May I introduce to you Team Ari, who kindly volunteered to help with checking the rest of this transcript and/or with His Last Vow. Each of them has my grateful thanks for their assistance. They are (purely in alphabetical order) kizzia, lauramcewan, laurtew, marta_bee, mirith, pipmer1, and swissmarg. (Not all of them were available for this particular episode, but they’re my team and so they all deserve a name check.)
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.
Sherlock, Season 3, episode 2 transcript: The Sign of Three, part 3
Return to part 1 / Return to part 2 / Jump to Part 4
Upstairs, Sherlock has an online news article on his laptop screen. It shows a photograph of Major Sholto before he was injured, and a large strapline beside the photo reads, “‘He destroyed us all. And he gets a medal for it.”’ A few visible lines of text above and below the photo show that this is an interview with Madeline Small, the mother of one of the soldiers who died under Sholto’s command. The headline of the article reads, “V.C. Hero – The Unanswered Questions. Why did my boy have to die?”
[Transcriber’s note: to see the full text of the online article about Sholto, together with the newspaper articles which Sherlock looks at later, and the newspaper articles at the beginning of the episode, click here.]
Sherlock looks towards the living room door when he hears John climbing the stairs. He switches to a different tab on the laptop – the website for I DATED A GHOST.COM. John comes in and walks across to the dining table where Sherlock is sitting.
SHERLOCK: There are going to be others.
SHERLOCK: Victims, women. Most ghosts tend to haunt a single house – this ghost, however, is willing to commute, look.
(He stands up and they look at a map of London spread out on the table behind the laptop. Sherlock has stuck a pin in various places which presumably indicate an appearance of the ‘ghost date.’ There are seven pins in the map, forming a rough circle spanning a few miles around the Thames.)
Overhead view of a large Council Chamber. The room has wood panelling on the walls and a blue carpet. Banks of benches with red leather-covered seats form a semi-circle. There are six rows of these benches in tiers. At the front of the room on top of a high dais is a large ornate bench – reminiscent of a judge’s bench in a courtroom – behind which is a chair where the Chairman would sit. This chair is high above the chamber floor. The chamber is initially empty but then the perspective changes and Sherlock is standing in front of the closed door at the rear of the room, and many women are standing silently in front of seats all around the room. Sherlock walks down the steps towards the floor, looking around him as he goes, then he reaches the bottom, walks across towards the Chairman’s bench and turns to face the seats. There are at least forty-eight women standing around the room. Sherlock slowly scans all of them, then pulls a thoughtful face and points towards one of the women to his right.
SHERLOCK: Mmmmmm, not you.
(The woman sits down. He points to another woman on the right.)
SHERLOCK: Not you.
(That woman sits down. He takes a few steps forward and points to a woman on the left-hand side of the seating.)
SHERLOCK: Not you.
(She sits and he points separately to two women behind her.)
SHERLOCK: Not you. Not you.
(The women sit down.)
[Transcriber’s note: Your humble transcriber is so anally obsessed with the accuracy of her transcripts that normally she would type every single instance of what follows, carefully counting every “Not you” and the location of the woman to whom Sherlock says it. However, it would probably make for very boring reading and so for speed, convenience and the nurturing of very sore typing fingers, suffice it to say that this scene continues for a long time, with Sherlock dismissing woman after woman, each of whom sits down.]
(Eventually only four women remain standing. Sherlock looks around the room once more, then walks over to the nearest of the standing women. She is wearing a black dress.)
(He turns and walks to the next nearest standing woman, who is wearing a denim jacket.)
SECOND WOMAN: Charlotte.
(He turns his head to look at the third woman, wearing a pink jacket.)
THIRD WOMAN: Robyn.
(He turns to the final standing woman, wearing a red dress and red leather jacket.)
FOURTH WOMAN: Vicky.
(He turns away and walks towards the Chairman’s bench, then turns back and looks across the room again. The perspective changes and now all the seated women have vanished and the four remaining women are now standing in a semi circle in front of him. He looks at Gail.)
SHERLOCK: How did you meet?
GAIL: Came up to me in a pub.
(He looks at Charlotte.)
CHARLOTTE: Same gym as me.
(He turns his head to Robyn.)
ROBYN: We just got chatting on the bus.
(He looks at Vicky, who lowers her eyes flirtatiously at him.)
(He turns his head back towards Gail.)
GAIL: Told you.
SHERLOCK: His name.
(He turns his head to Charlotte and then in turn to the other two.)
VICKY: Um, “love_monkey.”
(Sherlock frowns, then turns back to Gail.)
SHERLOCK: Your place?
ALL FOUR WOMEN (simultaneously): His place.
SHERLOCK (to Gail): Address?
(The four women simultaneously recite four different addresses. Your transcriber isn’t so anal as to try and decipher what each of them says.)
GAIL: Nothing happened. It was just ... very romantic.
SHERLOCK (looking above their heads): Four women in four nights. He must have something special.
GAIL: He was very charming.
CHARLOTTE: He listened.
ROBYN: He was sweet.
VICKY: He had a lovely ...
JOHN: You okay?
(John is suddenly standing beside Sherlock. Sherlock raises his hand towards Vicky and there’s a beep as she freezes and falls silent. He lowers his hand and turns his head to John, and the two of them are now standing in the living room of 221B. John looks down at the coffee table which has six laptops open on it. One of them is showing a typed message reading, “VICKY: He had a lovely ...” Also on the table is a plate containing a slice of gammon steak with a pineapple slice on top of it, a fried egg and some chips.)
JOHN: Let your food go cold. Mrs Hudson’ll play hell.
SHERLOCK: Not now, John.
(Unbuttoning his jacket, he squats down to the coffee table and types onto the laptop which is showing Vicky’s message. The screen is on the website I DATED A GHOST.COM and he and Vicky are writing on its forum. His message comes up reading, “SHERLOCK: Sorry about that.”
Back in the Council Chamber, Sherlock’s hand is raised to Vicky but now he lowers it.)
SHERLOCK: Sorry about that.
(The beep sounds again.)
VICKY: He had a lovely manner.
(Sherlock looks away.)
SHERLOCK: Different names, different addresses.
(He turns to Gail.)
SHERLOCK: Describe him.
GAIL: Short blond hair.
CHARLOTTE: Dark hair – long.
ROBYN: Ginger. (She shrugs.) I like gingers.
VICKY: Couldn’t tell.
(Sherlock gives her a querying look.)
VICKY (in a laid-back way, signifying that it was nothing unusual): He had a mask on.
(Sherlock looks away.
Without transition he is standing at the side of the Chairman’s bench, holding a newspaper and quickly turning the pages until he reaches the Obituaries page.)
SHERLOCK: He’s stealing the identity of corpses ...
(He works through a different newspaper to its Obituaries page. He zooms in on a message announcing the death of a Michael James Heaney.)
SHERLOCK: ... getting the names from the Obituary columns.
(He picks up another newspaper from the pile beside him and turns to the relevant page.)
SHERLOCK: All single men. He’s using the dead man’s flat under the assumption it’ll be empty for a while.
(He raises his head.)
SHERLOCK: Free love nest.
GAIL (looking down, appalled): I feel sick.
ROBYN: It’s gruesome.
CHARLOTTE: That’s awful.
VICKY (looking impressed): Clever!
(Sherlock – now standing in front of the women again – turns his head to see that Tessa is now standing between Charlotte and Robyn.
In 221B, Sherlock’s head turns at a beep from another laptop lying on one of the dining chairs. He goes across to it, where Tessa’s message on the forum reads, “TESSA: BASTARD!” He types onto that computer and his message appears reading, “SHERLOCK: Hello Tessa”.
In the Council Chamber, Sherlock greets her. She’s wearing casual clothes and a long cardigan.)
SHERLOCK: Hello, Tessa.
(She looks at him angrily.)
SHERLOCK: Meanwhile, back to business. No-one wants to use a dead man’s home.
(Vicky shrugs as if she’s not bothered. Sherlock throws her a disapproving look.)
SHERLOCK: ... Least not until it’s been cleared. So, he disguises himself, steals the man’s home, steals his identity.
JOHN (suddenly beside him in the chamber again): But only for one night.
(Sherlock turns to look at him.)
JOHN: Then he’s gone.
SHERLOCK: He’s not a ghost, John. He’s a mayfly. He lives for a day.
(He turns back to the women and John has gone again.)
SHERLOCK: So – what was it he was looking for?
(He turns his head to Gail.)
GAIL: Gardener. (She is now wearing a pale jumper and overalls.)
CHARLOTTE: Cook. (She’s wearing a cook’s jacket and hat.)
TESSA (now back in her uniform): Private nurse.
ROBYN: I do security work. (She’s wearing a security officer’s uniform.)
VICKY (also wearing the appropriate outfit for her job): Maid.
(Sherlock looks down for a brief moment, then raises his head.)
SHERLOCK: Obvious. You all work for the same person!
(In 221B, he moves from laptop to laptop, typing onto each one, and in the Council Chamber information rapidly scrolls across the face of each of the women in turn. His research goes on for some time but finally, in the Council Chamber, he sighs.)
SHERLOCK: No, not the same employer. Damn.
(He screws his eyes closed.)
SHERLOCK: Come on. We can do this.
(He opens his eyes and looks towards Gail.)
SHERLOCK: Ideal night out.
GAIL: Clay pigeon shooting.
CHARLOTTE: Line dancing.
TESSA (shrugging): Pictures?
ROBYN: Wine in front of the telly.
VICKY (smiling quirkily at him): Dungeon.
(Sherlock shakes his head in disbelief. He turns his head to the front and shuts his eyes for a moment, then turns to Gail again.)
CHARLOTTE: No. 7.
ROBYN: Nothing special.
VICKY: Whatever’s cheap.
(Sherlock’s face lights up with hope as he turns to Robyn.)
VICKY: Estée Lauder.
(He shakes his head disappointedly at her, then looks directly at Tessa.)
SHERLOCK: Ideal man?
TESSA (looking off into the distance with a whimsical smile): George Clooney?
(She grins at him. He rolls his eyes.)
SHERLOCK: Oh, no.
CHARLOTTE: He’d have to like cuddling.
VICKY: Ten things. (She holds up her thumb.) One: someone who isn’t competitive with other men.
(Sherlock frowns at her, looking aghast.)
VICKY (holding up her forefinger): Two: someone who isn’t constantly trying to define himself by his masculinity ...
(Sherlock holds up his hand to her. She freezes. He closes his fingers and thumb together and there’s a beep from a computer. Sherlock looks up above the women.)
SHERLOCK: There’s a unifying factor. There has to be.
(He lowers his hand and frowns.)
SHERLOCK: None of you reported anything stolen.
(He looks down, then raises his eyes and points at the women one by one but this time not going straight round the semi-circle. Presumably he is working in the order in which the ‘ghost’ dated the women.)
SHERLOCK: Security guard, gardener, cook, maid, private nurse. He’s romancing his way up a pecking order, somebody’s pecking order.
(He closes his eyes.)
SHERLOCK (sternly to himself): Come on, think.
(His eyes open again.)
SHERLOCK: Unless ...
(He twitches a small, brief smile and turns to Gail.)
SHERLOCK: Do you have a secret you’ve never told anyone?
ALL FIVE WOMEN (simultaneously): No.
JOHN (suddenly at his side again): What d’you mean?
SHERLOCK: Everyone has secrets, and they all replied too quickly.
GAIL (looking anxious): Gotta go.
(She walks away, and there’s a brief electronic sound of her logging off in the real world.)
CHARLOTTE: See ya.
(She too turns to leave/log off.)
ROBYN: Bye-bye. (She leaves/logs off.)
VICKY: Sorry, sexy. (She winks at him.) Some secrets have to stay secret.
(She walks away/logs off.)
TESSA (smiling at him): Enjoy the wedding.
(Sherlock makes an exasperated sound as she walks away/logs off.
In 221B, Sherlock shuts down the lid on Tessa’s laptop and straightens up.)
SHERLOCK: Why? Why would he date all of those women and not return their calls?
JOHN: You’re missing the obvious, mate.
SHERLOCK (turning to him): Am I?
JOHN: He’s a man.
SHERLOCK (slamming the lids down on each of the laptops by turn): But why would he change his identity?
JOHN: Maybe he’s married.
(Sherlock slowly straightens up as if realising something.)
SHERLOCK: Married. Obvious, really. Our Mayfly Man was trying to escape the suffocating chains of domesticity ...
(John grimaces and shakes his head while Mary widens her eyes briefly and then smiles at him.)
SHERLOCK: ... and instead of endless nights in watching the telly or going to barbecues with awful dreadful boring people he couldn’t stand, he used his wits, cleverness and powers of disguise ... (he finally takes a breath, and smiles slightly) ... to play the field. He was ...
(He stops when he realises that he has lost his audience again. The guests look silently back at him. He looks down to his right to see John looking back at him straight-faced and Mary wrinkling her nose and shaking her head slightly.)
SHERLOCK: On second thoughts I probably should have told you about the Elephant in the Room. However, it does help to further illustrate how invaluable John is to me. I can read a crime scene the way he can understand a human being. I used to think that’s what made me special – quite frankly, I still do. But a word to the wise: should any of you require the services of either of us, I will solve your murder, but it takes John Watson to save your life. Trust me on that – I should know. He’s saved mine so many times, and in so many ways.
(He holds up his phone.)
SHERLOCK: This blog is the story of two men and their frankly ridiculous adventures ...
(He smiles, and the guests chuckle.)
SHERLOCK: ... of murder, mystery and mayhem. But from now on, there’s a new story – a bigger adventure.
(He looks down at the newlyweds, who smile happily.)
SHERLOCK: Ladies and gentlemen, pray charge your glasses and be upstanding.
(He picks up his own glass while the guests do likewise and stand up. The photographer walks forward with his camera.)
SHERLOCK (raising his glass): Today begin the adventures of Mary Elizabeth Watson and John Hamish Watson.
(John sighs a little, while Mary giggles.)
SHERLOCK: The two reasons why every single one of us is ...
(He stops, freezing in place, staring blindly towards the guests. The photographer snaps several photos of him but the popping flashbulb doesn’t make him react. Sherlock’s fingers loosen slightly and his champagne glass slips out of them and begins a very slow-motion tumble towards the floor.
In the Council Chamber, Sherlock – now in his wedding gear – lowers his raised hand and turns towards the five uniformed women.)
SHERLOCK: What did you say?
(He points at Tessa.)
SHERLOCK (walking slowly towards her): You said, “John Hamish Watson.” You said that. You said, “Hamish.”
(Flashback to the landlord hauling a drunk Sherlock up onto his knees.)
SHERLOCK (in the flashback): ... whoa, whoa!
TESSA (in the flashback): This is a famous detective. It’s Sherlock Holmes and his partner, John Hamish Watson.
SHERLOCK (circling around Tessa in the Council Chamber): How did you know? How did you know his middle name? (He walks backwards, still facing her.) He never tells anyone. He hates it.
FLASHBACK. Sherlock, with at least ten unlit cigarettes stuffed in his mouth, walks across the living room of 221B. John is sitting at the dining table facing the windows and typing on his laptop, and Sherlock frowns down at the screen as he walks past. Taking the cigarettes out of his mouth, he turns his back on John as he walks into his line of sight so that John can’t see the cigarettes. There is a lot less grey in John’s hair than in ‘our’ present and so this flashback presumably takes place not long after John moved into Baker Street.
SHERLOCK (reciting what he has just seen at the top of John’s blog page): “John H. Watson”?
JOHN (glancing briefly round at him): Yep.
(As he continues typing, Sherlock sits down on the sofa, stuffing the cigarettes into a Persian slipper while keeping a wary eye on John in case he looks round. He taps the cigarettes down, then lies down on the sofa and shoves the slipper underneath it.)
ANOTHER DAY. The boys are sitting at the kitchen table. John is reading the paper.
JOHN (without looking up): Shut up.
(Sherlock bites into a piece of toast.)
ANOTHER DAY. Sherlock looks up from his microscope at the kitchen table and turns his head to where John is sitting in his armchair reading.
JOHN (firmly): Shut up.
ANOTHER DAY. Buttoning his jacket, Sherlock walks out of his bedroom and stops outside the door to the bathroom. The shower is running inside.
SHERLOCK (loudly): Higgins?
JOHN (loudly from inside the bathroom): Go. Away.
(Grimacing, Sherlock walks on.)
THE PRESENT. COUNCIL CHAMBER.
SHERLOCK: Took him years to confide in me.
FLASHBACK. John walks up the stairs of 221 carrying bags of shopping. Sighing tiredly, he walks into the living room where Sherlock is standing just to the left of the door with a sheet of paper in his hands. John glances at it as he walks past, then stops and backs up.
JOHN: That’s my birth certificate.
(Loudly popping the ‘p,’ he walks away. John stares after him.)
THE PRESENT. COUNCIL CHAMBER. Sherlock looks quizzically at Tessa, then turns and walks towards the Chairman’s bench.
SHERLOCK: And The Woman – she knew.
FLASHBACK to Irene Adler and Sherlock having eyesex in the living room of 221B during the events of “A Scandal in Belgravia.”
JOHN (abruptly): Hamish.
(They both look at him.)
JOHN: John Hamish Watson – just if you were looking for baby names.
SHERLOCK (still walking towards the front of the chamber): God knows where she is.
(She is standing right in front of him, her hair up, her face beautifully made-up, stark naked and looking at him intensely. He stops and sighs with annoyance. She reaches forward and strokes one finger down his cheek.)
SHERLOCK (exasperated): Out of my head. I am busy.
(She slowly pulls her hand away and he turns back to the other women. Irene has gone again.)
SHERLOCK (to Tessa): There’s only one time that name’s been made public.
FLASHBACK. A mock-up of the wedding invitation is on the screen of a laptop. The top part reads:
Dr John Hamish WATSON & Miss Mary Elizabeth MORSTAN
Request the pleasure of your company
at their marriage
John points at the screen.
JOHN: Does it have to be on the invitation?
MARY: It’s your name.
(She, John and Sherlock are in 221B’s living room looking at the laptop.)
MARY: It’s traditional.
SHERLOCK (simultaneously): It’s funny.
(John looks round at Sherlock while Mary bites back a smile.)
TESSA (voiceover): Enjoy the wedding.
At the reception, Sherlock’s glass continues its ultra-slow-motion fall towards the floor.
In the Council Chamber, Tessa smiles brightly at Sherlock.
TESSA: Enjoy the wedding.
SHERLOCK (pointing at her): The wedding. You knew about the wedding; more importantly, you’d seen a wedding invitation. Now barely a hundred people had seen that invitation. The Mayfly Man only saw five women. For one person to be in both groups ... (he tilts his hand back and forth) ... could be a coincidence.
MYCROFT (disapprovingly, offscreen): Oh, Sherlock.
(Sherlock turns around. Mycroft is up on the dais, standing in front of the Chairman’s chair. The women have vanished.)
MYCROFT: What do we say about coincidence?
SHERLOCK (slowly walking towards him): The universe is rarely so lazy.
MYCROFT: So, the balance of probability is ...?
SHERLOCK: Someone went to great lengths to find out something about this wedding.
MYCROFT: What great lengths?
SHERLOCK (stopping, while continuing to stare intensely up at his brother): They lied, assumed false identities.
MYCROFT: Which suggests ...?
SHERLOCK: Criminal intent.
MYCROFT: Also suggests ...?
SHERLOCK: Intelligence, planning.
MYCROFT: Clearly. But more importantly ...?
The champagne glass continues its fall.
SHERLOCK (in the Chamber): The Mayfly Man.
The champagne glass continues downwards.
SHERLOCK (in the Chamber): The Mayfly Man is ...
SHERLOCK (at the reception): ... here today.
(His champagne glass smashes on the floor at his feet. He looks down at it.)
SHERLOCK (raising his head): Ooh, sorry. I ...
(He looks down at the floor, making an exasperated noise and clearing his throat. The Master of Ceremonies/Head Waiter hurries over to him.)
MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Another glass, sir?
SHERLOCK (taking the glass from him): Thank you, yes. Thank you, yes.
(He looks out at the guests.)
MYCROFT (in the Council Chamber): Something is going to happen – right here.
(At the reception, Sherlock looks around, clearly thinking frantically. He flickers back and forth between the Chamber and the reception but then looks at the guests.)
SHERLOCK: Now, where were we?
MYCROFT (in the Council Chamber): Could be any second.
(Holding their glasses in the reception room, Mrs Hudson and Greg look a little anxious. Greg looks at Mrs H and frowns.)
MYCROFT (in the Council Chamber): You have control of the room.
SHERLOCK (shaking his head a little in the reception room): Ah, yes. Raising glasses and standing up. Very good. Thank you.
MYCROFT (sternly, in the Council Chamber): Don’t lose it.
(At the reception, Sherlock raises both hands and gestures downwards.)
SHERLOCK: And down again.
(Confused, the guests start to sit down, murmuring amongst themselves. Sherlock looks at them for a moment, then puts his glass down on the table and straightens up.)
SHERLOCK: Ladies and gentlemen, people tell you not to milk a good speech – get off early, leave ’em laughing. Wise advice I’ll certainly try to bear in mind. But for now ...
(He puts one hand on the table and quickly jumps over to the other side. The guests gasp in surprise.)
SHERLOCK: ... part two.
(He walks into the central aisle between the tables.)
SHERLOCK: Part two is more action-based. I’m gonna ... walk around, shake things up a bit.
(He looks at each person as he walks past, mentally tagging each of the men with a sign near them reading, “MAYFLY MAN?” The only male guest who doesn’t get a tag is young Archie.)
SHERLOCK: Who’d go to a wedding? That’s the question. Who would bother to go to any lengths to get themselves to a wedding?
(Two thirds of the way along the room he turns around.)
SHERLOCK: Well, everyone.
(He claps his hands once.)
SHERLOCK: Weddings are great! Love a wedding.
MARY (quietly, to John): What’s he doing?
JOHN (watching his friend with concern): Something’s wrong.
SHERLOCK (pointing towards him as he heads back along the room): And John’s great, too! Haven’t said that enough. Barely scratched the surface. I could go on all night about the depth and complexity of his ... jumpers ...
(John closes his eyes in disbelief. Out on the floor Sherlock is pacing and turning back and forth, peering at each of the male guests and their imaginary tags.)
SHERLOCK: ... and he can cook. Does ... a ... thing ... thing with peas ...
(John and Mary exchange a puzzled glance. Sherlock continues to pace and look closely at the guests.)
SHERLOCK: ... once. Might not be peas. Might not be him. But he’s got a great singing voice ... or somebody does.
(He sighs in frustration, his teeth clenched.)
SHERLOCK: Ahh, too many, too many, too many, too many!
(He grimaces angrily, the “MAYFLY MAN?” tags now huge and overwhelming him. He stops and takes a breath and the tags disappear.)
SHERLOCK: Sorry. Too many jokes about John! Now, er ...
(Inside his head he slowly walks across the Council Chamber again towards Mycroft, staring up at him.)
MYCROFT: Criminal intent.
SHERLOCK (at the reception): Where was I? Ah, yes ...
MYCROFT (in the Council Chamber): Extraordinary lengths.
SHERLOCK (at the reception): Speech! (He points towards the top table, grinning round at the guests.) Speech. (He claps his hands together again.) Let’s talk about ...
MYCROFT (in the Council Chamber): All of which is suggestive of ...?
(In the Chamber, Sherlock’s eyes widen and he presses his lips together to begin forming the word.)
SHERLOCK (at the reception): ... murder.
(John sighs and lowers his head, while Mary frowns.)
SHERLOCK: Sorry, did I say ‘murder’? I meant to say ‘marriage’ – but, you know, they’re quite similar procedures when you think about it. The participants tend to know each other, and it’s over when one of them’s dead.
(He emphatically sounds the ‘d’ at the end of the word. Again John sighs and lowers his head.)
SHERLOCK: In fairness, murder is a lot quicker, though. Janine!
(She looks up a little wide-eyed.)
SHERLOCK (walking over to stand behind one of the male guests): What about this one? Acceptably hot? (He grins at Janine, then looks at the woman sitting beside the man.) More importantly, his girlfriend’s wearing brand-new uncomfortable underwear ... (he zooms in on the top part of the woman’s dress, where the seam of her ill-fitting bra – or whatever she’s wearing underneath – is visible through the material; then he zooms across to a thread of cotton on the man’s jacket) ... and hasn’t bothered to pick this thread off the top of his jacket ... (he zooms to a smudge on the man’s neck) ... or point out the grease smudge on the back of his neck. Currently, he’s going home alone.
(Sherlock now has his phone behind his own back and is rapidly typing onto it with his thumb.)
SHERLOCK: Also, he’s a comics and sci-fi geek. They’re always tremendously grateful – really put the hours in.
SHERLOCK: Geoff, the gents.
(He looks across to Greg and jerks his head towards the door.)
SHERLOCK: The loos, now, please.
LESTRADE: It’s Greg.
SHERLOCK: The loos, please.
(Greg’s phone beeps a text alert.)
LESTRADE (reaching into his pocket): Why?
SHERLOCK: Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s your turn.
(He jerks his head towards the door again, grimacing. Greg looks at his phone and the new text message which reads:
Lock this place down.
LESTRADE: Yeah, actually, now you mention it ...
(He stands up. Sherlock pockets his own phone.)
JOHN: Sherlock, any chance of a – an end date for this speech? Gotta cut the cake.
(While Greg heads out of the door, Sherlock smiles widely and dances down the aisle, gesturing dramatically.)
SHERLOCK: Oh! Ladies and gentlemen, can’t stand it when I finally get the chance to speak for once, Vatican Cameos.
(He directs the last two words directly to John in a conversational way as if they’re a natural part of the sentence. John straightens up in his chair.)
MARY: What did he say? What’s that mean?
JOHN (quietly, tugging the bottom of his waistcoat down): Battle stations. Someone’s gonna die.
(He puts his hand over hers, silently shushing her. Sherlock turns to look at the guests, where all the men are tagged with the ”MAYFLY MAN?” question again.)
MYCROFT (in the Council Chamber): Narrow it down.
(At the reception, Sherlock grimaces, his eyes screwed tightly shut.)
MYCROFT (in the Council Chamber): Narrow it down.
(Sherlock blinks in the reception room, lowering his head and screwing his eyes shut again.)
MYCROFT (in the Council Chamber): Narrow. It. Down.
(Standing in front of him in the Chamber, Sherlock roars loudly with frustration and rage and slaps himself hard on the right cheek. In the reception room, he does the same.)
SHERLOCK (loudly, angrily): No!
(In both worlds, he slaps his left cheek.)
SHERLOCK: (loudly, angrily, in the reception room): No!
(The tags disappear from above the men’s heads. Sherlock angrily points upwards with the index fingers of both hands.)
SHERLOCK: Not you! Not you!
(His mental image of Mycroft doubles, then floats away. Sherlock calms down and lowers his hands a little to point his fingers towards the top table.)
SHERLOCK (quieter): You.
(John straightens again, looking back at him.)
SHERLOCK (walking towards him, now pointing at him with just one hand): It’s always you. John Watson, you keep me right.
(John stands as he walks up to the table.)
JOHN: What do I do?
SHERLOCK: Well, you’ve already done it. Don’t solve the murder. (Intensely) Save the life.
(Drawing in a sharp breath through his nose, he turns towards the guests again with a manic grin on his face.)
SHERLOCK: Sorry. Off-piste a bit. Back now. (High-pitched) Phew!
(He claps his hands together and looks down at the floor, dropping the smile.)
SHERLOCK: Let’s play a game.
(He raises his eyes while lowering his head a little more, staring intensely out into the room.)
SHERLOCK: Let’s play Murder.
(Behind him, John sits down again. Sherlock prowls forward, his eyes flickering around the room at the guests.)
MRS HUDSON (disapprovingly): Sherlock.
SHERLOCK (steepling his hands in front of his chin as he progresses forward): Imagine someone’s going to get murdered at a wedding. Who exactly would you pick?
MRS HUDSON: I think you’re a popular choice at the moment, dear.
SHERLOCK (gesturing behind him): If someone could move Mrs Hudson’s glass just slightly out of reach, that would be lovely. More importantly, who could you only kill at a wedding?
(He turns back to look at the guests and gives each one – both the men and the women – a new tag reading, “TARGET?” A line leads from each tag down to the relevant person and at the end of that line a small white bullseye overlays their body.)
SHERLOCK: Most people you can kill any old place. As a mental exercise, I’ve often planned the murder of friends and colleagues.
(Rubbing his hands together in an Evil Genius sort of way, he walks back along the room, then gestures towards John.)
SHERLOCK: Now John I’d poison.
(Mary nervously looks across to her husband.)
SHERLOCK: Sloppy eater – dead easy. I’ve given him chemicals and compounds – that way, he’s never even noticed. He missed a whole Wednesday once, didn’t have a clue. Lestrade’s so easy to kill, it’s a miracle no-one’s succumbed to the temptation. (He turns and heads towards the back of the room again.) I’ve got a pair of keys to my brother’s house – I could easily break in there and asphyxiate him.
(He makes strangly gestures with his hands, then seems to realise that he may have gone too far.)
SHERLOCK: ... if, if the whim arose.
TOM (quietly to Molly): He’s pissed, isn’t he?
(Without even looking round at him, Molly stabs a plastic fork onto the back of his hand.)
TOM (grabbing at his hand): Ow!
SHERLOCK: So, once again, who could you only kill here?
(He turns and faces the guests again. A few of the chairs nearest him are now suddenly empty but still have their “TARGET?” tag pointing to the seats. He twirls his fingers and the tags disappear.)
SHERLOCK: Clearly it’s a rare opportunity, so it’s someone who doesn’t get out much.
(The camera angle changes and more guests – and their tags – have vanished.)
SHERLOCK: Someone for whom a planned social encounter known about months in advance is an exception. Has to be a unique opportunity.
(He turns around and more of the guests have gone.)
SHERLOCK: And since killing someone in public is difficult ...
(He turns again and more guests have disappeared.)
SHERLOCK: ... killing them in private isn’t an option. Someone who lives in an inaccessible or unknown location, then.
(He turns again and all the visible seats are now empty.)
SHERLOCK: Someone private, perhaps, obsessed with personal security.
(One final “TARGET?” tag drifts into view as he walks forward. It is pointing at the only person left in the room. Sherlock turns to face him. It is Major Sholto.)
SHERLOCK: Possibly someone under threat.
(The question mark beside the word in the tag disappears, and then the word itself fades out. The bullseye superimposed over Sholto’s body flashes red for a moment and then also disappears. As if sensing Sherlock’s gaze, Sholto turns and looks at him. Sherlock stares back at him.)
FLASHBACK. 221B LIVING ROOM.
SHERLOCK: Major James Sholto. Who he?
MARY: I don’t think he’s coming.
JOHN: He’ll be there.
FLASHBACK. EARLIER AT THE RECEPTION.
JOHN: Where are you living these days?
SHOLTO: Oh, way out in the middle of nowhere.
FLASHBACK. ON THE PARK BENCH OUTSIDE THE BARRACKS.
JOHN (to Sherlock): The press and the families gave him hell. He gets more death threats than you.
At the reception, everyone is back in the room. Sherlock tries to act nonchalantly as he walks over to a nearby table and picks up one of the name cards on it while pulling a pen on a chain from his waistcoat.
SHERLOCK: Ooh! A recluse, small household staff.
FLASHBACK TO THE COUNCIL CHAMBER.
TESSA: Private nurse.
SHERLOCK (writing on the name card in the reception room): High turnover for additional security.
FLASHBACK TO THE COUNCIL CHAMBER.
ROBYN: I do security work.
SHERLOCK (walking over to Sholto’s table and casually dropping the name card down in front of him before walking away): Probably all signed confidentiality agreements.
FLASHBACK TO THE COUNCIL CHAMBER.
SHERLOCK: Do you have a secret you’ve never told anyone?
ALL THE WOMEN (simultaneously): No.
SHERLOCK (at the reception): There is another question that remains, however – a big one, a huge one: how would you do it? How would you kill someone in public?
(Sholto picks up the name card and looks at the writing on it. It reads:
SHERLOCK: There has to be a way. This has been planned.
ARCHIE (excitedly jumping up from his chair): Mr Holmes! Mr Holmes!
SHERLOCK (stopping and turning to him): Oh, hello again, Archie. (He bends forward to get more down to Archie’s level.) What’s your theory? Get this right and there’s a headless nun in it for you.
ARCHIE: The invisible man could do it.
SHERLOCK (very quick fire): The who, the what, the why, the when, the where?
ARCHIE: The invisible man with the invisible knife. The one who tried to kill the Guardsman.
(Sherlock gasps and straightens up, his eyes wide. In his mind he’s standing in front of his information wall at 221B, looking at all the wedding plans stuck up behind the sofa. He zooms in on a wedding invitation pinned to the wall, announcing the wedding at St Mary’s Church, Sutton Mallet on Saturday 18th May at 12 o’clock and after.
He moves to look at his list of things to do and focuses on the word “Venue.” There’s a brief shot of the outside of the reception room. He looks at the word “Venue” again and this time sees an image of the barracks and soldiers parading outside.
He shifts his focus to the word “Plan” and then sees a close-up of Private Bainbridge standing on guard outside the barracks, his gaze fixed on the three tourists over the road as they walk away and reveal the stalker.
Sherlock moves his eyes to look at the word “Rehearsal.” In flashback, the Duty Sergeant walks into the shower room and raps on the cubicle door, calling Bainbridge’s name before he sees the slumped body and bloodstained water.
Sherlock zooms in on the word “Rehearsal” and grimaces.)
(In the reception room Major Sholto gets to his feet, picks up his ceremonial sword propped against a nearby window and turns to walk towards the door. Sherlock turns his head away, closing his eyes for a moment. Then he opens them again.)
SHERLOCK (softly): Oh, not just planned. Planned and rehearsed.
(He turns and watches as Sholto reaches the door and starts to open it. Sherlock turns back and heads quickly towards the top table, swiping someone’s champagne glass from a table as he goes.)
SHERLOCK: Ladies and gentlemen, there will now be a short interlude.
(He skids to a halt in front of the top table and turns and holds up his glass.)
SHERLOCK: The bride and groom!
(A little uncertainly this time, the guests stand up and raise their glasses.)
GUESTS: The bride and groom.
(Instantly Sherlock turns back and bends down to John.)
SHERLOCK: Major Sholto’s going to be murdered. I don’t know how or by whom, but it’s going to happen.
(He turns and starts making his way through the guests who are now blocking the aisle.)
SHERLOCK: ’Scuse me, coming through!
(John quickly turns and takes Mary’s head in one hand and kisses her.)
SHERLOCK (pushing through the crowd): Consulting!
JOHN (to Mary): Stay here.
MARY: Please be careful.
(John gets up and starts making his own way through the guests.)
JOHN: ’Scuse me. Coming through! ’Scuse me.
(Mary hesitates for only a few seconds, then jumps up and follows him.)
MARY (to the guests): Sorry, one more. Whoops! So sorry! Thank you!
(The guests murmur and chatter to each other in confusion.)
Upstairs, Major Sholto opens the door to his bedroom and walks in. He lays his sword on the bed and then undoes the zip around his suitcase. Lifting the lid and laying it back, he picks up a folded shirt on the top of the contents and puts it down inside the lid. On top of the rest of his clothing is a large pistol. He picks it up.
Downstairs, on a half-landing partway up the staircase, Sherlock stands with the tips of his fingers against his temples and his eyes screwed closed. John paces impatiently beside him.
JOHN: How can you not remember which room? You remember everything.
SHERLOCK (irritably): I have to delete something!
(Mary runs around the corner and pelts up the stairs in between them, holding up her skirt with one hand to stop herself tripping over it.)
MARY: Two oh seven.
(The boys chase after her and Sherlock quickly overtakes her. She takes John’s hand and they hurry after him. Reaching the second floor, Sherlock knocks on the door of Room 207 and tries the handle.)
SHERLOCK (rattling the door handle): Major Sholto? Major Sholto!
(He slams the flat of his right hand repeatedly against the door.)
SHERLOCK: Major Sholto!
SHOLTO (sitting on a chair beside the bed and speaking loudly enough to be heard through the door): If someone’s about to make an attempt on my life, it won’t be the first time. I’m ready.
(John walks towards the door. Sherlock steps back, shaking out his right hand and flexing the fingers.)
JOHN: Major, let us in.
MARY: Kick the door down.
SHOLTO: I really wouldn’t. I have a gun in my hand and a lifetime of unfortunate reflexes.
SHERLOCK (walking closer to the door again): You’re not safe in there. Whoever’s after you, we know that a locked room doesn’t stop him.
SHOLTO: “The invisible man with the invisible knife.”
SHERLOCK: I don’t know how he does it, so I can’t stop him, and that means he’ll do it again.
SHOLTO (sternly): Solve it, then.
SHERLOCK: I – I’m sorry?
SHOLTO: You’re the famous Mr Holmes. Solve the case. On you go.
(Sherlock straightens up, his eyes rapidly flickering from side to side.)
SHOLTO: Tell me how he did it and I’ll open the door.
(John steps forward again.)
JOHN: Please, this is no time for games. Just let us in! You’re in danger!
SHOLTO: So are you, so long as you’re here.
(Mary watches Sherlock as he paces back and forth across the landing.)
SHOLTO: Please, leave me. Despite my reputation, I really don’t approve of collateral damage.
MARY (to Sherlock): Solve it.
(He stops and looks at her.)
MARY: Solve it, and he’ll open the door, like he said.
SHERLOCK: If I couldn’t solve it before, how can I solve it now?
MARY: Because it matters now.
SHERLOCK: What are you talking about? (He looks at John.) What’s she talking about? Get your wife under control.
JOHN: She’s right.
SHERLOCK: Oh, you’ve changed!
JOHN: No, she is. (He turns and points at him.) Shut up. You are not a puzzle-solver – you never have been. You’re a drama queen.
(Sherlock’s mouth drops open and he stares at him.)
JOHN (louder): Now, there is a man in there about to die. (Sarcastically) “The game is on.” (Angrily, pointing at the door.) Solve it!
(Sherlock bares his teeth at him, then his eyes suddenly snap upwards. He can see Private Bainbridge in full uniform standing at attention against a white background. Bainbridge rotates as if standing on a turntable, and Sherlock’s vision zooms in to the man’s white webbing belt.
The image changes to Major Sholto in his dress uniform rotating on the invisible turntable, and again the view zooms in on his white webbing belt.
Sherlock then recalls the waiter in the kitchen downstairs reaching down to take hold of the skewer pushed through the middle of the joint of beef.
In the shower room at the barracks, Bainbridge unclips his belt.
The waiter slowly begins to pull the skewer out of the joint.
Bainbridge unwraps his belt from around his waist.
The skewer comes free of the joint, and blood and juice stream out of the hole.
Bainbridge stumbles slightly, looking uncomfortable.
Blood continues to pour from the hole in the beef joint.
The duty sergeant knocks on the door of the shower cubicle, calling Bainbridge’s name. Bainbridge is slumped on the floor inside and bloodstained water pours out under the door.)
(Outside Sholto’s bedroom Sherlock – who had closed his eyes during the memories – opens them again. He steps over to Mary, takes hold of her head in both hands and kisses her forehead.)
SHERLOCK (releasing her, then pointing towards John): Though, in fairness, he’s a drama queen too.
MARY: Yeah, I know.
(John frowns. Sherlock goes over to the door and speaks loudly.)
SHERLOCK: Major Sholto, no-one’s coming to kill you. I’m afraid you’ve already been killed several hours ago.
SHOLTO: What did you say?
SHERLOCK: Don’t take off your belt.
SHOLTO: My belt?
SHERLOCK (turning around and talking to the other two): His belt, yes. Bainbridge was stabbed hours before we even saw him, but it was through his belt.
(Brief flashback of Sholto clipping his belt together when he got dressed for the wedding.)
SHERLOCK: Tight belt, worn high on the waist. Very easy to push a small blade through the fabric and you wouldn’t even feel it.
(John is nodding his understanding.)
JOHN: The-the belt would bind the flesh together when it was tied tight ...
JOHN: ... and when you took it off ...
SHERLOCK: Delayed action stabbing. All the time in the world to create an alibi.
(He shakes the door handle.)
SHERLOCK: Major Sholto?
SHOLTO: So – I was to be killed by my uniform. How appropriate.
(He stands up and looks at himself in the mirror on the wall.)
MARY: He solved the case, Major. You’re supposed to open the door now. A deal is a deal.
SHOLTO: I’m not even supposed to have this any more. They gave me special dispensation to keep it. I couldn’t imagine life out of this uniform. I suppose – given the circumstances – I don’t have to.
(He carefully tosses the pistol onto the bed and then looks into the mirror again.)
SHOLTO: When so many want you dead, it hardly seems good manners to argue.
(He puts his right hand to the belt fastener and tightens his fingers ready to unclip it.)
JOHN: Whatever you’re doing in there, James, stop it, right now. I will kick this door down.
SHOLTO: Mr Holmes, you and I are similar, I think.
(John turns away from the door and Sherlock walks closer.)
SHERLOCK: Yes, I think we are.
SHOLTO: There’s a proper time to die, isn’t there?
SHERLOCK: Of course there is.
SHOLTO: And one should embrace it when it comes – like a soldier.
SHERLOCK (firmly): Of course one should, but not at John’s wedding. We wouldn’t do that, would we – you and me? We would never do that to John Watson.
(Sholto closes his eyes. Outside, Sherlock steps away from the door and John walks closer, leaning towards the door and listening for any sound from the room. He straightens up and takes off his jacket.)
JOHN: I’m gonna break it down.
MARY: No, wait, wait, you won’t have to.
(The door opens. Sholto glances briefly at Sherlock, then lowers his eyes before looking at John.)
SHOLTO: I believe I am in need of medical attention.
JOHN: I believe I am your doctor.
(He follows Sholto as he turns and goes back into the room. Giving Sherlock a quick smile, Mary follows him. Sherlock closes his eyes for a moment, then follows them.)
On to part 4