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Episode 3.1, "The Empty Hearse"


Undead Medic

What Did You Think Of "The Empty Hearse"?  

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    • 10/10 Excellent
    • 9/10 Not Quite The Best, But Not Far Off
    • 8/10 Certainly Worth Watching Again.
    • 7/10 Slightly Above The Norm.
    • 6/10 Average.
    • 5/10 Slightly Sub-Par.
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    • 3/10 Pretty Poor.
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deep down inside he always knew the truth and that was the real reason why he never wrote and also why he was uncomfortable when he came back and tried to steer the whole reunion towards one big joke.

 

 

   I agree with most everything you have said. Sherlock has little understanding of human affection, he admitted it quite eloquently in his "Best Man" speech, but he did write to John during Sherlock's "Great Hiatus". He says so in TEH. I think it's in the scene when the three of them are in the small deli restaurant. But it's very softly said, almost a throw away line and John doesn't pick up on it.

 

 

Hmm, I'll have to rewatch that scene. If I remember correctly, Sherlock said: "I've nearly been in contact so many times", so yeah, whatever kind of contact it was, he was definitely considering it. At that point, though, John is too angry to really take it to heart. I don't blame him :) I wanted to punch Sherlock too.

 

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In the original story, "The Adventure of the Empty House" Holmes tells Watson that he had written many times but never sent them. It was still the thing about feeling that if Watson had any idea that Holmes was alive, that no matter how hard he would try to keep "the great secret" something about his manner would let the world, thus Moriarty's Web suspect  that Holmes wasn't dead after all. It was the same in this instance as well, Sherlock discovered on that roof just how much he was cared about, but for all the same reasons, Sherlock couldn't risk letting John know. Sherlock couldn't know or risk that John was being watched. Not only protected by Mycroft's people, but Moriarty's as well.

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Well, nearly doesn't really count, does it?  Like horseshoes.

 

Actually, nearly does count in horseshoes (it's called a leaner).  I believe the old saying is, "Close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades."

 

And that's your useless fact for the day.  :P

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Well, nearly doesn't really count, does it?  Like horseshoes.

 

Actually, nearly does count in horseshoes (it's called a leaner).  I believe the old saying is, "Close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades."

 

And that's your useless fact for the day.  :P

 

That certainly wasn't a very good analogy, was it?

 

How about it's like being just a little pregnant.

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Loved it! Some of it may have been my withdrawals. No, not just from Molly. ;-)

I would have liked to have seen a little more of Sherlock coming to terms with how much he upset and hurt John, but it didn't detract too much. Loved the scenes with Mrs Hudson and John seeing each other again in the apartment. Handled perfectly.

 

Most likely a second watch before moving to the next episode.

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I would have liked to have seen a little more of Sherlock coming to terms with how much he upset and hurt John

 

I think you will find quite a lot of that as you move on with the next too episodes... don't give up hope yet!

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Isn't it interesting that John's reaction to the bonfire incident is mainly anger? He doesn't seem frightened that somebody might be after his life and neither does he evince much gratitude towards Sherlock for pulling him out of it. His questions about who did it and why sound to me like he's almost blaming him for what happened - which is true on some level; as soon as Sherlock is back, his enemies revert to their annoying habit of targeting John as a way of putting pressure on him. 

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Isn't it interesting that John's reaction to the bonfire incident is mainly anger? He doesn't seem frightened ....

 

Anger, yes, and bewilderment too, I think.

 

(If somebody put me in a bonfire, I'd sure be angry and bewildered -- right after I got over the screaming meemies.)

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Second viewing observations:

 

- I hadn't noticed the first time the news coverage about Sherlock's total fraud exoneration and the fact that Richard Brooks was created by Moriarty.  I'm so glad that all that actually came out!

 

- Sherlock was eating when Mary went to get him when she got the text about John in the bonfire (fast food, no less!)

 

I liked it better this time.  But that seems to be the trend, doesn't it?

 

And I must say, I'm glad he only dons the deerstalker once, at the end of this episode.  I'm not too fond of him in it.

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I assume that scene near the end with the reporters was filmed on the same day (April 10) as Cumberbatch's "I'm the real" appearance -- thus The Hat in the latter event:

 

Benedict-Cumberbat_1708341a.jpg

 

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My biggest problem with The Empty Hearse is that it kind of ruined The Reichenbach Fall for me. That episode doesn't seem to make sense any more, knowing that Sherlock and Mycroft had the whole situation under control, anyway. If so, then why did they use such an elaborate plan to deal with Moriarty? Mycroft already had him imprisoned at one point, why didn't he just keep him there and let Sherlock take apart his network while he was locked up? And if everything went according to plan, then why was Sherlock so visibly upset, even at times when nobody was watching him? If he had Mycroft and "all the king's men" at his back, then why was Molly's help so crucial? And the homeless network's?

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How about ...

 

Plans in place or not, it was still upsetting.  It's scary to jump off a roof, even if there's an airbag waiting for you.  

 

Molly was needed because she is a hospital official.

 

And the scheme required lots of people to execute it on the street (by the way, they looked like ordinary people to me, not 'homeless').

 

 

Can you tell I want to like this episode? ;)

 

 

Another thing, about the train car scene.  The way I see it, Sherlock was sincere in the first part, before the "Anderson video" break.  Afterward, I believe he only just discovered the 'off switch' and pretended that he knew it was there all along to save face.  In fact, I think saving face was what the laughing was all about and why he said "I totally had you."  He's just such a child at times.  Anyway, that's what I choose to believe.

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If Mycroft had kept Moriarty imprisoned indefinitely (which would be illegal here, with no actual charges against him, don't know about the UK) while Sherlock dismantled his network -- he could have built an even better network as soon as he got out.  He needed to be exposed and discredited.  Blowing his own brains out was a nice bonus.

 

Still gotta feel sorry for him, though.  In a way.

 

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And I can see Sherlock being both sad and nervous. Even the best laid plans can go totally south.  All it would have taken is one miscue. One person to late to get into place, a dropped phone call, a shooter too eager.  Those air bags have been known to fail. He could have landed wrong and been seriously hurt or even killed.

 

 And then there was John. Sherlock is not a sociopath, he had come to depend on this doctor soldier. He had come to trust him like no other, expect maybe Molly. Molly who had always mattered the most and whom he had always trusted. And Sherlock knew how much this was going to hurt John. The betrayal. But Sherlock felt he had no choice. John had to be kept safe.

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And the scheme required lots of people to execute it on the street (by the way, they looked like ordinary people to me, not 'homeless').

 

 

Can you tell I want to like this episode? ;)

 

Oh, I want to like it as well and I do. I just don't feel like watching The Reichenbach Fall again anytime soon and I don't think it was a good sequel to that episode at all.

 

Didn't Sherlock say in the conversation with John in one of the restaurants that only Mycroft, Molly and "some of my homeless network" knew what had really happened? I just assumed those "hundred tramps", as John put it, must have been the people on the street.

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I just assumed those "hundred tramps", as John put it, must have been the people on the street.

 

  What does a "homeless" person look like anyway?  And if they are on Sherlock's payroll, they would have been prepared to play what ever roll he needed them to play.

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I do love the episode, but have had two issues with it:

 

1) It is easy to understand what John is feeling; especially as we are given several scenes to show his pain, both in TRF, Many Happy Returns, and in TEH. However, Sherlock comes back and talks to Mycroft as though he doesn't understand the first thing about what he put John through. He's learning throughout the episode, but I don't think we see him completely 'get it'. That can be hard to handle when you've had a long time to speculate about their reunion. I confess I imagined more understanding from Sherlock.

 

2) Sherlock's explanation to the events of TRF leaves us with as many new questions as answers. At first it seemed to detract from the gravity of the events.

 

As to the first issue, I am certain Sherlock cares about John, but that it's only upon seeing him again that he starts to comprehend what his apparent death did to the man. Now he's eager to get back on the right foot with him; not dwelling on the past. I think that's a general tendency of Sherlock's; he doesn't look back. I still feel it would have been nice with some more backdrop story for Sherlock, though.

 

As to the second issue: Because there are so many questions, I think I'm okay with settling for Sherlock having made a plan together with Mycroft to 'reel in' Moriarty, but of course that doesn't mean he could foresee every single detail. He could not know that Molly would offer her help (or be willing to help), or that Moriarty would pretend to be a cab driver, or have the little girl scream when seeing Sherlock... or so many other things. Therefore, despite his plan, he could have been genuinely upset - I don't think every feeling he portrayed was a sham. Not just because I don't want to believe it, but it doesn't make any sense. Sure, he would need to convince Moriarty, and John, and Lestrade... but there are several details that cannot simply be explained by the cover up.

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As to the second issue: Because there are so many questions, I think I'm okay with settling for Sherlock having made a plan together with Mycroft to 'reel in' Moriarty, but of course that doesn't mean he could foresee every single detail. He could not know that Molly would offer her help (or be willing to help), or that Moriarty would pretend to be a cab driver, or have the little girl scream when seeing Sherlock... or so many other things. Therefore, despite his plan, he could have been genuinely upset - I don't think every feeling he portrayed was a sham. Not just because I don't want to believe it, but it doesn't make any sense. Sure, he would need to convince Moriarty, and John, and Lestrade... but there are several details that cannot simply be explained by the cover up.

 

No, they can't. And I just can't watch The Reichenbach Fall thinking "it's all just an act". As you say, it just makes no sense whatsoever.

 

 

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I like to think that it really did all make sense, but there were simply far more details than they could cover in 90 minutes (plus they needed to leave some time for John to punch Sherlock).

 

Hey, with unlimited airtime, even I could have written an airtight explanation.  And I wouldn't have needed the corpse!

 

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I'm seriously thinking of changing my Favourite Series 3 episode to The Empty Hearse.  And Series 2 to either Hound or Scandal.  Probably Scandal.  They're pretty even.

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If Mycroft had kept Moriarty imprisoned indefinitely (which would be illegal here, with no actual charges against him, don't know about the UK) while Sherlock dismantled his network -- he could have built an even better network as soon as he got out. He needed to be exposed and discredited. Blowing his own brains out was a nice bonus.

 

Still gotta feel sorry for him, though. In a way.

In the UK, you can be detained for 24 hours without being charged, but the police can apply to extend it to 96 hours for serious crimes. You can be detained for 14 days without charge if you are suspected of offences which fall under the Terrorism Act and Moriarty, with his fondness for bombing, would probably be considered a terrorist. I have always assumed that Mycroft, a shadowy figure with no clearly defined official role, would be prepared to do highly illegal things in the interests of national security, so I 'm doubtful that he would worry about hiding Jim away in custody for as long as he deemed it necessary. Particularly as Jim probably wouldn't sue for wrongful imprisonment when he got out ( though he would probably blow up Mycroft's house.....)

 

I have watched TRF again since seeing TEH and have to admit that it makes less sense if Sherlock's explanation to Anderson is true. On the rooftop, he is visibly distressed and is in tears the end. This could be because he had to to something extremely frightening - jumping off a roof and hoping to land on an airbag - but Sherlock is almost recklessly brave, so I don't think it is that. He could be upset because he knows John will be heartbroken, but TEH implies he did not understand the true depth of John's grief. So maybe he is upset because he knows he is going away, undercover, and doesn't want to go, particularly as if means leaving his only friend in the world.

 

If he conspired with Mycroft to dupe Jim, then the former's conversations with John just before and after the Richard Brook newspaper story are, at best, misleading and at worst downright cruel. Why does he need to dupe John in this way? In fact, like the fall itself, much of the deceit in TRF seems aimed at more at John than at Jim. Even bearing in mind the fact that Sherlock is afraid John will give away the truth if he knows it, it seems a bit unnecessary.

 

I prefer to think that Sherlock is fooling Anderson, for amusement or some other ulterior motive, but I am guessing it is the only explanation we will get. Oddly, it doesn't bother me too much - the fall was a great cliffhanger but I always expected the explanation to be a bit daft.

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I have watched TRF again since seeing TEH and have to admit that it makes less sense if Sherlock's explanation to Anderson is true. On the rooftop, he is visibly distressed and is in tears the end. This could be because he had to to something extremely frightening - jumping off a roof and hoping to land on an airbag - but Sherlock is almost recklessly brave, so I don't think it is that. He could be upset because he knows John will be heartbroken, but TEH implies he did not understand the true depth of John's grief. So maybe he is upset because he knows he is going away, undercover, and doesn't want to go, particularly as if means leaving his only friend in the world.

 

If he conspired with Mycroft to dupe Jim, then the former's conversations with John just before and after the Richard Brook newspaper story are, at best, misleading and at worst downright cruel. Why does he need to dupe John in this way? In fact, like the fall itself, much of the deceit in TRF seems aimed at more at John than at Jim. Even bearing in mind the fact that Sherlock is afraid John will give away the truth if he knows it, it seems a bit unnecessary.

 

Thank you. You've put into words what bothers me much better than I could myself.

 

I guess some day, I'll "have to" re-watch The Reichenbach Fall and The Empty Hearse in one evening, and, since I bet you are right and we'll never get another explanation, make my own deductions and come up with an interpretation of my own that fits the facts and the poetry. I'm sure my brain can do it (what with a lifelong experience in seeing what it wants to see).

 

 

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Sherlock can be very reckless and brave, but in my mind at least, this was different. He never had to worry about anyone else before, not like this. He had never let anyone as close as he had let John in. There was Mrs. Hudson, but before Jim Moriarty, she had been all but invisible. No one took notice of her closeness to Sherlock. He had friends, Molly and Lestrade, but again, he had always held them at arms length. They had never become targets, again, not until Jim Moriarty took an obsessive interest in Sherlock and began to take note of Sherlock weaknesses. Finding out his "pressure points".

 

  So when Moriarty makes it plan that he was out to kill Sherlock, Moriarty had also made it very clear that he knew how close Sherlock had allowed John in. Not only in his life, but in his friendship as well. This was part of Sherlock's new found heart, and Moriarty was going to find a way to use it against him and, he did.

 

  I think Sherlock had to be sad about it. Molly noticed it, and I cannot believe that all of those tears on that roof top were fake.

 

  True, he didn't seem to understand that John could move on without him, but could that have just been bravado?  He had spent two harrowing years taking down Moriarty's web. He was still healing from being tortured, while his git of a brother sat and watched. Maybe he desperately needed something to be "normal" in his life. He wanted something familiar and homy, like John still being at Baker Street.

 

   He took instant dislike to John's mustache because it wasn't his old life. It wasn't the John that had been his friend and colleague. This was an old man. He hadn't found "home" again, yet. He had yet to find an anchor.

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About Sherlock's friends being targeted by Moriarty (or rather his snipers): Why was that such a big deal if Mycroft (or his subordinates) took care of them, anyway? (Sherlock says to Anderson that the sniper aiming at John was led to "reconsider" by his brother's people.) If Sherlock and Mycroft were really as much in control of the situation as Sherlock claims, then almost nothing that happens in The Reichenbach Fall makes sense to me any more and the drama of that episode is all unnecessary and fake. As I said, I will have to re-watch some day and try to come up with some explanation that fits all the facts and makes a good story, but I am kind of pissed at the writers for not doing that themselves. It almost seems as if the person who wrote The Empty Hearse hadn't seen The Reichenbach Fall in a while and as if The Reichenbach Fall was written and filmed without any idea of what the solution would be. It's my biggest problem with series 3.

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