we’re being told we must think backwards in order to understand?

Yes but please don’t panic like that

Anyway, I go for Mary being blackmailed by Magnussen and dragging both Watson and Sherlock into some terrifying disaster, with the bonfire being a mere teaser. But can it really be so easy?

We don’t see why not

Something is going to happen and it must be bigger than that, considering all the deliciously maddening subtext.

Of course it’s bigger than that, look at them both. There are even helicopters!

Watching Sherlock deducing Mary frame by frame I had noticed “linguist” of course but it was “liar” that mostly caught my attention, which later together with CAM’s telegram led me to my deductions yesterday.

As I may have mentioned before, I am a computational linguist, of sorts. Which is basically why I overlooked “linguist”, it’s routine stuff for me. Earlier this evening, while I was in the office and packing my things for the week end, the notion suddenly hit me. Wait! A linguist! What does a linguist do for a living, outside academia? Well, believe it or not, linguists tend to end up working in intelligence.

Yes we happen to know


Maybe Mary used to work with Mycroft, and that would be why he avoided the wedding. He did not want to meet Mary in front of Sherlock, and Sholto could be involved as well. If Mary is being blackmailed by Milverton/Magnussen about classified information, even John, as a former Army doctor, could be involved somehow.

Since “His Last Bow” is about retrieving classified government information, that would make sense.

Too complicated. Keep it simple, keep it true.

Linguists may as well become disillusioned by linguistics and/or intelligence at some point and end up training as nurses. A former colleague of mine is a part time interior designer now. But they won’t forget about code (skipcode, source code etc).


In the new trailer we see a Lady Eva Blackwell being blackmailed by Milverton/Magnussen and turning to Sherlock Holmes for help, it’s canon. We also see Mycroft threatening Sherlock about messing with Milverton/Magnussen, which would indicate a case of sensitive information, or even that Milverton/Magnussen is in the position to damage Mycroft. Maybe Milverton/Magnussen as well was working for Mycroft at some point.

Add some drugs, possibly Sherlock seducing Milverton/Magnussen’s maid or footman or the other way around or whatever (canon anyway), and here we have our episode.

Canon, yes, we all like canon

Unfortunately, none of this sounds mind blowing enough for this upcoming episode. We’ve been promised something incredibly mind blowing, while the subtext screams flashback.

A unifying factor is missing. Mike Stamford maybe? John’s therapist?

Who is going to die? Mary? Canon. Mycroft? Not canon, but there’s the Redbeard thing. Lestrade? Molly? Please no.

Since we don’t like to kill people (regeneration is ok though), we had the baddie killed and gave you a mind blowing, hearbreaking chemistry between Sherlock and John instead. And there’s a cute dog inside the mind palace. We figured you’d like it.

I’ll admit I’m getting a little obsessed. By it’s either deduction, or considering the implications of Sherlock pasting John’s face on Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man.

Which is exactly why we put it there, so go ahead