can we just talk about how Mary is like a better co-detective than John? Like, she just rolls in there like “yo sherlock what’s up I’ve already decoded this message let’s go save our boyfriend.”
Absolutely no time wasted saying “What?”
Canon References in “The Empty Hearse”
I loved how this episode was just full of references to ACD’s canon!! So I decided to make a list of all the little bits I could find. I did it mostly from memory, so if I forgot any please feel free to add them!
A few notes: I didn’t feel like typing the story and episode titles over and over. The Adventure of the Empty House is abbreviated EMPT, and “The Empty Hearse” is abbreviated TEH. Also, I use Holmes and Watson to refer to the canon characters, and Sherlock and John to refer to the BBC characters. Hopefully that’s not too confusing; it makes sense in my mind haha!!
And so, my list:
- Holmes had Mycroft preserve his rooms at Baker Street while he was away. Similarly, Mrs Husdon preserves the flat.
- In EMPT, Holmes made an “unnecessarily dramatic” reappearance to let Watson know he was still alive—he posed as a bookseller and visited Watson at his practice. The old DVD salesman that visits John at work, whom John mistakes for Sherlock, is a nod to this disguise. Sherlock also informs John of his return with an unnecessarily dramatic reappearance.
- One of the thirteen possibilities Sherlock begins to tell John about how he survived was “a system of Japanese wrestling.” In EMPT, Holmes employs the Japanese wrestling style of baritsu to overpower Moriarty and push him off the cliff. (FYI, baritsu does not actually exist, as far as any historian can tell.)
- In EMPT, Mycroft acted as Holmes’ confidant during his “hiatus.” In addition, Holmes tells Watson, “Several times during the last three years I have taken up my pen to write to you, but I always feared lest your affectionate regard for me should tempt you to some indiscretion which would betray my secret.” In TEH, Sherlock tells John, “I’ve nearly been in contact so many times but I worried that, you know, you might say something indiscreet or, you know, let the cat out of the bag…”
- Sherlock’s voiceover in THE remarks, “London. It’s like a great cesspool into which all criminals, agents, and drifters are irresistibly drained.” In A Study in Scarlet, Watson describes London as “that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers are irresistibly drained.”
- Sherlock’s calling the terrorists “rats” and the fact that the carriage was found in an abandoned tube station at Sumatra Road are references to “the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared,” mentioned in The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire.
- Sherlock and Mycroft’s dual deduction of the beanie a client left at Baker Street is comparable to a deduction Holmes makes of a client’s hat in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.
- In TEH, a client visits Sherlock complaining that her lover/pen pal’s letters have suddenly stopped. Sherlock deduces that the pen pal was actually her stepfather, who hoped that by breaking his stepdaughter’s heart she would never love again, and he could keep her (and her income) at home. This is roughly the plot of A Case of Identity.
- Mary figures out that the anonymous texts she receives are a skip code, in which only every third word is read. A code like this is vital to the case in The Gloria Scott.
- The coded text to Mary says “John or James Watson.” In The Man with the Twisted Lip, Mary inexplicably refers to Watson as James.
- In the bomb/carriage in TEH, John tells Sherlock, “You were the best and the wisest man that I’ve ever known.” This is a reference to the last line in The Final Problem.
12. The addition/removal of an additional train carriage is the means of a train robbery in the audiobooks Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories, written by John Taylor and narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch. As it’s impossible to remove the gold from the train, the robbers merely transfered it to another carriage which was then removed along the journey, to be broken into at their leisure. Not exactly canon, but another nod to other Holmes stories, perhaps!
Ooh yes!! Pastiche references are cool too!!
Also, here are a couple more I got in my inbox from sabrina-phynn:
13. The DVDs that the old man tries to sell John are porn versions of the books Holmes mentions to Watson.
14. Sherlock and Mycroft’s dual deduction is also a nod to Holmes and Mycroft’s dual deduction in The Greek Interpreter.
Spotted a few when I rewatched it:
15. In the restaurant, Sherlock says ”Suddenly realising I probably owe you some sort of apology.” The first thing Holmes says when Watson regains consciousness is “I owe you a thousand apologies.”
16. “It’s time to come back. You’ve been letting things slide, Graham.” vs ”I think you want a little unofficial help. Three undetected murders in one year won’t do, Lestrade.”
17. Mrs Hudson’s fit of violent hysterics.