The Empty Hearse
The empty hearse title card
Vital statistics
Episode Series 3, episode 1
Director Jeremy Lovering
Writer Mark Gatiss
Producer Sue Vertue
Air date 1 January 2014
Length 86 minutes

The Empty Hearse is the first episode of the third series of the BBC television series Sherlock. First aired on 1 January 2014, the episode was written by Mark Gatiss and directed by Jeremy Lovering.


Greg lestrade and philip anderson

Greg Lestrade and Philip Anderson.

Philip Anderson is telling his Reichenbach theory to DI Greg Lestrade. He believes that Jim Moriarty’s body was used as the fake body with a face mask of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock used a bungee rope to survive the drop. He also thought that Derren Brown helped Sherlock, giving the people more time to set up the scene with the fake body. Greg dismissed this theory as nonsense, saying it is guilt that causes Philip to believe in Sherlock’s survival. Nearby them, reporters say that Sherlock has been cleared of all charges.

In Eastern Europe, a lone fugitive is being hunted by a large team of operatives. He runs but is eventually surrounded and captured. Later in a room the man is brutally interrogated by his torturer. The prisoner gets the torturer to leave, saying his wife is sleeping with his neighbour. The mysterious other man in the room approaches the prisoner, saying a terrorist is planned upon London. The man is revealed to be Mycroft Holmes and the prisoner is his brother Sherlock.

Mrs. hudson and john watson

Mrs. Hudson with John Watson.

John Watson arrives at 221B Baker Street, passing two young boys collected money for their guy. He enters Mrs. Hudson’s apartment, who is annoyed that John never contacted her after Sherlock’s fall. John apologises and says he has come back because he has found someone.

Meanwhile, Sherlock arrives at the Diogenes Club. He and Mycroft discuss Sherlock’s exploits over the past two years and his efforts to dismantle Jim Moriarty’s network. Mycroft presses his brother about the terrorist network, though Sherlock seemed to ignore the threat.

At a restaurant on the Marylebone Road, John awaits the arrival of his partner Mary Morstan. Sherlock enters, carefully gained a disguise from unknowing diners. Sherlock gets John’s wine order, though John does not notice that it is Sherlock. John nervously holds a ring and is planning to propose to Mary at the restaurant. Mary arrives and John nervously begins to propose. However before he can finish, Sherlock arrives with the ordered wine. Sherlock reveals himself and John reacts angrily, eventually bringing Sherlock to the ground.

At another café, Sherlock reveals his survival plans to John and Mary. After John questions him, Sherlock says that Mycroft, Molly Hooper and twenty five people of his homeless network knew of his survival John attacks him again.

At another eatery, Sherlock asks John if he’ll keep the moustache and John replies affirmatively. Sherlock asks John for help. Mary says that she will talk John around. When John and Mary drive off in a cab, Mary tells John that she likes Sherlock.

Sherlock reveals himself to Molly, Greg and Mrs Hudson, who all react with surprise. At a meeting of the Sherlock fan club The Empty Hearse, Laura tells her theory to the group. She believes a fake body was thrown off St Bartholomew's Hospital and Sherlock and Jim were romantically involved. Philip reacts angrily. Suddenly the news is revealed that Sherlock has survived and the group reacts with complete surprise.

Sherlock returns to 221B Baker Street and starts tracking his markers, criminal who signal suspicious activity. Later he and Mycroft play a game of Operation, discussing the terrorist alert. The pair discusses their childhood and Sherlock challenges his brother to a game of deductions. They both deduce details about a bobble hat left by a client.

John is working, consulting with many patients. John believes that one patient is Sherlock in disguise though this was not correct. Meanwhile Molly arrives at Baker Street and Sherlock asks her to solve cases with her. They work through several cases, though Molly does little to aid Sherlock. The pair travels with Greg to a mysterious skeleton found near a train line. Sherlock deduces the death is faked, with the skeleton being less than six months old.

Sherlock and Molly travel to the house of Howard Shilcott, the owner of the bobble hat. He reveals an oddity in the Underground footage. A man enters the last car at Westminster and the car is empty at the next station, St James’ Park. As they leave Howard’s, Sherlock thanks Molly for her help and Molly talks about her partner.

John approached 221B Baker Street and he is kidnapped by two men on the street. Mary rushes into 221B and shows Sherlock a skip code text she received that reads: “Save John Watson, Saint James the Less.” Sherlock commandeers a motorcycle and he and Mary ride to the church Saint James the Less. John is lying gagged inside a bonfire outside the church as a man lights the fire, with the aid of petrol. Sherlock and Mary only just arrive in time to save him.

Sherlock is sitting in his armchair at Baker Street, listening to his mother and father. John enters and Sherlock forces them to leave. John asks Sherlock if he knows who planned the previous night’s attack. Sherlock says he does not know, instead telling John about Lord Moran, a parliamentarian working for North Korea. Suddenly the consulting detective has a revelation; the terrorist network is based in the London Underground. The pair realise that it is 5 November. Howard Shilcott, through Sherlock’s laptop, tells the pair about the unfinished station Sumatra Road that is situated right under the Palace of Westminster.

Sherlock and John enter the Underground at Westminster Station and break into a part of the station. They reach a platform at the Sumatra Road Station but there is no train there. Sherlock realises the missing car must be along the rails some distance and they are able to locate the car. They enter the car and Sherlock finds that the whole compartment has been set up as the bomb. He finds the main interface of the bomb but says he does not know how to defuse it.

Meanwhile Lord Moran watches a news report about the Parliament’s sitting. He pulls out a metal suitcase and initiates the bomb’s detonation.

As the bomb timer ticks down, tensions run high in the train compartment as they both seem unable to stop the bomb. Sherlock asks John for forgiveness and John says that he forgives him.

The action cuts to a recording of Sherlock, who is explaining his Reichenbach plans to Philip Anderson. Sherlock explained that he initiated the plan LAZARUS, in which he fell onto a giant inflatable cushion. Sherlock used his own body as the fake body John saw, with a ball under his armpit to temporarily cut of his pulse. Philip seems disappointed with the plan. Sherlock confronts him about the fake skeleton, saying that Philip had done so in an attempt to draw out Sherlock. Philip starts to question Sherlock’s plan but Sherlock leaves before he can answer any of the questions. Back in the train car, Sherlock starts laughing as he reveals that he stopped the bomb minutes ago. Across town, Lord Moran attempts to quietly leave his hotel room but he is confronted by several police officers.

At Baker Street, Sherlock, John, Mrs Hudson, Greg Lestrade, Molly and her partner Tom are together, some drinking champagne. Sherlock and John leave the group and are faced by a number of journalists on the Baker Street doorstop.

In a strange room, a mysterious bespectacled man watches the footage of Sherlock pulling John out of the Saint James the Less bonfire.


Behind the scenesEdit

Allusions to Conan Doyle storiesEdit

The name of the episode comes from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story The Adventure of the Empty House. Indeed much of the episode's plot originates from this story.

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