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Sherlock Review: The Empty Hearse

‘He’s baaaaaack!’ the immense Sherlock fandom screamed, as did more or less every character in the episode. Two years after Sherlock leapt from the roof of a hospital in the series 2 finale, keeping its huge viewing audience on tenterhooks for just how he did it, the consulting detective returned to a delighted fanbase and an utterly furious John Watson. And it was glorious.

The episode begins with a brief recapping of the fall. As Sherlock relays his infamous suicide speech down the phone to John, a figure moves the clearly dead Moriarty from the roof. They open a briefcase to find DUN DUN DUUUUN a Sherlock mask! Sherlock contact lenses! As Sherlock jumps from the roof he is tethered to a bungee rope, and instead of plummeting to the ground, he bounces back up, smashes through a window and kisses everyone’s favourite shy morgue worker Molly Hooper as Derren Brown hypnotises Watson asleep to give them more time to plant Moriarty’s body.

Now, if you were anything like us, you’d be screaming “NOOOOO” at the television whilst tweeting utter profanities about Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, the BBC and all that is great and good in this world. If you were smarter than us, and we’re assuming that’s most of the population, you would have made a deduction of your own – this explanation is just a bit of a gag at all the wildest of the Sherlock speculation, and not the real explanation we expected.

Awkward panic over, but those sneaky writers got our heart’s pounding within three minutes, from which they don’t readdress the fall until the end of the episode, and by that point you are so involved in the intensity of the present plot you almost don’t care how he did it anymore.


From there, we are plunged into the world of Sherlock, which has rather expanded from the days of simple police investigations. Mycroft AKA Sherlock’s brother, played by one of the show’s writer’s Mark Gatiss himself, has brought Sherlock back to London on account of a major terrorist attack on the city being imminent.

Sherlock decides it’s time to surprise John with his resurrection, and interrupts his marriage proposal to new character (played by Martin Freeman’s real life wife, the wonderful Amanda Abbington), and Freeman’s reaction to seeing his old friend back from the dead is utterly perfect. He goes from enraged to devastated to choked up to furious to eerily calm. Emmy please. Emmy for Mr Freeman.

It’s not long before Sherlock’s back to work, sadly without the fuming moustached John, but we do get Molly solving some crimes! Yay! However, John is quickly thrown back into Sherlock’s insatiably dangerous world after being kidnapped and stuck into a bonfire by presumably this season’s mystery villain.

Sherlock saves his life, leading John to begrudgingly allow himself to be embroiled in his friend’s life again, which led to the main storyline of the series – a terrorist cell is planning on blowing up the Houses of Parliament, and it’s up to our favourite crime fighting duo to save the day!

The storyline is good, really really good, but what is better is the episode’s constant nod to their dedicated fans in moments both cheeky and hilarious, particularly when one theory involves Sherlock and Moriarty being in on the suicide trick together on account of being gay lovers – a lovely homage to those slightly more passionate fans who enjoy the old slash fanfic. Even when we finally learn how the trick was done, we’re not altogether sure it’s true, and that there may well be another 12 explanations handed to us before the end of the mini series.

So what did you think? A fitting conclusion to the rooftop mystery?


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