XOXO After Dark extends a warm welcome to its newest TV recapper, Gallery Books publicist Kristin Dwyer! Like many of us, Kristin is a rabid Sherlock fan, so when she offered to recap the show for us, we jumped at the chance! Who wouldn’t want a little more Cumberbatch in her day, right? So read on for Kristin’s recap of Season 3’s first episode, “The Empty Hearse.”

CumberbatchHello readers and welcome to XOXO’s first ever Sherlock recap! Whether you’ve been watching our favorite British detective since the beginning or spent a weekend holed up in your living room catching up –welcome! It’s been a longgg wait for us to find out what happened to Sherlock after he “jumped” off a building much to John Watson’s and our horror. How did he do it? Why did he do it? And how long will Watson have that horrid mustache? Let’s find out, shall we? Grab your deerstalker and a cup of tea because the game is on!

Right away we’re thrown into a flashback of the infamous jump. However, interspersed with Sherlock saying his last goodbyes we get a techno mix off the Alias soundtrack as unknown men take Moriarty’s body, make him look like Sherlock and toss him off the roof. All this while Sherlock bungee jumps off the building, crashes through a plate glass window into Molly’s office, pops that collar, rustles his glorious hair and grabs her for a kiss….. I’m sorry what were we talking about? My mind just broke.

Now did I think this was real? Of course not. But did I give a little squeal when my girl Molly (I got her in the Buzzfeed “Which Sherlock character are you” quiz) finally got her kiss from Sherlock? You’re damn right I did!  But alas, it was all in the mind of a very hairy Anderson.

Poor poor Anderson – how the mighty have fallen. Last time we saw him he was slandering Sherlock’s name, and now with Sherlock’s name cleared, the guilt is eating at him. Lestrade nicely tries to tell him to move on but Anderson can’t seem to let go of the theory that Sherlock is alive and making his way back to London. If you have 10 minutes, check out the mini episode the BBC created as a prequel to this episode–it’s a fun teaser and shows how obsessive Anderson really has gotten.

Finally we get a glimpse of our dear John Watson and…WHO IS THAT HOLDING HIS HAND?!!? And when is that mustache going away? Seriously.  I guess it’s a nice homage to the books, but me no likey.  Turns out that John has been keeping away from Baker Street and Mrs. Hudson (shame on you John!) as it was still too painful to be around them. But things are on the mend. He visits Mrs. Hudson and breaks the news that he’s got a new girlfriend and it’s serious. Good for you, John! I’m not sure about this Mary chick but more on her later….

After another round of “did I hit the remote and jump over to Homeland” we get a glimpse of a long haired man getting captured and subsequently getting the crap kicked out of him. What these guys want or who they are aren’t really important. The important thing here is that this hairy man is none other than Sherlock.  Sherlock fools his captor into leaving him unattended with another soldier who turns out to be none other than brother Mycroft.  Mycroft informs Sherlock that his “vacation” is over and he’s needed in London.

Sherlock smiles and I do a little dance for the theme song. Back to Baker Street!

Back in London, Mycroft is kind enough to fill us in as Sherlock gets a haircut and shave. For the past two years Sherlock has been dismantling Moriarty’s network, but now he’s needed as the government has received intel on a pending terrorist attack.  Sherlock is ready to go – all he needs is Watson and for Watson to shave that mustache. Of course it comes to no surprise to us that Sherlock thinks John is just sitting waiting at home for him to return. That’s what I love about the Holmes brothers; they are both so absolutely clueless to so many things and really can only relate to each other in a lot of ways.

We don’t have to wait much longer for the reunion between Watson and Sherlock. In one of the funniest scenes in the series Sherlock disguises himself as a French sommelier at the restaurant where Mary and John are having dinner.  Sherlock is rarely intentionally funny so it’s nice seeing him have a little fun, dress up and try to surprise Watson. It goes horribly wrong, of course, but his smirk as he’s giving Watson advice on the wine was worth the whole episode.Cumberstache

When John finally recognizes his old friend he’s in the middle of proposing to Mary.  Whoops, bad timing, Sher. What follows is a full on meltdown from Watson and a lot of punching Sherlock in the face. (Not that it’s not deserved.) To add insult to injury, Sherlock brings up that hideous mustache more times than he should.  After some more fisticuffs and a very nice head-butt to the face John walks away from Sherlock. But not for long, of course.

Sherlock reunites with the rest of the crew–Lestrade gives him a big ol’ hug, Molly doesn’t seem surprised (turns out she was in on the plan the whole time) and Mrs. Hudson screams her bloody head off. We even get to see Anderson’s Sherlock conspiracy group discover their favorite detective is still alive in a flurry of floating hashtags. This also leads to another hilarious fantasy “explanation” in which Moriarty and Sherlock are just about to run off into the sunset together.

Now to the case of the episode….we’re told several times in the first hour that the terror alert is raised but that’s on hold as Sherlock gets back in the groove with new clients. Sans John at first but Sherlock is temporarily joined by Molly Hooper, when as a thank you for all of her help and a show of real genuine affection, he asks her to fill in as his assistant on a day of cases. Of course it’s not a permanent situation but Molly holds her own–it shows how much this relationship has grown from the time when Sherlock just kept sending her out for coffee.  Sidenote – I love it when Sherlock calls Molly by her full name. Just me? Okay moving on…

Later that evening, Mary receives a strange text and somehow is able to decipher that John is taken. I find this suspect but I don’t know if it’s me just being weird about this new addition to the show. I know Mary is played by Martin Freeman’s real-life partner Amanda Abbington, but I’m not totally sold yet. Sherlock figures out the code and that’s it’s a countdown to John’s demise – they rush to John’s aid which is a good thing indeed as it turns out John’s been hidden under a Guy Fawkes bonfire pile which is just about to be lit in front of very small children. Sherlock and Mary drag John from the fire just in time.  I guess all is forgiven now, ‘cause if you save someone from being burned alive I say you should let bygones be bygones.

Cut to Sherlock sitting with an older couple seemingly going over a case but there’s something a little different about these two. Sherlock lets the older woman touch his cheek (human contact! Say what!) and it turns out they are Mama and Papa Holmes! And they’re played by Benedict Cumberbatch’s real parents; it’s like a family reunion, this show. John returns to the flat and has another heart to heart with Sherlock, the fences are mostly mended but the mystery remains: why did John get kidnapped?

V_for_VendettaAnd finally we get to really get into this “terrorist attack” we’ve heard so much about all episode. It’s like we’ve stepped into V for Vendetta, am I wrong in saying that this is the exact same situation?  John and Sherlock are back in action solving crimes and strutting into Tube stations on the lookout for the bomb in the Underground. They find it of course but it’s too late–the clock is counting down and they’ve got no time to escape. Sherlock looks completely panicked and it’s at this point that I start shouting FAKER to the screen! As if a bomb could really fool Sherlock. Watson isn’t so lucky and delivers another really touching speech about Sherlock and how he missed him. It’s emotional and John says he finally forgives Sherlock. But of course it’s all a ruse. Sherlock dismantled the bomb ages ago and called the police.  John is PISSED again but one joke and a smile from Sherlock and everyone is friends again!  Ah friends…can’t live with them, can’t live without them.  Their relationship is a strange one, but that’s how some friendships are -they don’t make any sense except to those who are right in the middle of them.

PS I wish I could go to my mind palace – I bet I have really great thoughts tucked away somewhere in there, really really buried.

So London is saved! Sherlock is alive! John and Mary are getting married and all that remains is the big reveal – HOW DID SHERLOCK DO IT!?! Just tell me!!!

Appropriately enough, it’s poor Anderson who gets to hear Sherlock’s confession. As we all hoped, Sherlock was one step ahead of Moriarty and had been playing him the whole time, even with the info Mycroft had passed along. That was a nice surprise, as I always hated the idea that Mycroft had helped play a part in Moriarty‘s plan. And poor John was really left out as basically everyone we saw in the finale was in on the plan – not just that random biker but everyone from Molly to the doctors to the random passersby. They kept John in a perfect spot so that he couldn’t see Sherlock fall on a huge air bag that got whisked away as John got hit by the biker. We also get a throwback to that kidnapped little girl in last season’s “Reichenbach Fall.” Remember when Sherlock entered the room and she screamed? Sherlock deduced that he had a criminal doppelganger out there, so Molly tracked the body to a local morgue and swapped it in as Sherlock’s “corpse” on the pavement. It all seemed plausible to me and to see them actually show the whole production in motion was worth the wait. But were people “disappointed,” as Anderson was? Was it too predictable? Not to me, it actually felt just right, but I would like to go watch the finale again now knowing what was really going on.

And then as Sherlock prepares for the first press conference since his return he’s joined by the whole gang at the apartment–including Molly’s new fiancé, who looks strangely familiar…hmmm, maybe Molly’s not quite as over Sherlock as we thought!

And as Sherlock and John leave the flat to speak to reporters he places our favorite hat on his head…and it’s never looked better.

Deerstalker

Kristin’s top five moments:

  • John trying to get Mrs. Hudson to understand that he’s not gay for the millionth time, ha!
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock being a French waiter. Perfection.
  • Watson’s face when Sherlock reveals Mary’s true feelings about his mustache. In fact all the mustache humor. It had to go. Farewell Watson mustache, no one will miss you!
  • A tie between Mycroft and Sherlock’s game of Operation and the phone call from Les Miz – brothers are their best
  • “I’ve got lots of coats”

Unresolved Musings

  • Is there something more to Mary or am I just being paranoid because I don’t like new characters? She’s sassy, which I like, and isn’t as dour as the other Marys I’ve seen in past productions. But something seems not right…
  • While Sherlock was dismantling Moriarty’s network, does that mean he ran into Irene Adler?!!
  • Did Lestrade seem a little sad that Molly was dating someone? I want to see more Lestrade this season, I’ve decided. BBC, make it so!
  • Is Mycroft going to get a friend this series? It seems like there was a lot of conversation about him being lonely.

Last musings…I’m assuming this very very creepy man who is watching John get rescued over and over again is responsible.  What’s your deal, dude, and why do you have that creepy baby doll in your lair?? I guess we’ll have to sit tight to find out. Well that’s a wrap, my friends…until next week I’m SHER-locked.