Episode written by Mark Gatiss.
Transcript by Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan. (Last updated 10 March 2017)
With all my thanks to verityburns. This whole task would have taken much longer if she hadn’t always been available to carry out meticulous cross-checks of the transcript against the recording. Also, the whole thing would have been far more emotional while I continuously transcribed my own feelings onto the characters!
Please note: Although complete, this is and will continue to be very much a work in progress. Amendments and additions will be made continually as I spot new clever stuff in the background or realise the subtlety of the way that a particular line of dialogue was delivered, or learn something new from commentaries, interviews etc. In the meantime, if you think that I’ve made any errors or have left anything out, do let me know, either in the Comments section below or by PM.
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.
Sherlock, Season 3, episode 1 transcript: The Empty Hearse, part 1
Jump to Part 2 / Jump to Part 3
Transcriber’s note: Similarly to previous transcripts, I will write this one with the intention that it can be read by someone who hasn’t even seen the episode and/or has not seen any spoilers or read anything else about the episode in advance. I will therefore sometimes not name characters until it is obvious who they are.
As John Watson’s anguished cry of “Sherlock!” rings in the air, John himself approaches Sherlock Holmes’ headstone. We see brief flashback clips of Sherlock and Jim Moriarty on the rooftop of Bart’s Hospital, then of John arriving by taxi at the hospital and Sherlock standing on the roof’s edge talking to him by phone.
SHERLOCK: It’s a trick. Just a magic trick.
JOHN: No. All right, stop it now.
(He starts to walk towards the hospital.)
SHERLOCK: No, stay exactly where you are.
(John backs up.)
SHERLOCK: Don’t move.
JOHN: All right.
(They seem to hold out their hands towards each other.)
SHERLOCK: Keep your eyes fixed on me. Please, will you do this for me?
JOHN: Do what?
SHERLOCK: This phone call – it’s ... it’s my note.
(But now we’re seeing new footage. Behind Sherlock, two men are dragging the body of Jim Moriarty across the roof towards the door. Sherlock doesn’t react to them and continues to concentrate on John.)
SHERLOCK: It’s what people do, don’t they? Leave a note?
JOHN: Leave a note when?
SHERLOCK: Goodbye, John.
JOHN: No. Don’t.
(The men drag Jim’s body into a service elevator inside the hospital, and lay it on the floor. While Sherlock continues to look down towards John, one of the men opens a case. Inside is a latex mask which is a perfect replica of Sherlock’s face. The other man closes the lift doors, while the first man takes a small bottle from the case and, using tweezers, carefully extracts a blue soft contact lens.
On the roof, Sherlock drops his phone behind him and stares intensely ahead of himself as John screams, “Sherlock!” up at him.
In the elevator, Jim’s dead open eyes are now blue instead of brown. The man takes the mask out of the case and lays it over Jim’s face, then picks up a scalpel and reaches forward to start lifting the closed eyes on the mask. The second man starts to apply a dark curly wig to Jim’s slicked-down hair.
On the roof, Sherlock spreads his arms and falls forward. John stares in horror, and a man on a pushbike slams into him from behind, sending him crashing to the ground. Sherlock plummets towards the ground, but now it’s clear that he is attached to a bungee cord. While John lies on the ground still trying to catch his breath, Molly Hooper watches from a window of Bart’s as Sherlock plunges past, the bungee cord trailing behind him. He heads towards the pavement but the cord stops his fall when it reaches its full extension. Sherlock’s breath whooshes out of him ... then the elastic begins to contract and Sherlock is yanked skywards. Molly gasps as he shoots back into view, flailing to change his direction and, before she can react, he wraps his arms around his head and kicks his way through the window in front of her. She cringes back from the breaking glass and Sherlock lands on his feet and quickly unclips the bungee cord from his waist. It is whipped out of the window and disappears from view and Sherlock straightens his coat, ruffles his hands through his hair and marches over to Molly, taking her head in his hands and kissing her deeply for a couple of seconds. She reaches up to hold his head but he pulls away, gives her a long last look and then leaves the room. She watches him go with a girly smile on her face.
Downstairs, the two men are dragging Jim’s body – now perfectly disguised as Sherlock’s, including being dressed in a Belstaff coat and blue scarf – out onto the street. Nearby, a man wearing a fur-lined hooded jacket is approaching John. The men put the body into position on the pavement and one of them squirts fake blood onto the paving stones around the head. Other people – various fake medical staff and passers-by – are running into position around the body. The jacket-wearing man walks over to John as more people run towards the scene. John gets up onto his knees, seeing the passers-by running over to the body and pointing upwards as they appear to discuss what they just saw. John gets to his feet, and the man steps into his way.)
(It’s none other than Derren Brown, the famous illusionist and hypnotist! [Click here for more information about him.] He puts his hand onto John’s shoulder.)
DERREN: John. Look at me. Look at me.
(John drags his eyes away from the scene of Sherlock’s fall and looks at Derren, whose face is a little fuzzy so close-up. Derren puts his fingers over John’s face.)
DERREN: And sleep!
(John collapses forward, his eyes closing. Derren supports him and gently lowers him to the ground.)
DERREN: Right the way down, right the way deep, right the way sound asleep. That’s right. That’s good – keeping my voice just there in the centre of your head and floating all the way around you.
(While he’s speaking, he reaches down to John’s wrist and adjusts his watch, turning it back a few minutes. He straightens up and looks down at John.)
DERREN: And you will awaken in three, two, one ...
(John starts to move on the ground.)
DERREN: ... zero.
(Flipping up his hood to cover his head again, he walks away. John rolls over onto his side, grimacing with pain. The crowd continues to gather around the body and John – unaware of the passage of time since he first was knocked over by the bike – clambers to his feet and stumbles towards the pavement.
Inside the hospital, Sherlock walks towards a set of double doors.
John hurries over to the crowd and tries to push his way through them, while they do all they can to hold him back.)
JOHN (anguished): Let me come through, please. He’s my friend.
(Sherlock half-turns as he walks, taking one last look behind him.
Outside, John’s knees give out and he half-collapses, supported by some of the bystanders. The wrist of the dead man falls limply out of John’s grasp. Paramedics arrive with a stretcher and load the body onto it while John watches in anguish. The stretcher is wheeled away; and Sherlock pushes his way through the doors and walks around the corner, disappearing from view.)
LESTRADE (offscreen): Bollocks!
(The dramatic action-movie music which has played all through the previous scene stops, and suddenly we’re in a different part of London. Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade and Doctor Anderson – the latter sporting a scruffy beard and with unwashed hair – are standing at a mobile coffee stall.)
ANDERSON: No-no-no-no! It’s obvious! That’s how he did it! It’s obvious!
LESTRADE: Derren Brown?! Let it go. Sherlock’s dead.
ANDERSON: Is he?
LESTRADE: There was a body. It was him. It was definitely him. Molly Hooper laid him out.
ANDERSON: No, she’s lying. It was Jim Moriarty’s body with a mask on!
LESTRADE: A mask?!
(Anderson nods eagerly.)
LESTRADE: A bungee rope, a mask, Derren Brown. Two years, and the theories keep getting more stupid. How many more’ve you got for me today?
ANDERSON: Well, you know the paving slabs in that whole area – even the exact ones that he landed on – you know they were all ...
LESTRADE (interrupting): Guilt. (He looks sternly at Anderson.) That’s all this is. You pushed us all into thinking that Sherlock was a fraud, you and Donovan.
(Anderson looks down sadly.)
LESTRADE: You did this, and it killed him, and he’s staying dead. Do you honestly believe that if you have enough stupid theories, it’s gonna change what really happened?
(Taking his cup of coffee with him, he starts to walk away.)
ANDERSON: I believe in Sherlock Holmes.
(Greg turns around.)
LESTRADE: Yeah, well that won’t bring him back.
(He continues on towards where several camera crews are filming reporters.)
REPORTER 1 (into his crew’s camera): ... that after extensive police investigations, Richard Brook did indeed prove to be the creation of James Moriarty ...
REPORTER 2 (into a different camera): ... amidst unprecedented scenes, there was uproar in court as Sherlock Holmes was vindicated and cleared of all suspicion ...
REPORTER 3: ... but sadly, all this comes too late for the detective who became something of a celebrity two years ago ...
REPORTER 1: ... Questions are now being asked as to why police let matters get so far.
(Greg and Anderson are now standing side by side, each holding a coffee cup and watching the reporters.)
REPORTER 2: Sherlock Holmes fell to his death from the top of London’s Bart’s Hospital. Although he left no note, friends say it’s unlikely he was able to cope with ...
(Greg turns to Anderson.)
LESTRADE: Well then. (He raises his cup.) Absent friends. Sherlock.
ANDERSON (sadly raising his own cup): Sherlock.
(They tap their mugs together.)
LESTRADE: And may God rest his soul.
At Sherlock’s grave, John gazes down at the headstone, his eyes haunted with memories and loss. Since we last saw him he has grown a moustache. As he continues to look at the grave, which has several bunches of flowers – some of them fading with age – at the base of the headstone, a woman steps to John’s side and takes his hand. He clasps it tightly.
SERBIA. NIGHT TIME. A man with long straggly hair is running through a forest. Above him, a helicopter is circling around, shining a searchlight into the trees while the crew watch their infrared camera, radioing instructions in Serbian to the ground crew. There is much shouting and running and chasing of the man through the woods which your transcriber can’t be bothered to relate second by second but eventually some of the soldiers block the way in front of the man. One of them sends a burst of automatic gunfire towards his feet and he has no choice but to stop. The soldiers surround the man and aim their rifles at him. He slumps to the ground, exhausted.
Some time later, in what may be a bunker or an interrogation centre, a soldier wearing a thick coat and a furry hat is guarding the entrance to a room. He has earphones in his ears playing loud music. Behind the closed door, the prisoner cries out as he is struck for what is apparently the umpteenth time. Hearing the noise, the soldier takes out one of his ear buds and looks round to the door as the prisoner is struck again and groans. The soldier puts his ear bud back in and turns away. Inside the room, the torturer shouts repeatedly at the prisoner, who is naked from the waist up and whose arms are chained to opposite walls of the small room, forcing him to stay upright. The man is slumped forward as far as he can, apparently exhausted by the repeated blows and unable to support his own weight. In a dark corner of the room another soldier, well wrapped against the cold and with a furry hat on his head, sits with his feet up on a small table and watches while the torturer paces across the room.
TORTURER (in Serbian): You broke in here for a reason.
(He picks up a large metal pipe and walks towards the prisoner again, whose face we cannot see through the long straggly hair which is falling across it.)
TORTURER (in Serbian): Just tell us why and you can sleep. Remember sleep?
(He draws back the pipe over his shoulder and prepares to strike the prisoner but the man quietly whispers something. The torturer stops, lowering the pipe and leaning forward.)
TORTURER (in Serbian): What?
(He reaches down and pulls the man’s head back by the hair, leaning closer as the prisoner continues to whisper. The soldier in the corner speaks ... in a voice which sounds more than a little familiar, although it is currently speaking with a heavy accent.)
SOLDIER (in Serbian): Well? What did he say?
(Straightening up and releasing the prisoner’s head, the torturer looks down at him in puzzlement.)
TORTURER (in Serbian): He said that I used to work in the navy, where I had an unhappy love affair.
SOLDIER (in Serbian): What?
(The prisoner continues to whisper and the torturer relays his words to the other man.)
TORTURER (in Serbian): ... that the electricity isn’t working in my bathroom; and that my wife is sleeping with our next door neighbour!
(He reaches down and pulls up the prisoner’s head by the hair again.)
TORTURER (in Serbian): And?
(The prisoner replies briefly and the man releases his head.)
TORTURER (in Serbian): The coffin maker!
(Once again he bends to the prisoner, lifting his head with a fist in his hair.)
TORTURER (in Serbian): And? And?
(The prisoner continues whispering, then the torturer drops his head and relays the words to the soldier.)
TORTURER (in Serbian): If I go home now, I’ll catch them at it! I knew it! I knew there was something going on!
(He storms out of the room, leaving the prisoner slumped in his chains.)
SOLDIER (in Serbian): So, my friend. Now it’s just you and me.
(He takes his feet off the table and stands up.)
SOLDIER (in Serbian): You have no idea the trouble it took to find you.
(He walks across the room to the prisoner, whose back is covered in blood and wounds from his beating. The soldier grabs a handful of the prisoner’s hair and pulls his head up a little. Leaning close to the man’s ear, he speaks in English and now we know that the familiar voice is none other than that of Mycroft Holmes.)
MYCROFT: Now listen to me. There’s an underground terrorist network active in London and a massive attack is imminent. Sorry, but the holiday is over, brother dear.
(He releases the prisoner’s head and straightens up.)
MYCROFT: Back to Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes.
(Under the long hair draped across his face, Sherlock smiles.)
LONDON. In an Underground station, the doors of a Tube train close and the train moves off. John sits inside.
Above ground, a black car with tinted rear windows heads through the streets.
The two journeys continue, while Mycroft sits behind a desk in a dark-walled windowless office (although there might be skylights letting in a little daylight) looking through paperwork. The car pulls up outside the Diogenes Club, which presumably contains this office.
BAKER STREET. John walks across the road towards 221. Two young boys come around the corner, one of them pushing a pushchair in front of him. Sitting in the pushchair is a home-made Guy Fawkes ‘guy’ with an orange balloon for a head, with a face drawn on with marker pen. One of them calls out the traditional plea to a passer-by.
BOY: Penny for the guy?
[See more about Guy Fawkes traditions here and here.]
(The woman shakes her head as she walks past and the boys continue on, reaching John just before he gets to the front door.)
BOY: Oi, mate! Penny for the guy?
(John rolls his eyes.)
SECOND BOY: Penny for the guy, mate?
FIRST BOY: Penny for the guy?
(John looks round at them quizzically and they continue onwards, calling out their plea to everyone they see. He unlocks the front door and goes inside. Partway down the hall, he stops, staring at Mrs Hudson’s front door and letting out an anxious breath. In his head he starts to hear Sherlock’s violin playing a fragment of Irene’s lament, and his head snaps up and he looks up the stairs as a snippet of an old conversation sounds inside his mind.)
JOHN: That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done.
SHERLOCK: And you invaded Afghanistan!
(John blinks, his face sad as the violin fades from his mind. Just then, Mrs Hudson opens her door and comes out, staring at John in surprise. He raises a hand in greeting, clearing his throat before walking towards her after a final glance up the stairs.)
In Mycroft’s office, someone is reading the front page headline of a newspaper which reads, “SKELETON MYSTERY”. The strapline, of which we can only see the beginning, says, “Remains found in the wall of a ...” The reader folds down the newspaper to reveal Mycroft sitting behind his desk a short distance away, reading a file.
MYCROFT: You have been busy, haven’t you?
(We now see that it’s Sherlock who’s holding the newspaper. He is reclined flat on his back in a barber’s chair while a man is shaving his face with a cut-throat razor. Sherlock’s hair has been cut back to its normal length and is currently wet and straight. He tosses the paper onto a nearby trolley.)
MYCROFT: Quite the busy little bee. (He chuckles.)
SHERLOCK: Moriarty’s network – took me two years to dismantle it.
MYCROFT: And you’re confident you have?
SHERLOCK: The Serbian side was the last piece of the puzzle.
MYCROFT: Yes. You got yourself in deep there ... (he checks his report) ... with Baron Maupertuis. Quite a scheme.
MYCROFT (shutting the file): Anyway, you’re safe now.
MYCROFT: A small ‘thank you’ wouldn’t go amiss.
SHERLOCK: What for?
MYCROFT: For wading in.
(Sherlock raises a hand to the barber to make him stop shaving him. The man steps back a little.)
MYCROFT: In case you’d forgotten, fieldwork is not my natural milieu.
(Grunting in pain, Sherlock slowly sits up and looks at his brother angrily.)
SHERLOCK: “Wading in”? You sat there and watched me being beaten to a pulp.
MYCROFT (frowning indignantly): I got you out.
SHERLOCK: No – I got me out. Why didn’t you intervene sooner?
MYCROFT: Well, I couldn’t risk giving myself away, could I? It would have ruined everything.
SHERLOCK (glowering at him): You were enjoying it.
SHERLOCK: Definitely enjoying it.
MYCROFT (leaning forward): Listen: do you have any idea what it was like, Sherlock, going ‘under cover,’ smuggling my way into their ranks like that? (He grimaces.) The noise; the people.
(He sits back. Groaning softly, Sherlock painfully sinks back to lie down in the chair again. The barber resumes his work.)
SHERLOCK: I didn’t know you spoke Serbian.
MYCROFT: I didn’t, but the language has a Slavic root, frequent Turkish and German loan words. (He shrugs.) Took me a couple of hours.
SHERLOCK: Hmm – you’re slipping.
MYCROFT (smiling tightly): Middle age, brother mine. Comes to us all.
(The door opens and Anthea – or not-Anthea, who we last saw in “A Study in Pink” – holds up a dark suit and white shirt on a hanger to show to Sherlock.)
221A BAKER STREET. John is sitting at Mrs Hudson’s kitchen table. She firmly slams down a small tray containing a cup and saucer and a jug of milk, then goes across the room to pick up a plate of biscuits, which she equally loudly slams down onto the table. John silently watches her while she picks up a sugar bowl and thumps that onto the table. She hesitates, then points at the sugar bowl.
MRS HUDSON: Oh no – you don’t take it, do you?
MRS HUDSON: You forget a little thing like that.
MRS HUDSON (pointedly): You forget lots of little things, it seems.
(Mrs H purposely runs her finger between her nose and her upper lip while looking at John.)
MRS HUDSON: Not sure about that.
(John reaches up to touch his moustache.)
MRS HUDSON: Ages you.
JOHN: Just trying it out.
MRS HUDSON: Well, it ages you.
(John looks awkwardly at her.)
JOHN: Look ...
MRS HUDSON: I’m not your mother. I’ve no right to expect it ...
JOHN: No ...
MRS HUDSON: ... but just one phone call, John.
(Her anger dissipates and she looks upset.)
MRS HUDSON: Just one phone call would have done.
JOHN: I know.
(He looks down.)
MRS HUDSON: After all we went through.
JOHN (looking her in the eye): Yes. I am sorry.
MRS HUDSON (sitting down at the table): Look, I understand how difficult it was for you after ... after ...
(She stops, shaking her head sadly.)
JOHN: I just let it slide, Mrs Hudson. I let it all slide. And it just got harder and harder to pick up the phone somehow.
(Sighing, he looks away for a moment, then turns his eyes back to hers.)
JOHN: D’you know what I mean?
(After a moment, Mrs Hudson sighs too and reaches out to put her hand on his arm. He immediately puts his hand over hers.)
MYCROFT’S OFFICE. Sherlock’s hair is now dry and curly, and he is on his feet and almost dressed. He tucks his shirt into his trousers while he looks at himself in a large mirror on the wall. Mycroft and not-Anthea stand nearby.
MYCROFT: I need you to give this matter your full attention, Sherlock. Is that quite clear?
SHERLOCK: What do you think of this shirt?
MYCROFT (exasperated): Sherlock!
SHERLOCK: I will find your underground terror cell, Mycroft.
(He briefly looks at his brother.)
SHERLOCK: Just put me back in London. I need to get to know the place again, breathe it in – feel every quiver of its beating heart.
NOT-ANTHEA: One of our men died getting this information. All the chatter, all the traffic, concurs there’s going to be a terror strike on London – a big one.
SHERLOCK (putting on his jacket): And what about John Watson?
(Anthea throws an exasperated glance towards Mycroft.)
SHERLOCK: Mmm. Have you seen him?
MYCROFT: Oh, yes – we meet up every Friday for fish and chips(!)
(He gestures to Anthea, who hands Sherlock a folder.)
MYCROFT: I’ve kept a weather eye on him, of course.
(Sherlock opens the file. There are two black and white surveillance photos of John and a printed report underneath.)
MYCROFT: You haven’t been in touch at all, to prepare him?
SHERLOCK (distractedly): No.
(He looks at the picture of John with his new moustache.)
SHERLOCK: Well, we’ll have to get rid of that.
SHERLOCK: He looks ancient. I can’t be seen to be wandering around with an old man.
(He closes the file and drops it onto the desk.)
221B. John has gone upstairs and opens the door to the living room. He stands in the doorway, looking into the room. It’s quite dark because the curtains are closed, but lots of dust is floating around, illuminated by the few shafts of light coming into the room. John continues to stand still, looking towards Sherlock’s chair by the fireside. Mrs Hudson comes in and switches on the lights.
MRS HUDSON: I couldn’t face letting it out.
(She walks across to the right-hand window and pulls the curtains back, coughing at the dust.)
MRS HUDSON: He never liked me dusting.
JOHN (turning to look into the kitchen): No, I know.
(Mrs Hudson goes across the room to open the other curtains.)
MRS HUDSON: So, why now? What changed your mind?
(Drawing in a deep breath, John turns back to face her.)
JOHN: Well, I’ve got some news.
(Mrs H turns to him and her face fills with horror.)
MRS HUDSON: Oh, God. Is it serious?
JOHN: What? No – no, I’m not ill. I’ve, er, well, I’m ... moving on.
MRS HUDSON (sadly): You’re emigrating.
JOHN: Nope. Er, no – I’ve, er ... I’ve met someone.
(Mrs Hudson giggles with delight. Clapping her hands, she walks towards him smiling happily.)
MRS HUDSON: Oh, lovely!
JOHN (smiling): Yeah. We’re getting married ... well, I’m gonna ask, anyway.
MRS HUDSON (looking more doubtful): So soon after Sherlock?
JOHN: Well, yes.
(Mrs H looks away thoughtfully for a moment, then smiles at John.)
MRS HUDSON: What’s his name?
JOHN (letting out a huge exasperated sigh): It’s a woman.
MRS HUDSON: A woman?!
JOHN: Yes, of course it’s a woman.
(Mrs H laughs in surprise.)
MRS HUDSON: You really have moved on, haven’t you?
JOHN: Mrs Hudson! How many times ...? Sherlock was not my boyfriend.
MRS HUDSON (smiling affectionately): Live and let live – that’s my motto.
JOHN (slowly getting louder): Listen to me: I am not gay!
SHERLOCK (straightening his jacket): I think I’ll surprise John. He’ll be delighted!
MYCROFT (smiling cynically): You think so?
SHERLOCK: Hmm. I’ll pop into Baker Street. Who knows – jump out of a cake.
MYCROFT (frowning): Baker Street? He isn’t there any more.
(Sherlock looks surprised.)
MYCROFT: Why would he be? It’s been two years. He’s got on with his life.
SHERLOCK: What life? I’ve been away.
(Mycroft pretty much rolls his eyes without actually rolling them.)
SHERLOCK: Where’s he going to be tonight?
MYCROFT: How would I know?
SHERLOCK: You always know.
MYCROFT: He has a dinner reservation in the Marylebone Road. Nice little spot. They have a few bottles of the 2000 Saint-Emilion ... though I prefer the 2001.
SHERLOCK: I think maybe I’ll just drop by.
MYCROFT: You know, it is just possible that you won’t be welcome.
SHERLOCK: No it isn’t. Now, where is it?
MYCROFT: Where’s what?
SHERLOCK: You know what.
(Anthea also knows what, because she immediately appears in the open doorway holding Sherlock’s Belstaff coat. Sherlock smiles with delight, and slides his arms into the sleeves as Anthea lifts it into position. She has even already popped the collar for him.)
ANTHEA: Welcome back, Mr Holmes.
SHERLOCK (pulling the collar tips into a better position): Thank you ...
(He turns to face his brother.)
SHERLOCK (sarcastically): ... blud.
[See urban dictionary definition of ‘blud’ here. Also see some of the Comments below (here) for an alternative possibility, although Benedict later admitted that he ad-libbed the word during filming.]
Later, Sherlock stands on a rooftop or a balcony of a tall building and gazes over his favourite city.
[Thanks to the anonymous informant who used Google maps to find out that the building is 55 Whitehall, the Department of Energy and Climate Change.]
EVENING. THE LANDMARK HOTEL, MARYLEBONE ROAD. Sherlock approaches the door to the restaurant, handing his Belstaff to a member of staff. Waiters open the doors for him and he walks in. The maître d’ steps forward.
MAITRE D’: Sir, may I help you?
(Having only glanced briefly at him, Sherlock has gone into full-blown deduction mode, seeming to hear a woman crying out in pain:
The man’s phone beeps a text alert.)
SHERLOCK: Your wife just texted you. Possibly her contractions have started.
(The man fishes his phone out of his pocket, looks at the screen and hurries away. Sherlock smiles smugly to himself.
Nearby, John is sitting alone at a table, checking the inside pocket of his jacket before taking a drink from a glass of water. Sherlock looks across the room at him, then hesitates. A waitress picks up some menus from the bar and walks across in front of him.)
WAITRESS: ’Scuse me, sir.
(Sherlock’s attention is drawn to the bowtie she is wearing as part of her uniform. He looks to a nearby table where a couple are sitting. There is a glass of red wine and a glass of water to the man’s left. The man has his back to the door but Sherlock can see him reflected in the water glass. As John picks up the wine list and starts looking at it, Sherlock smiles to himself again and walks over to the side of the other couple’s table where he picks up the glass of water and pours it down the man’s front. The man – wearing a white shirt, black jacket and a bowtie – recoils and cries out in shock.)
SHERLOCK: Sorry! I’m so, so sorry!
(The man lifts his napkin from his lap and starts mopping himself with it. Sherlock steps behind him, pulling the napkin higher up the man’s chest.)
SHERLOCK: Please, let me just go to the kitchen and, er, dry that off for you.
(With one smooth tug, he pulls off the man’s bowtie and walks away, tying the bowtie around his own neck. Continuing across the restaurant, he sees a man at another table taking off his glasses and putting them down on top of the menu he has just been reading. Sherlock walks to his side.)
SHERLOCK: Finished with that, sir? Allow me to take it for you.
(Not paying much attention, the man waves him away. Sherlock picks up the menu and the glasses and walks away, putting on the glasses as he goes. At a nearby table, a woman’s small handbag is open beside her. Sherlock sees that there is an eyeliner pencil on the top. He steps close behind her, offering her the menu he’s holding with his right hand while simultaneously taking the menu she is holding with his left hand.)
SHERLOCK: Madam, can I suggest you look at this menu? It’s, er, completely identical.
(She automatically takes the menu from his right hand and he instantly pinches the eyeliner from her bag and steps away, turning his back to the bulk of the restaurant and lifting the eyeliner towards his face. When he turns back, he has drawn a small pencil moustache on his top lip. He goes over to John’s table, standing to his left and one step behind him. He addresses John in a French accent.)
SHERLOCK: Can I ’elp you with anything, sir?
JOHN (not looking round at him): Hi, yeah. I’m looking for a bottle of champagne – a good one.
SHERLOCK (leaning closer): Mmm! Well, these are all excellent vintages.
JOHN: Er, it’s not really my area. What do you suggest?
SHERLOCK (his French accent becoming a little Captain du Creff-esque): Well, you cannot possibly go wrong, but, erm, if you’d like my personal recommendation ...
SHERLOCK (French accent) (gesturing at the list with his eyeliner pencil): ... this last one on the list is a favourite of mine.
(John nods, still not looking up at him.)
SHERLOCK (French accent) (straightening up): It is – you might, in fact, say – like a face from ze past.
(He takes off his glasses and waits expectantly. John still doesn’t look round.)
JOHN: Great. I’ll have that one, please.
(He finishes his glass of red wine. Sherlock looks startled that John hasn’t recognised him yet.)
SHERLOCK (French accent): It is familiar, but, er, with the quality of surprise!
(He almost lapses into his own voice on the final word and he gestures grandly. John grimaces at the taste of his wine, then – still without looking round – hands the wine list to the man he thinks is the wine waiter.)
JOHN: Well, er, surprise me.
SHERLOCK (tetchily, in pretty much his own voice): Certainly endeavouring to, sir.
(He walks away. John reaches into his inside jacket pocket and pulls out a small red velvet box. Opening it, he looks at the three-stone diamond ring inside, then closes the box and puts it on the table in front of him. Nearby, a woman walks down the stairs. John fidgets with the box, turning it this way and that, perhaps in an attempt to make it look perfectly placed. He blows out a nervous breath as his dinner date, Mary Morstan, rejoins him, patting his shoulder before walking round to her own seat.)
MARY: Sorry that took so long.
(John snatches the box off the table and shoves it back into his pocket. She sits down and smiles at him.)
MARY: You okay?
JOHN: Yeah, yeah. Me? Fine. I am fine.
(She smiles sweetly. John chuckles and gazes at her with a delighted look on his face.)
MARY: Now then, what did you want to ask me?
(John’s smile fades and he looks nervous.)
JOHN: More wine?
MARY: No, I’m good with water, thanks.
JOHN: Right. (He briefly looks away.)
MARY: So ...
JOHN: Er, so ... Mary. Listen, erm ... I know it hasn’t been long ... I mean, I know we haven’t known each other for a long time ...
(He looks down, clearly struggling.)
MARY (encouragingly): Go on.
JOHN: Yes, I will. As you know, these last couple of years haven’t been easy for me; and meeting you ...
(He looks at her for a moment, then nods.)
JOHN: Yeah, meeting you has been the best thing that could have possibly happened.
MARY: I agree.
MARY (smiling): I agree I’m the best thing that could have happened to you.
(John laughs. Mary screws up her nose apologetically.)
JOHN: Well, no. That’s, um ...
(He pauses, then looks at her.)
JOHN: So ... if you’ll have me, Mary, could you see your way, um ...
(She giggles. He clears his throat.)
JOHN: ... if you could see your way to ...
(Just as he’s about to go for it, Sherlock glides over to the table, still with the glasses, the ridiculous fake moustache and the ridiculous fake accent, but now with the added bonus of a bottle of champagne which he shows to John.)
SHERLOCK (French accent): Sir, I think you’ll find this vintage exceptionally to your liking.
(Mary shields her face with her hand so that the ‘waiter’ can’t see her as she giggles silently at John.)
SHERLOCK (French accent): It ’as all the qualities of the old, with some of the colour of the new.
JOHN (his eyes locked on Mary’s): No, sorry, not now, please.
SHERLOCK (French accent): Like a gaze from a crowd of strangers ...
(Mary pulls a face at John.)
SHERLOCK (French accent): ... suddenly one is aware of staring into ze face of an old friend.
(He takes off his glasses.)
JOHN: No, look, seriously ... (he finally lifts his gaze to meet the waiter’s eyes) ... could you just ...
(His face drops. His entire body jolts and he stares with an expression of utter disbelief.)
SHERLOCK (in his normal accent): Interesting thing, a tuxedo. Lends distinction to friends, and anonymity to waiters.
(John turns his head towards Mary, then his eyes fill with tears and he ducks his head momentarily before he stumbles clumsily to his feet.)
MARY (concerned): John?
(As John straightens up, Sherlock begins to move his right hand forward as if expecting John to shake it. John looks down at the table breathing heavily before lifting his head and briefly locking eyes with him.)
MARY (worried): John, what is it? What?
(John looks down again, clearly still in shock.)
SHERLOCK (a little awkwardly): Well, short version ...
(John raises his eyes to him again.)
SHERLOCK: ... Not Dead.
(John stares at him, his face full of pain, shock and growing anger. Sherlock finally seems to catch on and looks a little guilty.)
SHERLOCK: Bit mean, springing it on you like that, I know. Could have given you a heart attack, probably still will. But in my defence, it was very funny.
(He laughs nervously, not meeting John’s eyes, which is probably for the best because John’s gaze is slowly turning murderous.)
SHERLOCK: Okay, it’s not a great defence.
MARY: Oh no! You’re ...
SHERLOCK (glancing towards her): Oh yes.
MARY (shocked): Oh, my God.
SHERLOCK: Not quite.
MARY: You died. You jumped off a roof.
MARY (appalled): You’re dead!
SHERLOCK: No. I’m quite sure. I checked. Excuse me.
(Picking up a napkin from the table, he dips it into Mary’s glass of water and then starts to rub off his moustache.)
SHERLOCK (trying to sound nonchalant as he meets John’s furious gaze): Does, er, does yours rub off, too?
(The tight smile which John directs at him bears absolutely no humour at all. Mary’s anger is clear in her voice as she speaks.)
MARY: Oh my God, oh my God. Do you have any idea what you’ve done to him?
SHERLOCK (looking down nervously): Okay, John, I’m suddenly realising I probably owe you some sort of an apology.
(Clenching his left fist, John slams it down onto the table. It’s a credit to the manufacturers of the table that he doesn’t shatter it. He hunches over his fist.)
MARY: All right, just ... John? Just keep ...
(John pulls in a deep shaky breath before looking up at Sherlock.)
JOHN (in a whisper): Two years.
(He shakes his head, dragging in another long breath and blowing it out again before starting to straighten up.)
JOHN (still in a tight whisper): Two years.
(He moans and slumps down over his hands again. Sherlock has the decency to look awkward. John glances up at him momentarily.)
JOHN: I thought ...
(He groans, unable to continue and gesturing helplessly. Mary stares at him in sympathy. John finally straightens and turns to Sherlock.)
JOHN: I thought ... you were dead. (His face begins to fill with anger again.) Hmm?
(He breathes rapidly and shallowly.)
JOHN: Now, you let me grieve, hmm? How could you do that?
(Sherlock looks down, biting his lip.)
JOHN (softly but furiously): How?
SHERLOCK (as John’s breathing becomes more intense): Wait – before you do anything that you might regret ...
(John half-groans again.)
SHERLOCK: ... um, one question. Just let me ask one question. Um ...
(John looks at him, his eyes still full of fury.)
SHERLOCK (almost giggling as he gestures towards his own top lip): Are you really gonna keep that?!
(He grins as he turns his head to look at Mary. She laughs in disbelief. John draws in one more long breath, then hurls himself at Sherlock, grabbing his lapels and bundling him back across the floor until Sherlock loses his footing and they both fall to the floor, John on top of Sherlock and trying to throttle him. Mary and various waiters run to pull John off.)
LATER. The three of them have presumably been thrown out of the restaurant and have relocated to a café. Sherlock sits on one side of a table wearing his coat, his fingers steepled in front of him. John and Mary, also in their coats, sit side by side opposite him with their arms folded.
SHERLOCK: I calculated that there were thirteen possibilities once I’d invited Moriarty onto the roof.
(Flashbacks of Sherlock on the rooftop of Bart’s intersperse the following dialogue.)
SHERLOCK (voiceover): I wanted to avoid dying if at all possible.
(Sherlock rapidly looks around the roof and all the surrounding buildings, visually calculating trajectories, angles and even the possibility of a ladder being lowered from a helicopter.)
SHERLOCK (voiceover): The first scenario involved hurling myself into a parked hospital van filled with washing bags. Impossible. The angle was too steep. Secondly, a system of Japanese wrestling ...
JOHN (interrupting): You know, for a genius you can be remarkably thick.
JOHN (tightly): I don’t care how you faked it, Sherlock. I wanna know why.
SHERLOCK (bewildered): Why? Because Moriarty had to be stopped.
(He looks at John’s expression.)
SHERLOCK: Oh. ‘Why’ as in ...
(He lifts a finger, pointing it in John’s direction. John nods.)
SHERLOCK: I see. Yes. ‘Why?’ That’s a little more difficult to explain.
JOHN (darkly): I’ve got all night.
SHERLOCK (clearing his throat and looking down): Actually, um, that was mostly Mycroft’s idea.
JOHN: Oh, so it’s your brother’s plan?
MARY (pointing towards Sherlock): Oh, he would have needed a confidant ...
SHERLOCK (nodding at her in agreement): Mm-hm.
(Mary trails off at John’s look.)
(She refolds her arms and looks down. John turns back to Sherlock.)
JOHN: But he was the only one? The only one who knew?
(Sherlock closes his eyes briefly and seems to force the next sentence out.)
SHERLOCK: Couple of others.
(John lowers his head. Sherlock talks quickly.)
SHERLOCK: It was a very elaborate plan – it had to be. The next of the thirteen possibilities ...
JOHN (in a despairing whisper): Who else?
(He looks up to Sherlock.)
JOHN: Who else knew?
JOHN (angrily): Molly?
MARY (softly): John.
SHERLOCK: Molly Hooper – and some of my homeless network, and that’s all.
JOHN: Okay. (He sits up a little and glances round at Mary, who gives him a sympathetic smile. He turns to Sherlock again.) Okay. So just your brother, and Molly Hooper, and a hundred tramps.
SHERLOCK: No! Twenty-five at most.
(John hurls himself across the table and attempts to throttle his old friend again.)
LATER. The three of them have presumably been thrown out of the café and have relocated to a kebab shop. John and Mary stand leaning with their backs against the counter. John apparently managed more than just an attempted throttling, because Sherlock has taken his coat off and is holding a paper napkin to a cut on his lower lip. He looks at the blood on the napkin, wincing, then presses it to his lip again. He looks at John as he raises his head, avoiding Sherlock’s gaze.
SHERLOCK: Seriously, it’s not a joke? (He gestures to his own top lip.) You’re-you’re really keeping this?
(John clears his throat and meets Sherlock’s eyes.)
SHERLOCK: You’re sure?
JOHN: Mary likes it.
SHERLOCK: Mmmmmm, no she doesn’t.
JOHN: She does.
SHERLOCK: She doesn’t.
(John glances briefly round at Mary, then does a double-take. She makes incoherent apologetic noises.)
JOHN: Oh! (He tries to cover his moustache with his hand.) Brilliant.
MARY: I’m sorry. Oh, I’m sorry – I didn’t know how to tell you.
JOHN: No, no, this is charming(!)
(He points angrily at Sherlock, clearly referring to his talent of instant deduction.)
JOHN: I’ve really missed this(!)
(He looks down, then takes an aggressive step towards Sherlock and gets into his face.)
JOHN: One Word, Sherlock. That is all I would have needed. One word to let me know that you were alive.
(He steps back, breathing heavily.)
SHERLOCK (quietly): I’ve nearly been in contact so many times, but ...
(John laughs disbelievingly.)
SHERLOCK: ... I worried that, you know, you might say something indiscreet.
SHERLOCK: Well, you know, let the cat out of the bag.
JOHN (stepping closer again): Oh, so this is my fault?!
(Mary laughs with disbelief.)
MARY: Oh, God!
JOHN (shouting angrily): Why am I the only one who thinks that this is wrong – the only one reacting like a human being?!
JOHN (furiously): “Over-reacting”?!
JOHN (still shouting): “Over-reacting.” So you fake your own death ...
JOHN: ... and you waltz in ’ere large as bloody life ...
JOHN (initially more quietly, but getting louder all the time): ... but I’m not supposed to have a problem with that, no, because Sherlock Holmes thinks it’s a perfectly OKAY THING TO DO!
SHERLOCK (shouting): Shut up, John! I don’t want everyone knowing I’m still alive!
JOHN (shouting): Oh, so it’s still a secret, is it?
SHERLOCK (loudly): Yes! It’s still a secret.
(He looks round at the other customers in the shop.)
SHERLOCK (casually): Promise you won’t tell anyone.
JOHN (angrily, sarcastically): Swear to God!
(Finally he looks round at the other customers and backs down a little, blowing out a long breath. Sherlock steps closer to him and speaks quietly.)
SHERLOCK: London is in danger, John. There’s an imminent terrorist attack and I need your help.
(John stares at him in amazement, then turns to throw a quirky ‘can you believe this guy?!’ look at Mary. He turns back to Sherlock.)
JOHN: My help?
(Sherlock’s eyes narrow as he deduces John’s genuine reaction to his request, then he smiles.)
SHERLOCK: You have missed this. Admit it. The thrill of the chase, the blood pumping through your veins, just the two of us against the rest of the world ...
(John grabs his lapels, rears his head back and then moves in for the kill.)
LATER. The three of them have presumably been thrown out of the kebab shop. Sherlock, wearing his coat again, stands just outside the door with his head tilted back a little. Blood is running from his nose.
SHERLOCK: I don’t understand.
(He pinches the bridge of his nose with one hand and holds a paper napkin underneath with the other.)
SHERLOCK: I said I’m sorry. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?
(Mary is standing beside him, while John is a few yards up the road hailing an approaching taxi.)
MARY: Gosh. You don’t know anything about human nature, do you?
(Sherlock lowers his head and looks at her.)
SHERLOCK: Mmm, nature? No. Human? ... No.
MARY: I’ll talk him round.
(Sherlock takes the napkin from under his nose and looks at her curiously.)
SHERLOCK: You will?
MARY (smiling confidently): Oh yeah.
(Sherlock looks at her closely and goes into deduction mode. Many, many words appear in his mind, some of them repeated several times. They include, in no particular order:
only child linguist Clever part time nurse Shortsighted Guardian Bakes Own Bread Disillusioned Cat Lover Romantic Appendix Scar Lib Dem Secret Tattoo Size 12 Liar
She smiles at him, then looks round as John calls to her.)
(She turns to give Sherlock a last smile, then walks over to John. They get into the taxi and it drives away. Sherlock watches them go.
In the taxi John indignantly turns to Mary.)
JOHN: Can you believe his nerve?
(Smiling, Mary looks round at him.)
MARY: I like him.
MARY (shrugging and still smiling): I like him.
(She turns her head away and looks out of the window. John narrows his eyes, looking completely bewildered.
Back at the kebab shop, Sherlock looks down thoughtfully, then turns and walks away.)
ST BARTHOLOMEW’S HOSPITAL. Molly Hooper walks into a locker room, takes out her keys and opens her locker. As the door swings open, the mirror on the inside reveals Sherlock standing a short distance away behind her, smiling slightly. She gasps and turns to look at him, starting to smile.
In an underground car park, Greg Lestrade walks across the area searching his pockets as he goes. Behind him, Sherlock’s distinctive silhouette quickly walks past and disappears into the shadows of an unlit area of the car park. Unaware of this, Greg continues rummaging in various pockets. Something metallic clinks noisily in the darkness. Greg looks around but can see nothing and he resumes his search through his pockets until he finally finds what he was looking for. Tipping a cigarette out of the pack, he sticks it into his mouth, puts the rest of the pack back into his pocket and then flicks his lighter and raises it towards the end of the cigarette.
SHERLOCK’s VOICE (in the darkness): Those things’ll kill you.
(Greg freezes, the flame not quite reaching the end of his cigarette as he stares into the distance while his brain catches up with what – and who – he just heard. Finally he lowers his lighter and takes his fag out of his mouth.)
LESTRADE: Ooh, you bastard!
SHERLOCK (walking towards him out of the darkness): It’s time to come back. You’ve been letting things slide, Graham.
(Greg stares at him for a long moment, his lips slowly lifting to reveal his teeth. Grimacing, he lunges towards Sherlock ... and wraps his arms around his neck and pulls him into a tight hug. Sherlock groans – quite possibly because the hug, while adorable for us to look at, is doing no good to his recent injuries acquired in Serbia – but he tolerates Greg’s affection.)
John and Mary are in bed. Mary is asleep, but John stares up at the ceiling, lost in thought.
221A BAKER STREET. Mrs Hudson is in the kitchen washing up a pan. The radio is on.
RADIO: ... with an anti-terrorism bill this important, the government feels duty-bound to push through the legislation with all due expe...
(Hearing the main front door being opened, she turns down the volume and goes to her front door and opens it, brandishing the pan in front of her. The front door closes, and a familiar silhouette appears behind the frosted window of the internal door. Mrs Hudson stares at it in disbelief – and then Sherlock pushes open the door and looks at her. She screams hysterically.)
FLASHBACK to the end of “The Reichenbach Fall.” John gets out of the taxi and heads towards the hospital. Cut to partway through his phone conversation with Sherlock when John tries again to go towards the hospital.
SHERLOCK (over phone): No, stay exactly where you are.
JOHN (into phone): Where are you?
SHERLOCK: Don’t move. Keep your eyes fixed on me.
(On the rooftop’s edge, a dummy has been dressed in replicas of Sherlock’s coat and scarf. It’s wearing a curly dark wig, and a life-sized photo of Sherlock’s face has been stuck on the front of its head. One hand is raised to hold a phone.)
JOHN’s VOICE (over phone): What-what’s happening? What’s going on?
(A few feet behind the dummy, Sherlock is sitting on the roof with his back against a low chimney. Jim Moriarty is sitting beside him. Sherlock is holding a rope to keep the dummy upright. He speaks tearfully into another phone.)
SHERLOCK: Please, will you do this for me? Please.
JOHN: Do what?
SHERLOCK: This phone call – it’s my note. That’s what people do, don’t they? Leave a note.
(Beside him, Jim lowers his head and giggles quietly. Sherlock takes the phone away from his mouth and angrily but silently shushes him.)
JOHN’s VOICE (over phone): Leave a note when?
SHERLOCK (raising the phone to his mouth again): Goodbye, John.
JOHN’s VOICE (over phone): No ...
(Switching off the phone, Sherlock flicks the rope and releases it and the dummy topples over the edge of the roof. Jim chuckles, and John’s horrified voice can be heard screaming from ground level.)
(He and Sherlock both laugh as if delighted that their plan has worked. They turn and look at each other, still giggling, but when their eyes meet their smiles slowly begin to fade as if they are starting to realise something or to feel something new. Sherlock frowns a little, looking puzzled, but Jim waits patiently for him to catch up. After a few moments Sherlock works it out and begins to lean towards him, and Jim moves to meet him. Their lips are just about to touch when ...
ANDERSON (horrified): What?! Are you out of your mind?!
(He is standing and staring down at a dark-haired young woman sitting in his living room. She shrugs.)
LAURA: I don’t see why not. It’s just as plausible as some of your theories.
(Behind her, the walls of the room are absolutely covered with notes, photographs and Post It notes. Pieces of red string link some of the paperwork together, some of the strings even crossing the room. Laura is not the only person in the room with Anderson – six or seven others are squeezed onto the furniture. At least three of them are wearing deerstalker hats, and one is wearing a Sherlock-like coat and scarf.)
ANDERSON: Look, if you’re not going to take it seriously, Laura, you can ... (He makes a ‘get out’ gesture.)
LAURA (angrily): I do take it seriously. (She looks disapprovingly around at the others.) I don’t think we should wear hats.
ANDERSON: I founded ‘The Empty Hearse’ so like-minded people could meet, discuss theories ...
(He chokes on his words and steps closer to Laura, looking down at her angrily.)
ANDERSON: Sherlock’s still out there.
(She rolls her eyes.)
ANDERSON: I’m convinced of it.
(Laura’s eyes have drifted to the TV behind him and her eyes widen. Anderson turns to look. The sound is muted but a reporter talking live from somewhere in London is bringing some breaking news. The rolling headline at the bottom of the screen announces, “HAT DETECTIVE ALIVE”. Underneath, a separate headline states, “Magnussen summoned before parliamentary ...” and presumably the next word is “commission” but nobody is paying attention to that news.)
LAURA: Oh my God.
(Instantly everyone’s phones begin to signal text alerts. Everybody scrabbles in their pockets. Laura holds up her own phone to show the screen to Anderson, her face alight with excitement.)
LAURA: Oh. My. God!
(On the phones, Twitter is full of hashtags like #SherlockHolmesAlive! and #SherlockIsNotDead, and #SherlockLives, and more messages stream in by the second.)
Sitting up in bed, Mary is holding an iPad and reading aloud from one of John’s old blog entries.
MARY (narrating dramatically): “His movements were so silent. So furtive, he reminded me of a trained bloodhound picking out a scent.”
JOHN (offscreen a short distance away): You what?
MARY: “I couldn’t help thinking what an amazing criminal he’d make if he turned his talents against the law.”
(John comes out of the small ensuite bathroom, his lower face and upper lip covered with shaving foam.)
JOHN: Don’t read that.
MARY (still looking at the screen): The famous blog, finally!
JOHN: Come on – that’s ...
MARY: ... ancient history, yes, I know. But it’s not, though, is it, because he’s ...
(She raises her eyes from the iPad and stops when she sees John.)
MARY (smiling): What are you doing?!
JOHN: Having a wash.
MARY (grinning): You’re shaving it off.
JOHN: Well, you hate it.
MARY: Sherlock hates it.
JOHN: Apparently everyone hates it.
MARY: Are you gonna see him again?
JOHN: No – I’m going to work.
MARY: Oh. And after work, are you gonna see him again?
(Rolling his eyes, John walks back into the bathroom.)
MARY: Cor, I dunno – six months of bristly kisses for me, and then His Nibs turns up ...
JOHN (looking into the mirror while he applies more shaving foam): I don’t shave for Sherlock Holmes.
MARY: Oh! You should put that on a T-shirt!
JOHN: Shut up.
MARY (cheekily): Or what?
JOHN: Or I’ll marry you.
(He turns to look at her. She grins. Rinsing off his hands, John picks up his razor, looks into the mirror, sighs, then lifts the razor towards his upper lip.)
On to part 2