Sherlock, Season 2, episode 1 transcript: A Scandal in Belgravia, part 3
Sherlock, Season 2, episode 1: A Scandal in Belgravia part 3
Transcript by Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan.
Polite request: If you take extracts from this transcript for use elsewhere, and especially if you repost my own words, it would be kind if you would acknowledge the source and/or give a link back to this transcript. Thanks.
(Return to part 1 / Return to part 2 / Jump to part 4)
MORNING. 221B. Sherlock is standing at the window with his back the living room and playing a sad lament on his violin. John walks into the room and sighs at the sight of him. Mrs Hudson walks across to the table and picks up the plates, looking at John pointedly to make him realise that Sherlock hasn’t touched his breakfast. John hums resignedly as he takes his jacket from the back of the chair and puts it on. Sherlock stops playing and picks up a pencil to make a notation on his music.
MRS HUDSON: Lovely tune, Sherlock. Haven’t heard that one before.
JOHN: You composing?
SHERLOCK: Helps me to think.
(He turns back to the window, lifts the violin and begins to play the same tune again.)
JOHN: What are you thinking about?
(Sherlock suddenly spins around and puts the violin down. He points at John’s laptop.)
SHERLOCK (rapidly): The counter on your blog is still stuck at one thousand eight hundred and ninety-five.
JOHN: Yeah, it’s faulty. Can’t seem to fix it.
SHERLOCK (taking out Irene’s camera phone): Faulty – or you’ve been hacked and it’s a message.
(He pulls up the security lock with its “I AM ---- LOCKED” screen.)
(Sherlock types “1895” into the phone. The phone beeps warningly and a message comes up reading: “WRONG PASSCODE. 3 ATTEMPTS REMAINING”. The enthusiasm in Sherlock’s eyes dies again.)
SHERLOCK: Just faulty.
(He turns away and picks up his violin again.)
(Sherlock begins to play the sad tune once more.)
JOHN: Right. Well, I’m going out for a bit.
(Sherlock doesn’t respond. John turns and walks to the kitchen where Mrs Hudson is tidying up.)
JOHN (quietly): Listen: has he ever had any kind of ... (he sighs) ... girlfriend, boyfriend, a relationship, ever?
MRS HUDSON: I don’t know.
JOHN (sighing in frustration): How can we not know?
MRS HUDSON: He’s Sherlock. How will we ever know what goes on in that funny old head?
(John smiles sadly.)
JOHN: Right. See ya.
(He trots off down the stairs. Mrs Hudson looks at Sherlock playing his violin at the window, and then leaves the room.
Downstairs, John goes out of the front door and pulls it closed. As he turns to go to the left, a woman is standing just to the right of the flat. She calls out to him.)
(He stops and turns around to her as she looks at him flirtatiously.)
(It takes him a moment but then he realises that she’s very pretty and her body language appears to be saying, “Take me big boy I’m all yours.”)
WOMAN (walking closer): So, any plans for New Year tonight?
(John laughs while his eyes continually roam over her body.)
JOHN: Er, nothing fixed. Nothing I couldn’t heartlessly abandon. You have any ideas?
(The woman looks over her shoulder towards the road.)
(John follows her gaze and sighs in exasperation when a black car pulls up and stops beside them.)
JOHN: You know, Mycroft could just phone me, if he didn’t have this bloody stupid power complex.
(They get into the car and it pulls away ... and takes them to the biggest power complex in the neighbourhood – the empty shell of Battersea Power Station. Pulling up inside the building, John and the woman get out and she leads him through the abandoned structure.)
JOHN: Couldn’t we just go to a café? Sherlock doesn’t follow me everywhere.
(Still walking, the woman types onto her phone, then stops and gestures ahead of herself.)
WOMAN: Through there.
(John gives her a look, then walks on. The woman turns and heads back the way she came, lifting her phone to her ear.)
WOMAN: He’s on his way. You were right – he thinks it’s Mycroft.
(John reaches a large room and starts talking straightaway even though he can’t yet see anybody.)
JOHN: He’s writing sad music; doesn’t eat; barely talks – only to correct the television.
(He walks further into the room and finally a figure begins to step out of the shadows at the other end.)
JOHN: I’d say he was heartbroken but, er, well, he’s Sherlock. He does all that anyw...
(He trails off as Irene Adler walks into view.)
IRENE: Hello, Doctor Watson.
(She stops some distance away from him and he simply stares at her for several seconds before he finally finds some words.)
JOHN (quietly, but with a note of pleading in his voice): Tell him you’re alive.
IRENE (shaking her head): He’d come after me.
JOHN: I’ll come after you if you don’t.
IRENE: Mmm, I believe you.
JOHN (louder): You were dead on a slab. It was definitely you.
IRENE: DNA tests are only as good as the records you keep.
JOHN: And I bet you know the record-keeper.
IRENE: I know what he likes, and I needed to disappear.
JOHN: Then how come I can see you, and I don’t even want to?
IRENE: Look, I made a mistake. I sent something to Sherlock for safe-keeping and now I need it back, so I need your help.
IRENE: It’s for his own safety.
JOHN: So’s this: tell him you’re alive.
IRENE: I can’t.
JOHN (fighting back his anger): Fine. I’ll tell him, and I still won’t help you.
(He turns and starts to walk away.)
IRENE: What do I say?
JOHN (furiously, turning back to her): What do you normally say? You’ve texted him a lot.
(Irene has taken her phone out and holds it up as John stops and glares at her.)
IRENE: Just the usual stuff.
JOHN: There is no ‘usual’ in this case.
(Irene looks down at her phone and starts to read back messages she has sent to Sherlock.)
IRENE: “Good morning”; “I like your funny hat”; “I’m sad tonight. Let’s have dinner” ...
(John looks round at her, startled.)
IRENE: ... “You looked sexy on ‘Crimewatch’. Let’s have dinner”; “I’m not hungry, let’s have dinner”.
(John stares at her in disbelief.)
JOHN: You ... flirted with Sherlock Holmes?!
IRENE (still looking at her phone): At him. He never replies.
JOHN: No, Sherlock always replies – to everything. He’s Mr Punchline. He will outlive God trying to have the last word.
IRENE: Does that make me special?
JOHN: ... I don’t know. Maybe.
IRENE: Are you jealous?
JOHN: We’re not a couple.
IRENE: Yes you are. There ...
(She holds up her phone to show John the screen, although he’s too far away to read it. She tells him what she has typed anyway.)
IRENE: “I’m not dead. Let’s have dinner.”
(She presses the Send button. John turns away momentarily and then turns back to her.)
JOHN (quietly): Who ... who the hell knows about Sherlock Holmes, but – for the record – if anyone out there still cares, I’m not actually gay.
IRENE: Well, I am. Look at us both.
(John laughs ruefully. Just then an orgasmic female sigh can be heard a short distance away. In the corridor outside the room, unseen by either of them, Sherlock switches his phone off and rapidly walks away. John starts to walk in the direction of the sound but Irene holds out her hand to stop him. She looks at him pointedly.)
IRENE: I don’t think so, do you?
Some time later, Sherlock is walking down Baker Street towards his flat, his gaze distant and lost. As he arrives at the front door of 221B and turns to put his key in the door, his expression sharpens when he realises that the door has been jemmied open. Slowly pushing the door open, he goes inside and carefully puts his hand onto the opaque glass window of the interior door before also pushing that one open and stepping through into the hall. Immediately he sees that the door to 221A is ajar, and partway down the hall is a plastic bucket. He takes a quick glance at the various items inside the bucket and sees that they’re cleaning materials: a pair of rubber gloves, a duster, a spray can of what is probably screen and telephone sanitizer, a toilet brush and a bottle of disinfectant, and a couple of other items.
Sherlock steps closer to the stairs and sees a couple of scuff marks on the wall just above the risers. He instantly realises that one of the marks was made by someone awkwardly walking backwards up the stairs and having to feel their way with their feet, while the second was made by someone following the first person while facing forwards but being thrown off-balance by something. Looking more closely at the wall he sees a small indentation in the wallpaper. Putting a finger against the dent, his gaze becomes more intense as he deduces that it was formed by someone dragging their hand along the wall, clawing at it in a desperate attempt to stop themselves being hauled backwards up the stairs. The depth of the nail mark can only have been made by someone with fairly long nails, and now Sherlock knows that the person being dragged was Mrs Hudson. Slowly he raises his head while he visualises her struggling as she is half-pulled and half-carried upstairs by a couple of men, a third man preceding them. In his mind, he hears her panic-stricken protests of, “Stop it!” at her assailants before she cries out Sherlock’s name in terror and anguish.
Sherlock stares intensely up the stairs and slowly, without a muscle in his face moving, his expression changes from deductive to outright murderous. Your transcriber sobs at the ferocity in his gaze and challenges anyone to say that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t one of the finest actors of our time. Sherlock stands there for a few seconds while his rage builds, and then he gets moving.
Not long afterwards he slowly pushes open the door to the living room of 221B. In front of the fireplace Mrs Hudson is sitting on a dining chair facing the sofa, and behind her stands Neilson, the CIA man who led the raid on Irene’s house. He is holding another pistol with an over-compensatory silencer attached and is aiming the gun at the back of Mrs Hudson’s head. One of his men is standing looking out of the window but turns when the door opens; the other stands near the sliding door into the kitchen. As Sherlock slowly strolls into the room with his hands clasped behind his back, Mrs Hudson – already crying quietly – begins to sob a little louder.
MRS HUDSON: Oh, Sherlock, Sherlock!
SHERLOCK: Don’t snivel, Mrs Hudson. It’ll do nothing to impede the flight of a bullet.
(He looks at Neilson.)
SHERLOCK: What a tender world that would be.
MRS HUDSON (sobbing quietly as she gazes up at him): Oh, please, sorry, Sherlock.
NEILSON: I believe you have something that we want, Mr Holmes.
SHERLOCK: Then why don’t you ask for it?
(He walks closer and holds out his right hand towards Mrs Hudson. She flails towards it, whimpering, and he gently turns back the sleeve of her right hand and looks at the bruises on her wrist.)
MRS HUDSON (crying): Sher...
NEILSON: I’ve been asking this one. She doesn’t seem to know anything.
(Sherlock’s gaze rises a little and he sees that the right shoulder of Mrs H’s cardigan has been ripped at the seam, exposing her skin underneath.)
NEILSON: But you know what I’m asking for, don’t you, Mr Holmes?
(Sherlock looks a little higher and sees a cut on her right cheek. His eyes flick across to Neilson’s right hand holding the pistol. He has a silver ring on his third finger and there is blood on it. Sherlock raises his head and looks directly at Neilson – but he isn’t deducing him. In very rapid succession he is picking out target points on his body:
His eyes drop to Neilson’s arm and chest:
He raises his eyes to Neilson’s again.)
SHERLOCK: I believe I do.
(Mrs Hudson whimpers as he releases her hands and straightens up, putting his hands behind his back again.)
MRS HUDSON: Oh, please, Sherlock.
SHERLOCK (to Neilson): First, get rid of your boys.
SHERLOCK: I dislike being outnumbered. It makes for too much stupid in the room.
(Neilson hesitates for a moment, then glances at his colleagues.)
NEILSON: You two, go to the car.
SHERLOCK: Then get into the car and drive away. (He looks back to Neilson.) Don’t try to trick me. You know who I am. It doesn’t work.
(He clicks the ‘k’ of ‘work’ loudly. Your transcriber faints. The two men leave the room and head down the stairs.)
SHERLOCK: Next, you can stop pointing that gun at me.
NEILSON: So you can point a gun at me?
SHERLOCK (stepping back and spreading his arms to either side): I’m unarmed.
NEILSON: Mind if I check?
SHERLOCK: Oh, I insist.
(Neilson comes around from behind Mrs Hudson. She whimpers nervously.)
MRS HUDSON: Don’t do anything.
(Neilson walks over to Sherlock and pats his breast pocket and flicks the coat open while Sherlock stands meekly with his arms still spread. Walking around behind him, Neilson starts patting for any hidden weapon at his back. Sherlock rolls his eyes dramatically at Mrs Hudson, but he is already covertly starting to bend his right arm towards himself. So fast that your transcriber absolutely can’t tell where it came from, he whips out the sanitizer spray can, twists around and sprays the contents directly into Neilson’s eyes. As Neilson screams, Sherlock rears back and then savagely headbutts him in the face. Neilson falls back over the coffee table, unconscious, and Sherlock triumphantly flips the can into the air.)
(Slamming the can onto the table, he hurries over to Mrs Hudson and, tutting – probably in annoyance at what the man has done to her – he drops to his knees in front of her.)
MRS HUDSON (tearfully): Oh, thank you.
SHERLOCK (gently stroking her face): You’re all right now, you’re all right.
MRS HUDSON: Yes.
(Sherlock looks over his shoulder towards Neilson’s prone body, his expression still promising murder.)
Not long afterwards, the black car pulls up outside 221 and John gets out. The car drives away and he walks to the door, then stops when he sees a handwritten note attached underneath the knocker. He looks around the street for a moment, then pushes the door open and goes inside. Written on the note is:
CRIME IN PROGRESS
He goes upstairs and hurries into the living room.
JOHN: What’s going on?
(He stops at the sight of Neilson, bound and gagged with duct tape and sitting on the chair near the fireplace. His nose is broken and blood has run down his face and is dripping from his chin. Mrs Hudson is sitting on the sofa and Sherlock is in a chair nearby, holding Neilson’s pistol aimed at him with one hand, and his phone to his ear with the other.)
JOHN: Jeez. What the hell is happening?
SHERLOCK: Mrs Hudson’s been attacked by an American. I’m restoring balance to the universe.
(John immediately hurries over to sit down next to her.)
JOHN: Oh, Mrs Hudson, my God. Are you all right? (Glaring at Neilson as he puts his arm around her shoulders) Jesus, what have they done to you?
(Mrs Hudson breaks down in tears again.)
MRS HUDSON (covering her face with her hands): Oh, I’m just being so silly.
JOHN (pulling her closer): No, no.
(Sherlock gets to his feet, still holding the phone to his ear while aiming the gun at Neilson.)
SHERLOCK (to John): Downstairs. Take her downstairs and look after her.
(John stands up and helps her to her feet.)
JOHN (gently): All right, it’s all right. I’ll have a look at that.
MRS HUDSON (tearfully): I’m fine, I’m fine.
(As she walks out of the room, John steps over to Sherlock, whose eyes are fixed on Neilson.)
JOHN: Are you gonna tell me what’s going on?
SHERLOCK: I expect so. Now go.
(They look at each other for a moment, then turn their gazes to Neilson and now he’s got two murderous expressions aimed at him. John turns to leave the room but just before his head is completely turned away, a small smile begins to form on his face as if he wants Neilson to understand that he is about to encounter a whole world of hurt.)
SHERLOCK (into phone as John walks away): Lestrade. We’ve had a break-in at Baker Street. Send your least irritating officers and an ambulance. (Finally taking his eyes off Neilson, he walks across to the table and lays the pistol down on it.) Oh, no-no-no-no-no, we’re fine. No, it’s the, uh, it’s the burglar. He’s got himself rather badly injured.
(Neilson looks nervous while Sherlock listens to Lestrade’s question.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, a few broken ribs, fractured skull ... suspected punctured lung.
(He looks over his shoulder at Neilson.)
SHERLOCK (into phone): He fell out of a window.
(Still looking into Neilson’s eyes, he hangs up.)
Downstairs in Mrs Hudson’s kitchen, she and John are standing by the sink while he gently applies some antiseptic to the cut on her cheek. She flinches.
MRS HUDSON: Ooh, it stings.
(John nods as he continues cleaning the cut. A moment later a shape plummets down past the window and lands with a crash. John and Mrs H look at the window.)
MRS HUDSON: Ooh. That was right on my bins.
(There’s an agonised groan from outside.)
Some time later, it’s fully dark outside and an ambulance is only now pulling away from 221. Sherlock is standing outside Speedy’s café with Lestrade, who apparently decided that his least irritating officer was himself.
LESTRADE: And exactly how many times did he fall out the window?
SHERLOCK: It’s all a bit of a blur, Detective Inspector. I lost count.
(Not bothering to comment, Lestrade walks away. A little later Sherlock comes in through the kitchen door of 221A and wipes his feet carefully on the doormat. Mrs Hudson and John are sitting at her small kitchen table and the wall clock shows 9.32 p.m. [although this may not be accurate because when Sherlock phoned Lestrade it was broad daylight outside.] Mrs H still looks very shaken.)
JOHN: She’ll have to sleep upstairs in our flat tonight. We need to look after her.
MRS HUDSON: No.
SHERLOCK: Of course, but she’s fine.
JOHN: No, she’s not. Look at her.
(Sherlock opens the fridge door and peers inside before picking something up.)
JOHN: She’s got to take some time away from Baker Street. She can go and stay with her sister. Doctor’s orders.
(Kicking the fridge door shut, Sherlock frowns at John and bites into a mince pie.)
SHERLOCK: Don’t be absurd.
JOHN: She’s in shock, for God’s sake, and all over some bloody stupid camera phone. Where is it, anyway?
SHERLOCK: Safest place I know.
(Wiping crumbs from his mouth, he looks down at Mrs Hudson who reaches down inside her top and pulls the phone out of her bra before handing it to Sherlock.)
MRS HUDSON: You left it in the pocket of your second-best dressing gown, you clot. (She laughs briefly.) I managed to sneak it out when they thought I was having a cry.
SHERLOCK (tossing it into the air before putting it in his coat pocket): Thank you.
(He looks at John.)
SHERLOCK: Shame on you, John Watson.
JOHN: Shame on me?!
SHERLOCK: Mrs Hudson leave Baker Street?
(He puts a protective arm around her shoulders and pulls her closer to him.)
SHERLOCK (sternly): England would fall.
(She laughs and strokes his hand. He chuckles gently. John smiles at them both.)
Later, the boys are back upstairs. John fixes himself a drink in the kitchen and then comes into the living room as Sherlock takes his coat off.
JOHN: Where is it now?
SHERLOCK: Where no-one will look.
(Walking across to the window, he picks up his violin and turns his back to the room.)
JOHN: Whatever’s on that phone is more than just pictures.
SHERLOCK: Yes, it is.
(He tinkers with his violin and checks its tuning. John watches him for a moment.)
JOHN: So, she’s alive then. How are we feeling about that?
(In the distance, Big Ben begins to toll the hour. Sherlock pulls in a sharp breath.)
SHERLOCK: Happy New Year, John.
JOHN: Do you think you’ll be seeing her again?
(Turning around but not yet meeting his eyes, Sherlock picks up his bow and flips it in the air before starting to play “Auld Lang Syne” and looking at John pointedly. John gets the message and sits down in his chair while Sherlock turns back to the window and continues to play.)
(Not far away, within sight of St Paul’s Cathedral, Irene is walking along the street when her phone trills a text alert. Taking the phone from her bag and checking the message, she sees that it reads:
Happy New Year
She looks at the message for a long time before continuing onwards.)
DAY TIME. ST BART’S. In the
Molly lab, Sherlock is looking at an X-ray on a computer screen which is showing the interior parts of a phone. Molly is nearby. He leans closer to the screen and sees four small round dark areas scattered around the phone. He looks exasperated.
MOLLY: Is that a phone?
SHERLOCK: It’s a camera phone.
MOLLY: And you’re X-raying it?
SHERLOCK: Yes, I am.
MOLLY: Whose phone is it?
SHERLOCK: A woman’s.
MOLLY: Your girlfriend?
SHERLOCK: You think she’s my girlfriend because I’m X-raying her possessions?
MOLLY (laughing nervously): Well, we all do silly things.
(He lifts his head as he is suddenly inspired and he looks round to Molly.)
SHERLOCK: They do, don’t they? Very silly.
(She looks confused as he gets to his feet and takes the phone out of the X-ray machine and holds it up.)
SHERLOCK: She sent this to my address, and she loves to play games.
MOLLY: She does?
(Sherlock pulls up the “I AM ---- LOCKED” screen and types “221B” into the phone. The phone beeps warningly and a message comes up reading: “WRONG PASSCODE. 2 ATTEMPTS REMAINING”. He looks exasperated and sits down again.)
SOME MONTHS LATER. 221B. Sherlock reaches the top of the stairs and then stops abruptly outside the kitchen door. He sniffs deeply. Taking a couple more deep breaths, he turns and looks into the kitchen, then walks across to the window and checks it, realising that it is open. Turning and sniffing again, he starts to walk slowly towards his bedroom just as the downstairs door slams and feet start trotting up the stairs. Reaching his room, he pushes the door open as John comes into the kitchen with bags of shopping. Sherlock walks into the bedroom and turns to stand and look down at the bed. John notices him.
JOHN: Sherlock ...
SHERLOCK: We have a client.
JOHN: What, in your bedroom?!
(He walks along the passage and into the bedroom, then his jaw drops when he sees the bed.)
(Irene – fully clothed – is asleep in Sherlock’s bed.)
Some time later Irene has apparently showered, as her hair is loose and damp. She is wearing one of Sherlock’s dressing gowns and is sitting in his chair in the living room. The boys are sitting at the table looking at her.
SHERLOCK: So who’s after you?
IRENE: People who want to kill me.
SHERLOCK: Who’s that?
JOHN: It would help if you were a tiny bit more specific.
SHERLOCK: So you faked your own death in order to get ahead of them.
IRENE: It worked for a while.
SHERLOCK: Except you let John know that you were alive, and therefore me.
IRENE: I knew you’d keep my secret.
SHERLOCK: You couldn’t.
IRENE: But you did, didn’t you? Where’s my camera phone?
JOHN: It’s not here. We’re not stupid.
IRENE: Then what have you done with it? If they’ve guessed you’ve got it, they’ll be watching you.
SHERLOCK: If they’ve been watching me, they’ll know that I took a safety deposit box at a bank on the Strand a few months ago.
IRENE: I need it.
JOHN: Well, we can’t just go and get it, can we?
(He looks round to Sherlock, inspired.)
JOHN: Molly Hooper. She could collect it, take it to Bart’s; then one of your homeless network could bring it here, leave it in the café, and one of the boys downstairs could bring it up the back.
SHERLOCK (smiling): Very good, John. Excellent plan, with intelligent precautions.
JOHN: Thank you. (He picks up his phone.) So, why don’t ... Oh, for ...
(He has just seen Sherlock take the camera phone out of his jacket pocket and hold it up. Sherlock looks at the phone closely as Irene stands up.)
SHERLOCK: So what do you keep on here – in general, I mean?
IRENE: Pictures, information, anything I might find useful.
JOHN: What, for blackmail?
IRENE: For protection. I make my way in the world; I misbehave. I like to know people will be on my side exactly when I need them to be.
SHERLOCK: So how do you acquire this information?
IRENE: I told you – I misbehave.
SHERLOCK: But you’ve acquired something that’s more danger than protection. Do you know what it is?
IRENE: Yes, but I don’t understand it.
SHERLOCK: I assumed. Show me.
(Irene holds out her hand for the phone. Sherlock holds it up out of her reach.)
SHERLOCK: The passcode.
(She continues to hold her hand out, and eventually Sherlock sits forward and hands her the phone. Activating it and holding it so he can’t see the screen or the keypad, she types in four characters. The phone beeps warningly.)
IRENE: It’s not working.
SHERLOCK (standing up and taking the phone from her): No, because it’s a duplicate that I had made, into which you’ve just entered the numbers one oh five eight.
(He walks over to his chair in which she was just sitting and retrieves the real camera phone from under the cushion.)
SHERLOCK: I assumed you’d choose something more specific than that but, um, thanks anyway.
(He pulls up the “I AM ---- LOCKED” screen and types “1058” into the phone. He looks at her smugly but then the phone beeps warningly and a message comes up reading: “WRONG PASSCODE. 1 ATTEMPT REMAINING”. He stares in disbelief.)
IRENE: I told you that camera phone was my life. I know when it’s in my hand.
SHERLOCK: Oh, you’re rather good.
IRENE (smiling at him): You’re not so bad.
(She holds her hand out again and takes the phone from him. John frowns at the pair of them while they have intense eyesex for the next few seconds.)
JOHN (abruptly): Hamish.
(They both turn to look at him.)
JOHN: John Hamish Watson – just if you were looking for baby names.
(Sherlock frowns in confusion.)
IRENE: There was a man – an MOD official. I knew what he liked.
(Walking a short distance away from the boys so they can’t see her screen or keypad, she types in her real passcode and calls up a photo.)
IRENE: One of the things he liked was showing off. He told me this email was going to save the world. He didn’t know it, but I photographed it. (She hands the phone to Sherlock.) He was a bit tied up at the time. It’s a bit small on that screen – can you read it?
(Sherlock sits down on the other side of the table to John and narrows his eyes at the photograph. The top of the email – possibly the subject line – reads:
007 Confirmed allocation
Underneath in smaller print is a string of numbers:
IRENE: A code, obviously. I had one of the best cryptographers in the country take a look at it – though he was mostly upside down, as I recall. Couldn’t figure it out.
(Sherlock leans forward, concentrating on the screen.)
IRENE: What can you do, Mr Holmes?
(She leans over his shoulder.)
IRENE: Go on. Impress a girl.
(Time slows down as she begins to lean towards him. Oblivious to her approach, the numbers in the code race through Sherlock’s mind and begin to form into shapes for him. Opposite him, John has taken a drink of tea and is lowering his mug in slow motion towards the table. By the time the mug reaches the table and Irene has leaned in and kissed Sherlock’s cheek, he has already solved it. His eyes drift momentarily in her direction as she pulls back smiling, but then he concentrates on the screen again.)
SHERLOCK (speaking rapidly): There’s a margin for error but I’m pretty sure there’s a Seven Forty-Seven leaving Heathrow tomorrow at six thirty in the evening for Baltimore. Apparently it’s going to save the world. Not sure how that can be true but give me a moment; I’ve only been on the case for eight seconds.
(He looks at John’s blank face in front of him, then glances round at Irene who hasn’t even fully straightened up yet.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, come on. It’s not code. These are seat allocations on a passenger jet. Look ...
(He shows the screen to John.)
SHERLOCK: There’s no letter ‘I’ because it can be mistaken for a ‘1’; no letters past ‘K’ – the width of the plane is the limit. The numbers always appear randomly and not in sequence but the letters have little runs of sequence all over the place – families and couples sitting together. Only a Jumbo is wide enough to need the letter ‘K’ or rows past fifty-five, which is why there’s always an upstairs. There’s a row thirteen, which eliminates the more superstitious airlines. Then there’s the style of the flight number – zero zero seven – that eliminates a few more; and assuming a British point of origin, which would be logical considering the original source of the information and assuming from the increased pressure on you lately that the crisis is imminent, the only flight that matches all the criteria and departs within the week is the six thirty to Baltimore tomorrow evening from Heathrow Airport.
(By now he has stood up, and now he lowers the phone and looks down at Irene, who gazes up at him in admiration.)
SHERLOCK (engaging the full force of his cello jaguar voice and sending your transcriber into a complete meltdown): Please don’t feel obliged to tell me that was remarkable or amazing. John’s expressed the same thought in every possible variant available to the English language.
IRENE (intensely): I would have you right here on this desk until you begged for mercy twice.
(The two of them stare at each other for a long moment before Sherlock speaks again.)
SHERLOCK (with his eyes still locked on Irene’s): John, please can you check those flight schedules; see if I’m right?
JOHN (vaguely, overcome by all the sex in the air): Uh-huh. I’m on it, yeah.
(Clearing his throat, he starts to type on his laptop. Sherlock and Irene continue to stare at each other.)
SHERLOCK: I’ve never begged for mercy in my life.
IRENE (emphatically): Twice.
JOHN (looking at his screen): Uh, yeah, you’re right. Uh, flight double oh seven.
SHERLOCK (looking round at him): What did you say?
JOHN: You’re right.
SHERLOCK: No, no, no, after that. What did you say after that?
JOHN: Double oh seven. Flight double oh seven.
SHERLOCK (quietly to himself): Double oh seven, double oh seven, double oh seven, double oh seven ...
(Pushing Irene out of the way, he begins to pace.)
SHERLOCK: ... something ... something connected to double oh seven ... What?
(As he continues to pace and mutter the numbers to himself, Irene puts her other phone behind her back and begins to type blind on it:
747 TOMORROW 6:30PM HEATHROW
(The message is sent to the phone of Jim Moriarty. Standing in Westminster very near the Houses of Parliament, he takes his phone out and reads the message.
Back at 221B, Sherlock has walked to the fireplace and is standing in front of the mirror with his eyes closed.)
SHERLOCK (quietly): Double oh seven, double oh seven, what, what, something, what?
(His eyes snap open as he begins to remember and he turns and looks at the living room door, remembering Mycroft standing on the landing talking into his phone.)
MYCROFT (in flashback): Bond Air is go.
(Sherlock walks towards the door.)
MYCROFT (in flashback): Bond Air is go. ... Bond Air is go.
(While the words continue to echo in Sherlock’s mind, at Westminster Jim is typing a message onto his phone:
Jumbo Jet. Dear me Mr Holmes, dear me.
He presses Send and the message wings its way up into the air. As if watching it go, Jim raises his eyes towards Big Ben, the very image of the seat of the British government, and blows a long and loud raspberry at it.
At Mycroft’s house/residence/fancy office he picks up his phone from the dining table and looks at a newly arrived message. It reads:
Jumbo Jet. Dear me Mr Holmes, dear me.
Time passes and Mycroft returns to the chair at the end of the dining table and sinks down into it, running his hand over his face and clearly still shocked by the turn of events.
More time passes and Mycroft has removed his jacket and has a glass of brandy in front of him. His hands are folded in front of his mouth and he is lost in wide-eyed and horrified thought.
Much later, as night begins to fall, Mycroft’s face is furrowed with anguish and his eyes are still wide at the horror which only he knows about. The glass beside him is empty. Slowly he closes his eyes and sinks his head into his hands in despair.)
NIGHT TIME. 221B. Sherlock sits in his armchair gently plucking the strings of his violin. In his mind he can still hear Mycroft’s phone call.
MYCROFT (voiceover): Bond Air is go, that’s decided. Check with the Coventry lot.
(Sherlock finally rouses a little and looks up.)
(Irene, still wearing Sherlock’s dressing gown and with her hair still down, is curled up in John’s chair watching him closely.)
IRENE: I’ve never been. Is it nice?
SHERLOCK: Where’s John?
IRENE: He went out a couple of hours ago.
SHERLOCK: I was just talking to him.
IRENE (smiling): He said you do that. What’s Coventry got to do with anything?
SHERLOCK: It’s a story, probably not true. In the Second World War, the Allies knew that Coventry was going to get bombed because they’d broken the German code but they didn’t want the Germans to know that they’d broken the code, so they let it happen anyway.
IRENE: Have you ever had anyone?
(Sherlock frowns at her blankly.)
IRENE: And when I say “had”, I’m being indelicate.
SHERLOCK: I don’t understand.
IRENE: Well, I’ll be delicate then.
(Getting up from the chair she walks over and kneels in front of Sherlock, putting her left hand on top of his right hand and curling her fingers around it.)
IRENE: Let’s have dinner.
IRENE: Might be hungry.
SHERLOCK: I’m not.
(Hesitantly, Sherlock sits forward a little and slowly turns his right hand over, curling his own fingers around her wrist.)
SHERLOCK: Why would I want to have dinner if I wasn’t hungry?
(Slowly Irene begins to lean forward, her gaze fixed on his lips.)
IRENE (softly): Oh, Mr Holmes ...
(Sherlock’s fingers gently stroke across the underside of her wrist.)
IRENE: ... if it was the end of the world, if this was the very last night, would you have dinner with me?
MRS HUDSON (calling up the stairs): Sherlock!
(Sherlock’s eyes slide towards the door.)
IRENE (ruefully): Too late.
SHERLOCK: That’s not the end of the world; that’s Mrs Hudson.
(Irene pulls her hand free and stands up, walking away from him as Mrs Hudson comes in with none other than Plummer from the Palace.)
MRS HUDSON: Sherlock, this man was at the door. Is the bell still not working?
(She turns around to Plummer and points at Sherlock.)
MRS HUDSON: He shot it.
SHERLOCK (tetchily, to Plummer): Have you come to take me away again?
PLUMMER: Yes, Mr Holmes.
SHERLOCK: Well, I decline.
PLUMMER (taking an envelope from his jacket and offering it to him): I don’t think you do.
(Sherlock snatches it from him and opens it. Inside is a Business Class boarding pass for Flyaway Airways in the name of Sherlock Holmes for flight number 007 to Baltimore, scheduled to leave at 18.30.
Very shortly afterwards, Sherlock has put his coat on and is getting into the back of a car outside the flat. As Plummer gets into the passenger seat and the car drives away, Irene stands at the window of the flat and watches them go.)
On to Part 4