Sherlock S3 Ep1- The Empty Hearse

It has been nearly 2 years since the season finale of Sherlock season 2, wherein we were all left pondering just how Sherlock survived a fall that should have killed him and allowed for him to fake his own death. Theories ranged from John Watson having been drugged with the hallucinogen from the prior episode “The Hounds of Baskerville,” to Holmes landing in a conveniently placed but nonexistent rubbish bin. The scene was combed through in slow motion and stills, and episodes were rewatched and scrutinized as Moffat himself said we were all missing clues.


The reporter on the left shares my confusion.

This was something that kept us awake and message boards arguing for nearly 2 years, and with Sunday’s American broadcast (as it has already aired in full for the UK) we finally got answers. And boy did we get a couple of them. From action movie to slash fic, we were treated to several theories of how Holmes did it, as well as a possible explanation from the man himself. Though one must wonder if he really is telling the truth of it or not. My uneasy rest will haunt me still.

But aside from the fan service of entertaining some of these theories, if you had asked me what happened in “The Empty Hearse” (a play on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Empty House”), I might be hard pressed to really explain it aside from “Oh, this is the episode where Sherlock comes back. Ah, and there’s a bomb in the Tube under Parliament because of something something and Watson nearly gets set on fire by some dude. But it’s mostly about Sherlock coming back and isn’t it clever?”

I get that we had to reunite Sherlock with Watson, but I think too much was given to all those theories. While I do applaud them for not having Watson welcome him back with open arms, as it made him more human,  I felt too much was made of the Khan con. I could have done with more mystery. There being so little mystery is kind of problematic for me, because this is a show about the greatest detective, Batman aside, and what we got was a lot of filler. See the motorcycle ride and the lengthy mind vault montage scenes.


I’m sure this has been shipped.

What I did enjoy was seeing Sherlock play off of someone other than John when he asks Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) to fill in as his assistant. Was that a hat tip to the American CBS show Elementary? I actually could have gone the whole episode with Sherlock and John apart, themselves criss-crossing each other’s paths. That would have been a fun little bit of frustration to not have Sherlock and Watson reunite until maybe the second or final episode. Maybe Watson finds himself as a pawn in a game to lure Sherlock back out. Or maybe he just happens into a mystery where he tries to do his best, Sherlock while Sherlock himself is working the other end of the mystery. Oh well.

My real hope is that this episode is really the first act in a three act season. Because if that is the case, then with the reintroduction out of the way we can focus on the story, we can figure out what this threat to London is, and who is the mysterious man that nearly burned John Watson alive. But as it stands, this was just a fun episode with not much story to it.

Got an answer to the mystery? Leave a spoiler free comment down below!