Sherlock Recap: There's Something About Mary


Remember two weeks ago on “Sherlock” when Mary recognized the skip code and a certain Mr. Lately-Returned-From-The-Dead-Detective didn’t notice how weird that was? Maybe he did take some damage from that fall.

Speaking of previous episodes, the blue eyed gent with the spectacles watching Watson’s abduction replay is back. His name is Charles Augustus Magnussen and he’s appearing before some members of parliament. He owns newspapers, but his game is blackmail. He’s reading dossiers on each minister including their “pressure points” off a secret feed coming through his eyeglasses.


One of those ministers, Lady Elizabeth Snow seems to be at her “club” or wherever it is that Brits of her class go. Magnussen shows up and starts touching and sniffing at her most unpleasantly. He comments on her perfume – Clair de la Lune, saying it’s a bit young for her. He’s using her husband’s 1982(!) one-time dalliance with a teenage girl as leverage. It’s not much of a scandal, but that doesn’t matter. He’s got letters. He’ll ruin her.

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He licks her face for good measure just because he can.

She’s shaken and seems broken until a few minutes later in the back of her car when she decides someone has to stand up to him, and she tells her driver to head to Baker Street.

John is having one of those Afghanistan flashback dreams that segues into the first time his boyfriend asked him to help investigate a serial killing. Good times! There’s a knock on the door waking up him and the missus. The neighbor’s son needs to be rescued from a drug den. John packs a tire iron. Why a tire iron, the wife wants to know. “There are loads of smack-heads and one of them might need help with a tire,” John replies. Mary so wants to make more babies with him that very second. But who doesn’t?

John is very pleased to have this mission. He’s been living in the burbs and hasn’t seen Sherlock in a month, so he’s in need of an adrenaline fix. A youth in a hoody pulls a knife on him. A moment later Hoody is whining that John broke his arm. John insists it’s just a sprain. “I’m a doctor, I know how to sprain people.”

John finds the neighbor’s kid strung out on a mattress, and guess who’s next to him? If you guessed Sherlock Holmes, pat yourself on the back. The kid runs out and Mary (who of course came along) is waiting in the driver’s seat. Then come John and Sherlock. Sherlock’s not as much fun high as he was drunk. He keeps insisting this all has to do with a case. Finally, the Hoody, Billy Wiggins, begs for a ride as he may be in need of medical attention. They head for Bart’s where Molly works. John wants Sherlock to pee in a cup. Is he clean? Molly slaps the shit out of him, so I think not.

Sherlock gets a text. He smiles. His drug habit may have hit the newspapers, which is what he wanted. John accompanies him back to Baker Street. Mycroft is there along with Anderson and another fan whom Mycroft pressed into service to search for drugs. Mycroft is upset because the parents are in Oklahoma and “It won’t be the first time that your drug habit has wreaked havoc with their line dancing.”

Sherlock tells Mycroft he’s going to get Magnussen. Mycroft sends away the minions with some scary talk and warns Sherlock to back off. Wouldn’t Mycroft know his words would have the opposite effect? (The answer is probably.) Sherlock manages to pin Mycroft against a wall, and he leaves. John is excited because it looks like maybe there really is a case and danger is so much fun.


Speaking of fun, remember Janine, the sassy bridesmaid? She pops out of Sherlock’s bedroom wearing one of his shirts and maybe (we don’t for sure) panties. After a brief chat with a shocked John, she joins “Sherl” who is having a bath. John can’t get over the girlfriend thing.

Sherlock tells John that Magnussen is “the Napoleon of blackmail.” His estate, Appledore, is “the Alexandrian library of secrets and scandal.” There’s a vault with hard copy information that Magnussen uses to gain leverage over people and entire nations. Sherlock wants to destroy the entire operation, and the drug relapse was so that Magnussen would underestimate him.

Bodyguards enter followed by the great man himself, who will heretofore be referred to by his initials, CAM. The magic glasses reveal that Mrs. Hudson has a first name, Louise, and her pressure point is marijuana. Sherlock’s pressure points include John Watson, and “Redbeard.” CAM says “Redbeard” out loud and Sherlock is rattled. CAM decides to make himself at home by peeing in the fireplace. His parting words to Sherlock are “Tell Lady Elizabeth. I might need those letters so I’m keeping them.”

After he’s gone, Sherlock is totally psyched because he saw the letters, which means he can get the letters, so he’s going to break into CAM’s office that evening. Of course, John wants to come. How do the boys get into CAM’s heavily guarded inner sanctum? Seems that Mary’s bridesmaid just happens to be CAM’s assistant. Sherlock shows her a ring and proposes to her via closed circuit camera. She buzzes him up.

They find Janine out cold. John attends to her while Sherlock looks around. He smells Clair de la Lune – Lady Elizabeth’s brand, which John mentions is also Mary’s. Sherlock follows the scent to a room where a black clad figure he thinks is Lady Elizabeth is about to shoot a cowering CAM. Only it’s Mary Watson in full ninja-assassin attire and she tells Sherlock, “If you take one more step I will kill you.”


“No Mrs. Watson, you won’t.” He says confidently. She shoots him in the chest. He goes into his mind palace where Molly, Anderson, Mycroft, Moriarty and even Redbeard – who turns out to be his childhood dog – help him survive.

After he wakes from surgery, Mary visits him and warns him. “You don’t tell John.” They must have come to an agreement because she doesn’t finish him off. Later, he gets a visit from Janine, who has sold the much embellished story of their romance to the tabloids and bought a cottage down Sussex way, even though Sherlock and Janine never actually did it. Not once.

CAM is still alive. We see him head down to what must be his vault where he goes through a hard copy file with Mary’s picture.

Sherlock escapes the hospital, so John goes to 221B. He’s trying to figure out why Sherlock is protecting the shooter, whose identity he must know. He notices his chair, which Sherlock had removed, is now back, as though Sherlock were expecting him to move back in, and then he sees a bottle of Clair de la Lune on the lamp table, and he knows.


The police are looking for Sherlock in the wrong places. Mary talks to Anderson, who nobody else pays attention to, and he gives her the right place. Sherlock knew she’d find it, and tells her that Mary Morstan is an identity she took five years ago. She was an intelligent agent, maybe CIA, and a good enough shot that he knows she wasn’t trying to kill him, but to get him out of the way. (She even called the ambulance five minutes before John did.) She didn’t kill CAM because John was there and would have been a suspect. Sherlock wants her case. She doesn’t want to give it to him because she doesn’t want John to ever know about her past. Too late. John was hiding and heard the whole thing. Sherlock tells them to “Sort it out, but do it quickly.” They’re going to Baker Street.

Now it’s time for a flash-forward because the show is written by time-lords. It’s Christmas. Sherlock has been recently released from the hospital and he and Mycroft and the Watsons are at his parents’ home.

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Billy Wiggins is there too. John enters the room where a very pregnant Mary is sipping tea. There’s clearly some tension between the couple.

Back again in the past or maybe it’s the present where Sherlock, John and Mary have just arrived at Baker Street. John wants to know if everyone he’s ever met is a psychopath. Sherlock points out that in addition to his best friend and his wife, even the landlady used to run a drug cartel. Mrs. Hudson insists she only did the typing, but point taken.

Mary takes out a flash-drive with the letters “AGRA” written on it. Those are her real initials. Her whole past is on the drive. If John opens it he won’t love her anymore also she could get put away for life. It’s his choice. She hands it to him.

An ambulance arrives which is a good thing because Sherlock is bleeding internally having just had surgery after being shot in the chest. Before he’s carted off, he tells the couple that getting CAM is all that matters.

Back to the future at Christmas. John, who has never opened the flash drive, tells Mary, “The problems of your past are your business. The problems of your future are my privilege.” He throws it into the fire. What cold heart is not in love with Dr. John Watson?

Mary passes out in John’s arms. Is this the “wife must die trope” we’ve been fearing? Turns out Wiggins was there to drug everyone in the house except Sherlock and John. But no worries, “the little one” will be fine, as monitoring druggies is Wiggins’ day job.

Flashback this time to a still hospitalized Sherlock meeting with CAM. Sherlock grabs the special spectacles, which turn out to be ordinary eyeglasses. That’s not how CAM does what he does. Sherlock makes a deal – Mycroft’s laptop for Mary’s files and a visit to Appledore.


And we’re forward to Christmas again. Sherlock explains the “real” plan is to expose CAM’s illegal activities and put an end to them. It could be their most dangerous case. Is John in? Hell yes, John is in, and of course he happened to bring his gun to Christmas dinner. The helicopter comes to take them to Appledore where CAM is not a gracious host and also demonstrates the best evil cackle since Dr Evil. CAM has figured out the play. There’s GPS on the laptop and Mycroft will be coming. CAM says Mycroft will be very proud of his little brother, except for one thing: THERE ARE NO VAULTS. CAM shows them an empty room. How does he do it? The vault is in his brain. Mind palace. There are no documents. When Mycroft arrives, CAM will have Sherlock arrested for trying to sell him state secrets.

It gets worse. CAM explains he knows people who hate Mary for what she did. He can contact them anytime. What would prevent that from happening? At the moment, CAM wants to flick his fingers in John’s face. Even Sherlock doesn’t stop him.

Mycroft’s helicopter arrives. CAM tells Sherlock, “Sorry no chance for you to be a hero this time.” Sherlock tells CAM he’s not a hero, he’s a high-functioning sociopath, and then he shoots CAM dead.

Even Mycroft can’t get his brother out of this one, but instead of going to prison, Sherlock is being sent on an undercover mission to Eastern Europe that Mycroft previously told him not to take as he’d be dead within six months, and Mycroft is never wrong.

At an airstrip, Sherlock is saying good-bye to John. It’s awkward because neither one of them is great with the feeling words. Sherlock doesn’t let on how dangerous the mission is, just that they probably won’t see each other again. He tells John, “The east wind takes us all in the end.” John is perplexed. Sherlock explains when he was a kid, Mycroft used to tell him stories about a terrifying force that seeks out the unworthy and plucks them from the earth. Some serious sad music plays on the soundtrack. Sherlock’s plane takes off. Could this be the down note on which the season ends? Say it ain’t so, but they’re rolling the credits…


There’s an Outer Limits Don’t Adjust Your Television Effect, and we see a soccer match, and then we see Greg watching the soccer match in a pub. The television does the wavy thing again (even though televisions don’t do that anymore) and we hear a digitalized voice repeating, “Did you miss me?” There are reaction shots of Greg, Molly, and Mrs. Hudson watching the screen in horror. Is it Sherlock?

Nope. It’s an image of James Moriarty and all the screens in all of jolly olde England are playing it.


Sherlock is called off the plane (which just left). He is the only one who can fight this new menace. How is that possible, what with his having blown his brains out and all? Is Moriarty really back?


Probably not for realz unless he also has a smarter brother, but I can’t wait till Season Four to find out.

Marion Stein

Marion writes television recaps and reviews for the Agony Booth, and books you can find over at Amazon.

TV Show: Sherlock

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