We are now two episodes into the new series of BBC One’s Sherlock, meaning we are approaching the series finale. Although the series are known for being very short, the episodes are always packed full of content, with clues, references and plot lines being thrown in so often that it often takes a second, third, or fifth watch to get to grips with an episode. And even then you will not understand it fully. Well, the second episode of Sherlock’s fourth series certainly did not disappoint in terms of complexity, tension or, indeed, plot twists. Now, I have to warn you that you have to have watched the episode carefully for any of this article to make sense (and even then it may not) and, even more obviously, this will contain spoilers for all of Sherlock so far. Anyway, here we go.
My understanding of the episode was that, following on from the last episode, Sherlock watched Mary’s message to him and knows he has to “save John Watson.” Mary tells him that the only way to do this is to put himself in a situation where Watson has to save his life, so Sherlock goes about making himself a mess by injecting himself full of various drugs, making him unstable. Meanwhile, he looks out for a case where he can put himself in danger so that Watson can save his life. Holmes is then visited by somebody who claims to be Faith Smith, the daughter of the celebrity Culverton Smith (though we later find out she is an imposter), and Sherlock has found his case. He proceeds to piece together the case and finds a way of getting Smith to confess to being a serial killer while also putting himself in danger, meaning Watson has to save him. The plans works, as Watson saves the life of his friend just before he is suffocated by Smith, but only after recording the latter’s admission on a device concealed in Watson’s walking stick. Thus, Sherlock has been saved and Watson has also been saved and admits that Sherlock was not at fault for the death of his wife. The episode then ends with one final twist when Watson sees his psychologist, who reveals that she is, in fact, the sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes and that she disguised herself as Faith Smith and visited Sherlock. She then tells Watson that she also disguised herself as the woman Watson had an affair with, and that her real name is Euros. The episode then ends dramatically with Euros firing a gun aimed at Watson’s head.
A lot to take in? Tell me about it! Although the big reveal was made about Sherlock having a secret sister in this episode, there have been clues throughout the series about the possible presence of a sibling. There are even clues that go back as far as series three, with all the references to ‘the East wind’. Wondering what Euros is the Greek word for? Yes, you guessed it. The East Wind is coming. There is also a snippet of one of Mycroft’s phone conversations which we get to hear at the end of series three in which he declares “I’m not given to outbursts of brotherly compassion. You know what happened to the other one.” Surely another reference to Euros which we somehow managed to miss the first time around. A very similar line came up in the most recent episode, as Mycroft said to John Watson “Sherlock is a legitimate security concern; the fact that I’m his brother changes nothing. It didn’t last time and it won’t with Sherlock.” What we can take from these two throw-away lines from Mycroft is that he is very much aware of the fact that he and Sherlock share a sister and that, in the past, he had to take some kind of action against Euros for the good of the country. Another Holmes-style deduction I can make about Euros is that, given she has been a security concern and that we see her firing a gun at Watson, she is probably some kind of criminal and very dangerous!
We can be almost certain that Mycroft is aware of Euros’ existence because, as well as the two earlier quoted lines, he makes a couple of references to ‘Sherrinford’. Directly after the phone call with Watson in which Mycroft talks about Sherlock being a security concern, Lady Smallwood, who overheard the conversation, asks Mycroft “Do you still speak to Sherrinford?” to which Mycroft replies “I get regular updates. Sherrinford in secure.” While this is not necessarily a reference to Euros, it is fairly likely that it has something to do with her. My guess is that Sherrinford is the code name for Euros and that she is supposed to be in prison. This is because we later see Mycroft’s diary, where he has written on one page ‘call Sherrinford.’ I assume she is supposed to be in prison because we have already hear the suggestions about her being some kind of criminal, and I am sure that Mycroft would be able to track her movements if she was free. The fact that Mycroft seems none the wiser to her movements would suggest that she has recently is not supposed to be able to roam freely, added to the fact that Mycroft thinks she is ‘secure.’ However, Sherlock does not seem aware that he even has a sister because he met her twice and did not recognise her. He first met her in the disguise of Faith Smith when she visited his flat, then later when he was taken to her house when she was in disguise as Watson’s psychologist. Surely if Sherlock knew he had a sister he would have been able to recognise her on at least one of the occasions, so the likelihood is that he doesn’t know and that Mycroft dealt with her without Sherlock being aware. You see, this detective lark isn’t so hard after all!
On further reflection, the plot of episode two is even more complex than it first appears. One thing that I didn’t make clear in my explanation at the beginning of the article was the motive of Euros to pose as Faith Smith and direct Sherlock towards the case of Culverton Smith. That, I think, has been hinted at by another throw-away line at the end of the episode. Most people will have been so shocked at finding out about Sherlock having a secret sister that they will not have noticed the line “a mutual friend put us [her and Culverton Smith] in contact”. This was spoken by Euros in her big reveal and shows that there seems to be yet another player in ‘the game’. When considering who this mutual friend might be, there are two possible names that spring to mind. The first is Mycroft Holmes, who certainly knows of Euros’ existence from hints earlier in the show, and supposedly gets regular updates on her. You would think that, assuming that Euros and Sherrinford are the same person, Mycroft would know if she was sneaking around and deceiving Sherlock. That means he either thinks Sherrinford is far more secure than she actually is, or he knows what she is doing and possibly was the one who engineered it by putting her in contact with Culverton Smith.
The other name I can think of who may be this ‘mutual friend’ is, obviously, James Moriarty. It is unusual that the most likely suspect is somebody who is dead, but in Sherlock you can never rule anything out! There is evidence which points to Moriarty’s involvement, most obviously the fact that the note given to Sherlock by Euros had ‘miss me?’ written on it in invisible ink. Also, Moriarty is one of the very few people who has been known to get inside Sherlock’s head and be able to control him without him realising. There is also the fact that whoever this mutual friend is knew about Mary’s message to Sherlock because they were able to so accurately predict his actions which revolved around said message. There are not too many criminals who would be able to get that sort of access to Sherlock Holmes’ life and Moriarty is just about capable of doing so, possibly even from beyond the grave. It is possible that he put Euros and Culverton Smith in contact while he was alive and told them to bide their time before putting his plan into action. The final, and most incriminating piece of evidence which points to Moriarty is, quite simply, that everything is always to do with Moriarty. It simply would not be Sherlock Holmes without Moriarty being present in some way, so I deduce, my dear Watson, that Moriarty is our culprit.
Although not so vital to the storyline as the rest of what I have written about, an interesting afterthought is the idea of Watson seeing a ‘ghost Mary’ throughout the episode. This apparition was invented by his mind and there is no indication that she is going to rise from the dead any time soon, but even this was suggested back in last year’s Christmas special. A prominent theme of that episode was the existence of ghosts, as Holmes and Watson hunted down a murderer who was supposedly dead herself. A line spoken by Holmes when asked by Watson about whether he believed in supernatural beings was “the only ghosts in the world are those we make ourselves.” At the time this was disregarded as another weird and wonderful Sherlock Holmes declaration which was too complicated to bother understanding, but when you think about it again now, he seems to have predicted Watson’s predicament. He has created a ghost from his mental state, and no amount of psychiatric help can get rid of it. It is interesting then, that the moment in which the rift between Holmes and Watson is repaired is when Sherlock shows his tender side and consoles Watson about the loss of Mary, in doing so making the remark “isn’t that right, Mary?” This could imply that Sherlock can also see the ghost Mary as a result of his broken vow to protect her. It’s funny how, when you really think about it, every line in Sherlock seems relevant.
Now, I am no expert and I will probably have to delete this article after the final episode is shown next week when all my hypotheses are proven wrong, but that is what I make of the episode. There is always much more to Sherlock than meets the eye and I’m sure there are a host of details which I have missed which will prove to be vital in the series finale. If I had to make a guess at what will happen in episode three, I would guess that Sherlock will be alerted by Mycroft to the existence of his sister and that he will have to rush off to try and save Watson. Although episode two ended with a gun being fired at Watson’s head, I would be surprised if he does end up dying, although you wouldn’t put it past the writers to kill one of the main characters. It is more likely that Watson will be held as a hostage of some sort to use as leverage against Sherlock. Meanwhile, I don’t think Culverton Smith’s part in the series is over either, and we are still to find out for sure about the link between Sherrinford and Euros. We may even meet this ‘mutual friend’ whether it is Moriarty, Mycroft, or somebody else altogether. Whatever happens, I;m sure the episode will not let us down and will be packed with a host of story arcs and, although complicated, will be a very rewarding watch.