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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Sherlock
John Watson: [slowly, grudgingly.] That was amazing.
Sherlock Holmes: [deadpan] You think so?
John Watson: Of course it was. It was extraordinary. It was quite... extraordinary.
Sherlock Holmes: That’s not what people normally say.
John Watson: What do people normally say?
Sherlock Holmes: "Piss off!"
A Study in Pink

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    Season 1 
The sniper at the end of The Blind Banker was Colonel Sebastian Moran from The Empty House
Gee, a sharpshooter in Moriarty's employ. Who could it possibly be?
  • Perhaps he was the Sebastian from earlier.
    • Given the number of nods to the original books (including some fairly obscure bits), I'd be very surprised if Sherlock's school acquaintance being called "Sebastian" wasn't intentional. Could still be a red herring, though.
    • I think it's a coincidence that Wilkes and Moran are both called Sebastian; it would be nigh on impossible to hold down the job as a high-level executive at the bank while also being Moriarty's henchman.

Moriarty planned the whole thing and is the only one who knew that both pills were poisoned.
He is Moriarty, and that's kind of his thing. He inoculates the cabbie without telling him because this guarantees him victims - victims he's paying to get, via sponsorship — and allows the cabbie to think that his 'successful' choice is due to his own brilliance or - as he said - because God likes him.

Either way, the cabbie is probably not particular about how his 'game' works, since his death is certain be it by aneurysm or pill. He's happy to keep playing the game because of the money going to his kids.
  • The idea that Moriarty planned this gets even more plausible if one takes note of the number of pills in the bottles. When the cabbie first starts going on his murder spree there are quite a few, but by the time he gets to Sherlock there's only one left. From the beginning, the plan must have been for the cabbie to kill four people, then swing 'round to 221b Baker Street and pick up Sherlock (the fact that Sherlock figured it out at that exact moment is merely a happy coincidence). The whole thing is just a way for Moriarty to introduce himself to Sherlock.

This Sherlock Holmes is a grown-up Encyclopedia Brown using a pseudonym and a fake accent
That's why he was in Florida to help out Mrs. Hudson.

Sherlock, Mycroft, Moriarty & The Taxi Driver are Sparks
A few geniuses in a world full of norms? Ring any bells?

Moriarty doesn't have an army of snipers trained on John and Sherlock
He has one sniper and a bunch of blokes with laser pointers.

It would save money, and Moriarty has just the right sense of humor for that.
  • Alternatively, he might have no snipers. It could be a clever trick with the laser pointers.
    • We know he has at least one sniper in his employ, because somebody shot Shan and the old lady. Plus there's the WMG above about Colonel Moran.
  • For the crack, let's say that Sherlock has no bullets in his gun either. This would make for an... interesting development.
    • Not so crack if we assume that Sherlock is clever enough to know that scratching your temple with a loaded gun is a bad idea.
    • For more crack, the bomb was fake.
    • For even more crack, Moriarty and Sherlock both know all of the above, and each is merely toying with the other

Sherlock chose wrong in the first episode.
Sherlock took cabbies pill, instead the one that he was offered. Cabbie offered him Safe pill, on premise that "should take the poison from the hands of sage, don't take the cure from hands of foolish simpleton" (c) Omar Haym. He knew that Holmes won't trust a killer and would choose the wrong one.
  • After Watson shot the cabbie, why didn't Holmes just take both pills and get them analysed?
    • Because someone would surely ask which one he'd picked, and he wouldn't be able to dodge the question so easily, his ego simply wouldn't take it if he told someone, and he turned out to be wrong. Doubly so if the theory that both pills were poisoned is correct, because everyone knows Sherlock was dead serious about taking the pill, and that he fell for it would really prove he was fallible.
      • Upon re-watching, Sherlock demands to know whether he made the right choice, and before Sherlock declares that it wasn't important, the cabbie shakes his head (admittedly just slightly,) meaning Sherlock did choose the wrong one. All of the victims chose to switch rather than accept the pill they were given, the cabbie was honest in calling it a game of wits, because he understood that people under stress will switch in order to feel in control, that they are unlikely to sit back and do nothing. The question is resolved before Sherlock changes the subject and steps on the guy over the identity of his "fan."
      • I saw that headshake, and I always thought it was, "No, I'm never going to tell you," not, "No, you chose wrong." But it could be that, given the way Sherlock immediately changes tack.
      • I concur with the above troper; the headshake is a refusal to tell. But I also agree: Sherlock chose wrong. Why? Because. 1. Sherlock's great gift is the ability to deduce incredible amounts of information from tiny details. 2. The cabbie's great gift is the ability to, in his own words, understand how people think, how they think he thinks, and how they think he thinks they think. 3. Sherlock had to ask. That's the key point. This is a match of their two gifts, and Sherlock's gift has no uncertainty about it. That means his gift failed, and the cabbie's won out. The cabbie really did create an impossible puzzle to solve.

Neither pill was poisoned.
Neither pill contained any actual poison. The pills in question were some type of medication the cabbie was using to stay alive. It just so happened that what was keeping him alive (lowering his blood pressure, thinning his blood, etc.) would kill a healthy human.
  • So really, they were both poisoned.
  • Both pills are poison... if you don't happen to be suffering from the cabbie's medical condition. So no matter which choice each one chooses, the victim gets the poison, and he gets the medicine, which proves that the cabbie is smarter than his victims. Never go in against a Driver of a Black Cab when death is on the line! HAHAHAHAHABANG
  • So you're saying the cabbie spent the last three years building up an immunity to the poison?
    • Not really. Let's say that after he was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm, his doctor prescribed him some hard-core blood thinners. He takes them, he clings to life. One of his victims takes them, their blood gets so thin it prevents oxygen from getting to the brain and *thud*.
    • Or maybe, as a Tumblr post posited, the poison was in the water. Then all the cabbie would have to do would be to swallow his dry.

There are not really dozens of snipers, and the multiple laser points are some sort of trick.
Jim told Holmes that he didn't intend to kill him then and there. In the context, he could have meant that he wouldn't kill him that very instant but the second appearance was fair game. Really though, Jim seems more like the sort to play with his food instead of eat it. If he kills Sherlock now, what fun would that be for him? Furthermore, Jim clearly enjoys playing sick mind games.

This troper's theory is that there is only one sniper, or perhaps none at all. The multiple laser points are just trickery, maybe caused by mirrors.

The gun is empty.
In the third episode, Sherlock fires several shots in the house when he's bored. Later, when he and John go to confront the Golem, John realizes he forgot to put more bullets in before they left, but there's still enough ammo for Sherlock to get off a couple of shots. It's possible, and really probable, that Genius Ditz Sherlock also forgot to reload the gun before he ran out to meet Moriarty. Therefore, even if Sherlock does shoot the bomb, nothing will happen except there'll be a tiny, empty click.
  • "But doctor, it just doesn't make sense! Thousands of people have heart attacks every day, but never all at the same moment! And the only thing they had in common was ... a TV show!"

The datastick was empty.
Do you really think Mycroft would let Sherlock sell out secrets to criminal masterminds? Either the USB was empty, or the plans on it were fake. Moriarty knew that, so he threw the "plans" into the pool. And it's not like Sherlock couldn't have brought it up with Mycroft; they met before the pool incident, and Mycroft brought in backup, just in case. They haven't arrived yet, but they will.
  • Moriarty threw the plans in the pool because he "could get them anywhere". He only cared about them in the first place as a tool to get Sherlock's attention. Also, it's pretty blatant that Sherlock was lying when he told John he'd seen Mycroft.
    • Sherlock appears though to honestly not know that Moriarty could have gotten the plans anywhere and that they were a red herring. Although he may or may not have really seen Mycroft in person, it still seems unlikely that Sherlock would be dumb enough to offer a criminal mastermind some real, unaltered missile plans that could potentially begin World War III when he could offer him a wiped memory stick or some altered, useless plans. After all, unless Moriarty had brought his trusty laptop with him and checked them then and there, why give him the actual plans? He'd be long gone (or at least not present) when he figured out the plans were fake.
      • But if there were no real plans then why would Mycroft send Sherlock after the fakes? And how would the murdered man not realize they were fake?
      • I never said there were no real plans. Just that by the time Sherlock gave the "plans" to Moriarty, he'd tampered with or switched out the memory stick so that the real plans were no longer on it. It was either blank or had been switched out for fake plans that meant nothing.

The death of the old woman in 'The Great Game' was planned.
As another troper pointed out in an above post, she described her abductor's voice as soft- whereas Moriarty's voice is not at all soft. Moriarty wrote it into the script so Sherlock would buy the reason for her death- when in reality, he did it to destabilise Sherlock, and possibly trip him up or make him make a mistake.
  • My interpretation is that the death of the old woman was Moriarty proving to Sherlock and everyone else that he meant business and was in control and not to be messed with. After all, if Moriarty "played fair" then presumably the old woman would be rescued and tell her rescuers about the "soft voice" anyway. And of course, on a plot level, it was to prove to audience members that the threat to the hostages was real and not a bluff (makes the next two hostage situations that much more frightening- this guy has killed before, and a helpless victim at that, he would theoretically do anything.) It wouldn't have really mattered what she'd said or not said, Sherlock was always going to "lose" that round. After all, Moriarty easily gets bored and probably wanted to spice the game up a bit. Also, indicates that he doesn't play fair and is "changeable."
  • I figured it was written in the script to add to the assumption that John was Moriarty, you know because John has a rather soft voice.

The murderous cabbie in A Study in Pink was the one driving the cab to the Brixton crime scene.

As Sherlock comments later, criminals like the cabbie are in it for appreciation and the spotlight. It's likely that he would want to see how the great Sherlock Holmes was taking in the crimes he'd committed. There are a couple of shots of Sherlock and John which seem reversed, because they're seen in the rear-vision mirror of the cab- that is, from the cabbie's point of view. He's watching them, and listening to the conversation they're having. Which means he was able to collect quite a lot of knowledge about John to tell Moriarty (or his cohorts) that night.

Sebastian Moran is the man who shot John in Afghanistan
In "A Study in Pink," John screams out a name as he wakes up from his nightmare early in the episode. Now, this troper must ask, did he scream it out meaning to call out a comrade's name for help, or did he call out his name as to say "Don't shoot me, Sebastian!" Based on what we know about Sebastian Moran from the original tales, this would make a lot of sense for Sebastian Moran to do.
  • He said no such thing. According to the subtitles, and just from what it sounds like (there is a lot of noise, so it's a bit difficult to make out, and I had to listen to it several times), I'm pretty sure it was one of the soldiers in the dream saying "Hit the deck!" with 'the deck' being repeated a couple times. It's really hard to make out the 'hit' part, actually, but the point is that it sounds nothing like the word Sebastian, and that John's mouth doesn't open, so even if it is Sebasian's name, he's not the one saying it.

The homeless woman who Sherlock paid for spy work in "The Great Game" was named "Wiggins"
Because that was the name of the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars in "The Sign of the Four". The character just got a Gender Flip in this version.

    Season 2 

There's a possibility that 'Jim' Moriarty isn't dead just yet.
Might be overthinking, but considering they made his being an actor (whether or not you believe "Richard Brook" was real) a plot point, what are the odds that Moriarty was actually messing with Sherlock's head when he shot himself? Before you ask: we saw him eat his gun. But that's it precisely: Moriarty most likely did it as a trick (like how TV and film productions themselves fake these things while shooting). Sherlock most likely did not notice it considering the time pressure of him having to save John, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade (we saw how he forgets the details of things when under extreme pressure in Scandal and Hound). This, of course, will make Sherlock's resurfacing all the more tense: Moriarty is still alive, the game remains afoot!
  • This would add irony to Sherlock's statement from A Study in Pink that "I know a real gun when I see one."

In The Reichenbach Fall, Claudette wasn't reacting to Sherlock.

It was John. Moriarty and Sherlock don't really look alike at all, so it's difficult to see how she could mistake the two... but we've yet to see Sebastian Moran, or the man who actually did the deed and kidnapped Claudette and her brother from their school. When Claudette starts screaming she is looking up, but John is standing directly behind Sherlock and all she's doing is pointing vaguely in their direction. Who's to say Sherlock's the one she's screaming at?

Sherlock's mobile phone was bugged throughout the second season (ever since it was stolen by Irene) and he figures this out by the end of "The Reichenbach Fall"

From the snippets of conversation recorded from his few phone calls (as well as the recording that Kitty made of him in the washroom at the trial), Moriarty was able to piece together enough to remotely threaten and control the kidnapped children. This would explain that it is hearing Sherlock's *voice* that freaks Claudette out and triggers her scream.

Further, the "out-of-character" event that Moffat referred to may have been Sherlock *calling* John from the roof instead of texting him. By this point, Sherlock has realized that his phone has been bugged and so his call to John is as much for the sniper's benefit (and other two killers) as it is for John's. They hear him say all the right things to confirm that he is committing suicide. (When Sherlock tells John to "tell anyone who will listen", I think it's a subtle clue that people are listening right then, as a more natural thing for him to tell John to do is to blog about it.)

The hidden camera was Sherlock's, not Jim's.

On the day Jim was acquitted, Sherlock realised he needed to record the meeting at the flat and anything else that went down, and put the camera on the bookshelf. Jim can't have done it. He would have had to scale the bookshelf in front of Sherlock to put the camera where Sherlock later "found" it. Sherlock's "realisation" later that there was a hidden camera was a complete act. He already knew that much of what later happened was going to be circumstancially against him unless he had some way of recording what was really happening- in Baker Street, anyway. (Until he takes the camera down and presumably has it with him when he's arrested...) The book was moved back when Lestrade and Donovan are there about the kidnapping case; Sherlock has since moved the book over the camera when he "finds" it later, probably so that there's no chance that John will accidentally see it.
  • The kicker: Who was the camera for the benefit of? Initially, Mycroft. It was far too dangerous for Sherlock to even text Mycroft, as it might have been intercepted. This was a way for Mycroft to know what was going on without putting Sherlock in danger.

In The Reichenbach Fall, Moriarty brainwashed the kidnapped children using his television program.:

Basically, in order for Moriarty to have a convincing enough story as an actor, he had to have at least some proof that could be twisted. So, he kills two birds with one stone and while building up a successful CV as a children's TV presenter, also conditions children to be frightened of something about Sherlock. I like to think it's his coat, because Moriarty appreciates good tailoring. An expensive Dolce and Gobbana [I think? I don't especially look these things up] coat would be rare enough to not get an accidental reaction out of the children, then Moriarty goes back and, wearing a coat of the same brand, cementing the children's subconscious fear of villains in such attire, violently kidnaps them. Or hires somebody else to do it.

Sherlock will appear to die at the end of Reichenbach
If we're sticking to the original story of Reichenbach, Sherlock falls of a cliff with Moriarty and die. (He gets better.) It seems very plausible, especially since it's set as the last episode of the season-what better cliffhanger would be the hero appearing to die?
  • And hey, if they don't commission a third season, Sherlock can just stay dead, ending the series with a bang instead of a whimper.
    • Which ironically was how Arthur Conan Doyle originally intended the books to end. If the BBC starts filming a third season, we'll all have conclusive proof that history does indeed repeat itself.
      • If they make us wait three years to Empty House us, I'm going to die. Except if they manage to bring a new series out of nowhere, with no warning beforehand, in which case I will be amazed and delighted with their ingenuity.
  • In the book, Sherlock Holmes' death wasn't meant to be a trick, it was meant to be real. Doyle had a difficult time explaining how the hell Holmes got out of that one when he resurrected him three years later, and it's not terribly convincing even by the standard of Doyle's outlandish plots. There's no way a ploy like that would in any way work in a modern context, BUT- if you read "The Adventure of the Empty House", you'll see that there was one soul and one alone who knew Holmes was alive- Mycroft. Sherlock needed him to keep an eye on him and send him funds. The whole "chasm" conceit could end on a much more realistic note- Sherlock being declared dead at a hospital, after an apparent serious injury, and John and everyone else told that he was dead. Mycroft has shown himself to be so Crazy Awesome that it doesn't seem remotely beyond his powers and abilities to have a death certificate faked for his little brother. God knows he might even be crazy enough to mysteriously produce a horribly mangled body to bury. We'll see soon, however.
    • He organized a plane full of corpses; one tall Caucasian male shouldn't be hard
  • Confirmed. And he's already got better.

In The Reichenbach Fall, Mrs Hudson really was shot, and died.

As a result, John had a massive nervous breakdown, and everything that happened from the time he returned to 221B after being told that Mrs Hudson had been shot, and spoke with her, is a figment of his imagination, or at least very, very questionable in whether it happened the way John thought it did. It's why he can't go back to Baker Street, not because the place is full of Sherlock's stuff and painful memories of him, but because Mrs Hudson is dead and the place has been sold.
  • Jossed.

Alternatively:

In The Reichenbach Fall, Sherlock really was a fake genius, and he murdered Richard Brook before faking his own suicide.

Because that would be an awesome mindscrew for the audience.

In The Reichenbach Fall, Sherlock actually did die.

In the first episode of the third season, we will see John turn around at the grave with Sherlock behind him, walk towards Sherlock, and then walk through him. That's why they had that scene at the very end, to make us feel confident that Sherlock isn't dead, then mess with our heads during third season.

  • Alternatively, this theory will be something they really do, as a mindscrew, and it will turn out Sherlock's still alive, but John's been hallucinating while he waits for him!

    • Jossed.

By the time of the last scene in The Reichenbach Fall, John knows Sherlock isn't dead.

His grief is real, so that he doesn't consciously know Sherlock isn't dead (and certainly doesn't know that he's standing more or less right there), but listen to what he says. We're mostly too busy having our hearts broken to really pay attention to how weird what he says is. Don't be dead? Stop this? Even though John is grieving and in shock, it's still a massively out of character, impractical thing for him to say. Something John saw or heard while Sherlock was on the roof (or perhaps before) put the seed of doubt in his mind: he knows things don't add up somehow. Perhaps, as someone mentioned below, because Sherlock's tiff with Mycroft makes little to no sense and Sherlock never mentioned him at all; perhaps because if Sherlock had "researched him" he'd have known Harry was his sister, not his brother. Either way, John certainly isn't stupid and even at that point he's starting to piece things together.

Sherlock rerouted the connection from the hidden camera to the laptop.

Otherwise, there's little to no payoff for the hidden camera. After they find it, Sherlock is seen fiddling with it, and typing something into the laptop (which is, from memory, John's.) We never see or have it explained what he's doing, and the hidden camera is never mentioned again, so it's odd. He's having a tense conversation/argument with John at the time, where he unfairly accuses John of doubting him, which may just have been a distraction so that John doesn't ask what he's doing at the computer. On the roof later, Sherlock asks a lot of leading questions and confirms a lot, getting Jim to explain his evil plan in quite a lot of detail. Why? Sherlock doesn't like people explaining. He likes to "get it" himself, it makes him feel and seem smarter. He was teasing out Jim's confession. He had the camera (which had sound, as earlier demonstrated when it picked up Lestrade's voice) on his person somewhere. At some point, somebody (probably John) is going to find a recording of most if not all of Jim's confession on the laptop. Possibly, also on the phone that Sherlock is so anxious to very, very carefully throw away gently.
  • If he had the camera on the roof, it wouldn't have just picked up Jim's confession. It may well have picked up his suicide. Which will be handy-dandy if, as other tropers have commented, it later appears that Sherlock murdered him before offing himself.
  • That camera was there at 221B the night the children were kidnapped. If it records time and date, and provided Sherlock was home that night, it may prove to be a pretty solid alibi for Sherlock, assuming anyone still seriously thinks he kidnapped the children (a theory which falls apart if you look at it for longer than five minutes.)
  • It's also possible that Sherlock was rigging the camera to play a previously recorded fake feed of comings and goings in Baker Street, causing Jim to think the camera was still in place when Sherlock had removed it. He texts Jim "Got something of yours you might want back." Jim never asks him what it is. It can't be the code, as that's not something Sherlock had access to and even if he did, you can't pass a thought back and forth between two people like that. It's an object Sherlock's talking about, and the only other object of Jim's he still has is his little knife.
  • The camera not only picked up Jim's confession, Sherlock shifted it at the last minute to a position where it picked up some freaking amazing first-person footage of his swan dive off the roof.
  • Anything the camera did pick up will be found by John, who will put the footage/recording on his blog- which is already popular- and the whole thing will go viral.

Sherlock's Out of Character moment comes much earlier in the episode than anyone thinks.

Moffat said in an interview, “I’ve been online and looked at all the theories, and there’s one clue that everyone’s missed. It’s something that Sherlock did that was very out of character, but which nobody has picked up on.” This OOC moment came about halfway through Reichenbach, much earlier than the roof scene: When leaving Scotland Yard, Sherlock got into the first cab that stopped (which happened to be driven by Jim, who proceeded to play him the Sir Boast-A-Lot video which looked suspiciously like it might have been filmed on the set of a children's show that might be called something like "The Storyteller", but that's neither here nor there). In the original stories, Genre Savvy Holmes more than once goes on at length about how you should never get into the first cab that stops, particularly if you think you might be in danger or being followed. (One of the times he mentions this is in The Final Problem, even! I doubt it's something massive Holmes fanboys like Moffat and Gattiss would just forget about.) He also tells John to take another cab because Sherlock wants to think and "[John] might talk", when previously Sherlock has said that he does better when he thinks out loud. If Sherlock did get into the cab on purpose, it implies that Sherlock, possibly with Mycroft's help, was steering events from MUCH earlier in the episode than previously believed. In fact, if Mycroft went to Sherlock immediately upon realizing his mistake with Moriarty, the two of them would have had ample time to come up with an elaborate plan to thwart him.

Sherlock never arranged the phone call to John about Mrs Hudson.

... Moriarty did. Possibly, it was he who actually made the call itself- he's a talented actor. Why Moriarty and not Sherlock? Because Moriarty was boredly waiting for Sherlock, and he knew Sherlock wouldn't or couldn't come out to play with him while John was around. Sherlock deduced that the call was a diversion intended to get John out of the way, hence why he refused to buy into it or react emotionally- and he let John believe it was true.
  • This seems likely. The episode actually follows the plot of the original story, The Final Problem, pretty closely, from Sherlock's fall from grace, to escaping with only John in tow, to deciding that suicide (or the appearance of it) is the only way to close his story. In the original, a Swiss messenger brought a message to Watson that an English woman was dying, and when she was so far away from home she desperately wanted the company of an English doctor. Holmes knows it's a decoy to separate him from Watson, but goes along with it to spare his friend the trauma of seeing him "die". Of course, in this version, John snookers that plan by refusing to stay away when he discovers the trick.

There are five red herrings to do with Sherlock's death

And they all start with B: the Building, the Bike, the Ball, the Binary and the Body.

Because it all seems too obvious for the fandom to have worked out (mostly) already, and the trolling duo that are Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss probably set it up this way so they can giggle at the incredibly wrong fandom being diverted in entirely the wrong direction for the next year or so.
  • Nope. The ball, bike, and body were all part of the plan.

Sherlock knew the whole time about Mycroft's mistake, and Mycroft helped him fake his death

It's extremely far-fetched that, even given their icy relationship, Mycroft wouldn't tell Sherlock that he'd given information to Moriarty and as such had freakin' assassins on his trail. He's protective of Sherlock. He wouldn't just let John know and hope John would a) tell Sherlock, and b) be able to protect him. There was some sort of agreement between Mycroft and Sherlock which meant that they had to avoid contact (so Mycroft would fall under Moriarty's radar and not be made a target if and when shit started getting real). Mycroft's initial meeting with John was deliberately to give John the impression that the two weren't on speaking terms just then. John is astonished that Mycroft apparently wasn't going to tell Sherlock about the assassins; Mycroft explains something extremely vague about "old scores", which John doesn't entirely buy. After all, they seem on okay terms after The Hounds of Baskerville. There's nary a text between them in this episode and that's very suspicious. As for Mycroft's role in his brother's "death", while Molly can no doubt do creative things with bodies and autopsy reports and such, Mycroft could relocate Sherlock and create him an entirely new identity. Among other things.
  • This would also be in keeping with the original stories, in which it's revealed in "The Empty House" that Holmes only informs Mycroft that he's faking his death so that Mycroft can manage his affairs in London until he's ready to resume his normal life.
  • I have to wonder about why Mycroft seemingly told Moriarty all about Sherlock and then let him go. Did Moriarty escape somehow or is it a part of Mycroft's and Sherlock's elaborate plan to bring down Moriarty's network of spies and criminals?
  • It wasn't a mistake at all; it was all part of the plan.

How Sherlock survived his suicide and faked his own death.

The episode title is "The Reichenbach Fall" instead of the "Final Solution", why? Because Reichenbach translates to Richard Brooke. Richard Brooke is the one who fell of the roof, not Sherlock. Moriarty had some kind of face mask to make himself look like Sherlock, that is why the kidnapped little girl was afraid of Sherlock when she saw him and that is how Moriarty's body ended up looking like Sherlock.

  • Sherlock was being watched while on the rooftop, with his friends' lives hanging in the balance. There's no way he could have done anything odd up there without endangering them. Plus, the camera work has been very careful to show us that it is Sherlock, alive, who talks to John on the phone and jumps down afterward. Rather than a Gory Discretion Shot, the camera is kept on his falling body the entire time. No, more likely that he took his chances and did what he could to improve them - it's not that high a fall. With the right trajectory (he falls very gently into it, and you'll notice he keeps his arms and legs spread out during the fall to slow himself down as much as possible) and the body kept loose and relaxed (which can also be achieved with a drug), serious damage can be avoided. Plus, it would kind of undermine the whole badassery and heartwrenching-ness of his farewell to John. No, far more poignant for him to have taken a significant risk. Also, he was playing with a rubber ball beforehand. Pressing a rubber ball into your armpit cuts off your pulse in that arm. Ergo, the Law of Conservation of Detail states that it was him down there on the pavement.
    • Plus, it was Sherlock who chose the meeting place.
  • And in terms of the need to furnish a body for official purposes and assuming a closed casket or cremation...Molly's father died recently, didn't he? And didn't he remind her a bit of Sherlock?
  • My Dad had an idea; what if Sherlock was so insistent that John stay where he was not just because of the sniper, but because he'd managed to set the biker up? That way, John would be too disoriented - if he wasn't already - to notice something off. But beyond that, I'm not entirely sure.
  • Another very likely theory is that Sherlock fell into the laundry truck.
    • He fell in the truck, which was manned by accomplices that dumped a bashed up body Molly had doctored to look like Sherlock on the curb. Truck drives away, unnoticed in the excitement.
  • They used an airbag, an the Homeless Network. Molly helped.

'The Reichenbach Fall'.
The title of the upcoming story actually refers to three falls, Jim who will be a fall guy for the real mastermind either the real Moriarty or Mycroft, Sherlock will fall for the ruse and thirdly Jim will die by falling probably from the top of either a hotel called the Reichenbach or an office building owned by a company called Reichenbach.
  • They've already had two fake-outs regarding Moriarty's identity (Mycroft and Jim from IT). A third would result in massive eye-rolling from the audience (plus it would completely gut the scene at the swimming pool).

Sherlock will fake his death at the end of "The Reichenbach Fall" because he's gotten too famous to operate properly
  • The opening of "A Scandal in Belgravia" is all about this, it was the real world reason why Conan-Doyle did it and Moffat's already made it the central theme of Doctor Who Season 7.
    • Confirmed, somewhat. The faked-his-death-part was Sherlock needing to protect John, Mrs. Hudson, and Lestrade from being offed by Moriarty's snipers, and the suicide was the end of an elaborate set-up by Moriarty to completely wreck Sherlock's reputation through the media, which Jim couldn't have set up without Sherlock's recent media attention.
      • Not too famous to operate properly.

1895 will turn out to be a code, password or some other form of secret message. Just not from Irene.
  • Personally, I would have trouble NOT using it as such as soon as it was mentioned to be stuck like that.
  • Me and a friend of mine started trying to crack the code and found a possible solution- in the poem "221B" by Vincent Starret, he says "and it is always 1895". 1895 is used as a generic period in which Sherlock Holmes's stories are set. If you think that Sherlock said something along the lines of "it's frozen at 1895" (or, in other words, "it's always 1895"), it could just be an in-joke. Of course, that'd be so anticlimatic I might die a little inside, so...

Irene is dead
This was actually my first thought in watching the episode. At the end of A Scandal in Belgravia, Sherlock can tell John is lying about Irene and knows she's dead. The apparent flashback is actually just Sherlock deducing what happened to her and how he could have saved her.

Mycroft knows that Irene is still alive
Mycroft is a practical man. If he wants John to tell Sherlock that Irene is alive in America, he tells him that she's alive in America, he doesn't add "actually no, she's totally dead. Now keep this horrible horrible secret that will emotionally destroy my brother and never mention it to him". While he doesn't seem to know John that well, it doesn't take a genius to imagine that the guy might feel guilty and tell Sherlock the truth- and even if he doesn't feel guilty, would he take the risk? Hell, for all he knows, John might blurt it out in a drunken night. Also, John isn't a good liar. Sherlock has picked this up, it's likely Mycroft did as well, and would know that if John tried to tell Sherlock the lie, while knowing the truth, Sherlock would read John like a book and figure out the truth in 2 seconds flat.

So, why did Mycroft tell him that Irene is dead if he didn't want John to mention it to his little brother? Because they can't have easy things, that's why. Hear me out: if Mycroft were to tell John that Irene was alive in America and nothing else (the most sensible thing to do), John wouldn't be all nervous and guilt ridden while telling it to Sherlock, leaving Sherlock to raise an eyebrow- what, his brother doesn't know that a terroristic cell tried to kill Irene? What is he trying to hide?

By telling John that she's actually dead, however, he can be sure that he's going to act all weird and nervous (that's what people with feelings and stuff do): Sherlock would of course note it, and understand that he knows (thinks) that Irene is dead- something that only Mycroft could know. That leads to the obvious conclusion- that Mycroft and the Government think that Irene is dead, that they will leave her alone etc.

So there it is: Sherlock is happy 'cause he fooled his older brother, and Mycroft lets him think that while he keeps following Irene closely.

  • I disagree with the central premise; Mycroft had every reason to ask John. Despite being his brother, it seems clear the Mycroft simply doesn't know his brother as well as John does. Oh, sure, he knows some. (That's why he can opine that 'tonight's a danger night' earlier.) But how he'll react, what's actually going on in his head? Mycroft's deferring to John. It's a smart play. Sherlock fooled them all.

Irene's death in Pakistan by the terroristic cell was actually Mycroft's plan to get rid of her.
  • And Sherlock followed them because he knew his brother was going to do something like that, which is the reason he found himself disguised as a terrorist to save her. I think it's a good way to connect the final events of ASIB, and it explain what Sherlock was doing there, since I'm pretty sure he has other things to do than follow Irene's every moves instead of just assuming she can protect herself without his help. And Mycroft, the Iceman, probably just though she was way too much trouble.

The "terrorists" who capture Irene at the end of Scandal are actually British agents.
  • It is unlikely that the terrorists who were planning to blow up the plane would target Irene. Her actions let them know that the British government had deciphered their code. In other words, she helped them. The British have much more to gain from Irene's death than the terrorists.
  • She could have been involved with other groups besides the one that was planning to blow up the plane. Her losing to Mycroft her phone and all the information it contained probably pissed off a lot of different people. But I think this is a cool theory anyway.

Sherlock and Irene had sex at some point after her rescue.
  • I'm not saying it's plausible, but something about the way Sherlock chuckles to himself and repeats "the woman..." leaves room for speculation.
    • Actually, this is a reasonable possibility. Sherlock rescued her out of emotion, not logic or practicality. Having discovered that he is capable of feelings, he might decide to find out why people make such a fuss about sex. Purely in the interests of science, of course.

Tumblr is going to crash after The Reichenbach Fall airs.
There will just be too much flailing for the server to handle.
  • That's not even wild guessing, the Tumblr Sherlock fans feel an incessant need to make a jillion posts repeating the same thing over and over. What would be a wild guess would be if they crashed it with something actually worth posting...
  • So far Tumblr's fine, if a bit hectic. Omegle, on the other hand, has more Sherlock questions than porn. PORN.
  • Of course.

There is a connection between John's hitcount being stuck and the morse code.
  • Attention has been called to both, explanation has been given to neither. If another such thing happens in Reichenbach, I will be justified to use the phrase "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action."
    • Vandal Savage would be proud of your paranoia.
    • The code Jim taps and the "IOU" he leaves Sherlock are both red herrings. Does that count?

Sherlock hurled Moriarty off the roof instead of himself.
  • There's Fridge Logic aplenty with this guess, but my puny, un-Sherlock like mind is struggling to guess what really happened.
    • Good idea, but John saw his face after he landed. Also, wouldn't Moriarty's observers notice the change of clothes? He might have used Moriarty's blood to create the fake injuries, however. Now, we don't (probably) have all the pieces for the puzzle, since John loses his line of sight between the start and end of the fall, but clearly something between the two kept Sherlock from actually dying.
      • * Jossed. Body switch. Cadaver from the morgue, courtesy of Molly.

The cyclist was one of the Baker Street Irregulars
  • Sherlock makes light reference to his own network beyond the police. During the final act, he knew that Watson was the only one who could clearly identify his body in the crowd so he used one of his crew to stall him while he made the switch, as per the WMG above. The mechanics of the last bit...who knows?
  • Well, Sherlock was adamant that Watson not move forward; doing so would have moved him in front of the cyclist, plus there was quite a distinctive noise at the collision (audio cue?). It is definately important.

Sherlock's death
  • First, when Sherlock told Molly he needed her, he was asking for her help to fake his death. It was Moriarty's body thrown off the roof. The crowd around Sherlock's body was actually switching Moriarty's body for a fake body. Moriarty's body and fake dead Sherlock were taken to the morgue, where Molly confirmed them both dead.
    • Confirmed somewhat. Molly played a vital role, but it was not Moriarty's body.

Sherlock needed Molly to send some messages
  • Moriarty only had three snipers: one for John, one for Mrs Hudson, one for Lestrade. He thought those were the only allies Sherlock had. He had no idea Sherlock trusted Molly - after all, he'd dated her and hadn't found her to be anything special. Sherlock knew Moriarty wanted him to die in disgrace - not to mention at least three minions waiting for it - and he also knew he had people who could help him fake it - Mycroft, for one, seems more than capable, and Irene Adler actually owes him one death-fakery. All he needed was someone to get messages to the right people. Someone Jim wouldn't be watching for. Step forward, dear little Molly...
Alternatively...

Sherlock needed Molly to describe Jim
  • He'd already worked out Jim would have snipers trained on his friends, and he also knew Jim had a 'stop' command. Molly actually knew Jim for longer than Sherlock did and although she can't Sherlock Scan at all it's possible that with a good enough description Sherlock could Sherlock Scan him without him being there. Once he knows what sort of man Jim is, figuring out the stop command becomes easier. Then he just has to taunt Jim into shooting himself so Sherlock can pick up his phone and send the command. Once the pressure's off, he can work out a clever way to fake death so as to avoid the wrath of Moriarty's minions.

Moriarty is also still alive.
  • He'd put a lot of effort into this endeavour for no reason other than to screw with Sherlock. And we're supposed to believe he kills himself before he got to watch the big payoff? It's not like The Sociopath not to stick around to be proved right, and it's not like a Psychopathic Man Child to leave before he's finished all the fun. Plus, screwing with Sherlock isn't even all he wanted - he's still got Mycroft 'The Iceman' Holmes as a more-than-worthy nemesis. Basically, the guy had too much to live for to make it believable. And we didn't even get that clear a shot of his death. We saw him put a possibly-fake gun in his mouth, we heard an easily-faked bang, and then we saw him on the ground in a pool of potentially-fake blood. Nothing a man of Jim's intellect can't work around. Also... Stayin' Alive?
    • Could Jim work around Sherlock watching him fake suicide? He's supposed to be Sherlock's equal and so letting him once again win at everything would be - as Jim himself said - boring.
      • Maybe Sherlock knows that Jim faked his suicide, and incorporated it into his plan. That could be why he had to tell John he was a fake; he knew Moriarty was still alive and listening. Either way, Jim's death wasn't reported to the public, else the newspaper headlines would have been about a Murder-Suicide or Double-Suicide, rather than just Sherlock's suicide.
    • Plus, Moriarty has already beaten Mycroft, in a way, with not cracking under interrogation.
      • And he got Mycroft to end up helping him destroy his brother. How much more could Mycroft possibly be beaten?
    • Possible. All Moriarty would have needed was exploding dye packs strapped to the back of his jacket set to the gun's trigger, and for the "gun" to make that loud of a noise. After that, it's controlled breathing, all the way. He could very well have trained himself not to breathe, except for when Sherlock was turned around - which he did, often, and almost immediately after the "suicide".
    • More evidence provided at the end of "His Last Vow", Moriarty appears on all television sets in London asking "Did you miss me?". He either faked his death as well, or his network was more extensive than Sherlock and Mycroft thought and he had more plans in place for years after his death.

The stop command for Jim's assassins was "IOU"
  • Jim's the sort of man who'll use "Rich Brooke" as a psuedonym just because it cross-translates as "Reichen Bach". Of course he'd already told Sherlock all he needed to save himself. The game wouldn't be fun if the opponent didn't have a chance. 'IOU' is the only message Jim gave Sherlock that wasn't explained as being for some other similar mind-game purpose.

Alternatively, the command was "Snipers no sniping!!
Just because.
  • Headcanon. He really would have done something like that.

How Sherlock Faked His Death
Calling it right now: Remember the little girl who started screaming when she saw Sherlock? The kidnapping victim? Doesn't that imply that there's someone walking around who looks a lot like Sherlock...
  • YES! FANTASTIC! * Not once, but twice, have the tropers here deduced answers to cliffhangers.
  • I was thinking something similar, but a fake Sherlock mask instead. Moriarty would have worn it and one of Sherlock's trademark coats when kidnapping the girl— that'd probably be enough to provoke a response when the girl saw the real Sherlock. At some point, Sherlock acquires the mask; he puts the coat and mask onto Moriarty's corpse and throws it over the edge. It may not look exact, but it wouldn't have to; it'd only have to be good enough to fool the snipers watching. This is why Sherlock orders John to stay— the snipers watching have to be convinced Sherlock's dead, and the only way for that to happen is if John (who is being watched) doesn't poke further and realize it's a mask on Moriarty instead. Fortunately, John only gets a brief look at the body before being pulled away.
    • For all we know, Moriarty merely conditioned the girl to be afraid of men with blue scarves. And he would. Just because it was funny.
      • In the Baskerville episode, they mentioned they were doing human cloning...
      • The EMTs who show up immediately are not really EMTs. The way they just throw Sherlock on the gurney suggests they aren't trying to save his life, but only want to get him away from John as quickly as possible. Unless it's Artistic License.
  • Confirmed. They used that body as the one on the ground just before John was hit by the cyclist.

The series' Jim Moriarty will become a Legacy Character.
In Doyle's original works, both the famous villain and his brother were named "James Moriarty" (Doyle wasn't too concerned about consistency). It makes sense that for the series, another person calling himself Jim Moriarty will appear.

The tabloid journalist was employed by Moriarty

You'd have to be pretty daft and/or blinded by vindictive rage to think that a person who accurately Sherlock-scanned you the minute you met was a complete fraud. And would Moriarty trust a key part of his plan to entirely discredit Sherlock Holmes to a person he couldn't control? Remember, that reporter was at the trial where a jury delivered a "not guilty" verdict under the most suspicious circumstances imaginable. Any journalist worth their salt would be all over trying to find out why. Corruption in the trial of the century? That would be the scoop of the century! And any journalist who did get even a single member of the jury to talk (granted, Moriarty's blackmail would make that difficult), would provide evidence that Sherlock really can do what people think he can. It makes much more sense if she was hired, coerced or (carrot and stick) both. "You hate Sherlock Holmes for spurning you? Let me help you destroy him. I'll make you a rich woman for your pains. And if you'd rather not...what a beautiful picture of your parents on holiday! It would be such a shame if something happened to them!"
  • Then again, Sherlock did deduce that she wasn't all that clever, which is why she hadn't yet hit big. I'd find it most likely that she was so desperate for a huge scoop that she took the first chance she got without giving much attention to checking out the facts or journalist integrity beyond the most basic check of "Rich Brook's" background. Over time she might have figured out the inconsistencies, but by then she would have to publically admit that she did not do the research, and lose her fame, professional reputation and job in one fell swoop, which someone with her personality is very unlikely to do.
    • I doubt any juror would be willing to talk, even if promised anonymity. They all threw the trial for Moriarty so they'd all be too scared to share the information. And anyway, Jim did an extremely good job of creating his fake background. He has so many real details about Sherlock from Mycroft to give his story weight, he probably has been playing Richard Brook since Sherlock got that nickname, and he's good enough to forge the rest of the documents. If it were just a matter of the reporter being stupid and vengeful than it wouldn't have been so difficult to clear up.
    • In our real world, or one as close to it as Sherlock is, Moriarty's ruse would not hold up. either his "Richard Brook" persona would not have sufficient supporting evidence, in which case he'd have to find an incompetent journalist or compromise a good one, or he'd have to have been playing "Richard Brook" for long enough to actually have had an acting career. Now, if "Brook" had existed for long enough to have a YouTube channel, bit parts on TV shows, let alone an entire children's programme of his own which is available on DVD, then someone watching the United Kingdom's "trial of the century" would have noticed that "Jim Moriarty" looks just like the "storyteller" their children watch on Saturday mornings. In our world, where there's a whole website devoted to "X totally looks like Y", Moriarty and "Richard Brook" would be paired before the week was out. Their entry on the Cheezburger network would be Reddited and upvoted through the roof, meme generators with screencaps of "Richard Brook" would spring into being, Neil Gaiman would tweet the phenomenon, Moriarty's Wikipedia page would grow a section entitled "Resemblance to struggling actor Richard Brook", and nothing would play out the way it did in the show. It's much easier to swallow the idea that the journalist was not very good and/or controlled by Moriarty, in which case his supporting evidence for the Brook persona wouldn't have to be very good. And we're not really shown that it is: better investigators than those employed by the scandal sheets could already be unravelling the whole thing by the time the episode ends.
      • The thing is, though, the Richard Brook persona doesn't have to hold up, or at least not for very long. Moriarty's endgame all along was to make Sherlock kill himself, after which the story in the papers will be about the suicide, and nobody will care about the old story's source. Could Sherlock have eventually poked holes in the Richard Brook persona? Absolutely, but it would have taken time he didn't have. And now that Sherlock's "dead" and "Richard" has apparently vanished, nobody's going to bother.
      • Or, alternatively, Moriarty's brother (who in mentioned in cannon) takes up the job of keeping the Richard Brooks facade going. In the original stories, he makes it difficult for many people to believe Moriarty was guilty of anything.
  • What if Kitty Reilly is theimprobableone? Theimprobableone is clearly a fan of Sherlock's work and admires him greatly. So, if Kitty is theimprobableone, she has a pretty good reason to be bitter. Sherlock told her she repelled him, and told her she wasn't clever. Theimprobableone thinks they're clever, and is constantly trying to prove it to Sherlock. Kitty says she's clever and Sherlock says that she's trying to get her editor to notice her. It fits and gives Kitty a reason. She'd probably be willing to believe that Sherlock forced 'Richard Brook' to become Moriarty after what he did to her.

Sherlock thought the binary code in Moriarty's tapping was really a password or IP address for the real key-code

The only people who'd think that a few dozen bits — barely enough to write a few characters in ASCII — is a magic code which can unlock any computer anywhere are Hollywood executives. Sherlock isn't that stupid. That such a souped-up firewall-breaker could exist is just barely plausible (and if anyone has it, it'd be Moriarty). What with all his job stress of late, Sherlock could easily believe that the key-code is real, and that Moriarty picked an insecure password for it. He's already seen plenty of poor information security practices: "Maggie", "I am SHERlocked"...

Irene Adler helped Sherlock fake his death, or at least helped him disappear afterwards.

She has the most practice out of the entire cast at this sort of thing, after all.

The body in Sherlock's grave is actually Jim
's

"You are me", indeed. The video on John's blog seems to indicate that Jim's body was never found, or else it would have been mentioned in the news report. After somehow surviving the fall, Sherlock would be left with two problems: he needs to get rid of Jim's body, and he needs to provide a body for his own (probably closed-casket) funeral. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Also this could pave the way to a potentially funny (or at least definitely in-character) scene in the "Empty House" episode; John is furious that the grave he's been visiting is actually Jim's, but Sherlock can't understand why he'd be upset at such an elegant solution to the problem.

How Sherlock appeared to have no pulse

I don’t know how Sherlock managed to jump without seriously hurting himself (other than just letting his body go limp before it hit the ground would have lessened the impact damage). However, it’s a relatively simple magic trick to make to seem like you have no pulse. All you have to do is put something small e.g. ball under your armpit and press down hard on it. This slows the flow of blood in your arm. If you press hard enough someone taking your pulse, in that wrist on that arm, won’t be able to find it.
  • Sherlock was playing with a bouncy ball in an earlier scene in the lab...
    • Holy Shit. *Mind is blown*
      • Confirmed. VERBATIM. *MIND EXPLODES*

John was drugged with the hallucinogen from The Hounds Of Baskerville at the end of Reichenbach Fall

The phone call at the end of the episode seems deliberately cruel, given that Sherlock was faking his own death - he could have sent John in the wrong direction, making sure that he saw nothing. There wasn't much he could do about the risk factors (the assassin) anyway, so why have John watch the whole thing play out? Assuming that Sherlock's tears are genuine (nothing is certain with that bloke), it tore him up to do it. Why make a point of telling John to keep looking at him? Because he was trying to trigger the hallucinogen's effect. It renders the victim susceptible to suggestion, not downright insensible. Sherlock's phone call heightened John's sense of fear and dread, and outlined exactly what Sherlock wanted him to see: his best friend committing suicide. Presumably, this served as a backup plan if John arrived on the scene at an inopportune moment. It may also have worked if John was called on to identify the body. If John is cornered and pressured for information, he can say, without a word of a lie, that he saw Sherlock Holmes fall from the roof. The incident with the bike further served to disorient John, and prevented him from seeing what was really there.
  • I agree, and add this: the last time John and Sherlock are together, in Bart's lab, John is napping and his phone is sitting on the counter near him. Sherlock could easily have sprayed it with the drug (or coated it in a liquid solution he derived from the original aerosol drug) while John was sleeping. Then, later, he kept John on the phone as long as possible to make sure John was breathing in the drug for long enough to hallucinate Sherlock stepping off the roof (when in reality, Sherlock probably tossed off a corpse, one that looks enough like him to fool a delirious John). The biker could have been one of Sherlock's homeless network, designed to keep John from reaching the body in time to have a good clear look (or take a pulse and notice the body's too cold and stiff to have just died). It's already been shown that Sherlock likes to keep souvenirs of old cases (the spray paint from "The Blind Banker") and it would be just like him to steal a sample of the "Hounds" drug (at the end of "Hounds," he remarked to John about the leakiness of the pipes in the lab that were spraying the drug into the air, he obviously was in that particular room at some point and could have bottled some up). Plus, "Hounds" established that the camera "sees" what the drugged characters see, so in "Reichenbach" we would have seen Sherlock committing suicide, because that's what John saw.
  • Or, alternately...
    • Jossed.

Both John AND Sherlock were on the H.O.U.N.D hallucinogenic''
  • It seems much more Moriarty's style, not getting his hands dirty, letting the drug do the work, much more high-risk, but much more fun, to screw with Sherlock and John.
  • The whole story-teller-Moriarty-cab-scene seems nightmarish, but its not just that, at the end and the beginning, the movements Moriarty makes (During the glitchy patches) are oddly similar to the one Sherlock hallucinates him doing during Baskerville.
    • Moriarty wasn't even driving the cab, Sherlock imagined that too.
  • Not only were cameras hidden in Baker street, so was the H.O.U.N.D drug, hidden everywhere that it might be admitted into Sherlock and Johns blood stream.
  • It's even possible that the entire roof-top scene was hallucinated by Sherlock (We've already seen that the drug can drive people insane) causing him to go bat-shit and throw himself off Barts.
    • That's why on John's blog, there's no mention of Moriarty's body, because Moriarty wasn't even there.
  • John Hallucinated the call about Mrs Hudson being shot as well.
  • Jossed.

Moriarty had a body-double made of Sherlock.
We cobbled this one together after watching the episode—and if they've come up with something that is more convoluted and brilliant than this, we can't even imagine it.

First, Moriarty had a body-double made of Sherlock. He was the one to kidnap the kids—that's why the girl started screaming when he came in, because he looks like the guy who kidnapped her.

Sherlock figured this out, tracked down the double, and killed him. He had Molly bloody him up to look like he just fell from a building (or did it himself), fitted him out with his clothes, and put him in the dumpster under the building.

When he jumped, it was into the dumpster (where there's something soft), tossed out the bloodied body-double, and then let things take their course.

Another component of this (that I didn't agree with) involved the Baskerville gas, which John was sprayed with by the biker. Which is why he was disoriented. I just didn't see any gas being sprayed, or a hint at it, so I didn't think that was likely.
  • I would love this to be true, just so that I could see Benedict playing two characters in the same scene, a la the Doctor in The Almost People.
  • Semi-Confirmed. Moriarty had someone who looked very like Sherlock kidnap the children but killed him. Molly found the body and used it for the deception.

The body-double of Sherlock was Benedict Cumberbatch himself.
It would be completely within Moriarty's MO to pressure a famous (but less so than in our world) actor into committing a crime for him and then killing him after. As Sherlock doesn't follow pop culture, it also explains why he would have no idea who Benedict Cumberbatch is.
  • This also means that, in the Sherlock continuity, Cumberbatch's final resting place is a grave marked Sherlock Holmes.

Mycroft and Moriarty were acting together against Sherlock

It's a crazy idea I know, but this is WMG... ... Mycroft not only gave Moriarty all the information he needed on Sherlock, he LET HIM OUT. While apparently believing that he has the key to any electronic system, which given his other abilities, resistance to all Mycroft's interrogation methods, and evil nature makes him the most dangerous person in the world.

So perhaps Mycroft did break Moriarty, and got Moriarty not only working for him, but fanatically loyal. Together, they brought down Sherlock. Throughout "The Reichenbach Fall", someone is manipulating people through computers (the jury and the vault guards). The episode would suggest that it's Moriarty, but it could just as easily be Mycroft. Mycroft probably has the power to do all these things, with his security clearance as "the key that opens all doors".

But why would Mycroft bring down his own brother? It's hinted in Watson's chats with Mycroft that there is something between Sherlock and Mycroft, a long-running sibling rivalry. Perhaps there is a lot more to it than simply stealing one another's toys; they are both very unusual, intelligent people without many morals, and might have done some very nasty things to one another.

Sherlock is not in on the plot, and in faking his own death has outsmarted both Moriarty (terminally) and Mycroft. The result of this WMG is that Mycroft, not Moriarty, is going to become Sherlock's nemesis in the next series, because after all he needs a new one.

  • More likely than you'd think. After all, since Mycroft practically runs the British Government, he's certainly powerful enough to shut down the paper-thin investigation against his brother and fire a certain biased pair of police officers if he wanted to. Something stinks.

The entirety of The Reichenbach Fall was a massive Batman Gambit by the Holmes brothers
Impossible to explain without spoiling everything, so don't read if you haven't seen the episode:

Mycroft has Jim in some creepy torture dungeon somewhere, trying to get information from him (this we can assume from flashbacks and the ending of the previous ep). They are clearly willing to use illegal methods here, but what they really want is for Jim to give them the info necessary to legally put him away for good. Mycroft has multiple private sessions with Jim where he trades info on Sherlock for info on Jim himself - but "only a little" (as explained in the ep). Mycroft doesn't want "only a little", he wants everything he needs on Jim. So, during these sessions, he uses his Sherlock Scan (we know he can do this from A Study in Pink) to build a psychological profile of the kind of man Jim is. Once he's got this profile, he talks with Sherlock in secret (while John is away shopping or something, I don't know) and they come up with a plan. Mycroft releases Jim (seen at the end of Hounds of Baskerville) knowing that Jim will go to Sherlock. Sherlock tricks Jim into feeling powerful and in control by deliberately making bad and occasionally OOC decisions (he talks about the little boy's kidnapping as if he was actually present, he gets in the first cab he sees despite knowing he's got men after him etc - this last is even something he orders Watson not to do in the books, which Moffat will know). He also finds the pocket-sized camera in his apartment and, for all we know, purloins it and finds a way to rig it wirelessly to a computer which Mycroft is monitoring somewhere. Then he lures Jim to the roof of St Bart's - a position deliberately chosen to make Jim feel even more powerful because it allows him to do the whole forced-suicide thing easily. While on the roof, in another OOC moment, he manipulates Jim into explaining everything, rather than his usual work-it-out-myself-and-tell-no-one-til-I-decide-I-want-to shtick. For all we know, he had planted that secret camera somewhere, and is tricking Jim into the villain monologue as an Engineered Public Confession - only not yet public; only Mycroft and anyone else on the other end of the camera connection see it. Then he manipulates Jim into suicide (or at least faking suicide. I mean, y'know, this is Jim Moriarty) and, as several theories above suggest, he leaps from the roof into the laundry truck below, jumping out while John is distracted by a cyclist (possibly also in on it) and faking death with fake blood, good acting and a rubber ball jammed in his arm to cut off his pulse (we saw him play with such a ball earlier, see several theories above). Some paramedics - also in on the gambit - cart him off to be declared dead by Molly (whom Sherlock has convinced to also become a part of the conspiracy - hence his "what I need is you" line) and identified by Mycroft (who is his next of kin after all). Sherlock remains "dead" for as long as it takes to convince Moriarty's men, thus avoiding any revenge-kills on their part. In fact, he and Mycroft possibly use this period of uncertainty among Jim's men to their advantage by tearing apart the network now that its queen bee has eaten his gun. Meanwhile, after a suitable amount of time that won't arouse suspicions as to how it happened so fast, Mycroft releases the video of Jim on the roof explaining how evil he was, and suddenly the public now loves Sherlock Holmes again. Jim's on-tape confession clears up any mucky loose ends surrounding his crimes and subsequent death. As far as the public and probably Mycroft's superiors are concerned, everything was legal and above-board, if unconventional. Sherlock Holmes reveals himself to be still alive, his suicide having been just one more part of the deception to bring down the now posthumously-reviled Jim Moriarty. Congratulations all round, Sherlock goes home to John and Mrs Hudson, Mycroft returns to the Diogenes Club safe in the knowledge that, with his brother's help, he pulled off the most complex sting operation of his career.
  • Holy crap, yes. (With the possible exception of Jim's suicide which I'm not sure Sherlock saw coming) but apart from that, holy crap, yes. This. This explains all. This had better be canon.
  • Adding to the above, Sherlock's "whole life story" is full of lies. Mycroft didn't give him real info on Sherlock. He made a lot of it up, which will mean that the Sun will have a lot of explaining to do after it's found that their expose on the "Fake Genius" couldn't even get his easily-checked details right. Another step in clearing Sherlock's name in season 3...
  • Look at the part where Mycroft tells John "I'm sorry... tell him, would you?" Now think of that line in a totally different context. John's just torn strips off Mycroft for what he perceived to be his betraying Sherlock to Moriarty. If the above Batman Gambit is true (and it seems likely) Mycroft never did any such thing, or at least, if he did so, it was with Sherlock's full knowledge and assent. "I'm sorry" sounds genuine; but Mycroft may not mean "I'm sorry for selling my little brother down the river", but "I'm sorry for my part in what you're about to suffer, John."
  • Jossed.
  • Partially Jossed, partially Confirmed. The brothers were running something of a Batman Gambit on Jim when they released him, but not quite like this.

The Reichenbach Fall was a massive Batman Gambit by Sherlock.
To comment on the above WMG, while it's likely there is a big Batman Gambit going on, it seems that it’s mostly orchestrated by Sherlock alone. The Reichenbach Fall implies that Sherlock wants to completely disappear for two reasons: 1) he dislikes all the publicity he's now getting, and 2) he realizes his line of work puts the people he cares about (and he's finally admitted to himself he cares about them), like Watson and Mrs. Hudson, at risk. When Moriarty sets his "taint-Sherlock's-reputation" plan in motion, Sherlock realizes that the only logical conclusion to the plan is to make it seem like he killed himself out of shame; if Moriarty would just plain murder Sherlock, that would raise too much suspicions, and if he would let Sherlock live, eventually he would able to disprove Moriarty's false claims. After Sherlock figures out what Moriarty's ultimate plan is, he realizes he can use this opportunity to both get rid of Moriarty and make himself disappear from the public eye. (The WMG outlined above doesn’t take into consideration that Sherlock would want to fake his death in order to disappear permanently, which I think is strongly hinted in the episode.) He plays along with Moriarty’s plan to convince him he hasn’t figured it out, though in reality he’s not stupid enough to think a simple piece of computer code could let you through any security system.

When Sherlock sets up the meeting at the hospital roof, he originally intends to: 1) let Moriarty explain his plan, 2) then kill Moriarty, and 3) fake his suicide. Sherlock wants Moriarty to explain his plan, because he guesses Moriarty probably is gonna threaten his friends in order to make sure Sherlock does what he wants, so he needs to make sure his friends are safe before getting rid of Moriarty. His original plan is simply just to kill Moriarty, and then fake his suicide, then start a new life under a new identity. To the public, it would just seem like Sherlock the impostor murdered the actor who blew his cover, then killed himself out of guilt. This would allow Sherlock to get rid of his arch enemy and still walk away scot free. (That’s why he does the ”I’m at the side of angels, but I’m no angel myself” speech; an angel wouldn’t have planned on murdering Moriarty.) However, while he’s at the roof with Moriarty, he finally figures out what Moriarty’s ”final problem” is: stayin’ alive. To Moriarty, life is so boring that the kind of games he plays with Sherlock is the only thing that keeps him going. When Sherlock realizes this, he figures out that he can actually make Moriarty kill himself, if he can convince Moriarty it’s the only way to win the game. He manages to pull that off. (Some theories, like the WMG above, suggest that getting Moriarty to kill himself was part of Sherlock’s plan from the get-go, but I’d say that is taking Batman Gambit too far; even Sherlock couldn’t have predicted things that well.) Now, with Moriarty dead and knowing his friends are safe, Sherlock can fake his suicide.

The mechanics of how Sherlock fakes his death are not important, though it seems likely that Molly and the biker who runs down Watson are part of his plan. It also seems likely that Mycroft is involved. Presumably Sherlock contacts Mycroft at some point and offers him this deal: I will get rid of Moriarty for you, if you help me fake my death and set me up with a new identity. With the sort of power and influence Mycroft has, this would be easy to do. So, in the end Sherlock’s plan works just like he wanted to: Moriarty is dead, neither Moriarty’s men nor any other foe of Sherlock will threaten the lives of his friends anymore, and he is free of public scrutiny. Presumably he still plans to continue his detective work (how could he not?), but in another part of the country – maybe even another country altogether – where no one knows him, and under a different identity.

The reason Sherlock can't reveal the truth to Watson even after he's successfully pulled off the fake suicide is that he fears Watson will then come looking for him, which would both blow his cover and put Watson to risk again, if any of his enemies wants to get to Sherlock through Watson. He did tell the truth to Molly and (probably) Mycroft, but that's he because he needed them to fake his death, and because he doesn't think they will be in danger. Because of the way he's treated Molly in the past, Sherlock assumes no one will think she is close to him; this is kind of confirmed when Molly isn't among the friends of Sherlock that Moriarty threatens to kill. As for Mycroft, well, a man in in his position can take care of himself, so Sherlock isn't worried about him. Also, because of their estranged relationship, Mycroft isn't very likely to seek him out after his identity switch.

The Major's Sarcastic Confession about aliens in The Hound of Baskerville was true.
Aliens vs Sherlock. How cool would that be?

In The Reichenbach Fall, the person ultimately engineering the kidnap of the children was their own father.
Think about it- there are many references to Hansel and Gretel and parallels drawn between them. In the fairy tale, the children are led into the woods by their own father, who is acting on the wishes of his new wife. He originally means to murder them outright, but changes his mind and simply abandons them. We know that Max and Claudette's father is an ambassador who is apparently innocently in America. There is no mention of their mother in any way- certainly not of her being contacted, so it's more than likely that she's dead. Father has his eye on potential wife #2. She won't "have him" because she's against the idea of inheriting two stepchildren. This guy had the power, money and means to consult Jim Moriarty (he's a consulting criminal, remember?) on the best way to kill his children and get away with it. Jim simply used the situation to ensure that Sherlock was implicated in the crime.

It is somehow significant that Sherlock fell face first
. If you were going to jump off a building, wouldn't you go turn your back and fall backwards? Or at least close your eyes? Sherlock falls face first, eyes open. It looks awesome, sure- but is there another reason? Maybe he needed to watch where he was going or 'aim' himself somewhere? It just stuck out as unusual to me.
  • There was a truck full of plastic bags driving away just after he landed...
  • Confirmed. He was aiming for an air-mattress provided by his homeless network. And this was apparently only one of thirteen possible solutions he'd prepared for the situation.

One of the OOC points about Sherlock's rooftop behaviour in Fall was showing aggression.
We rarely see Sherlock physically strike out against someone, all aggression towards people has been verbal or suggestively threatening. Yet Sherlock hauls Moriarty to the edge of the building... for what? They both know Sherlock wouldn't kill Moriarty, it wouldn't solve Sherlock's situation. Maybe Sherlock needed to make sure Moriarty didn't see something behind him, e.g. whatever Molly was setting up below.

Moriarty had a fake Sherlock corpse, not an actor.
He left it near the children, taking it away just before the yard found them. The little girl didn't scream because Sherlock looked like her kidnapper, but because Sherlock looked like the dead guy in the corner, and dead people don't turn up to ask you questions without some serious shit going down. That body is also what Sherlock uses to fake his body when John came to look.TP
  • Jossed.

Sherlock acted out of character in thanking the 'assassin' who saved his life. This is linked to I.O.U. and Moriarty's plot

The writers have hinted that Sherlock acted out of character during the final episode, and that this gives a clue as to his final actions. All through that episode, whilst Sherlock received various accolades, John had been on hand to remind him to say thank you, because Sherlock is notoriously bad at showing gratitude to anyone. Yet as soon as the assassin pulled Sherlock out of the way of the bus (after Sherlock had got out of Moriarty's taxi) Sherlock shook his hand and thanked him profusely (leading to the assassin's death, but there you are). This is because Sherlock had already worked out the code I.O.U. and knew that his friend's lives depended on him going along with all of Moriarty's plan. If Sherlock had died at that point, then he would not be able to save his friends. The code I.O.U. could be connected to their place in his life, but so far this troper has only been able to come up with I for Inspector (Lestrade). O could stand for 'One' (as in Moriarty saying he was going to get himself a 'live in one'), so that could be John, but if Inspector clearly stands for Inspector (as per my theory) then I don't think the other designations would be so vague.
  • O could also mean (Number) One Man, but it still leaves the U in doubt. Flipped the other way (and still a big stretch) O could be Owner or Occupier, and U could be Understudy.
  • O means One Friend (as Sherlock said it in Ho B), and the U means Una (as is the actress who plays Mrs. Hudson, Una Stubbs). Bonus is that una is the feminine form of the number one in Spanish. Therefore we have the three "ones" in Sherlock's life: the "one" Inspector that could stand him (I), the "one" friend (O), and the "one" person that is a motherlyish figure in both Sherlock's onscreen and Benedict Cumberbatch's off-screen life (U).

How Sherlock survived the Fall has something to do with tea.

This first came through as just being symbolic, but it's still worth suspecting that this could be a plot point; during Moriarty's heist in the beginning of The Reichenbach Fall, every single target shows someone with a cup of tea but no shot of them drinking it. (The banker might have just started to take a sip.) When Moriarty visits 221B, Sherlock makes tea. Sherlock, who wouldn't leave the house to buy milk or reach into his jacket pocket to answer his phone. He wouldn't make tea unless he had a reason. And when Moriarty arrives, he takes two sips while Sherlock simply rests his mouth on the cup. You can tell Moriarty did drink some tea when he taps his fingers on the arm of the chair, and the cup is a little less full.
  • Jossed.

Sherlock was the cab driver to the graveyard at the end of The Reichenbach Fall.

Would explain how on earth he knew John and Mrs Hudson were there, and just so happened to be there. And sort of even serve John right for not checking the cabbie, a lesson he should have learned by now.

Sherlock wasn't faking his death
Sherlock was genuinely trying to kill himself, because if you look closely at his face, it is wet, showing that he is crying, for no apparent reason other than fear of dying. So the suicide might have have been genuine. So how is Sherlock alive, I hear you ask? Someone else saved him without his foreknowledge!
  • Jossed.

Richard Brook was real

The Moriarty that we know and, um, hate was really Richard Brook, struggling actor with a kid's show called The Storyteller. But, he was hired by Moriarty to be his public face so if anyone went after him, they'd get Richard instead. Also, "hired" means "threatened", of course.

Richard Brooke really existed. Moriarty just stole his identity.

It went something like this: Moriarty happened upon a struggling actor named Richard Brooke who bore a striking resemblance to him. Moriarty kept tabs on him for a while, letting the man build up his acting credentials. Then, when he needed him, Moriarty killed the actor and assumed his identity to destroy Sherlock. That is how Moriarty obtained such thorough acting records. He didn't forge them or have an acting career; he stole a man's identity. The man's name being Richard Brooke was just an added bonus, or alternatively, Moriarty stole his identity and set up the Reichenbach case just For the Lulz.

Richard Brooke isn't a fake or a stolen identity

Even a criminal genius like Moriarty would struggle to suddenly create a false persona that was actually a popular and well-acclaimed children's TV presenter and actor who appeared suddenly out of nowhere; establishing a successful acting career takes a lot of time and effort. And in the original stories, Moriarty's criminal pursuits were actually the secret life of a man who, to the public, was nothing more than a well-respected and admired academic; even members of the police struggled to believe Holmes' theories that Moriarty was the criminal mastermind behind crime in London. The man we know as Moriarty is simply living a double life; in public view he's Richard Brooke, respected actor, in the shadows he's Jim Moriarty, consulting criminal. Moriarty didn't have to steal any identity or threaten anyone at all, because Richard Brooke is who he really is.

Claudette (the little girl from "Reichenbach") didn't scream because she saw Sherlock but because she heard him
As Sherlock enters the room, Claudette is looking away from him. She looks up at him and screams. It would seem that she screamed because she saw him, but as Sherlock enters the room, he also says Claudette's name. It's possible that Claudette's fear of Sherlock isn't that he looks like Moriarty or that Moriarty made himself look like Sherlock. It's that Moriarty made his voice sound like Sherlock's. We've already seen Moriarty use a variety of different voices, so why not Sherlock's? Claudette is just a little girl, and if say, she never got a good look at Moriarty (she was kidnapped when it was dark and taken straight to a dark factory), all she'd have to go on would be his voice.
  • Jossed.

Yet Another Theory of How Sherlock Faked His Death
[1] Reference here: rhododendron ponticum.
"There is a toxin refined from the nectar of the rhododendron ponticum. It's quite infamous in the region of Turkey, bordering the Black Sea, for its ability to induce an apparently mortal paralysis."
It's the plant matter they found in the kidnapper's shoe prints.
  • Jossed.

Sherlock IS dead at the end of season 2.
What we see at the end is simply Sherlock's ghost, who is watching John sadly from the afterlife. Ignoring that there's a season 3 commissioned already...but hey, why can't Sherlock be a ghost and still solve crimes?
  • Jossed.

More speculation on Sherlock's out-of-character moment

His "can't you see what's going on?!" attack on John. Number one, it was pretty obvious that John saw what was "going on" from the start and was fully supportive of Sherlock. But more significantly, since when does Sherlock argue with John by raising his voice and hammering his fist into the table like that? His strength, and usual method, is cold logical arguments (for example, the 'will caring about them help save them?' argument in The Great Game.) So why the sudden behaviour change? He's just pulled the hidden camera off the book shelf, is doing something that is never explained on the laptop, and doesn't want John to ask what he's doing or walk around to where he could see it. Something to do with that camera will play a large part in the solution to Sherlock's death in season 3.

The Sniper that was targeting John at the end of 'Reichenbach' was Sebastian Moran

There were four assassins who had moved into flats around Baker Street, two of them were shot. This leaves two alive, which means that either this is a case of Writers Cannot Do Math, or Moriarty decided to bring in his best man on the job.

The Dead Man on the roof really is Richard Brook, and Holmes has never met the real Moriarty
Sort of in the vein of Keyzer Soze. The man running around hamming it up as Jim Moriarty was actually Richard Brook, a talented, eccentric actor coerced into cooperating with a plan and playing a part for James Moriarty. If you look at episode 3 of Series one, he goes to such great lengths to conceal his identity vis a vis the pagers over the phones to his bomb victims, then suddenly reveals his identity for no real reason? He indulges Sherlock out of boredom and sets up the little riddles and puzzles for him to solve, but when Sherlock becomes truly threatening he resolves to kill him...until Irene Adler convinces him that Sherlock still has some use in Scandal... So he lets him live. Then he realizes he needs to discredit Sherlock before destroying him, so he orchestrates the events of Reichenbach... to do just that. All the while this actor is playing "Moriarty" while his wife and kids or some such are tied up somewhere strapped to a bomb while he takes his cues from a Leverage style ear-bud, up to and including his suicide. That's how Moriarty could call off the hits on Lestrade, Watson and Mrs. Norris...because he was watching from his command center wherever the hell it is...and Sherlock Holmes has never even met the real James Moriarty.

Sherlock really couldn't scan Irene in his first meeting with her because he was Distracted by the Sexy
Or, at the very least, because he was so taken aback by something that overtly sexual that he couldn't focus. Yes, a person removing their clothes would definitely make them harder to scan, but I find it kind of hard to believe that it would be flat-out impossible for someone like Sherlock (particularly since, in that very same scene, Sherlock is able to scan some important clues on John that have absolutely nothing to do with the clothing he's wearing). What about the marks on a person's body that would give clues about their health, bathing habits or history of exercise? Hell, what about whether or not they tan? It seems like there's more to that tactic than just "Clothes carry more clues than bare flesh". For me, it's more about Irene exploiting Sherlock's general fear of intimacy, or just an indication that (even if he doesn't show it) he really does want Irene.

Moriarty loves Molly and/or has a past relationship with her that goes beyond their 3-day office romance.

Two important themes were introduced in the very first episode (A Study in Pink) and carried throughout the series: (1) boredom/stimulation as a motivator and (2) love as a motivator. The first has been most obvious in many ways, but for the second, recall that Sherlock utters the line "Bitterness is a paralytic; love is a much more vicious motivator." It is clear that Moriarty's "attraction" to (obsession with) Sherlock stems in part from his boredom with life and all of the "ordinaries" around him and even loneliness: he wants stimulation from an intellectual equal. His games with Sherlock provide some of this. But I speculate that Moriarty is also motivated by love as well.

Regarding (1), when Sherlock figures out that there is a code to call off the assassins, it is pleasing to Moriarty because it means he still has an equal, someone to play games with at his level. This can explain his "Thank You" exclamation just before he shoots himself. But that doesn't seem to be all that's going on there. Why : the suicide? I personally don't believe it was Moriarty's only move given the information we have, unless Sherlock has some more leverage over him that we are meant to figure out. So, back to the fact that Moriarty needs the game as stimulation to make staying alive bearable. Sherlock has just proven himself as a worthy opponent again, hardly a reason to give up... unless the leverage is so good that suicide really is his only move.

So consider: why would Moriarty threaten Sherlock at the end of The Great Game and tell him to stop meddling (even deciding that he can't be allowed to continue and to kill him at that point straight away), when meddling is exactly what he wants him to do at many levels (both to further his revenge plans and to make the game fun)?? I think instead, this threat at that point is about the second theme, love. Sherlock is meddling with something or someone that Moriarty loves more than the stimulation of the game. And here is where my guessing gets really wild: I suspect that someone is Molly.

If so, then this would explain why Moriarty threatens all of Sherlock's friends but Molly. And I believe it is what Sherlock ultimately figures out on the roof — not that he can use a threat of violence to get the code from Moriarty, but that he can hurt Moriarty by using Molly somehow. So I speculate that there is a double meaning to the "You're me!" quote that Moriarty also exclaims just before shooting himself. Sherlock is willing to use Moriarty's love for another against him, just as Moriarty was willing to do to Sherlock (via John). The line, "I may be on the side of angels, but don't think for a second that I am one of them," is meant to signal to Moriarty (whether true or not) that Sherlock shares his contempt for "ordinaries" and is willing to do anything to win the game. This probably does not include hurting Molly directly (especially since I think he still needs her help), but there are other ways that the Jim's love could be used as a weapon against him here.

In this theory, Sherlock may have known about Jim's love for Molly prior to the rooftop scene (although it is not necessary to be consistent). Specifically, if so, it puts the scene with her in the lab in a new light, along with his reply to her question about what he needs as "You". If so, then on the rooftop he just figured out that there was a recall code and then he decided to use Molly as the leverage to get it.

So all of this points to some sort of connection between Molly and Moriarty in the past, perhaps one that Molly was unaware of or forgot about, but not Jim.

Sherlock spoke to someone else on the phone
  • Apparently Watson had something in his ear in the scene and a cyclist knocked it out.
    • Jossed.

Sherlock Holmes is Khan Noonien Singh.
Star Trek Into Darkness shows Sherlock/Khan jumping off of a high place and surviving the landing because he is genetically enhanced.

Sherlock is a Time Lord
Sherlock did die when he fell, but that was his future self. His future self told his past self about the fall and what to do.

The reason the fall is not explained is because it is Sherlocked.
Just like how the Last Great Time War is Time Locked.

    Hiatus and Season 3 predictions 

Sebastian Moran will be introduced as John's Evil Counterpart
In the first two seasons, Moffat and Gatiss (like a lot of Sherlockians) loved playing up Moriarty's status as the dark reflection of everything that makes Sherlock who he is—an unstable, antisocial man of frightening intelligence who looks down on everyone else, loves to show off his skills, and commits crimes because it's the only way to occupy his perpetually-bored mind. If Moran is introduced in Season 3 as Moriarty's surviving Dragon (which seems fairly likely), couldn't they follow the same route with his characterization? In the same way that John is the calm, down-to-Earth friend who acts as Sherlock's confidante and manages to keep him from spiraling out of control, maybe Moran was the coldly pragmatic Only Sane Man in Moriarty's organization who reined in Moriarty's insanity so that his criminal feats never got too off-the-wall to become unprofitable.

In an odd way, a character like this might actually turn out to be more dangerous than Moriarty, since, though he could never match Moriarty's ruthlessness or smarts, he also wouldn't have any of Moriarty's egotism or obsession with proving himself, and he would always take the simplest solution when dealing with people who get in his way. And he sure as hell would never shoot himself just to get the better of someone. Sound like potential Big Bad material to you?
  • Jossed. It seems that the new Big Bad is someone completely different. Moran is simply a double agent for North Korea.
    • To expand on that: The name of the new Big Bad has been revealed to be Charles Augustus Magnussen.

The "frustrating cliffhanger" at the end of season three will involve Sherlock and John parting ways.
Think about it. We've already seen a huge bomb cliffhanger, and they can't kill Sherlock again. So how will they rip our heart out? Emotionally. Sherlock and John will have a huge fight, and then seem to separate forever, forcing the fans to wait a year and a half to see the detective and his blogger get back together.
  • This seems very likely given the insane amount of trust issues on both sides after the return. Not to mention Moffat saying he wants to explore stories where John gets married. The whole series could revolve around John being married, living away from 221b and the boys struggling to still be friends and solve crimes together while John is trying to balance it out with his new family and Sherlock is jealous of "Mary" note  for taking John away. Then, on the final episode, when things finally seem to be sorting themselves out and the three have found how to get on with each other, Mary will be injured or killed in a way that leads John to blame Sherlock.
  • Agreed. This is imo most likely folded into the WMG below that has season 3 open with Sherlock interrupting the wedding of John and 'Mary.' And this could also be be utilized in the (highly unlikely, but still possible) event that Moffet, et al, decide to shift the Ho Yay out of subtext and into text. Firstly, John's been messed up by Sherlock's death, but if he has not bottomed out and eaten his sidearm inside the (ACD canon) three years between S2 and S3, it is highly likely that he would be on a steady recovery. Double points for Sherlock's 'death' forcing John to realize that he needs to make his feelings clear to anyone he feels close to ("not letting things go unsaid again.") Sherlock's return would be a kick in the teeth to John's carefully re-built world, and so while John would be overjoyed that Sherlock was alive, it would a) still be a shock b) result in Sherlock getting punched, and c)leave a lot of betrayal and trust issues. Which John would not get over easily. Even IF the sexual attraction is moved into text, this troper thinks it would be wildly OOC for John to abandon a person he married/was on the verge of marrying for the uncertain future with Sherlock. (Or, actually, to cheat on a new bride with him.) (Yes, yes, tons of shipping fangirls would like to believe this. I don't think even Sherlock is arrogant enough to make that assumption. he's learned that he can't get John to abandon Queen & country for him, for example.) I do think it is very likely that Sherlock, being, well, Sherlock, would alienate 'Mary' almost immediately, only to spend the rest of the season between trying to suck up to her and maintain a deepening relationship with John.
  • Be ready, though: if they do take the route with John's marriage, it's also pretty likely that John will have to cope with his wife's death at some point. In the books, the marriage with Mary Morstan was introduced because Doyle knew that it would be the perfect happy ending to The Sign of the Four, but Mary was essentially dropped when Holmes made the transition from novels to short stories, since Doyle thought it would be too hard to continue the mysteries with Watson as a married man. Readers only got an offhand remark in a much later story to let them know that Mary died sometime after the events of The Sign of the Four. As much as I hate to say this, a future fridge-stuffing seems likely.

Sherlock will crash John's wedding in the first episode of Series 3.

This will be how he comes back. When the priest asks if anyone has any objections, Sherlock will burst in and grab John because they need to go off and solve a crime. (Catch Sebastian Moran?) Sherlock's been ruining John's relationships all this time, might as well go all the way
  • Are you me? Because I was seriously planning to add this before I saw that someone had beat me to it.
    • Jossed by preview pictures. Sherlock is John's best man at the wedding.
    • And now jossed by the episode. He crashes John's attempt to propose, in fact.

In Season 3, Sherlock is going to recreate himself as Richard Brook.

Well Moriarty kind of did suggest it, practically, with the line "you're me." And Sherlock did happen to give Jim a cup of tea at 221B, thereby conveniently obtaining his full DNA and fingerprints. As Irene points out in Belgravia, DNA is only as good as the records you keep. And if you know the record-keeper... and she happens to be awesome...

Sherlock will become a serial killer in Season 3.

He'll be bringing down Moriarty's network. Probably hunting them down and killing them before squeezing them for information. We already knew as early as A Study in Pink how ruthless he can be with his enemies. To the police, it would likely look like a new serial killer is on the loose. A further reason is Dramatic Irony - in bringing down Moriarty & Co., he'll become more like them. Throughout the series, "What if Sherlock Holmes started killing people?" has consistently been posed as an issue, culminating in the blunt "I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them." Even more compellingly, there's the matter of characterisation. By the end of Reichenbach, Sherlock has finally become A Good Man - so logically, the only way to head after that is down. In short: We've explored his good side, now it's time to explore his dark side.

  • I think this is close to a really good guess - particularly if you take the plot of Doyle's the Adventure of the Empty House into account. My spin on this is - Sherlock is allowing the news to get out he is a fraud and is faking his death so he can usurp Jim Moriarty's position (after all he will be accredited for being the man behind Moriarty's criminal consulting). He will use it to root out the assasins network Moriarty has built up. In fact Sherlock needs to because so long as even one of Moriarty's henchmen is alive and free, Watson, Lestrade and Mrs Hudson (and maybe the rest of his friends) will never be safe.
    • Jossed. Sort of. Sherlock spent two years away because he was going after Moriarty's network, but nothing's shown about his methods.

The next three stories will be...
  • "The Empty House," "The Blue Carbuncle," and "The Valley of Fear."
  • "Silver Blaze," "The Blue Carbuncle," and "The Devil's Foot."
    • The Empty House is confirmed by Mark and Moff, The Blue Carbuncle is officially jossed as of The Hounds of Baskerville.

Lestrade will be a member of a "Sherlock was No Fraud" fan club

He's known Sherlock for years, and he has much less antipathy towards him than most members of the police force do. More than almost anyone else, he's seen Sherlock doing things which would be very hard to fake, like Sherlock-scanning people he couldn't have set up beforehand. And, being neither vengeful nor Flanderized into foolishness, he can see that Moriarty could have done plenty of things to make those children react poorly to Holmes. He'll eventually be alongside Watson, Molly, Mrs. Hudson and a host of people whose cases Sherlock solved wearing the "I'm Sure About Sherlock" buttons.
  • If so he will likely be pressured to leave the force over it, which raises some possibilities.
    • The minisode shows the above happening to Anderson, of all people.

John will rejoin the army after the events of the last episode.

Sherlock was not only John's best friend, but also a way for him to stop being bored. Because he was discharged from the army due to injury, John might end up in Afghanistan or Iraq as an advisor or desk jockey as opposed to an active soldier, but because the limp was psychosomatic, you never know. And so the third season will involve Sherlock showing up in the Middle East to save John and his unit from an IED - or John saves a disguised Sherlock from a similar fate. Alternatively, Mycroft will recall John back to England.
  • Jossed, I'm afraid. John's moved on and he's actually in a happy relationship. The Army's probably got no more appeal for him.

Before meeting Jim on the roof of Bart's, Sherlock arranged to send a signal to Molly by mobile phone.
He sends Molly the signal during his "moment of privacy" when Jim's back is turned. During that moment, you only see a head-and-shoulders shot of Sherlock so you can't tell what he's doing with his hands, but listen carefully for the sound effect.
  • There really IS a brief click which may or may not be him sliding his phone open. Well spotted, good sir/madam.
  • Right idea, wrong execution. He sent a message to Mycroft, not Molly, and only after Moriarty blew his brains out.

Sherlock's callous treatment of Molly in previous episodes is because he was keeping her Beneath Suspicion for precisely this sort of situation.
Considering that Jim had Mrs Hudson as one of his targets, he would almost certainly have targeted Molly too, on the slightest suspicion. But Sherlock always knew Molly would be a useful ally if the need arose, so he deliberately maintained the facade that he barely noticed her existence. Even John couldn't suspect the truth, in case he let it slip to Mycroft.

Whoever Sherlock fingered for the Reichenbach Falls painting theft, was just Moriarty's fall guy.
The events of the episode cover three months - which doesn't seem time for Jim to establish his Richard Brook persona. Ergo, he started establishing the Richard Brook persona before Sherlock "solved" the theft, meaning he was behind it and led a false trail of clues (to either a terrified accomplice on whom he pulled the "if you want your family to live" trick, or an innocent party) which Sherlock fell for.

Sherlock will take the job of Moriarty
Moriarty is dead, but how many in the underworld will know this? Surely his contacts will still be coming to him for work, and with it in the news that Sherlock had faked Moriarty, how hard will it be for when they go to meet Moriarty for Sherlock to meet them? He can't exactly go back to normal consulting detective life and has to get his fix somewhere, why not in putting his brilliance towards arranging crimes?
  • Jossed. Sherlock has been dismantling his network, not running it.

Next time John sees Sherlock, he WON'T avoid the nose and teeth
After all, he beat Sherlock pretty badly just for punching him - I can't see him reacting well to the news that Sherlock was alive all along...
Sherlock Hello, John.
John *thud*
Sherlock John?
  • Frankly it would be even more funny if the encounter inverted the book as described above; rather than John fainting, he punches Sherlock out cold, and then has to revive him.
    • John won't faint: Lestrade will.
    • And John won't punch Sherlock out: Mrs Hudson will.
  • In a twist from the canon, Sherlock never told Mycroft he was alive (he only needed Molly). On meeting him Mycroft Holmes will faint, making for one of the most memorable moments in British history (and British television).
    • Correct! John is extremely unhappy and at points, chokes him, punches him and HEADBUTTS him.

Moriarty didn't create Richard Brooke
in just one day. After killing Carl Powers, in 1989, he saw a similarly young and brilliant Sherlock investigating, and began planting seeds for Sherlock's downfall. For the next twenty-two years. He really did host a children's show in the mid-2000's, winning awards, just to set up the moment when Sherlock would come close enough to him that he could enact his masterplan.

The "I Believe in Sherlock" movement will become an in-universe movement next series
Rule of Cool and it would be a treat to all the fans who went out of their way to show devotion to the show.
  • Semi-confirmed. Anderson (representing the fans in this episode) says it to Lestrade.

That Sherlock is alive will be revealed to John by his leaving a trail of clues.

Because that sounds like something Sherlock would do- he's been urging John for two seasons to improve his deductive faculties and to see rather than just observe. Once he was reassured that neither he nor John would be endangered by his reappearance, he'd be smart enough to leave enough inconsistencies and evidence to function as clues until John works it out. And then, predictably, not see a problem with this and wonder why John is so upset at him over it. The actually face-to-face reunion? The end of the first season 3 episode, not the beginning.
  • Jossed.

In Season 3, Jacob will try to prove Sherlock's innocence to the world.

Jacob Sowersby is one of the characters that are pretty much exclusive to the blogs. He is Sherlock's No. 1 fanboy, is quite obsessive about him and has some (harmless) stalker-ish tendencies. In this video, he shows off his huge collection of stuff related to Sherlock Holmes, including newspaper articles and all. If the "I believe in Sherlock Holmes" movement existed in the actual Sherlock-verse, Jacob would probably be the one to start it. It is possible that he (along with other fans) will go through his collection and point out why Sherlock can't have committed all of those crimes he has solved himself, as Moriarty wanted to make everyone believe.

The Reunion will take place in the lab at Barts.

It's the place where Sherlock and John first met and also the place where they had their last face-to-face conversation before the fall. It would only be fitting that it's where they meet again.
  • Jossed. Sherlock crashes a private dinner between John and his to-be fiancee.

Moriarty is dead, but that won't stop him

Moriarty was able to blackmail people he wouldn't even know the identities of beforehand while in prison. This means he's got to have a network of accomplices, and maybe also sleeper computer programs set to do something at a specific time. He might well have plans in place for any number of activities in his name after his death.

John will track Sherlock down by his mobile phone.

John obviously knows Sherlock's phone was on him at the time he died, because he called him on it. So: phone goes missing. It takes the grief-stricken John a while to process how odd this is that even a mangled phone wasn't found on the body. [Edited to add: or that a phone was not found at all.] One day, out of grief and honest curiosity, he tracks down the phone by its internal GPS. He finds out it's in the building he's currently standing in. note  He calls it. And somewhere off to the side, hears it ringing... Sherlock will no doubt congratulate John (in his veiled-insult kind of way) on his deductive skills using his experience with the cab driver case to track him down. note  Seconds later, he'll probably get punched in the face.

  • Except it was implied that John saw Sherlock toss his phone away, hence why he stopped talking to him on his mobile and called out; "SHERLOCK!" Theory could still work though if no phone was found on the roof.
    • John called out to him because, just prior to throwing the phone back, Sherlock hung up on him. He was too far away to have effectively seen what Sherlock did with the phone, though he may have seen the (reasonably subtle) arm movement. That Sherlock made the effort to quite gently throw the phone behind him may also imply that he wanted it to be recovered by an accomplice (Molly?) at some point in the ensuing post-jump drama. It's unlikely that Sherlock uses his phone simply to text and call- he probably has important information on there that he wanted to keep.

Harry Watson will appear in Season 3
Played by Catherine Tate. Her sympathy about Dr Watson's insistance that "we're not a couple" will be evident, as she and another Doctor frequently had to assure people they weren't a couple either.

Season three will begin with John Watson reading a newspaper in his (not 221B) sitting room - turning to his wife Mary - and saying "Hmm... seems Sherlock Holmes is alive."

Because TPTB are evil, and know canon inside out. They've set us up for an emotional reunion - or a faint - so that's what we won't get.

And Moffat has already said “He and Holmes don’t always live together and I think that’s become a lazy way of doing Sherlock Holmes – they always live together. They didn’t actually and why would they? Nobody flat-shares forever, so there’s loads of details we can get in there.”

But I quite like the notion "Anthea" will turn out to be Mary.
  • Jossed. Thankfully.

John will be using his cane again at the beginning of series three.
At some point his psychosomatic pain will return because he doesn't have his little adventures with Sherlock to distract him from it, and the trauma of Sherlock's apparent death will bring back all the angst from coming home from the war. Because what better way to continue to break our hearts? Could be Sherlock seeing him this way that prompts him to show himself again.
  • There were signs the pain had returned at the end of the last series. This is almost certainly true.
  • Alternately, he uses the cane, but doesn't actually need it. Instead, it makes him look like less of a threat to assassins, and is also a handy weapon that's not illegal. (It's implied that he's not, strictly speaking, supposed to have that gun.)

Moriarty's crime web will be destroyed in Series 3.
In the original canon, Moriarty's gang - save a few especially dangerous elements - was rounded up by the police before Holmes vanished. With Sherlock discredited, however, and Jim Moriarty's very existence in doubt, the framework Jim set up is still active. Sherlock did some damage during the Hiatus, but the real work will take place after "The Empty House" and will probably be one of the main threads of Series 3.

Alternatively,

Sherlock is currently tearing down the network all by himself.
He will return to life in "The Empty House" to deal the finishing blow (probably Moran, with a twist or two), restore his name, and then collapse. Episode 1 will be partly based on "The Reigate Puzzle", with Europe ringing with Sherlock's name and John's blog flooded with congratulatory comments and spam.
  • Correct! That is in fact why he's spent two years absent.

John has been taking on Sherlock's job as a consulting detective without him in the hiatus.
Semi-successfully, albeit dealing with less serious crimes than Sherlock would.
  • Jossed: he's working as a normal doctor.

There will be an episode about The Giant Rat of Sumatra. Or, at least, that incident will be presented as more than a footnote.
In one of the original stories, Holmes alludes to "the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared". One of the one-word hints about Season 3's content is "rat". You do the math.
  • Possible, but it seems unlikely. The incident is alluded to in that the finale of "The Empty Hearse" takes place at a Tube station that never actually opened, named Sumatra Road.

In the Sherlockverse, Moran is a woman
When Moffat and Gatiss gave "Rat" as one of their one-word clues about Season 3, a lot of Sherlockians naturally assumed that it was a reference to "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", where the word "rat" was a Dying Clue that helped Holmes and Watson figure out a killer's identity. Incidentally, that story has also been a minor source of curiosity for Sherlockians over the years because it includes a brief appearance by a woman named Patience Moran (one of the witnesses to the murder), who coincidentally has the same last name as Moriarty's right-hand man. As of now, the fandom is kind of universally assuming that Sebastian Moran will at least put in an appearance in the Season 3 premiere, since Gatiss has confirmed that it will be loosely based on "The Empty House". Put two and two together.
  • Kinda jossed. Moran is an MP. However, Mary Morstan here is a composite character between Moran and ACD canon Mary Morstan.

One of Season 3's episodes will be an adaptation of "The Boscombe Valley Mystery"
Based on the release of the clue "Rat." There have been theories that it will be "The Adventure of Sussex Vampire", which makes a reference to "The Giant Rat of Sumatra", but I think it'll actually be "The Boscombe Valley Mystery." It's just the kind of obscure reference an obvious die-hard Sherlock Holmes fan like Moffat would make. Just look at the Mythology Gag list on the main page for proof.
  • Not to mention that we know that Sebastian Moran has to show up, in some form or another, since we know that the first episode will take some inspiration from "The Empty House". "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" includes a brief appearance by a random woman named Patience Moran—which would also be the kind of Mythology Gag that Moffat and Gatiss would slip in. Maybe they'll combine the plots of both stories, or just combine both characters to make this version of Moran a woman.
    • Or, they'll combine three different characters: John, meet Mary Moran.

Harry Watson will die
Either in Season 3 or between seasons 2 and 3. In the original stories, Watson's alcoholic brother is dead when we first hear about him. In "The Empty House", Watson is mourning the death of his wife as well as Holmes, and his bereavement was part of what motivated Holmes to come back. John doesn't have a wife in this version, so the death will be someone else who was close to him but not particularly plot-important: his sister. Add this to the fact that Season Three's first episode is to be called "The Empty Hearse"- suggesting that a funeral will be a major part of the plot (It could just allude to Sherlock faking his own death, but that funeral was two years ago). Sherlock comes back after hearing about Harry's death- not to comfort John, but to solve a mystery at the funeral!
  • Details of her death will be briefly mentioned in the show itself ("Overdose" etc) but will be expanded on with greater tragic detail in John's blog.

In Season 3, Amanda Abbington will play...
  • Mary Morstan seems to be a bit obvious, but think about it- she is just about the only actress who could make the Johnlock shippers reconsider their OTP- or at least, accept the idea of John in a serious relationship with someone other than Sherlock.
    • As of now, it's been confirmed that the second episode of Series 3 will be called "The Sign of Three" (an obvious reference to "The Sign of Four", where Mary was introduced). Confirmed that she's playing Mary.
  • Harry Watson would be a surprising twist, to say the least. Might be combined with the above WMG for a serious Tear Jerker.
  • A gender-flipped Sebastian Moran. (See the earlier WMG about the character being combined with Patience Moran from "The Boscome Valley Mystery."

One of the episodes will air on January 6, 2014
It's Sherlock's 160th birthday! How could they not? Alternatively, they'll release a minisode, book, web extras or other special content to commemorate it.
  • Sadly, no.

Season Three takes place in the year 2015 or 2016
This would allow for the canon three years to have passed since Sherlock's "death", and also means that there need not be another time skip between Season Three and Season Four.
  • Or 2014. The first series of Sherlock took place in 2010 when the show first aired. Series two, by the end of the first episode, was set in 2011, one year behind real life.
    • Actually, the dates are kept ambiguous in the show, but this blog post states that "A Scandal in Belgravia" took place in late 2011/early 2012 (so most of Series 2 was already set in the near future at the time of airing.)

Mary Morstan will marry Harry instead of John
But Sherlock will mistakenly think that John is the one who's getting married and will crash the wedding (as predicted above). Think about it. This would allow Mary to be introduced as a character, and more importantly as a Watson, without stepping on the toes of those who would prefer John not end up with her.
  • Jossed. She's definitely with John.

When Mary first meets John, she will get his name wrong.
She'll call him "James" by mistake.

Sherlock will assume the second identity "Sebastian Moran" while faking his death
In his video at Comic-Con, Cumberbatch cryptically hinted at the possibility of him playing a second character in the third series. Considering all the theories floating around about how Sebastian Moran will be introduced in Series 3 (i.e. he'll be a woman, he'll be a Composite Character, he'll be John's Evil Counterpart, etc.) it seems like it would be far too simple for Moffat and Gattiss to make him a straight-up evil hitman. So, instead, Sherlock will temporarily become an assassin under a fake identity as a way of infiltrating Moriarty's organization—thus making him and Moran the same person.

Instead of Moran's reappearance heralding Holmes' return (like in the original stories), Sherlock's return will begin with him abandoning the identity of Moran and reassuming his old identity. This would provide a clever way of playing around with theories about how Holmes spent those three years faking his death in Europe (a popular Sherlockian past-time, as Moffat and Gattiss can attest), as well as putting a darker spin on the question of how faking his death affected him. And it would bring a hell of a lot of tension into Sherlock and John's relationship.
  • Jossed. Moran is his own character.

Mary Morstan will have chronic illness.
Or, alternatively, a clinical illness. A Mythology Gag / nod to the fact that both of Watson's wives in the original stories died, and it'd be interesting if she was hiding it from John, but Sherlock deduces it.

Sherlock will comment on John's Blog in the lead up to Series 3 under the alias 'Sigerson'.

It would be such a good nod to the original Empty House.

The blog commentor "Sauron1976" will turn out to be another character played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
"Sauron" alludes to Cumberbatch's role in The Hobbit, while the number 1976 is the year of his birth (note: Not Sherlock's birth, mind you, since we know that Sherlock is meant to be a few years younger than Benedict.)

At Comic-Con, Benedict hinted in his epically Troll-ish video that he was playing a second character. Sarcastic Confession, anyone?

The "frustrating cliffhanger" will be Moriarty's return.
That is, Sherlock thinks he's got it all figured out... until he turns around and sees Moriarty standing there, grinning. Whether it'll be real or a hallucination is left to the viewer's imagination until series four.
  • The details are slightly off, but basically CONFIRMED!

The "frustrating cliffhanger" will involve John dying
It's called "His Last Vow." What's the last vow people make when they get married? 'Til Death Do us Part.
  • It could also involve Mary dying.
    • Jossed

    Season 3 

The writers had no plans for Sherlock return
They expect the fans to find every possible theories, and simply choose among them.

Molly's boyfriend is the main antagonist of season 3
Not only they both have blue eyes (which dilate like Sherlock's), but Sherlock looks very closely at him near the end. Not to mention that Molly has a reputation for dating sociopaths.
  • Interestingly, either Sherlock doesn't scan him, or we don't see his scan of him and he chooses not to voice it. Either way, it's odd.
    • Jossed- as seen below, Tom is just Tom, and Molly's not even engaged to him anymore by the third episode.

Something is off about Mary Morstan.
Sherlock's deduction of her, among the facts that she's a cat lover and a linguist, is that she's a liar. The baddies text her, not Sherlock, about John's "execution," which puts the idea that it was targeting Sherlock into question. At the end, Sherlock still doesn't know who took John and why. Something is seriously fishy here.
  • Well, she did lie about liking the moustache. Maybe the lie ties into how she's been supportive for John and his post-Reichenbach depression that she's hiding something so he's not worrying about her.
  • Additional evidence in favor of this WMG as of The Sign of Three:
    • Mary is an orphan.
    • Mary got both John and Sherlock out of the house for a significant period of time, and people have already pointed out that the cinematography in that scene gives her devil horns.
    • Mary gets a telegram at her wedding from someone named "CAM" that says "Wish your family could have seen this."

Additionally,

The "frustrating cliffhanger" will be a revelation about Mary.
Not sure what it it will be yet, just that it will involve her and her past.
  • There's a lot of mystery about Mary and her background, and though she's absolutely lovely as a character, something has to come up.
    • Now that it's been revealed Mary's pregnant the cliffhanger involving her death would be even more heartbreaking.
      • Jossed. Mary's revelation is in the show, but it isn't the cliffhanger.

Charles Augusts Magnussen's target for blackmail is Mycroft.
They've already set up Mycroft's reliance on Sherlock with the "What did you do without me" / "I'm not lonely" conversation, we've seen in the past that Mycroft worries about Sherlock "constantly," and there's always the lingering reminder of "caring is not an advantage." Mycroft is in a powerful position in the British government and we know from the synopsis that Magnussen knows the weaknesses of every person in power in the Western world. Mycroft's one weakness is Sherlock and he is well aware of this. Magnussen will be too. He went after John to get to Sherlock, who has more weaknesses than Mycroft, but Mycroft is the ultimate goal.
  • Along those same lines, the "watching Sherlock get beaten to a pulp" thing will come back - but Mycroft will intervene this time.
    • Confirmed.

Tom is....Tom
He really is just a normal guy and that's it. His resemblance to Sherlock probably isn't healthy for Molly but she probably doesn't see it. But he isn't part of any conspiracy.
  • Confirmed.

Sherlock told Phillip the truth
But only because he knew Anderson wouldn't believe it after a fashion.

Tom is Jaume Gauss, one of the assassins in that moved into Baker Street in TRF
He bears more than a passing resemblance to Jaume, particularly with his jawline and chin. It would explain Sherlock's reaction to him in the final scene, which seemed a bit much for just, "He looks like me and Molly hasn't realised." If we believe that Mycroft and Sherlock knew Moriarty's plan all along, Sherlock would recognise him.
  • Jossed

Sherlock has PTSD after returning to London in TEH.
The first time we see him is when he's being captured and kept in a cell, beaten to a pulp, where we see numerous scars on his back. Both old and new. The torturer remarks that they haven't allowed him to sleep in some time before nearly beating him with a crow-bar. Sherlock doesn't seem too traumatised by these events when he returns but there are definite signs he's not quite the same man he was. He uses too much humour as a defence mechanism, especially during the reunion in the restaurant, and he hears John's voice in his head insulting him to the point where he shouts back and struggles to concentrate.
  • More evidence of this in "The Sign of Three." Twice Sherlock seems surprised by some of his deductions, either saying more than he meant to say or not getting as much as he expected, and admits a few times that he doesn't understand something about the cases he's talking about. He also has to slap himself to make focus without getting overwhelmed by the number of people in the room. If not PTSD, there is something wrong.

Mary is a composite character.

She's not just Mary Morstan—there seem to be recognizable elements of the Canon's Elsie Cubbitt in her scenes in "The Empty Hearse". Could the bare bones of "The Dancing Men" actually be running throughout Season 3 and tie in with good ole Charles Augustus at the end?
  • Well, yes, but she's more of a composite of Mary and Sebastian Moran- sharpshooter, Empty House, etc.

Anderson literally went mad.
Sherlock was an hallucination. Anderson hallucinated Sherlock telling him how he did it because he needed closure. Proof of this is the fact that Sherlock referred to him by his first name /only/ in that scene (Philip). We're talking about a man who doesn't even remember Lestrade's name, and that's someone he cares about! ("Graham.") Obviously, Anderson really went cuckoo for cocoa puffs during the hiatus. You might say that the fact that he filmed Sherlock's "confession" to faking his own death disproves this, but this troper can see the following happening:
Anderson: [showing the video to Lestrade] See, I was right!.
Lestrade: Phil, that's just your sofa.
  • When Sherlock disappears, Anderson doesn't ask him where he's gone, but instead seems frustrated with himself, suggesting that he has possibly hallucinated before.
  • In Episode 3, Anderson is apparently working for Mycroft so he's at least sane enough to hold down a proper job.

Mary is linked to or being blackmailed by Charles Augustus Magnussen.
  • In "The Sign of Three" she receives a wedding telegram read out by Sherlock from "Cam", saying "wish your family could have seen this". Upon hearing this, she gains a worried look, enough for Watson to notice.
  • CAM is how Charles Augustus Milverton, Magnussen's literary counterpart, signed blackmail messages.
    • Confirmed.

IF (big if) Mary has the baby and it lives
it will be a boy named Arthur.
  • After Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, obviously.
    • And his middle name will be Sherlock.
      • Jossed. It's a girl.

'His Last Vow' will end with Sherlock leaving the Watsons.
Brace yourselves, it's a long one: At the end of season three, Sherlock will be driven away from the Watsons in order to protect them. He's seen John nearly killed before, and after making his first and last vow at their wedding to always be there for them, it's pretty much inevitable that he'll end up breaking it for drama. Naturally this is extra poignant because Mary is pregnant and will probably make Sherlock the godfather or the kid's middle name. (Sherlock becoming The Godfather is a different WMG entirely.)

Magnussen is able to get to Sherlock via Mary, because John, like Molly, is not allowed to be successful in love. As noted above, one of the telegrams she receives at the wedding is from CAM - how Magnussen's counterpart signs off letters in the original Conan Doyle - and made reference to her absent family, which noticeably scared her. This is presumably the source of threat or blackmail he's holding over her. We already know that Mary is a liar, both via Sherlock's scan and her pretending to like the moustache. We also know she has a secret tattoo, so some kind of gang involvement or prison history isn't out of the question either. The most obvious suggestion is that they're hostages, but it would probably be something more subtle like offering information on how to track them down, or who killed them. Or for bonus crack, she killed them, though probably for good reason, and that's how he's blackmailing her. (It's not guaranteed that they're dead, though. Death doesn't stick so much around here.) The real purpose of trapping John in the bonfire was to reinforce Magnussen's threat to Mary, which is also why she was texted with the clues and not Sherlock. Presumably Sherlock's intervention was all part of the plan, or a lucky bonus. Note that when Magnussen was watching the rescue replay, the camera focused on Sherlock, but the audio repeated Mary's distressed cry of John's name, so he could have been focused on either of them.

And finally, I'm going to assume Redbeard is the scary story of some evil criminal that Magnussen is threatening to set on the Watsons if Sherlock doesn't leave. Mycroft may or may not have been trying to warn him. Naturally he will enter the next season protecting them from afar. Alternatively, he re-fakes his death. Because he's a drama queen. Either way, once again we have a frustrating conclusion (as promised) in which Sherlock's gone and John doesn't truly know what's happened to him. If this all goes down as above, there will be strain on his relationship with Mary but they'll probably survive. Sherlock will reappear after a convenient time gap for Baby Watson to be a plot-helpful age (whatever Moff deems this to be.)

Sherlock is back on drugs.
In the first two episodes of season 3, he has trouble focusing, can't remember things, and says things like, "I was expecting another deduction" several times. Also, his hands are constantly trembling/fidgeting. He's been away for two years, lonely and, probably at times, bored. He went back to the drugs.
  • WOW. Just wow. Pretty much confirmed.

Sherlock is the father of Mary's baby, and the Big Bad will use this fact to blackmail Sherlock
Both Mary and John are surprised when Sherlock tells them Mary is pregnant. If they're not using any contraceptives, Mary getting pregnant should not be a surprise, which means they are using some form of contraception, which in turn means that it's unlikely Mary would get pregnant. But what if Mary had sex while she and her partner were extremely drunk, and they both forgot about contraception? What if that partner was Sherlock? We're shown right from the beginning that Mary really likes Sherlock, so what if they were hanging out together some night, and for some reason they got really drunk, and one thing led to another...? Remember that Sherlock's Sherlock Scan revealed that Mary is a "liar" and that she has a secret tattoo, so it's possible Mary is a much wilder personality than what John believes, and having a drunken lapse like this would not be totally impossible for her.
  • Possibly, but John and Mary do in fact seem happy with the revelation once they get over the initial shock. Given that the Watsons are a little on the older side for newlyweds, this tropette's headcanon is that they didn't want to waste any time in the face of a ticking biological clock, so they started trying, or at least ditched the birth control, prior to the wedding, anticipating that it might take a couple years before they had any luck. Their surprised reaction was not in the fact that they conceived, but in that they weren't expecting it to happen so quickly.

Now, in The Sign of Three, we learn that Sherlock gets drunk quite easily, and that he tends to forget stuff that's happened to him while inebriated. Maybe both Sherlock and Mary were so drunk when they did it that they can't remember how far exactly did they go... So they decide to forget about the whole affair, and to keep it a secret from John, so he wouldn't be hurt. However, Sherlock still has some subconscious memories of them having unprotected sex, which is why he is scanning Mary for signs of pregnancy, and figures out she's pregnant before she herself does.

In The Empty Hearse we see that the Big Bad of this season is spying on Sherlock via hidden cameras. So it's probable he also managed to film Mary and Sherlock having sex. He will use that film to blackmail Sherlock to do what he wants, otherwise he'll send it to Watson. The cliffhanger at the end of this series will then be John finding out about Sherlock and Mary.

  • Ummmm, no.
    • No no no no.
  • Okay, the cliffhanger didn't happen as predicted here, but in "His Last Vow" Sherlock does suggest that John and Mary should name the baby after him (even though it's a girl). Could it be he has subconsciuosly (or even consciously) figured out the baby is his?
    • This... this is a joke WMG, right? Right?

Sherlock will commit murder in order to protect Clan Watson.
We know that Watson has shot in Sherlock's defence before (and perhaps it's time to return the favour), and Sherlock is determined to protect his best friend and his family. In the original short story, The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, Watson and Holmes are hiding in the villain Milverton's study when one of the blackmailer's victims comes in and shoots him. Holmes opts not to turn her in, because she'd spared an awful lot of people a lifetime of misery...and there was no denying that Milverton had it coming. Sherlock tends to be recognisably based on these stories, but diverges from them slightly. If Sherlock himself is the killer, ridding the world of a seemingly invincible blackmailer, it fits the "same-but-different" style of the series.

We know that these two men will literally kill for each other, but unlike John, who shot at the absolute last second (and managed not to get caught), Sherlock is a planner. If he did get caught — or let himself be caught — no-one could deny premeditation. The cliffhanger will be Holmes being placed under arrest.

Note of spoilery interest: the UK magazine Radio Times maintained that the audience will be torn between sniffling and cheering. Having the baddie dead, but Sherlock vanished or imprisoned, would appear to tick those boxes.
  • Alternatively, Sherlock and John will break in to Charles Augustus Milverton's house like they did in the book but the person they witness come in and murder him will be Mary.
    • ...That would make even more sense, especially if Sherlock then takes the fall for Mary and claims responsibility.
    • CONFIRMED.

Magnussen is actually the other Holmes brother.
  • Think about it, he's able to to create his own Mind Palace to store his information. Mycroft more or less turns a blind eye to his activities even though he's blackmailing MP's including the Prime Minister, actively tries to dissuade Sherlock from getting envolved with him, and is visibly in shock when Sherlock kills him.
  • Disgusting. Admittedly cool, but... UGH. And you think those nice cuddly parents could produce someone as nauseating as Magnussen?
    • I don't know. But think about it, Mycroft and Sherlock are pretty cavalier about people's feelings, including their loved ones. But why else would Mycroft turn a blind eye to someone like Magnussen?
      • But Sherlock DIDN'T... and for the same reason (that Magnussen persecuted those who were different) that Mycroft would potentially have. Whatever, I'm the same poster as above who thought it was disgusting, so... if you're right I'll buy you a Slurpee :).
      • He could've changed his identity or something. But it just keeps nagging me that Mycroft didn't do anything about Magnussen, it was just so out of character for him, there has to be a reason.
    • Jossed. When CAM scanned Sherlock, we could see in the sibling tag only 2 names: Mycroft Holmes and M.I.6 with a "see file" next to the unknown brother's name. If that was him, we wouldn't see that next to the code name.

Magnussen learned all of Sherlock's "pressure points" from Moriarty.
Mycroft's men would have shot Magnussen if Sherlock hadn't.
  • Once Mycroft arrived in the helicopter, he was yelling at Sherlock specifically to step away from Magnussen, and his men were shown aiming with their rifles. It wasn't until after Magnussen was dead that Mycroft told them to hold their fire. Mycroft would have executed Magnussen, Sherlock shooting him unexpectedly created a difficulty in his plans.
Sherlock planned to shoot Magnussen.
  • While feigning ignorance to offset Magnussen's potential suspicions, Sherlock had already figured out the vault was a mind palace when he examined the glasses. He's also very intentional about how Watson can be vouched for while patted down during their first encounter yet firmly insists Watson brings his gun. In reality, Sherlock has already figured it all out and decided destroying the vault altogether was the only way his friends could be safe. He waits until the right time so that simultaneously John would know exactly what happened and also be clear of any suspicion. His Heroic BSOD is angst over what he's about to do, not his incorrect deductions. Sherlock went in fully prepared to do what needed to be done to get close to Appledore's vaults and blow its brains out.
Mary Morstan was an Apartheid assassin.
It’s a little bit of a logical leap, but consider the following: Mary is blonde haired, blue eyed, and, judging from her initials, has a name with many components, all of which might fall in line with an Afrikaner background. It’s pointed out that her current accent is very likely not her original one. We don’t know her age, but she’s clearly mature.

And everyone who knows what she’s done is absolutely convinced that John Watson, despite being a military veteran who has spent a large portion of his civilian life since dealing with some fairly edgy dealings (in which he has shot and killed at least one person in cold blood), will be so completely horrified by what she’s done that he will never be able to forgive her. If she was a run-of-the-mill assassin, either for money or for a Western government, it seems unlikely she’d cross John’s threshold for unforgivable.

The South African government, on the other hand, was notorious for it’s death squads, and their shocking actions. If she got her start participating in that, it could easily be more than the Power of Love could overcome.

Either Mummy Holmes or Sherlock is hyperlexic.
To clarify: Hyperlexia is the ability to read without any training prior to the age of 5. It comes with a fascination with languages and problem-solving, a tendency to use complicated and emphatic words, socializing problems, ability to excel in one area but absolutely suck at others, self-stimulatory behavior, literal thinking, trouble with abstract concepts, etc.
  • A fascination with languages and problem-solving: Mummy is a physicist, and Sherlock is a crime-solving graduate chemist who corrects criminals' grammar.
  • Tendency to use complicated and emphatic words:
    • "I shall turn absolutely monstrous."
    • For Sherlock, so many, but let's just cite his best man's speech. "If I burden myself with a little help mate during my adventures it is not out of sentiment or caprice, it is that he has many fine qualities of his own that he has overlooked in his obsession with me. Indeed any reputation I have for mental acuity and sharpness comes in truth from the extraordinary contrast John so selflessly provides."
  • Socializing problems:
    • Sherlock states that his mother understands very little about her children. Perhaps she seems emotionally distant to them because she cannot communicate effectively with them?
    • Everybody's favorite consulting detective has a host of problems of his own.
  • Specialization in one area:
    • Daddy Holmes said his wife was "a genius" but "daft". He could've meant that she's an excellent physicist but sucks in everyday life.
    • Sherlock being a Bunny-Ears Lawyer and deleting things out of his hard drive.
  • Self-stimulatory behavior:
    • Unclear for Mummy - not enough screentime.
    • Oh, Sherlock stims plenty in the series. Twiddling, twirling, flapping his hands wildly... It gets worse when he panics or is deprived of external stimulation (cases or chemicals).
  • Literal thinking and trouble with abstract concepts: Sherlock knows that Jennifer Wilson was a serial adulterer but John had to explain to him what a date meant.

    Hiatus and Season 4 predictions 

Season 4 will have a paranormal element to it.

Mary Morstan is the 'real' Moran
  • Moran's character in TEH seemed like a bit of a throwaway villain, whereas in the books he was Moriarty's right-hand man. The writers were misleading us by giving him that name, when the role was intended for another character.
  • In the canonical story, Holmes lures Moran into the titular empty house, and tricks him with a dummy. In His Last Vow, Sherlock similarly lures Mary into an empty house and tricks her with use of a 'dummy' which is actually John.
Additionally Mary is ex-CIA, a crackshot, and we don't know the details of her past.
  • Further to this: Maybe Lord Moran is her father. Maybe "Moran" is the place he's lord of, and his real surname is Augustus (the name of Moran's father in canon). Maybe Mary's real name is something like "Amanda G. R. Augustus".
  • Maybe Mary was actually John's would-be assassin. Of all the medical practices in London, a ex-assassin would just apply at John's to become a nurse right at the time when a certain consulting criminal sent an assassin after him. What a coincident. Jim is definitely the type to play with his food before eating it, and CAM did mention that she had gone a bit freelance...
    • Fridge Brilliance/Horror: How did they meet? To paraphrase Rick Blaine, "of all the girls in all the cities in all the world... John had to marry a CIA killer?" Really, Mary initiated it- she was his designated sniper, but in order to do it effectively she researched him and his habits and started to keep an eye on him. She started to like him and, after not shooting him, arranged some way to meet him.
      • Which could mean that either a) she wouldn't actually have killed John anyway after Moriarty killed himself, no matter whether Sherlock would have killed himself or not or b) she would have, even though she liked him. Choice b) would indicate that however much Mary was the best thing that happened to John, John was also the best thing that happened to Mary, helping to humanize her to the extent that in His Last Vow she did whatever she could to avoid having John arrested and was careful that Sherlock shouldn't die from his wound. Now she cared more about people. John just seems to have this effect...
    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't John's designated assassin shown in "The Reichenbach Fall", and wasn't he a man?
    • Do you really think that any sane criminal mastermind would put all his eggs in one basket, CAM aside? She could easily be his back-up plan. Besides, there was no indication that Marry actually performed a Heel-Face turn. She did shot Sherlock near his heart, he flat-lined once. If she had wanted to spare Sherlock, she could have easily shot him in the stomach. She was completely prepared to shoot John again during the confrontation scene, thinking he was Sherlock. She did created a distraction to get them out of 221B in The sign of three, possibly to spy on Sherlock. Now, the reason why she didn't just shoot Sherlock in the head may varies. At this point in time, she may not know whether Jim was really dead or not. If Sherlock could faked his death, there was no reason why Jim couldn't. If Jim was alive and she killed Sherlock, he would probably skinned her alive or something equally gruesome. If Jim was really dead and Sherlock miraculously survived, she could easily killed him in the hospital later, while at the same time proving to the police that John wasn't the killer. Either way, she has everything to gain if she spared him. She may care about John but definitely not enough to care about Sherlock - his best friend and the best man at her own wedding, as well. YMMV on this one but she may only love the normalcy that was associated with John and her unborn daughter, not wanting her daughter to have the same fate of an orphan as well.
    • There are hints that there were actually 4 assassins: the three magpies we had already noticed and a 4th one in the music piece Moriarty was listening to- "The Thieving Magpie", the 3 I.O.U that were written and the 4th one Moriarty said to Sherlock face to face. All of these point to a 4th assassin, a more special one, Moriarty's ace in the hole.
    • On another note, why did the writers use specifically the word "ex-assassin" to describe Mary and not "ex-agent"? To remind us about the assassins that Moriarty sent, of course! Mary's manila folder in CAM's mind palace was also quite similar to the files Mycroft handed to John in TRF.
  • Think about how perfect Jim's national re-debut's timing was. There was definitely a spy in there who knew about a definitely top-secret mission and Sherlock's departure time. Mary would definitely know about the time, seeing as she was there. There was also the tiny fact that there's a certain word alluded to season 3 the creators told but hadn't happened yet: rat. The little incident in "The Sign of Three" with the horns also supports this theory. At this point, it would be a plot twist if the woman we knew as Mary Morstan WASN'T this universe's Sebastian Moran.

The next season will, in some way, feature Mycroft.
  • Specifically, whoever it was in his family that he is implied to have killed that proves that he is not given to familial sentiment.
    • As an offshoot of that: there is a third Holmes brother, and that is to whom Mycroft refers.

The "other one" Mycroft mentions is
  • A boyfriend or girlfriend of his who betrayed him. Hence the whole "caring is weakness" thing. Completely random speculation with nothing to back it up.
  • The unknown brother, who CAM referred to as M.I.6, was more likely.

Moriarty is actually dead
.
  • This is someone in his criminal base, possibly Moran, using his name and image to scare people.
  • Alternatively, he really is dead, and what's happening now is some form of plan he set up years ago to to happen some amount of time (let's say 3 years) after his last inputting a passport into his computer. I mean if he was alive, surely he'd have prevented the truth about Richard Brooke from coming out.
  • It's worth noting that in the original stories, Moriarty has a brother...
    • I actually really like the idea of his brother helping out. In the canon, The Empty House was published (according to Watson) in order to confirm what had actually happened in the face of the character defenses brought up by Moriarty's brother after his death. While that sounds a bit more like Reichenbach, I could see them expanding this to having him hold a more central role in the organization.
  • It really isn't all that hard to create an animated GIF of a once-famous person's face and create a synthesized voice that sounds like him that only ever says four words. The person behind it may not be of any relation to Moriarty at all, which makes sense, given that Sherlock is quite certain that he has dismantled Moriarty's entire criminal network.
    • Yet in his post-credits scene, he seems truly alive...
      • The post-credit scene feels more like a Breaking the Fourth Wall type of gag, not something that happens In-Universe. (Though even if it is In-Universe, there's no reason why it couldn't have been shot before Moriarty's death. "Miss me?" is pretty vague, there could be several reasons why there's a tape of Moriarty saying those words.)
  • In the post-credit scene, there was a blink-and-you-miss-it moment when we can see Jim's head slowly turning toward the audience. The quality was horrible and the background couldn't be made out but his suit could be made out. It was the same suit Moriarty wore when he went to 221B to meet with Sherlock in The Reichenbach fall. Keep in mind that in all his appearances, Jim was never shown with the same suit twice, the angle of the camera in the footage was the same as the angle of the camera Sherlock discovered hidden in the bookshelf would have had to Moriarty, seeing as he sat right in front of it - in Sherlock's chair and he did turn his head to look around slowly. It could be safely concluded that this was the same footage. The only people who had access to this were: Sherlock, Mycroft, Mummy Holmes (by default) and maybe Moriarty himself (if alive).
  • Even if he's not alive, his body didn't stay on the rooftop after Sherlock's jump. In neither of the two theories shown in Empty Hearse does his body stay on Bart's roof. Something's up there.
  • In His Last Vow, after Sherlock was shot, we were shown an imaginary version of Moriarty in Sherlock's mind palace which, in hindsight, made it easier for viewers to believe that Moriarty was actually behind the video. Think for a moment. The only reason why they would need us to believe that Moriarty was really alive is that he really was not! It's a double bluff!

Moriarty is alive.
  • He was the main villain of the books, the Napoleon of crime. It would make sense if he is one here as well.
    • He wasn't really the "main villain", as each Sherlock Holmes story has a different villain. And the whole "Napoleon of crime" thing, the idea that he was the mastermind behind the London criminal underworld, was a retcon done for "The Final Problem": it was supposed to be the final Sherlock Holmes story, so Conan Doyle wanted his final adversary to be evil enough that Holmes would sacrifice his own life in order to stop him. However, the fact is that Moriarty appears only in that one story, dies at the end of it, and never comes back. (He is involved in the plot of "The Valley of Fear", which was written after "The Final Problem" but takes place before it, but he never appears in person in that story, nor is he the principal villain in it.) The idea that Moriarty is the "main" Sherlock antagonist, the one Sherlock keeps fighting with again and again, was popularized by later adaptations, but it isn't there in the original stories.
    • Actually no, he was introduced first in The Valley of Fear as the Professor, an unknown criminal mastermind. Coincidently, Mary Morstan was also introduced in the same novel.
      • The Valley of Fear was first published in 1914, while "The Final Problem" was published in 1893, 21 years earlier. So Moriarty definitely wasn't introduced first in "The Valley of Fear". And in "The Valley of Fear" he is referred by the name Moriarty, he isn't an "unknown criminal mastermind", as Holmes clearly knows who he is. Also, Mary Morstan was introduced in The Sign of Four, not in The Valley of Fear.
  • In The Empty Hearse, John was almost burned alive. Later, we were shown a scene of CAM watching a recording of it. However, there was no guarantee that it was CAM who directly conducted it. He could have easily asked a certain consulting criminal to threaten Sherlock. Jim, being the person he was, took the opportunity to do what he promised Sherlock he would do: to burn the heart out of him. The taunting was certainly in his style, too. CAM taunted people by only his actions while still keeping his wordings polite and cultured. Jim, however, taunted people with both. He was a criminal and not a "businessman" after all, there was no cover to keep.
  • We can also safely assumed that the Moriarty video would be subjected to deep analysis by the government, namely Mycroft. His voice could be faked, certainly, but it would certainly be discovered as so. Therefore, it must be made from the real Moriarty's voice.

As a spin on the above, Sherlock's mother is behind Moriarty's apparent resurrection, having adopted the persona in order to save Sherlock.
  • Sherlock's mother is a famous mathematician, who has written a book on the dynamics of combustion. This is extremely similar to the back-story of the literary Professor Moriarty, a famous mathematician who wrote a book on the dynamics of an asteroid. She also seems quite protective of her son, as shown by her badgering him to keep in touch more often in The Empty Hearse, and the fact that she actually attempts to get Sherlock and Mycroft to have a normal Christmas together due to Sherlock's fragile state after being shot. She would likely know about the suicide mission Mycroft was going to send Sherlock on, and would do anything to save her son. Could this extend to adopting the persona and methodology of the most dangerous and insane criminal on the planet? Well, if Mycroft and Sherlock get their genius from her, they likely also get the psychopathy as well...
    • Or she's just evil. Wouldn't put it past her.
      • "Somebody's put a bullet in my boy and if I ever find out who, I shall turn absolutely monstrous." Hyperbole, or foreshadowing a psychotic break and descent into supervillainery?
  • Or she just wanted to protect her son and get his revenge for him after she found a certain USB stick in her fireplace...
  • Furthermore, she certainly has the skill and the resources to perform a nationwide hacking, what with being Mycroft's mother and a famous mathematician and all...

The USB stick survived.
  • It didn't look like it was in serious danger of being incinerated. USB sticks are built to be resilient, espefially ones that contain the whole profile of professional killers. What happens next? That depends on who finds it first...
    • Most probably Mummy Holmes and/or her husband, seeing as it was in her fireplace. There's a chance that it contains sugar-coated truth at best or empty at worse, though, seeing as no sane assassin would conveniently keep her whole life story in a USB stick, which could easily get displaced or stolen.

Mary Morstan's real name is...

Moriarty isn't Back from the Dead; his brother is behind the video, and said brother will be to Moriarty as Mycroft is to Sherlock.
First of all, given the circumstances of Jim Moriarty's death, it would seem highly improbable that he managed to fake it. Secondly, if he indeed is alive, why announce it to the whole nation? Now, the 3rd season of Sherlock certainly gave more depth to characterization of Mycroft and his relationship to Sherlock than the previous ones. Maybe it was partially because the writers wanted to set up the 4th season, where the Big Bad will be Moriarty's big brother, who's like an Evil Counterpart of Mycroft? (The brother, of course, is inspired by the brother Moriarty had in the Arthur Conan Doyle canon.) Just like Mycroft, the older Moriarty will be smarter than his little brother, but also lazier. Hence he had no interest in joining his brother in his intricate schemes, at least not until Sherlock got Jim killed. Like with Mycroft, older Moriarty's pressure point was the affection he had for his brother, so when it turns out Sherlock didn't die with Jim, he finally puts his considerable talent into full use by coming up with a grand scheme of revenge against Sherlock. The video of Jim is just a bit of misdirection to take Sherlock off the older Moriarty's trail; he probably has also stolen Jim's body to make it look like Jim really is Back from the Dead.
  • There's also a theory that the Moriarty sibling is his sister, Janine. Of course, having a female Moriarty was already done on Elementary, but who knows...
    • Well yeah, obviously all of the above can apply to a sister just as well as to a brother. As for the sister being Janine, is there any evidence for that? If Janine is a criminal mastermind, why was she working as Magnussen's assistant? Maybe to get something from him, but what? If she's Moriarty's sister and she's as smart as him, she should've figured out Magnussen's "files" only exist in his head, so there's no way of getting them from him.
    • Janine clearly has some sort of Dark Secret she doesn't want getting out, otherwise she wouldn't be willing to put up with Magnussen. And both Janine and Jim are Irish. And Moriarty's only named canon sibling was named James, which looks a bit like a less-feminine version of "Janine" if you squint.
The "other one" whom Mycroft mentioned is Jim Moriarty
The way he said it implied it was another brother. Presumably one who was disowned when Sherlock was young, since Sherlock doesn't seem to remember having another brother. It would make sense to assume, given the pattern of Sherlock and Mycroft, that the third Holmes brother would also be ludicrously intelligent and a sociopath. And, in the book canon at least, part of how Moriarty's intelligence manifests is through an incredible ability with mathematics. Sherlock's mother is a mathematician. When Mycroft says "You know what happened to the other one", he refers to his capturing Jim and eventually releasing him only to immediately help Sherlock bring him down. And if Jim is indeed still alive, it may be because Mycroft uncharacteristically allowed sentiment to get the better of him for once and helped him fake his death on the condition that he keeps his head down from now on - a condition which Jim has now broken, so it will be interesting to see how Mycroft reacts to that.

There have always been two James Moriarties - twins a la The Prestige
  • In The Reichenbach Fall, when Moriarty is revealed as the cab driver, he's completely clean-shaven. At most a few hours later, Holmes and Watson encounter him again as 'Richard Brook' - with a growth of stubble far beyond what could plausibly grow in the allotted time.
  • "Sorry, boys - I'm sooo changeablllle! It is a weakness with me..."
    • One twin loved Sherlock and wanted to keep him alive as long as possible. The other hated him and wanted to kill him as quickly as possible. The one who left the swimming pool loved him, it was the other one who came back a few minutes later.
      • It was the one who hated him that committed suicide to ensure Holmes' demise. Now that Holmes is back, the remaining twin's love has turned to hatred far more ferocious than that of the dead twin's.

Mycroft is responsible for the Moriarty video
  • Sherlock is Mycroft's pressure point. Despite his protests to the contrary, he's fond of his "stupid little brother," even saying at their parents' house that he'd be heartbroken if Sherlock died on that MI6 suicide mission. So, the Moriarty video, which he definitely had access to, was a ruse to get Sherlock off said mission; this is what Lady Smallwood actually authorized, with all involved being intentionally vague about it in the committee meeting. She may have also authorized/recommended a pardon, effective after "Moriarty"'s defeat, as thanks for killing the man responsible for blackmailing her husband to death.

The returned 'Moriarty' is a surgically altered Sherrinford Holmes
  • No particular justification beyond Mycroft's apparently superfluous mention of 'the other one' in 3x03.

This time, Moriarty won't overlook Molly
Everyone else has been involved directly in Sherlock's cases at some point - it's her turn.
  • This is almost a given, seeing as hers was one of the reactions we were shown in the end of His Last Vow, giving us a hint that she was now counted as one of Sherlock's friends. Also, she helped Sherlock fake his death and got away with it just because Jim dismissed her. He (if alive) wouldn't make the same mistake twice.

Moriarty killed Tom.
Related to the above - Moriarty, assuming he's alive, knows by now that Molly is just as important to Sherlock as John et. al. What better way to immediately make someone vulnerable than by offing their fiance? It also explains why, in lieu of explaining anything to Sherlock, Molly just screams at him to not talk about Tom - she's in the middle of a grieving process and has to deal with the other man she (once?) loved going back to drugs at the same time.

Mary Morstan will die.
  • She was killed off offscreen in ACD canon.
  • As an above WMG theorized, Mary might be John's would-be-assassin and her possibly not-so-Heel-Face Turn.
  • A baby and a wife would certainly change the relationship between John and Sherlock, which was the main emphasis of the show, and Status Quo Is God.
  • After John had married Mary, there are evidences that Sherlock had gone solo again and John had stopped posting about Sherlock, seeing as it was Sherlock, not John, who posted The Sign of Three and that was the man's wedding. If they want to make a 4th and 5th seasons, Mary would need to go. Domestic bliss didn't suit John at all. It also didn't endear him to the legion of slash fangirls who makes up a large part of the show's fans.
  • Offscreen romance was usually frowned upon. Amanda Abbington was Martin Freeman's real life partner.
  • That and Amanda Abbington had just dyed her hair black recently.

Alternatively, Mary Morstan will not die.
  • Mr. Holmes tells Mary that his wife gave up a promising academic career to raise their sons. Mary will do the same - staying at home and raising the Watson baby, leaving John free to solve crimes with Sherlock without interfering in that dynamic.
    • And Mary Morstan was such a classical housewife...
      • Well, she did leave her assassin life then settled down into married life and, unlike John, was not having PTSD nightmares about the good old days of killing people. She was willing to commit murder to keep her past a secret and, if she and the baby live, someone will need to take care of it. She obviously wanted to leave her past behind her and this would be one way to do it.
      • Well, she did tagged along with John to a drug den while she was pregnant at an ungodly hour for her neighbor's kid. So, no. She doesn't seem like the type to just retire like that. Besides, if John just leaves her and the baby at home, it wouldn't be fair for the them. Mary married a caring and responsible John Watson, not a John Watson who leaves her at odd hours to run after the best friend with whom he has a large amount of Ho Yay with. She's his wife. She must know that before he met her, almost everyone around them thought that Sherlock and John had been a couple. She had read his blog, so she would know that before her, Sherlock was the best thing that had happened him. Any sane woman won't stand for that kind of marriage life.
      • John tagging along with Sherlock on crime investigations isn't the same thing as abandoning Mary, so I'm not sure how it's not fair to her. If the baby lives, someone will have to take care of it and it's not a ridiculous conclusion that it might be the baby's mother. Why are you arguing so vehemently against this? It's just a theory based off the brief comment Mr. Holmes made to Mary in "HLV" about Mrs. Holmes being a stay-at-home mum.

The other Holmes brother will be the Big Bad of Series 4.
The 'other one' was the middle child of the Holmes family who joined M.I.6 but later went rogue and murdered someone, going against orders. Their parents disowned him and Mycroft allowed him to be banished or presumably executed for his crimes but in reality he's alive and planning his revenge. Sherlock, on the other hand, being the youngest has deleted his brother either due to shame or trauma of what he did - maybe his other brother was the one who 'upset Mummy'. His other brother will emotionally manipulate Sherlock in order to get him to go against Mycroft. Sherlock will either fall for it, as Series 3 showed how sentimentality cripples his skills, leading to guilt and added trust issues - or Sherlock and Mycroft will be revealed to have been in it together all along to take down their estranged brother.

Moriarty is dead, but his plan is not.
I can concede that even a genius Evil Counterpart to Sherlock Holmes could have been Out-Gambitted, especially if Sherlock was telling the truth about how he survived the fall when he explained everything to Anderson. However, it would be entirely in character for Moriarty to have his own fallbacks (sorry). Let's not forget that he brought a gun to that rooftop at the end of The Reichenbach Fall - he was obviously ready to kill himself should Sherlock figure out that he needed Moriarty alive to give him the recall code. That somebody like Jim Moriarty would be willing (read: crazy) enough to kill himself just to win is completely believable. That he would also have contingency plans based on his death? Just as plausible. I think we will get a new Big Bad in Series 4, albeit one who will have an association with Moriarty. Perhaps it will be a relative of the Consulting Criminal, and perhaps not. It will be more like an elaborate Thanatos Gambit than Back from the Dead.

Season 4 will end in another cliffhanger.
Because Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are sadists.

The Big Bad of Series 4 will be John Clay or at least based on him.
The Redheaded League is one of the best known stories yet no elements of the story have been used, making it conspicuous by it's absence. Clay is also smart (the fourth smartest in London according to Holmes), elusive and capable, making for a pretty good villain.

Season 4 will adapt "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire"
And Janine will feature prominently in it, as a client, as a murder victim, or as the villain. We know that she's currently living in the South Downs of Sussex, so if the writers are planning on having her reappear, "The Sussex Vampire" would be a perfect story to adapt her into. Not to mention that, with vampires invading pop culture in the late 2000s (and currently something of a joke), the chance to have Sherlock snarking about "sparkly vampires" would be too good to pass up.

By the time of series 4, the case involving the Moriarty video will have been solved and be a Noodle Incident.
It is meant to stir speculation, but it will never be fully explained. And there will be no guesses as there were in "The Empty Hearse" about Sherlock's fall.

John and Mary will either separate or get a divorce.
It is strongly implied that John isn't content with his domestic life and despite having seemed to have forgiven Mary for lying to him about literally everything she is, it's not unreasonable to assume the hurt and betrayal run far deeper than John cares to show. John has already shown an inclination to seek out danger (the crack den) without having Sherlock to tag along after. John will not be happy living with Mary and will look for a way to leave the marriage and return to 221B with Sherlock.
Moriarty deliberately engineered circumstances so that Sherlock would be driven to kill Magnussen.
Moriarty needed the help of Magnussen and his media empire to establish the Richard Brook cover story in TRF. In exchange, he offered Magnussen information on several nefarious characters, including his right-hand woman, ex-CIA agent gone freelance assassin "Mary Morstan." He ordered Mary to keep watch on John, knowing she'd fall for him. He also knew that CAM would try to blackmail Mary, and that, once Mary inevitably married John, Sherlock would be willing to go to any length to protect them. So Moriarty planted his sister Janine as Magnussen's personal assistant so she'd be there to give Sherlock access to Magnussen's office when the right time came. Magnussen was a huge thorn in Moriarty's side, so he wanted him dead, and driving Sherlock to do it — and thus causing the detective to loss everything — was making good on his promise to burn the heart out of him.
Janine is Moriarty's sister and partner in crime.
Jim Moriarty is a brilliant criminal mastermind, but he's also erratic, prone to attention-seeking theatrics, and fatally obsessed with a certain consulting detective. Janine is the cool-headed, practical sibling who tries to rein in his more self-destructive behaviour, and is the true brains behind their criminal network. However, much like Mycroft, she hates legwork, so it falls to Jim to be the face of things.

    General 
Sherlock's father works/worked for MI6.
  • Because while Mrs. Holmes gave up her career for her sons, someone had to be bringing in enough money to put the boys through what is pretty clearly a prestigious education. It also explains why and how Mycroft occupies such an important role within MI6 - his father gave him an in when he was much younger and had yet to prove himself. Mr. Holmes calls himself "something of a moron", but there's no real evidence he is one. He and Mary bond over being "the sane one", when Mary worked for the CIA as an assassin, also a job where appearing sane and normal is a necessary cover. On the other hand, Mr. Holmes is very much like John in manner and demeanour, making it possible that, like John, he is much smarter and more badass than he first appears, but prefers to present himself to the world as "the sane one" of the family.
Sherlock is in a coma.
  • Just wait for it.
Sherlock, following the pool scene in the Great Game, actually shot the bomb, blowing up the pool. He (and John and Moriarty, presumably) survived, but has been in a coma ever since. Everything from the end of season one onwards was his dream. After getting into Moriarty's cab he realizes something is off with his head, and he figures that he's going to die. Probably simultaneously and possibly subconsciously.
He survives the fall not through any of his own devices,(he really meant to die), but because he's dreaming. He'll wake up in season three and have another chance to get Moriarty.
Think about it, all of season two was a bit surreal. Scandal was basically about his dream girl and the effects she could have on his friendship with John, Baskerville is about his conflict between fear of human emotion and the fact that he doesn't want to drive John away, and Reichenbach is basically his worst nightmare.
Alternatively, John died in the pool, rather than Sherlock on the roof, and Sherlock hallucinated Reichenbach to try and fix it.

Anonymous is Irene Adler.
While the style seems like it would fit Moriarty more, there is one exchange in the comment section of John's entry for The Great Game that makes no sense with that theory. After Anonymous comments "I do like a good story", SH responds with "Still alive then?", to which Anonymous says "Oh, very much so. See you soon." Consider what happens earlier in the episode, and afterwards: It makes no sense for it to be Moriarty, because he wasn't in any danger at the pool after he and Sherlock parted, thus the "Still alive?" remark would make no sense. He also doesn't see Sherlock face to face for months after that. On the other hand, Irene was the one who gave Jim a call to convince him to let Sherlock go, and the last Sherlock knows of her is that Moriarty is threatening to turn her into shoes if she doesn't deliver on her promise. And they meet face to face later in the episode, so the exchange makes much more sense. It's likely Sherlock didn't know the identity of Anonymous, save that it was someone who was watching him, but not Moriarty, which would have allowed him to link that person to the one who made the call at the Pool. The exchange was a promise to meet in person in the near future, and they do.
  • The still alive comment could be a reference to Moriarty's ringtone, "Staying Alive".
    • It seems like the precisely the kind of pop culture Sherlock would delight in ignoring, though.
    • This makes sense as the puzzles Anonymous left on Sherlock's blog, while still fun, are certainly not of Moriarty calibre. Not to anyone who has Google as their homepage. On the other hand, this could be Moriarty patronising Sherlock with "child's play" games.

In The Hounds of Baskerville, Sherlock was coming off cocaine, not cigarettes.
It's never directly referred to, of course- it would drive the ratings up. They at first never call what Sherlock is after anything at all. Sherlock says "I need some, get me some" and John responds with "nobody within a two mile radius will sell you any." But he and John both know exactly what they're talking about. Sherlock hasn't paid off cigarette merchants, he's paid off all his dealers. It would be easy for him to take a taxi ride to get some more cigarettes outside that two mile radius, but much harder for him to locate a dealer outside of his usual ones. It's only after Mrs Hudson comes in that Sherlock claims to be looking for his cigarettes. After all, Sherlock uses patches, so even if he had no cigarettes, it wouldn't be any need to go "cold turkey" like that. He wants cigarettes because he needs something to take the edge off the coke cravings. It explains why John, who's keeping an eye on the whole thing as a friend and as a medical professional, gets fairly upset at the idea of going to Dartmoor without Sherlock. Later, John seems to think that Sherlock being "pretty wired" would be enough to make him start seeing things at Dewer's Hollow. Coming off cigarettes wouldn't make you that wired.

Alternatively:

Sherlock's "Nicotine patches" are laced with cocaine.
Because that would be a staggeringly brilliant way of Sherlock hiding his drug stash from the depredations of John, Mrs Hudson and Lestrade's fake-out drug busts. It's in character for Sherlock to "hide" something like that in plain sight using something nobody would look twice at during a drug raid. It would also explain how he appears to be getting high off the patches- even three nicotine patches wouldn't give you an instant buzz.
  • Alternately, Sherlock could be using nicotine patches to hide injection-marks.
  • This could be why John is trying to get him to quit cold turkey at the start of 'Baskerville'. And when John gives in, he doesn't hand Sherlock his nicotine patches, he gives him cigarettes. In 'Belgravia', Sherlock accepting a cigarette from Mycroft was a Big Deal. Maybe because it meant he wasn't going to use the relatively low-dose patches, but (as was suggested in the pilot) start shooting up again.

Season 3 will involve Sebastian Moran buddying up with John.
As part of watching him to see if Sherlock is really dead. Possibly also for reasons of curiosity - John wondered already about Moriarty's "John Watson", it's possible the curiosity goes both ways. It's also a sensible way to introduce a new and engaging antagonist while keeping John in the picture.
  • Partly confirmed. If you think that Mary Morstan is this universe's version of Moran.

Moriarty is the devil.
Pretty self-explanatory. He had no problem shooting himself at the end of Reichenbach because he was simply using Jim's body as a shell.

theimprobableone is SHERLOCK.
Either because he's using a sockpuppet to tell people what he REALLY thinks, or because he's a lot more mentally ill than anyone else ever suspected and genuinely has a second personality.
  • Jossed. He was just a fan as proven in later entries of John's blog.

Sherlock's mother rejected him when he was a young child.
In the commentary to "The Great Game", Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Gatiss are talking about the scene where Mycroft visits Baker Street and introduces the missing Bruce-Partington plans. They explain that there was much more dialogue in this scene filmed, most of it was cut, but Gatiss says something about using it later on, something about how a young Sherlock Holmes had disturbed the peace in his home. Cumberbatch begins to say "Sherlock finds out his father is having-" before cutting himself off.

In Belgravia, there's an exchange at Buckingham Palace and an implication at a morgue to suggest that Mycroft, who is significantly older than Sherlock, basically raised Sherlock himself.

In A Study in Pink, Mycroft suggests that Sherlock's attitude "upset Mummy", and tells John that Sherlock is "resentful."

Putting it all together, we might assume a scenario where a very young Sherlock, having his skills of deduction, deduced that his father was having an affair. Being- well- Sherlock, and young, he may have let this be known in a blunt and unsympathetic way (e.g., casually one morning at breakfast.) Exit Dad, Mummy takes it out on Sherlock. (Sherlock's line "it wasn't ME who upset her, Mycroft" seems at first glance to be an accusation that Mycroft upset Mummy; but what he could mean is "I didn't upset Mummy by telling her Dad was having an affair, he upset her BY HAVING ONE.") Anyhow. If Mrs Holmes withdrew from Sherlock either to "punish" him for "ruining her marriage", or in revulsion of his uncanny skills, it's possible that Mycroft then had to step up for his little brother and basically raise him himself. Sherlock may have learned his uncaring nature from Mycroft, and both boys may have used it as a self-defence mechanism. Mycroft's bond with his brother is a protective one, and he understands what it's like to be able to see far too much about people around him but not have much personal experience with human emotions like love. But unlike Sherlock, Mycroft understands the basics of tact and courtesy (mostly) and is able to put his skills to use to advance his career. Sherlock may resent Mycroft's well-meant meddling because he didn't want Mycroft to "be mother", he wanted his mother to be mother. Taking that out on Mycroft, when Mycroft apparently did the best he could, isn't exactly saintly of Sherlock but it adds a new complexity to his character.

And then, of course, there's his relationship with Mrs Hudson. She worries about him; she does his laundry (say so in John's blog), buys his food and cooks for him, tolerates his eccentric living habits and accepts how weird the inside of his head is... and as A Scandal in Belgravia shows, she is a bit of a kindred spirit, conspiring with him, showing herself willing to do anything to protect him no matter what the cost. She is the mother Sherlock never actually had growing up. Puts extra weight to Sherlock barking at Mycroft for insulting the woman he sees as his mother, and warmth to "but do, in fact, shut up." Sherlock feels justified in saying things like that, because he's familiar with her and genuinely does love her, whereas Mycroft saying the same thing is basically just a lack of respect.

  • I had thought that that meant he had deduced that his mother had been having the affair.
    • That makes little sense of Cumberbatch's "Sherlock finds out that his father is having-" comment in the Great Game commentary. While it hasn't (yet) made it into the series, it can be considered "canon" in the sense that this was a discussion between the actor and the writer/creator, and they were referring to script elements that were cut for timing and not for plot reasons. It doesn't mean that Mummy didn't also have an affair, but there are few things that Cumberbatch's sentence could be ended with and none of them really suggest that it was the mother having the affair.

  • Don't forget this helpful quote, from "A Scandal in Belgravia":
Mycroft: I'll be mother.
Sherlock: And there is a whole childhood in a nutshell.
  • They seemed like perfectly normal parents when introduced. His father kind of resembles John actually. Most likely, Sherlock just caught him having a wank at a young age and brought it out in the middle of breakfast conversation or something.

Mycroft is paying Mrs Hudson to spy on Sherlock for him.
Would explain how he knew so quickly that John had "moved in with him [Sherlock]", even though he actually hadn't yet. It's not implausible that when Sherlock and John left to go to the crime scene in Brixton, Mrs Hudson called Mycroft to let him know that Sherlock had been called to a case and that John was with him, giving Mycroft time (though little of it) to gather as much info on John as possible prior to kidnapping him on the way home. The only other person who seemed to know about John moving in to Baker Street is Mike Stamford, who doesn't seem particularly close to Sherlock and would probably not be much use as a spy. This would also explain how Mrs Hudson can afford to have Sherlock and John live at 221B at a discount.

  • Interesting that you mention that Sherlock says he gets the flat at a discount. In the original books, John says that he noticed once how much Sherlock was actually paying for his share, and it was a rather large amount. With this reasoning, it may be that on the final bill, Sherlock pays the "discussed discounted amount", and doesn't realize that Mycroft is really paying Mrs.Hudson the difference. That obscene pay to spy on Sherlock might also be why Mrs. Hudson deals with the constant property damage; because She has to spy on Sherlock to get money and she knows that Mycroft will pay for the property damage even if the boys don't.

Sherlock has a "romantic" history with Sgt Sally Donovan.
By "romantic", I assume that he has done to Sally what he later does to Molly- blatantly charmed her to get information or some other thing he wanted to solve a case, then blanked her. He introduces her to John in 'A Study in Pink' as "an old friend" significantly. In the later scene at Baker Street, Donovan starts passionately telling Lestrade "he's just a lunatic, and he'll always let you down!" and her tone is quite strange- she sounds like she's going to burst into tears, and since there's absolutely no evidence that Sherlock has ever ultimately let Lestrade down, we can only assume she's personalising the issue because Sherlock has a history of letting her down.
  • Alternatively, he "let her down" by failing to solve a case she was personally connected to somehow.

Jim actually isn't Professor James Moriarty. He's James Winter.
Consider the following:

Many of the characters in the credits are given by their full names, even if it isn't necessary. Dr John Watson? Really? The audience needs the title as well as the first and last name? But when it comes to the man threatening them, it's simply Jim. Not Jim Moriarty, not Professor Moriarty, just Jim.

Second, the story in which Doyle tells us Sherlock has turned down a knighthood? "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs." The fact that Sherlock jokes about it in passing in this episode is quite interesting.

Third, if "Jim" could stand for James when we think he's Moriarty, why couldn't it stand for James in the name James Winter?

Fourth, to those Sherlockians out there, you know that "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" is near to most of the fandom's hearts. It's one of the very few times Sherlock ever reveals that he cares for Watson or values their friendship at all. In the end of "The Great Game," we have an extremely similar situation, which is different than the note that Holmes wrote for Watson in "The Final Problem," in that Watson actually *sees* Holmes emotional over him.

Fifth, "Jim" leaves for a bit, and then comes back after the tension seems to be cleared. Could be that he changed his mind. Or he could have been receiving instructions based on the real Moriarty's analysis of the confrontation. He may have initially intended for Sherlock to be played with for a bit longer, but decided he was too dangerous, and so told his subordinate to go back in and take him out.
  • Actually, I think he really was Richard Brook, the actor, because all of his information as an actor was real. As Sherlock himself says, it is easiest to believe a lie with some truth mix in with it. And the truths there in was not just about Sherlock, but the actor Richard brook (AKA Jim Moriarty). The red herring that is Richard Brook posing as Moriarty will make it easier for the REAL Moriarty to continue his operations from underground operations centers. it's a shame that Sherlock used Moriarty's own method against him when Sherlock used the dead Richard Brook as his suicide double.

Moffat and Gatiss gave us that ending as a get-out clause in case the series flopped.
Just like Jekyll, which Moffat also wrote.

If Sherlock had failed, they could make one more miniseries revealing Jim to be Moriarty and then have some kind of resolution to tie up all the loose ends.

If however, the series was a hit (which it was) then they can go on to set up a longer, better, more complicated arc where Jim turns out to be a decoy etc., etc.

There's a whole bunch of Chekhov's Guns that the writers have set up to make things interesting if they need to, but which they could disregard if they just needed to end the whole thing.

The Princess Bride (or at least the scene with the poisoned drinks) never existed in this universe.
It's clear that the original Sherlock Holmes stories don't exist in this universe. The ripple effects must have wiped out all sorts of derivative works. It's possible that one of them was that scene.

This would explain why nobody even mentions the possibility that both choices are poisoned.

The Princess Bride exists, but Sherlock has neither read nor seen it
In the original Sherlock Holmes stories, Watson once remarked that a significant hole in Holmes' knowledge base included popular fiction of the day. Holmes tended to refuse to learn info that didn't seem relevant to him, and few things seem less relevant to the fact-minded person than popular fiction.

Today, 'popular fiction of the day' would include The Princess Bride. Sherlock doesn't consider this solution as a possibility because he hasn't read or seen the source that codified this solution to the real problem.

  • I really like this idea, though I do have one question (sorry), I know this book/movie is part of American pop-culture, but how popular is the movie/book in Europe? Specific England? If it is as popular there as in America, then it can be assumed that in Sherlock this book/movie either doesn't exist, or isn't something that Sherlock has read. Does anyone know the populatity of this book/movie in England?
    • It's a pretty popular movie here in England. Not everyone knows it, sure, but it has cult status probably equal to Labyrinth.
      • Thank you~ Alright, then I agree that Sherlock just hasn't ever read it because it's not important to him. XD
    • And I'm afraid you are misremembering: the quote from ASIS is: 'knowledge of sensational literature: immense'
      • You're both right. His knowledge of literature (poetry, plays, novels, etc) was limited, but sensational literature was the term given to what would now be called the true crime genre.

"theimprobableone" is Mycroft.
Jossed. He was just a fan.
"theimprobableone" is Irene.
Because I think that would be cool, and the chance of anyone being able to outsmart Sherlock Holmes in future would be considered pretty improbable.
  • I'll do you one better: on Sherlock's website, while Sherlock is muttering about Bond films, "theimprobableone" posts a comment about how "Citizen Kane" is better. Why is this important? Because there are parallels. In "Citizen Kane," Kane is discovered to have had an affair. The affair ends his political career, sort of like how the political figure in "Scandal in Bohemia" would have had a hard time if anyone discovered his previous involvement with Irene. Furthermore, Kane marries his mistress and then forces her into an operatic career. Irene was an opera singer. Coincidence? I think NOT.
  • "theimprobableone" also talks a lot about how Sherlock should find someone who can "match his intellect." Irene is famously one of few people who did.
  • theimprobableone also wonders how John could have missed the case (in s01e02) would be pink. This could be snarky, like John's comment "Why didn't I think of that?" in the actual episode, or it could be Irene's savviness about female outfits. You can easily imagine her picking detail that up right away.
  • The problem is that "theimprobableone" doesn't use capital letters. When Irene texts Sherlock, she does.
  • Jossed by later entries in John's blog. He was just a fan.

"theimprobableone" is Anthea.
Because she must be doing something on that Blackberry.
  • Jossed.

There is more than one Moriarty.
How can someone be "more than a man"? If he's two, three, or ten men who all use the same name! Think Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins.
  • Maybe Moriarty is more than meets the eye?
  • If I remember correctly, didn't book!Moriarty have a brother called James?
    • Nope—that was Moriarty's first name. Which should have tipped us all off from the beginning, really.
      • Actually, it was both his brother's name and his own name. Continuity was not Doyle's strong suit.

theimprobableone is Jim.
  • Jossed.

The beeps from the phone in "The Great Game" is actually all in Morse code.

Sherlock has a bit of a crush on John
Okay, so this is no place for shipping. However, it's a genuine wild guess.

As a sociopath, Sherlock would need to feel, at minimum, that John was the best of a bad lot to put up with living with him. Sherlock seems to accept that people assume they’re a couple. He doesn’t turn John in when he shoots the cabbie. He manipulates John so that his date with Sarah is at the circus, giving him an excuse to tag along and disrupt it when he could have just let them go and gone to the circus alone. (He doesn’t mind working alone.) He seems eager to get John out of his clothes at the pool — although granted, there was a bomb in them.

The reason he told John he was married to his work, and therefore not interested? Sociopaths can't deal with emotions.

Not exactly conclusive, but this is Wild Mass Guessing.

This becomes even more believable when you consider how absolutely panicked Sherlock was at the pool. He's clearly extremely concerned for John's safety; this is interesting because, earlier in the episode, he says that he doesn't care about the people whose lives are at stake as long as he can get the job done and save them. It makes you wonder what sort of feelings he would have to have for someone to make them an exception and evoke an emotional reaction like that.

This is also slightly evident in the scene when John and Sherlock are looking at the flat for the first time. The moment John comments that the place is a mess, Sherlock stumbles a bit and then moves a few things around in a useless attempt to clean up. Sherlock is normally cold and doesn't change to suit another person, except here. If you think about it, the obvious reason for such a behavior would be to better suit his living conditions for John. In order to please him on some level. Of course this all bollocks if Steven Moffat is just messing with us. Again.
  • In short, check out the Ho Yay page.

Subset of above, said crush isn't sexual
Sherlock being asexual is a pretty solid fan theory, but that doesn't mean that he's incapable of romantic feelings. Overall it seems like Sherlock is a lot more concerned with John than he is with anyone else, he goes to any lengths to keep him safe, tries to apologize when he's angry and considers him his only friend. There are also a few moments of what might be interpreted as tenderness or at least admiration from his side, such as when he realizes that John saved his life.

One might think that he keeps talking about John as a friend partly because he's never had one and partly because of his asexuality. Sherlock isn't really one to question norms as he relies on solid predictable patterns to make sense of the world, and he's mostly detached from other people which means that he's never explored his relationships to or feelings for other people. The only thing he knows about love or romance is what people tell him, and the dominant story is that love always includes sex. When Sherlock then does develop strong enough feelings for someone, he's going to categorize them as a friend because he has no point of reference and because being as antisocial as he is, he has no interest in looking for definitions outside the norm.
  • Sherlock certainly comes off as asexual and homoromantic (see his hostility towards any woman that comes onto him vs. attempting to let John down gently in the first episode). Though you could intereprate the fact that he seems threatened by female sexuality as evidence that he's a really repressed heterosexual and his relationship with John is just a particularly close Heterosexual Life-Partners.

John is bi, and at least a little into Sherlock
As long as we're talking about the above possibility, we may as well examine the other side of the coin. John Watson obviously likes women; he hits on Sarah and Anthea within moments of meeting them. But then, he's similarly efficient in interrogating Sherlock on his relationship status and sexual orientation immediately after meeting him. In the scene in the restauraunt, after Sherlock says he doesn't have a boyfriend, John smiles, licks his lips, and mentions that he's single. Shelock Holmes then concludes John is interested in him; Cumberbatch even does that little thing he does where his eyes move rapidly back and forth, making it clear he's using his Sherlockian powers to reach this conclusion.

Also relevant: despite constantly having to clarify to everyone that he and Sherlock are not couple, John never actually denies anything except actually being in a relationship with Sherlock. A series with this many Mistaken for Gay jokes, and not even one "I'm not gay"? Suspicious.
  • For the record, John does indeed say "I'm not gay" in the comments on one of his blogs, but supposes Sherlock might be [2]; of course, he could still be bisexual, or otherwise.
    • On the blog, John only says he's not gay when he's directly prompted to say if he's gay or not; initally, he ignores the question. So the argument more-or-less still holds: as a character, John seems to lack any interest in clarifying that he isn't gay, despite the fact that pretty much everyone thinks he is. Of course, this could just be because it's not a big deal to him, but it'd be still kind of unusual for a straight guy with John's generally high degree of interest in getting laid. Regardless, from an out of universe perspective it seems impossible that the ambiguity is accidental given how much talk of sexual orientation has occurred on this show already. Either Moffat and Gatiss are strongly committed to leaving it open ended, or they're setting up one hell of a Wham Episode for a future season.
    • During A Scandal In Belgravia, John says something along the lines of "I don't know if anyone's interested, but I'm not gay!".
      • ...and then a certain someone informs him that she IS gay except for her intense, clearly non-platonic interest in Sherlock, and implies that John is in the same boat. And then John looks like he's been thrown for a loop. This on the heels of him getting really rather angry about her flirty texts and being called out as jealous. So it's true that we now have an instance of Watson saying the magic words, but they seem less magic in context.
    • As a point of fact, John could still be into Sherlock and be telling the complete truth when he says he's not gay. Being bisexual and being gay are two very different things.
      • It's also possible to be heterosexual and homoromantic. Or heterosexual and biromantic for that matter. It also seems more like Irene is bi and her comments are more trolling John than anything. Whatever the true inclinations of the characters are, it's nice that this series acknowledges that human sexuality is way more complicated than just gay vs. straight.

Moriarty is Anonymous in his downtime. ALL OF IT.
Kind of obvious, really. Or Loliarty.

Moriarty isn't really Jim.
Even with British Brevity in play, it's way too soon. And it seems odd, and possibly Out of Character, that the Man Behind the Men would show himself like that. So Jim Moriarty is a fake, either arranged by the real Moriarty as a "public" face or operating on his own without the real Moriarty's consent.
  • Jim sounds like a nephew's name, to a Professor James. So he is a Moriarty. Just not the Moriarty.
  • The credits at the end of the episode don't list his last name as "Moriarty". It just says "Jim". So Yeah.
  • Didn't the canonical Moriarty have a brother also called James?
    • It was his name and his brother's name. Doyle was consistent like that.
      • An older brother, the real mastermind, who is a famous physicist (like Brian Cox), played by Cillian Murphy.
      • Which would be brilliant for parallels, too. Sherlock faced off with the younger brother. The younger not-quite-as-clever Moriarty against the younger, not-quite-as-clever Holmes. Wouldn't Sherlock just hate that?
  • The old lady said that the man who captured her had a soft voice. Jim's voice was not soft.
    • Her intonation suggests that it's more than volume she's talking about — it's possible she means soft as in effeminate, or slightly camp. Which Jim is, and a hypothetical older brother might well be too, though if he did have a more sober, reserved older sibling, it seems in order that he'd try to take the piss out of him by being hyper-expressive and theatrical.
  • The Hounds of Baskerville seems to support this theory. At the ending we see Jim being released from some kind of prison cell with the word "Sherlock" written all over the walls by some older, more dignified gentleman. It doesn't look like he's running the show after all, so perhaps the older man is the real Moriarty.
    • Actually, that seems to be Mycroft agent,who is letting him out under his order for the trial in "The Reichenbach Fall".
      • What trial? And if Mycroft has the real Moriarty in his hands, why wouldn't he just have the man shot in secret?
      • See the preview here. It also confirmed that his name really is James Moriarty not Jim Moriarty.
      • Jim is a common nickname for James. James would be used in the presses, Jim would be used personally.

Anthea's real name will end up being Mary Morstan.
First Girl Wins, after all.
  • In A Scandal in Belgravia, She's wearing five pearls. Canonically, Mary had six by the time she brought her case to Holmes, but the span of time should have given her seven pearls. Also, John was not displeased to see her again.
    • Anthea was not in "A Scandal in Belgravia." That was someone working with Irene and who was pretending to be part of a Mycroft pick-up so John would come quietly.
    • I see this as a possibility if you rely solely on Arthur Conan Doyle's canon (in which Mary is given no characterization other than the name of John's wife). If you're looking toward movie/series canon from over the years though, then the chances are slimmer.
      • Mary did get characterization in The Sign of Four, which introduced her. She was a sweet, extremely nurturing woman, somewhat melancholy due to a troubled past, and smart enough in the way she presented the details of her case that even Holmes was impressed and declared that she had a "decided genius" for "such work". Sadly, she never really came in again, only making a few cameos, and by the time of "The Empty House", she'd died offscreen during the Time Skip. Considering the expansion in Sherlock on characters like Moriarty, Mycroft and Mrs. Hudson, it's not unlikely that Mary will be developed into a recurring character.
    • Jossed.

On that note:

The Series' "Mary Morstan" is Molly Hooper.
Because reasons. She's the only significant character in the series with no apparent canon equivalent. Character-wise, she is the "sweet, extremely nurturing woman, somewhat melancholy due to a troubled past, and smart..." mentioned above. She also is likely, given that she knows Sherlock didn't really die at the ending of series 2 to try to be kind and attentive to John during the Great Hiatus, whether it's romantic or just friendly. There's potential for epic drama between the two when Sherlock returns and John finds out Molly knew he was alive all along, and unlike all of John's other girlfriends, Molly wouldn't be jealous enough of John's friendship with Sherlock that she'd dump him if he needed to stay with Sherlock during a danger night, or to rush off to solve a case somewhere. They share a loyalty to Sherlock, and Molly's comment in The Reichenbach Fall about Sherlock looking sad when he thinks John can't see him speaks to her understanding of the friendship that they have and how important it is to both of them. As for Molly's crush on Sherlock, Molly isn't in The Hounds of Baskerville at all, and The Reichenbach Fall seems to indicate her feelings toward Sherlock have changed slightly- perhaps due to his humiliation of her at Christmas in Belgravia. She initially protests at being asked to help him in the lab because she has a lunch date (he physically turns her around and marches her down the corridor), and then compares Sherlock to her father, which is slightly creepy if she still wants to marry him and have sixteen of his kids.

  • The only problem this troper finds with this is that, in two series', John and Molly have never actually been seen having a conversation together on-screen. What makes this worse is that they've been in several scenes together but never actually talk to each other. They barely acknowledge each other and only do so when talking to Sherlock about Sherlock's relationship with either one. So it would seem incredibly rushed and out of nowhere if come Series 3 they were suddenly head over heels in love and about to get married. Even if it was all implied to have happened off-screen during the hiatus it would feel cheap for the audience who never got to see anything develop for the pair. Unless Series 3 is going to be all about the build-up of John and Molly with the two of them getting married at the end of the last episode, but that's a whole other WMG right there.

    • It's very much WMG :) And they needn't currently be besties or into each other for it to happen somewhere in series 3 or even series 4 or 5 (there's no compulsion for anything at all to happen in Ep 1, Series 3, as the fandom expects.) There are instances of what can either be seen as totally incidental or indications that they do in fact regard each other a great deal (particularly John's regard for Molly) which could be the basis of a deepening friendship, at least, after Sherlock's apparent death. These are particularly obvious in the blogs, which being BBC-initiated do count as canon. note 

    • This seems to be the most plausible and least W WMG here. Molly fits every detail of the sparse characterization given to Mary in Doyle's canon. Plus, let's not forget that Molly is a nickname for Mary.

    • Honestly, I want this to be true, if for no other reason than after two seasons of putting up with Sherlock treating her like dirt and being used by Moriarty and still being willing to help Sherlock fake his suicide, I just feel like the writers should throw this woman a bone. She's positively saintly. John is a sweet guy who would actually treat her well, though there's certainly the possibility of some ugly emotional fallout when Sherlock inevitably returns. It would also neatly solve the problem ACD had in the original stories when it became increasingly implausible for Watson to just up and leave his wife at a moments notice to go adventuring with Holmes, since Molly already helps Sherlock on cases and is probably the only woman in the world who would be understanding about John's attachment to the man. If anything, the only person this doesn't work out well for is Sherlock, who's probably going to be jealous of them paying attention to each other, rather than to him.
    • Jossed.

Mycroft Holmes is this universe's version of David Cameron
Hey, they look similar. And if Sherlock doesn't pay attention to the news, he could be forgiven for thinking that Mycroft still occupied a "minor position in government". And John just assumes its a lookalike.
  • Sherlock doesn't seem to believe it when Mycroft claims that. At most, he believes that Mycroft's official title is that of a low-level bureaucrat when he actually has a great deal of power.

Mycroft's umbrella is a weapon.
It's why he always has it with him, even when the weather doesn't call for it. It's not a sword-cane or anything like that. Instead, it has injectable poison darts in the tip, like the umbrella used to kill Georgi Markov.

Jim and Molly are actually siblings, both Moriarty.
Molly is the criminal mastermind, Jim is her devoted brother who acts as a catspaw when necessary. Molly asked Jim to do the whole "scaring Sherlock" bit, so that Sherlock would become obsessed with Moriarty but also be looking for the wrong person. Jim did it, but then decided on his own that Sherlock was now too much of a threat to both of them. It's a play on how canon is inconsistent over whether James is the mastermind or his brother. If I remember well, the envelope addressed to Sherlock in the Great Game was written by a woman, presumably an associate of Moriarty. Could be Molly.

Mycroft is Moriarty.
That Red Herring in the beginning was no Red Herring at all, but clever Foreshadowing. Mycroft is actually even bigger sociopath than Sherlock, but much better at keeping it a secret. He's moonlighting as a master criminal in order to reveal holes in the British police system and intelligence services. He decided to finally involve Sherlock since he really is concerned for him, and figures that only a real archenemy can make his quirky brother happy.
  • So Jim is...?
    • Just another hireling, of course. Should be clear without further explanation, with all these speculations that Jim isn't the real Moriarty because that would be too simple. Perhaps he actually killed that boy all those years ago, so Mycroft got him involved, so that Sherlock could find another "meaningful" link connected to himself.

Mrs. Hudson will become a Memetic Badass In-Universe
Why? You mean besides Rule of Cool? Alright. Sherlock is a hard person to get a long with, but Mrs. Hudson has managed to survive him and his experiements, and while she complains, she never has actually threatened to kick him out. That can easily be handwaved away by her being friends with Sherlock, but In-Universe, who would belive that? Instaid, it would probably be easier to believe that she is much more badass than she appears, both by the coppers and by the people who read John's blog. And it will have nothing to do with the Kink Meme where she's going to end up a ninja zombie killer somehow.
  • She could already be seen as heading this way. After all, she did refuse to divulge the location of Sherlock's cigarettes, even when he was wielding a harpoon and seriously on edge from nicotine withdrawal.

Think about it: Sherlock is incredibly smart, socially inept (unless he's acting), and is explicitly stated to have no friends. In fact, the bullying might have even lead to his work of capturing criminals. Also, his reaction to John saying that he was fantastic is met with surprise. This tells us that he's not used to people being happy about his ability.
  • And probably well into his teens, watch his face in The Blind Banker when Sebastian tells John how all the kids at uni hated Sherlock.
  • Partly confirmed, though with an element on unintentional to the bullying — according to what they say in The Empty Hearse, Mycroft used to think of (and apparently say so) of Sherlock as stupid when they were children, and Sherlock didn't exactly disagree. That stopped when they were introduced to other children (which apparently didn't go all that well, either), but young Sherlock still had his ability being belittled until then (as the only comparison was his brother, who is even better at it).

Sherlock isn't asexual; he's demisexual.
He's just never been close enough to anyone to form an emotional connection, thus, no opportunity to form a sexual attraction.

Mycroft hired Sarah.
At the end of A Study in Pink, Mycroft says "increase surveillance to level 3 on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson" (or something to that effect). But in the other two episodes we see nothing that reflects this increased surveillance. Then we have Sarah Sawyer, who really has no reason to be dating John. He didn't make that great of first impression. So why would she go on a date with him? Simple: Mycroft hired her to spy on John and Sherlock. Though I suspect she'll be revealed to have fallen in love with John throughout it all anyways. Unless she's not the Mary Morstan stand-in that she appears to be, which would make for an interesting development.
  • She certainly appears to have hidden badass qualities that seem a little unusual for a mild-mannered doctor. But then, John has hidden badass qualities that seem a little unusual for a mild-mannered doctor. It's implied that her initial interest in John was sparked by his military history; she's either got a man-in-uniform fetish or, more likely and more like John himself, she's a bit of an adrenaline junkie and thrives on danger. Hence why she keeps dating him after nearly getting killed in 'The Blind Banker.' That, and yes, Mycroft could be paying her. He's not above paying people to spy on Sherlock, why would he be above paying people to spy on John as well?

Anthea is a Tetris addict.
Why not?
  • She's certainly addicted to something. Angry Birds?

Sally Donovan is a Corrupt Cop and Sherlock dosn't know it yet
She's trying to get Lestrade to stop contact with him before she is exposed. By calling him names, she thinks she's going to make him feel unappreciated so he'll just go away, not knowing that Sherlock's too obssesed with not being "bored".

The CIA agent who attacked Mrs. Hudson got off lucky.
  • The last person to do that, Mr. Hudson, ended up on death row in Florida. Possibly after being tossed out of several windows.

Sherlock's mind palace is not a palace, it's London.
As evidenced in Study in Pink, he knows every street in London. Now, how could he make use of a virtual map of London in his head (apart from chasing taxis and looking clever after being kidnapped)? To store all his codebreaking trivia in there, of course!

Real-world memory champions have memorised huge amount of houses and palaces and whatnot just to use as memory palaces. The next logical step for a genius like Sherlock would be to use a whole whopping city and organise the data around the boroughs and districts.

  • Jossed- his mind palace is seen in His Last Vow and it actually is a palace.
  • Actually, in The Empty Hearse, in the train scene, his mind palace was London as well.

The writers have read the numerous "Jim isn't Moriarty, X is" theories
  • Which is why a big part of Jim's plan in ''The Reichenback Fall revolves around Sherlock supposedly being Moriarty, and Jim being just a harmless kids' TV presenter.
    • Actually, it is yet another call-back to the original stories. The notion that Moriarty never existed is one of the oldest known WMG's in the world (In The Final Problem we, or rather Watson, never meets Moriarty, only hears about him from Holmes.)

Sherlock is not a sociopath, but is autistic.
Sociopathy doesn't seem to fit. Not to mention, there is no such thing as a "high functioning sociopath" like Sherlock called himself in the first episode. He likely just wanted to say something to get on Anderson's nerves. There IS, however a type of high functioning autism, or Aspergers. He has trouble connecting to emotionally to others, but it's clearly not impossible as evidenced by his attraction it Irene and his friendship with John (something that Asperger sufferers CAN do). The biggest evidence though, is in 'Hounds of Baskerville' where John tells Lestrade that Sherlock is secretly pleased that he's there, Lestrade seems surprised but guesses that it's because familiar faces help Sherlock feel more comfortable, but has trouble expressing this (not something that a sociopath would need). Lestrade then struggles for the right word and John says "Aspergers?".
  • Who is to say that he can't be a sociopath with Asperger's? Looking at the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (which also applies to sociopathy), Sherlock fits many of the criteria: need for stimulation, callousness/lack of empathy, manipulativeness, grandiose self-worth, impulsivity, etc. Although "high-functioning sociopath" isn't a diagnosis, Sherlock likely just means that he doesn't fit the criteria regarding criminality.

The Sherlock Holmes books do not exist in the Sherlock universe.
Honest, if Arthur Conan Doyle had written the novels, I think that Sherlock would have been asked about his name so many times that probably he would be used to saying "Yes, like the books" whenever he said his name to someone he doesn't know.
  • Um, yeah. I thought this was obvious, and I think It's even been said by the creators.
  • Or it could be that the universe is no longer aware they exist....which brings me to the silly guess......
  • To coincide with this, Sherlock!Doyle was still as famous as Reality!Doyle. Instead of being mostly known for writing the Sherlock Holmes stories, people know him for his series of books focusing on a man named Professor Challenger. The Professor Challenger series would go on to spawn a number of adaptations and spin-offs, including a Granada series, a film focused on his youth entitled Young George Challenger, and eventually a modern BBC series simply entitled Challenger.

The Sherlock Holmes books exist, but in a similar situation to ABC's Once Upon a Time's Storybrooke.
There was a curse placed on all the characters of the Sherlock Holmes books. The books exist and the characters are real, but because of the curse, they have forgotten and so has the rest of the world. Though where Storybrooke's curse forces them to be separate from their past lives and be unhappy, their curse forces them to relive their lives as the books have told. Moriarty is the only one who knows, which is how he is able to orchestrate everything perfectly and is so bored because he knows what's going to happen and knows that he is just waiting to die, so why not go out with a bang!

The Sherlock Holmes books exist, and were written by Watson in his later life.
He chose to set them in old times and made the main characters slightly older. He has already been writing Sherlock Holmes stories on his blog; why not turn them into a series of novels later?

The books exist in the Sherlock universe in some form, but the main characters are called Sheridan Hope and Dr. Ormond Sacker.
These were the names that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used in A Tangled Skein, an early version of A Study in Scarlet, before settling on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Perhaps Doyle never changed the characters' names in the Sherlock universe. In the Sherlock universe, there are Hopesians instead of Holmesians, people say "No shit, Sheridan!", etc. And the Sheridan Hope stories, with the exception of A Tangled Skein/A Study in Scarlet, are completely different from those of Sherlock Holmes, so no one has drawn any parallels between them and John's blog.

The vacuum left by the removal of the Sherlock Holmes canon from popular culture was filled by Sexton Blake.
As a result, in the world of Sherlock, stupidly stating the obvious is met with the phrase "No shit, Sexton".
  • I'd been thinking "No poo, Poirot."

Mycroft played Moriarty and Sherlock completely
Mycroft is smarter than and regularly manipulates Sherlock. He knowingly played into Moriarty's obsession and gave him everything he needed to take Sherlock down, knowing Sherlock would destroy Moriarty. He also uses John, manipulating Sherlock through him.

Sherlock intended to become a criminal, but changed his mind
Mycroft tells us that he wanted to be a pirate, and he's good at pick pocketing, which is an acquired skill, not something he can do just out of smartness, so he must have practised. He may even have started out a criminal career, but changed his mind when he realised that it wouldn’t give him the acclaim he needs.

Moffat and Gatiss have a watertight explanation of how Sherlock survived, but have no intention of telling us what it is.
Season 3 will tease us with a series of tantalising hints and unreveals instead.
  • WOW... you're good. Actually, it sort of depends who you ask.

Sherlock has ADHD.
Primary inattentive type. He's prone to hyper-focusing, has problems with selective attention, and is habitually disorganized. He frequently throws tantrums (strong emotional outbursts that dissipate quickly) and likes to make noise (talking, playing his violin) when thinking. His drugs of choice (cocaine and nicotine) are both strong dopagenic stimulants. Nicotine in particular affects many of the same pathways as Adderall and is used by many people as a legal alternative to more strictly-controlled substances.

This puts Hounds of Baskerville in a rather more tragic context— John basically took away Sherlock's ADD meds, pushed him into accepting a case, and then got upset when the poor guy had problems focusing. Way to be a doctor, John.

Moriarty has read Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes books.
Look at his glee when he quotes a line from the books or in Reichenbach Fall where he keeps on saying "Final Problem" there is no way these word would mean that much to him unless he knew about the books.

In the world of Sherlock, the Sherlock Holmes books do exist
... but Sherlock Holmes of the books is called Sherringford Hope, the original name for the character proposed by Arthur Conan Doyle, and so the similarity goes unnoticed.

Sherlock is not on cocaine during the series, but he has a history of it beforehand.
Because why, in "A Scandal in Belgravia", would John and Mycroft be so concerned over him starting to smoke again? The language used ("Can you be sure it's a danger night?") and the fact that John was prepared to let his girlfriend down in order to watch him seems to indicate that it is something more worrying than cigarettes.

Anthea is James Moriarty (Sr).
There are several points of notice about the character of Anthea that I find interesting. First is, obviously, the fact that her name is false. Second is that she feels no concern over John knowing this fact. Also, she finds it funny when John asks if she has any free time, sarcastically commenting that she has loads but implying that she in reality has next to none. We also always see her on her Blackberry, but never calling someone. This implies that, if she is in contact with someone, or more than one person, she has to retain anonymity. The most intriguing fact about Anthea that I have noticed is that she pretends not to have a good memory. This is shown when John says hello to her and she gives off the air of not remembering him, even though they met earlier the same day. Next is when Mycroft mentions stepping up their surveillance, and Anthea acts confused about who Mycroft is referring to. Now, how do I know both of these instances were an act? Because, during their very first meeting, John introduces himself to Anthea, and she specifically mentions that she already knows who he is. There’s nothing wrong with her memory, and especially not for people’s names and faces.

Now, why do I think Anthea might be James Moriarty Sr? False name, pretends a poor memory for remembering people (a special mention should be made that Mycroft of all people seems to accept her poor memory as a given, which as far as I’m concerned proves that Anthea is dangerous). There’s the fact that she is constantly on a phone, but never calls someone. This implies, as stated above, that either she or the party she contacts needs anonymity. It could also imply that she has trust issues, never revealing her voice over the phone to a face that she cannot see. Or it could imply that she simply very much does not want anyone to ever overhear her conversations and who she is communicating with. In all likelihood, it is a combination of these reasons. There’s also the fact that a sibling thought to be male but turning out to be female has already been foreshadowed. Even if Anthea herself turns out not to be James Moriarty Sr, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that James was a female in this adaptation. Still, no matter what, Anthea is definitely more than she appears.

In the Sherlockverse, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote stories about an actor named Benedict Cumberbatch.
Because it fits so neatly.
  • Adding to this for the sake of irony, he thought it was his greatest work, but it was overshadowed by the far more popular Professor Challenger books, as was the rest of his work.
    • Today, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are preparing for the third series of George.

John already knows Sebastian Moran.
Listen very closely to the beginning of the first episode. Just as he wakes up from the Afghanistan dream, John screams something. It echoes, a lot, and is very hard to understand, but he calls out a name. "Sebastian!" Law of Conservation of Detail says that if we already have two separate characters named Sebastian, note  then a third person, with the same name, who was in the army at some point, note  is less likely than the one John knew and the one who works for Moriarty being the same person.

John, as of Season 2, already struggles with alcohol
He may not be a full-blown alcoholic as Harry is but, particularly in Belgravia, look at his attitude and relationship toward alcohol. The amount of times he's seen in-episode with a drink in his hand is quite worrisome (including the sequence where Sherlock finds Irene in his bed, and John wanders in with a bottle in his hand for no apparent plot-related reason whatsoever.) There are also two instances in this episode of John mysteriously announcing that he's "going out for a bit"- in one case, for hours- and not explaining where he's going to anyone. His blog mentions that at least once, he went to the pub to get away from Sherlock, and if he actually went in the company of someone else, they're never mentioned. Another comment in his blog implies that Sherlock bought him alcohol to console him after his breakup with Sarah. He's implied to be hung over in the sequence where he and Sherlock meet Irene. In the Belgravia commentary, Sue Vertue remarks in horror at the size of the drink in John's hand during the New Year sequence. And while on its own this doesn't necessarily mean anything, on top of all this, there's an empty bottle of wine on the coffee table when John wakes up at Sarah's in The Great Game and his approach to Louise Mortimer in The Hounds of Baskerville is to try to get her tipsy... that's a lot of apparently incidental alcohol consumption from one man in the course of a series, especially when we've seen Sherlock drink exactly one alcoholic drink so far. It wouldn't be at all surprising if Season Three informs us that John is drinking a bit more after Sherlock's death...

Not Asperger's
Schizoid Personality Disorder. I've always had a bit of an issue believing that Sherlock has Asperger's Syndrome, seeing as one of the most prominent aspects of it is a lack of understanding of subtlety in facial expression or body language, which is what contributes so heavily to a lack of understanding in social situations. However, reading people is basically what he does for a living. The BBC series focuses much more on gaining clues from clothing and whatnot, but he still can make out subtleties in peoples' body language when it's useful to him. Asperger's is also often assumed because of his incredibly narrow field of interests, with an incredibly detailed knowledge only in that one field— another dead give-away for AS. But while his field has some gaping holes (Astronomy for one) it seems to be much more encompassing than just the Asperger's hyper-focused interest in one (usually fairly specified) area. (Though, to be fair, especially if you're working from ACD canon, anything he cares to know funnels directly back into detective work.) Depending on how voluntary some of his social actions are, Schizoid Personality Disorder might be slightly closer to what's being portrayed. (Of course, this is kind of a moot point, seeing as how the authors actually mentioned Asperger's at one point, which implies that that's the diagnosis that they're going to lean towards when writing the character.)
  • He the following traits of schizoid personality disorder: Emotional coldness, detachment or reduced affect; consistent preference for solitary activities; very few, if any, close friends or relationships; indifference to social norms and conventions; and lack of desire for sexual experiences with another person.
  • This troper has a friend with Asperger's who gets perfect scores on online emotion recognition tests (the ones that have you identify an emotion from only the eyes.) He claims that this is because he is also a sociopath, and thus needs emotion recognition to be able to manipulate people. This could be the same case with Sherlock. Sherlock's recognition of facial expressions and body language is likely an acquired skill he worked at in order to improve his manipulative and case-solving abilities. However, he lacks understanding of social norms that he has not previously studied.

Moriarity has a highly detailed Sherlock Holmes outfit
Okay so this is just shipping fuel but think about it. Moriarty had to make a disguise that would make the the kidnapped girl afraid of Sherlock. This would have to be highly detailed enough that the girl wouldn't believe that Sherlock was a different person. Moriarty probably had to get all the Sherlock-esque clothes and the trademark £1,350 coat. Now here's the really Ho Yay part: Moriarty would probably have to mimic Sherlock's face with a wig and mask. Just let that image of the Sherlock coat hanging from the closet next to the manikin head with the highly detailed Sherlock face and the wig box with a curly Sherlock wig in it.
  • You actually SEE them in The Empty Hearse, but it's actually a fanfic theory of how Sherlock survived.

Why Sherlock, who's clearly not hurting for money, needed a flatshare.
It's obvious that money is not and has never been an issue for the Holmes brothers — Sherlock wears expensive suits and (according to Sherlockology, the semi-official source) listens to a £6000 stereo in his bedroom — so why does he need a flatshare? Sherlock's primary source of income is a trust fund or something of the sort, administered by Mycroft — and Mycroft has made clear that the money will only continue coming in if Sherlock stays clean of drugs and finds a flatmate (unspoken subtext, "to keep an eye on him"). The scene in the warehouse, between John and Mycroft, wasn't a challenge or an attempt to scare John off: it was an audition. John has been weighed in Mycroft's balances and not found wanting.

Moriarty is not one person but the name of a Organization
And the Organization uses Jim as a front man

Most of these entries have been put here by Gatiss and Moffat.
It makes sense. They both get off on teasing the fans, and what better way to do that then spread multiple theories?
  • Hey guys! Love the show! Get season four out here quick, why don'tcha?

Anderson's first name.
It's Jeff. Fans of Moffat's work in general have noticed that one of his signature thumbprints is frequent use of the names "Jeff" and "Sally." Series/Coupling had Jeff Murdock and Sally Harper. Doctor Who had a Jeff in "The Eleventh Hour" (the guy with the laptop who needs to get a girlfriend) and Sally Sparrow in "Blink." Since we have Sally Donovan, and since she and Anderson are in something of a Those Two Guys dynamic, Jeff seems like a likely possibility.
  • Jossed. It's Philip.
  • Technically, your "Jeff" could be Jeff Hope, the cabbie, even though his name is Doyle-canon (and quite possibly Doyle-canon only, as I don't remember seeing it in any Sherlock material)...

Why John didn't want to stay with Harry
Sherlock's assumption, and most fans', is that John had a problem with Harry's drinking in itself. But in his blog, he seems willing to serve as her support system, encouraging her when she does well, going to her place when she falls off the wagon. I think it's very likely that John figured keeping close company with a heavy drinker was a bad idea for him in the state he was in when he returned from Afghanistan: the last thing he needed, right then, was to share space with someone who might encourage him to numb himself with alcohol.

The series is set in an alternate reality where the Dunblane Massacre didn't occur
For a British series, there are a awful lot of handguns in the possession of various individuals. While some are somewhat justified by the individuals in question being criminals (although even that is somewhat unusual by British standards), that doesn't explain the guns belonging to John and Henry. This suggests that handguns are not as illegal in the Sherlock-verse as they are in reality, where the private ownership of handguns was effectively made illegal in the United Kingdom by the the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 and the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997, which was enacted in response to the Dunblane School Massacre, where a gunman entered Dunblane Primary School with four handguns and proceeded to kill sixteen children and one adult before committing suicide. Had the Massacre not occurred, the law would not have been passed, the private ownership of handguns wouldn't be illegal and the number of handgun in the series would make more sense.

on John's medical history
John's tremor in his left hand may be due to damage to the brachial plexus from being shot on the shoulder. The reason that he, as a left handed man, is wearing a watch on his left wrist is because weight can reduce the tremors. Also, another person on here had mentioned John's relationship with alcohol, and we do see John drinking and comments on his blog suggest he may be a beer drinker. Small amounts of alcohol are also shown to decrease tremors. John may be medicating himself. This brachial nerve injury/tremor may also contribute to the fist-clenching behaviour he exhibits over the course of the series. Also of note is the fact that in order to repair his subclavian artery, they may have harvested the saphenous vein, located in the leg. He may well have once had pain in his leg and the psychosomatic pain was a continuation of that rather than a random manifestation.

Jacob Sowersby is really Arthur Conan Doyle.
He's a medical student who doesn't want anyone to know about his hobby, so he uses a pseudonym to geek about it online.

John and Harry are fraternal twins.

Their parents thought they were having two boys so they decided on the names 'John' and 'Harry' before the pair were born and then decided to keep 'Harry' as a nickname when they found one of them was a girl. Also in John's blog, he gives Harry's age as 36. A year later, the papers give John's age as 37. Of course the press ages are often incorrect and the two could just have been born within a year of each other but this is just wild mass guessing.

Molly Hooper is the series' equivalent of Stanley Hopkins
  • In the original stories, Hopkins was a young, enthusiastic detective who was a huge fan of Holmes's work. Holmes eventually came to respect him, stating that he had the observational skills and imagination required for the job, lacking only the relevant knowledge base "which will come with time."
    • Well I don't know about jossed, but Billy Wiggins in His Last Vow seems to be a combination of Wiggins, the Baker Street Irregular (definitely a street guy and same name); Billy, Holmes's page in The Mazarin Stone (says that he helps him out and same name); and Hopkins (great observational skills [though admittedly Hopkins didn't really have those] and even calls himself Sherlock's protege).

Mrs Hudson has been married twice
Her first marriage, to the late Mr Hudson, was a happy one until he passed away some years before she met Sherlock. Her second marriage, however was an abusive relationship with a man engaged in unspecified criminal activities, prompting her to seek Sherlock's help in having him convicted.

The first husband, (Mr Hudson) is the one she regards fondly as she watches Sherlock and John solving crimes together: "There he goes again... my husband was just the same." (It's unlikely that she would have been talking about the same husband that Sherlock convicted). Furthermore, the fact that she still goes by "Mrs Hudson" (especially in a time when everyone else is on First Name Basis) implies that the name is important to her, and she wants to honour the late Mr Hudson.
  • Apparently not- according to the third season, she was actually somewhat fond of her drug lord adulterous murderous husband in a strange way. Actually, it was all physical.

Sherlock is a figment of Watson's imagination
Upon returning from Afganistan, Watson harbored Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, over the death of a friend of his, named Sherlock Holmes, in the war. In an attempt to cope, he began solving crimes and attributing them to his dead friend. In his mind, he acts in a role similar to Edward Norton's character in Fight Club, as an observer of the larger-than-life alternate persona. Mycroft isn't Sherlock's brother, but is actually Watson's, and he genuinely feels concern for his brother, but has come to the realization that the only way Watson will talk to him is if he plays into this Sherlock Holmes Fantasy.
  • In addition, it is possible that Moriarty and/or Irene Adler are also fragments of his broken psyche. Irene Adler, due to his bad luck with women, agrivated by the Holmes person, was created as "The Woman." For Moriarty to be a figment of his psyche would imply that more of this is in his head than just the invented persona of Sherlock Holmes. In this instance, Watson never actually went into solving crimes under the Holmes persona, or if he did, it was very minor ones. However, to match the scale of the persona of Sherlock Holmes, he needed an equally mythic-scale foe. Each of these stories is another delusion his mind creates to cope with his friend's death, and presents his friend as a mythic figure of impossible intellect.

Mrs Hudson's late husband was a blackmailer involved in a criminal conspiracy
  • He was, in fact, Hudson from this 'verse's version of "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott". In Doyle, no connection is made between the Hudsons, but then, no mention was made of Mr Hudson at all. And "Gloria Scott" was a case Holmes had before he met Watson (his first case, in fact), which fits with Sherlock seeing Mrs Hudson's husband executed before he met John.
    • Half-confirmed by "The Sign of Three": he was actually a drugs baron. There was probably blackmail involved; there was definitely murder.

Sherlock and Moriarty are, or are meant to symbolize, the archangel Michael and Lucifer.
  • Moriarty originally seeks out Sherlock because he senses that they're the same. They're not just incredibly intelligent people, they're also angels, Sherlock a good one, and Moriarty a fallen angel. Try watching the pool scene without thinking that Moriarty already personally knew Sherlock. In The Reichenbach Fall, when Moriarty comes to visit Sherlock at home after the trial, he makes a point of saying how Sherlock "owes him a fall," which he certainly gets. So to summarize, either Moriarty is Lucifer and Sherlock is Michael, the angel who defeated him and made him fall to hell, or, if there truly are no supernatural elements in this show at all, then at the very least, we're meant to see a symbolic connection between them.
    • "I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one."

Moriarty was either molested or abused by his father.
I don't think it was necessarily his Start of Darkness, but it probably made his insanity much worse. He makes several disturbing comments where he refers to himself as "Daddy", which is especially noticeable in Reichenbach when he compares criminals to children with, "Daddy loves me most," then shortly after that refers to himself as "Mr. Sex." Also, one of Moriarty's first murders took place when he was very young, with the boy who owned the trainers from "The Great Game." If someone as unstable as Moriarty was abused as a young child, he would likely have done anything to regain control. His first murder might even have been his own abuser. After that, he got a taste for it.

Mycroft really did nick all of Sherlock's Smurfs
...and collecting Smurfs is a Very Serious Business in the Holmes family. Thus, this one action lead to decades of bitterness.

Sherlock is psychic and his Sherlock Scan is just his way of covering it
He picked the Sherlock Scan up from Mycroft

Mycroft really is the Queen of England
Ties in with how he is single-handedly running England in every way, not just politically. Sherlock knows about it but John assumed he was joking when he mentioned it (which in a way he was, since Sherlock finds it rather amusing). Maybe the Queen was assassinated and in order to avoid public scandal Mycroft assumed her identity before anyone else found out. He has been disguising himself as the queen for years and making excuses for why she isn't seen much. He is able to pull it off because he is Mycroft. Sherlock alludes to it again when he plays "God Save the Queen" on the violin as Mycroft is leaving, earning an exasperated eye-roll from Mycroft.

Anderson's first name is Paul
Sherlock called Greg Lestrade by every name that starts with a "G" except Greg, it is not too much of a stretch to think he would do the same thing with Paul Anderson. Anderson thought it was weird when Sherlock turned up at his door calling him "Philip" but he had other things he wanted to say to Sherlock that were more important than pointing out that he had got his name wrong.

Molly is Moriarty
We can start out with the fact that she’s the only non-canon character that shows up a whole bunch, even though that has more to do with Moffat liking the actress (she was meant to simply be a part of introducing Sherlock) I think it would be absolutely fantastic if she turned out to be Moriarty and that she was using Jim as a puppet. Molly is awkward, a bit off, and considered a bit unimportant, but there are moments when her brilliance shines through. This makes me wonder if she’s the brains and the writer, and Jim is simply the actor reading the scripts. It would make a good twist and would probably be one of the most terrifying things ever to happen to Sherlock because of how much trust he actually has in her. She’s intelligent, she blends in, and she does seem to have a bit of an obsession with Sherlock. I think it fits.

Molly and Sherlock will become an official couple.
Sherlock has hinted at his feelings towards Molly - he thinks of her before he dies, he notes her engagement and the end of her engagement, and he's been shown to genuinely care for her - and Molly's feelings towards Sherlock are obvious, especially with her engagement to Tom ending. Now that Molly has become less passive, and the two are more equal footing, Sherlock will return her feelings. And, seriously, why would the producers introduce a fiance for her only to get rid of him if there's no potential for her and Sherlock? That would be a little too much Kick the Dog.

Everything we see is what is written on Watson's blog.
In other words, Watson is an unreliable narrator who adds sensationalism to the stories we see as the show.

"theimprobableone" is the third Holmes brother
As of season 3, almost every multi-story character from the original stories has been revealed. And yet, the identity of avid blog reader and commenter "theimprobableone" remains a mystery. It's very likely that the "other" sibling of Sherlock and Mycroft mentioned in His Last Vow will be a future Big Bad, so this would allow a precedent to show that he's been watching all this time.
Sherlock is not a sociopath.
Sherlock is not a sociopath, and he's also not autistic. The only neurological difference between him and everyone else is his genius. He is simply very damaged, psychologically.

It doesn't make any sense at all that Sherlock would be a sociopath. Sociopaths are capable of growing fond of other people, but still hold themselves to be the most, and only, important person. Self-sacrifice is impossible for a sociopath, high-functioning or otherwise. He obviously cares very deeply for many people in his life, and is prepared to send himself to prison for them, as revealed in the series 3 finale. He's also very adept at reading people, so autism/asperger's also doesn't make sense.

There is a sociopath in the Holmes family, but it's Mycroft. The series 3 finale revealed a small glimpse of what Sherlock was like as a child, and he seemed like a sensitive, well-adjusted little boy. However, it became clear that Mycroft was something of a bully to young Sherlock, frequently calling him "stupid". To an extremely intelligent little boy, that's one of the most hurtful things a person can say. Between that, and other boys shunning him for being "weird" (read: intelligent), Young Sherlock learned it was safest to keep his emotions to himself. He also began, even if unconsciously, emulating the person who seemed to be the strongest and most intelligent person Sherlock knew: his big brother. In time, he fooled even himself with the act, and, upon reading the DSM, diagnosed himself as a sociopath.

Sherlock can freeze time.
How else would he have his arms on the front side of his body in one shot, then on the back side of his body in the next shot? Just watch "The Sign of Three." It happens near the end.

    Crossovers 
How Sherlock survived the fall.
After the events of The Reichenbach Fall, John is so distraught that he needs to get away from his former life and the people who know about Sherlock, so he moves out into the country and starts going by a different name: Arthur Dent. He slowly builds a new life for himself, including a new best friend named Ford. Then one day, Ford reveals that he is an alien, and he and Arthur set off into space to escape the destruction of the earth. Meanwhile, just before Arthur and Ford join him on the Heart of Gold, Zaphod Beeblebrox pushes the button on the Infinite Improbability Drive, and something infinitely improbable happens: in the past, Sherlock Holmes misses the ground and flies away (since, obviously, the way to fly is to throw yourself at the ground and miss), and, even more improbably, a Sherlock corpse materializes on the pavement (hey, that's less improbable than everyone turning knitted). Sherlock flies around for a bit, then lands and begins watching John silently, knowing that he has no explanation he could give him for his infinitely improbable survival, until the party where Arthur first meets Trillian. When Sherlock, who has been following John/Arthur like a stalker, hears Zaphod tell Trillian that he has a spaceship, he gets curious and follows them. Zaphod and Sherlock bond over their shared egotism and become friends, and the three of them leave the planet together shortly before Arthur and Ford do. When Arthur and Ford join Trillian and Zaphod and Sherlock on the Heart of Gold, John/Arthur and Sherlock are reunited at last, though their touching and emotional reunion is somewhat deflated when Zaphod starts catcalling and tells them to get a room.
  • I love this so so much.

Yes, John takes a holiday after series 2, but not in our world...
Following the end of series 2, John is so upset and distraught he decides he needs a holiday, as in the above WMG. He goes to the most peaceful and relaxing place his therapist can suggest - the Shire. There he establishes his new life as Bilbo Baggins. His aversion to 'adventures' is a hangover from the trauma that he suffered due to Sherlock's death. This also explains why he is so excited when he decides to go with the dwarves; 'I'm going on an ADVENTURE!!'; having overcome his fear he is excited to be going back into danger (as he was in Series 1, Episode 1).

Meanwhile, Sherlock has ALSO journeyed to Middle Earth. Related to all the above WMG about him taking over Moriarty's role; what is less dull than becoming a consulting criminal? Becoming a consulting criminal in Middle Earth. Thus, the Necromancer/Smaug. When 'Bilbo' eventually reaches the Lonely Mountain and meets 'Smaug', who reveals himself to be 'the Necromancer', disguised as a dragon because I said so, Sherlock reveals himself to John, who has noticed the similarity to his old friend's voice. The two are joyfully reunited, the Dwarves are confused but get their treasure back, Gandalf makes a few wise comments, looks mysterious and pretends he saw it all coming, and everyone is happy. John and Sherlock return to 221B Baker Street in time for Series 3 to begin.

Sherlock is a Mentat.

John is a Reality Warper
Sherlock did die after he fell, but John begging him to come back by his grave warped reality.

Sherlock takes place in the same universe as Jekyll.
It would be so awesome if there was a Steven Moffat fictionverse.
  • Here's a YouTube interview where Moffat is speculating briefly on what a meeting between this version of Sherlock and The Doctor would be like. We can but dream: [3]
    • Link to this video/article, please?
    • There is a (fanmade) trailer for this [4]
    • Unfortunately, though, they're very emphatically not in the same universe (Sherlock Holmes is fiction in the Whoniverse). We could but dream.

Sherlock borrowed the Teselecta
Sorry, it was inevitable after watching "The Wedding of River Song" and it kinda fits

Sherlock is the 12th Doctor
This should be the the most popular and obvious WMG about this show. The entire series most likely takes place after Matt Smiths regeneration and the return of the Time Lords to our reality. Since the Doctor doesn't have to singlehandedly save the universe any more he decides to go into full retirement on earth. But after a while he gets bored and decides to become a consulting detective for the British police and secret service under the pseudonym of Sherlock Holmes.

And if one looks at the clues it's all there from Sherlock's eccentric outfit, the way he sees the forest and the trees of a mystery, the way at times he seems to channel small bits of the persona of the Tenth Doctor during his thought process, the reason Sherlock seems "bored" with nearly everything in ordinary life and the final nail is after a while of being on his own for a while more he still needs a assistant/companion thus we have Dr. Watson.

Also Sherlock's brother Mycroft might actually be the Doctor's ACTUAL brother sent to check on him by their mother, the now lord president of Gallifrey who has his own companion (the hot chick that was constantly texting.)

Sherlock is The Doctor with Amnesia
Think about it. He craves an assistant, is extremely clever in a slightly alien way, and doesn't mind a bit of running.

In this 'verse, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been swallowed up by the cracks in time, and the original Sherlock Holmes stories were never written. The Doctor, after a traumatic event, develops amnesia but seizes upon a character from his memory and assumes his identity. UNIT hears about this and sends an agent to assume the identity of Mycroft to keep an eye on him. The Master has been resurrected for the umpteenth time and gleefully takes on the persona of Moriarty to play with The Doctor. Dr Watson turning up is a happy coincidence.
  • The Doctor is similar to Sherlock. The inspiration is....elementary.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith have the exact same face.
    • Umm, what?
  • Steven Moffat went on record saying that he considers them to be polar opposites. The Doctor is like an angel who wishes to be human; Holmes is a human that aspires to be a god.

Sherlock is The Master.
It's more likely that Sherlock is a Chameleon-Arched Master as whenever the Chameleon Arch is shown in Doctor Who, the resulting human keeps some of their traits from being a Time Lord - Professor Yana was an engineering genius who still heard the drums, and Professor Smith hated guns, liked kids and was nice (ish) to Martha despite her being black in an earlier time. Sherlock cares about nothing but knowledge and proving himself to be the best. He also quite happily fires guns several times. He hates being around people - except John, apparently - and gets his kicks from violent crime and murder. Ergo, not the Doctor. The Master.
  • Sherlock's similarity to the Doctor has already been noted, but can you imagine the Doctor cold-heartedly torturing a man? Scornfully referring to human minds as 'funny little brains?' Casually describing himself as a sociopath? Didn't think so. But the Master is also a good bit like the Doctor . . .
  • The Doctor has called humans "stupid apes". It all depends on his regeneration. Some are nicer than others...
  • The Doctor describing human minds as 'funny little brains'? Absolutely. He says that almost word for word in The Empty Child.
  • In, I believe, "Masque of Mandragora," the Doctor says to Sarah Jane that "You humans have such tiny little minds. I don't know why I like you." Granted, Sarah turns this into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming by replying "Because you have such good taste!" but the Doctor isn't always, 100% pro-humanity.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch is apparently going to play the Master. Make of that what you will.
    • Oh no he won't.
      • I mean, he'd BETTER not...

"theimprobableone" is Arsène Lupin
One, presumably Mycroft has better things to do with his time than post on Sherlock and John's websites and figure out the hidden messages. Two, "theimprobableone" seems a bit more of a fan who's never met Sherlock than his brother, and his posts seem to convey a bit more energy than Mycroft would post with. Also, as a government employee, Mycroft would use capitals. Now as for why it's Arsène, Arsène is a thief specializing in seemingly impossible crimes, until the facts are revealed and it turns out that they are merely improbable. It is also far past time that Arsène appear on Sherlock's turf as opposed to the other way around, and it's not like he's got a copyright hanging around his neck anymore either. He also makes comments such as saying John seems stupid and how he can match Sherlock's intellect, which would match John's portrayal in the Arsène Lupin books as really, really stupid (Maurice Leblanc did not seem to like him very much, taking every chance he got to get John out of the picture). But all this is small fry when compared to the fact that It Would Just Plain Be Awesome.

The villian of Series 4 will be Solar Pons
Sherlock Holmes exist in the original Solar Pons novels, where he is a fanboy of the original Great Detective. Maybe in this universe Pons is a brilliant detective who wants to surpass his idol and sets up the Moriarty return to grab his attention and challenge him to a "detective game" of sorts. Also, Solar Pons called Holmes "The Master", which could be another Doctor Who shout-out Moffat is so fond of.

Sherlock is a Technopath
Sherlock's using the mobile phone to send texts to everyone at the press conference, and that time he recalled that long list of directions in the scene which showed the maps, and other times like them: it's not just that he's a technical genius with a photographic memory. He is a technopath like Micah from Heroes.

He was not remembering all of that information. He was accessing it with his mind.

  • Or he's like Gary from Alphas, and can read electromagnetic wavelengths. See the news, access GPS, read people's texts...

The cipher from "The Blind Banker" is the Yellow Sign.
It's yellow, and people die after they see it.

The bomb jacket at the end of 'The Great Game' kills Watson and Holmes. And we get a better Life On Mars spinoff.
Cause Sherlock Holmes and Gene Hunt. 'nuff said.

Sherlock is an AU version of L.
They're both tall, skinny uber-genius detectives with dark hair that have a hard time living with "normal" people. Fans have noted that the way they sit in couches (unaired pilot in the suitcase scene, Great Game where he insults bad telly) is awfully familiar. Also, Sherlock is surprisingly good at fighting. Of course, Rule of Funny demands that Camp Gay Moriarty is Light Imagay.
  • Considering the high amount of Light/L and Johnlock shippers, John can also be amnesiac Light, as both pairs end up handcuffed together for a period of time.
  • Reverse the polarity of the causation flow. L was, in no small part, based on Sherlock Holmes.
  • Sherlock's smile frequently provides a perfect real-life version of L's cat-smile.

The Golem is The Slender Man
Just look at him!
  • There's that whole problem of him having, you know, a face. And an actual identity. And needing to strangle people rather than just mindrape them to death or dissecting them and putting their organs in bags.

The Golem is Agent 47.
Tall, lanky bald man who wears a suit and kills people for a living? It has to be!

John has nine lives.
Sherlock is the work of two Doctor Who writers. What would you expect?

Moriarty is Red John
Soft voice, short brown hair, under six feet tall, intelligent, psychopath who likes to play games.

Moriaty is a clone of the The Master.
I'm sick of all these time lord theories, let's say that the 2010 version of the person who hired him to steal the Mona Lisa in the Jeremy Brett series found the remains of the Master, (assuming that he died at the climax of End of Time) and used them to create the criminal mastermind.
  • You say you're sick of them then write another. ...what.

Sherlock is Artemis Fowl, all grown up
  • And Mycroft is Myles, whose more moral upbringing led him to government work.
  • Which would make Beckett Moriarty, I suppose?
    • Nope. Opal Koboi is Moriarty. ...Try not to think about that too hard.
  • Or Artemis is Moriarty; he went back to his criminal ways. He has the right accent after all.
    • Moriarty???
      • They all look the same with the flesh scorched off their skulls.

Mycroft Holmes is an angel's vessel.
It's why his relationship with Sherlock is so negative; it's not a childish feud at all (notice that when John asks if it really is a childish feud, he doesn't say yes). It's not Mycroft that Sherlock is "so resentful" of, it's the angel; in reality, he hasn't spoken to his brother in years. In that same vein, Moriarty is either possessed by a very powerful demon or is consorting with them, and both Sherlock and "Mycroft" know it, and are trying to bring him down. Take this into account, and some of the dialogue takes on a new meaning.
  • "It's time to choose a side, Dr. Watson."
  • "Did it ever occur to you that we belong on the same side?" "Oddly enough, no."
  • (Concerning Moriarty) "What are we dealing with, here?" "...Something new."
  • Suddenly, the dialog on the hospital's roof about the sides of angels and demons also starts to make sense. Maybe too much sense.

Reece Shearsmith will appear in one of the next episodes.
  • It would be awesome and he's perfect for this series and half of the League of Gentlemen would be reunited. And, after all, Shearsmith and Pemberton did call Mark Gatiss for an episode of Psychoville, so he owes them one. Hell, considering they're friends, isn't the fact that Reece Shearsmith didn't play Moriarty a Missed Moment of Awesome of epic proportion? And wouldn't he make an awesome Sebastian Moran?
  • Yes Yes Yes Reece as Moran YES PLEASE!!

Molly is the teselecta
Obviously Sherlock deduced that she was a fugitive from Doctor Who and when he said he needed her he specifically wanted inside for the purpose of faking his death. Sound familiar?
  • ...what? What has the Teselecta got to do with fugitives? Aren't they a justice department of some sort?
    • 'fugitive' here meaning she's a cross-over character. The Teselecta is the device, used by a justice department (of sorts), which looks/functions like a person, and is used to replace them without distrupting the timeline (allowing a Teselcta to be killed, rather than our protagonist)

Sherlock has a Portal Gun.
That's right.

Sherlock is an Assassin
He just did a Leap of Faith into the truck. Moriarty, of course, is a Templar.

Moriarty is the one-man UK branch of Wolfram & Hart.
A paid consultant who helps people arrange their crimes and get away with them? And I bet he's got a law degree too.

"Mummy" is M from James Bond
She didn't mean to be emotionally distant, but you try running a bloody country and keeping multiple 007s in check. And this explains how Mycroft got into the government, with good old fashioned nepotism. And yes, I know that the James Bond films exist in the Sherlock universe, but think about it: what better way to make people dismiss the truth than to make it into a movie? Better yet, MI6 gets a cut of the profits, so the films help to bankroll national security.
  • This is so beautiful that I think I might cry. And I demand a Judi Dench cameo as Mummy in season 3.

Sherlock was resurrected by Alduin.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes. Benedict Cumberbatch will play Smaug in the upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit. Therefore, in addition to being a Time Lord (see below), Sherlock Holmes is a dragon and,though he really did die at the end of The Reichenbach Fall, was resurrected through suitably draconic means. The logic is flawless!
  • Does this mean that Dragonrend is effective against Sherlock?

The body that fell of the roof was actually a Teselecta.
Much like the Doctor, Sherlock decided that he was getting too famous. Fortunately for him, the Doctor shows up (having just faked his own death) looking for a companion. Sherlock sees this as a perfect opportunity to disappear for a while and let everything die down. He ended up hinting to Molly that he might die because he knew that he was going to stage his own death very soon. So the Sherlock that Moriarty was talking to on the roof was actually a Teselecta with Sherlock inside. However during Sherlock's travels with the Doctors they encounter the Winchesters and take them in as additional companions. Sherlock ends up really missing John and convinces the Doctor to take John with them on their travels. Thus SuperWhoLock is born!
  • This Troper would like to inform you that her year has now been made thanks to that WMG.

Sherlock is a Timelord. Actually, everyone is a Time Lord
I'm sorry. Somebody had to say it.
  • I assume Watson and Le Strade are his companions, his TARDIS any cab he happens to get in, his title is The Consulting Detective, and he only recently regenerated from being Dr. Gergory House and/or Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes? Also wouldn't that make Mycroft a Time Lord? Cause that makes a hell of a lot of sense in its own right.

Sherlock's father is Gregory House.
Sherlock's mother, already married with a child, had an affair with a gruff sarcastic American doctor which resulted in Sherlock. Sherlock probably figured out he was an illegitimate child at an early age, which created a rift between him and his parents. Mycroft became Sherlock's reluctant emotional support and mentor during their childhood, but the result was a sociopathic and cynical man. Like father, like son.

Sarah has a brother named Toby.
Could explain why she seems to hate all the danger and excitement- it reminds her of the time she was in the Labyrinth.

Sherlock is a vampire.
He certainly looks and acts the part. He seems to have or to have had an addiction problem, and may even be using detective work as Addiction Displacement. It would also explain how he survived the fall. Granted, he doesn't have all the typical traits of a vampire, but who does? This will most likely be jossed in favor of a more realistic explanation, but it still works as an Alternate Character Interpretation.

As part of his flight from England after faking his death, he settles in New York City.
The trailer for the new CBS series has Holmes stating "I was a consultant for Scotland Yard, but never took a payment". Without Watson, he fell into a nasty cocaine habit he's only just recovering from. He knows he needs a minder, and actually asked for "Doctor Watson" — and Joan Watson was the only qualified person around. He'll spend three years in New York before returning to London, matching his disappearance in the books.

Alternately, Sherlock from Elementary is related to Sherlock from Sherlock and they exist in the same universe
  • Okay, don't attack me for this idea, but it could work and it could even offer up a chance for fans of both series to try and get along. Gregson from the books was sort of a rival inspector to Lestrade. One series has Lestrade and the other has Gregson. Irene is dead in Elementary and she faked her death (twice) in Sherlock. She could have easily have encountered Elementary's Sherlock prior to her involvement with Moriarty. The Sherlock from Elementary hasn't mentioned having a sibling yet, only his father, so he might not have Mycroft for his brother in this series. That would work out since there wouldn't be two Mycrofts essentially running the British government (though that would be a scary thought). The two Sherlocks wouldn't be necessarily close relations since sharing the same name could be problematic if they were siblings or something (though the Holmes family is already demonstrating a tradition of using more obscure names). So, these two detectives could be distant cousins.

Alternately alternately, Elementary exists in the Sherlockverse - as an inaccurate American TV show based on Holmes' real adventures.
  • The creators based the show on a sarcastic comment Watson made; when asked in an interview who should play him in a show, he derisively said "Lucy Liu." Not getting the joke, the show "Elementary" was made based on this suggestion. Sherlock, of course, has no idea the show exists, being as ignorant of pop culture as he is.

Sherlock is dead.
We see his ghost at the graveyard. However, he will keep solving crimes.

Beth Davenport has a brother called Martin
Just because

Sherlock's real father is Enoch Root
Sherlock does not know this. Nor does Enoch; only Mummy Holmes ever knew her sons had different fathers, but Sherlock has inherited his father's brilliance and his eye color. Also, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse and Margaret, the Qwghlmian girl who seduced him, were John Watson's maternal grandparents.
  • Then which character's a Shaftoe? Sherlock seems to have Jack and Robin's talent for "having the makings of either a successful entrepreneur or a total loser", as well as being able to "hoover up information", while Mycroft is "a pretty straightforward by-the-book type", like M.A. and Bob.

We've seen Dr John Watson before he went to Afghanistan
He's the un-named doctor who treated Manny for swallowing The Little Book of Calm in the first episode of Black Books.

Mycroft is the Doctor
He's made it his mission to keep both the Victorian Holmes and the modern-day Sherlock safe. That's why he isn't freaking out when he finds out that Sherlock's "dead". He's already gone to the future and knows that Sherlock's not dead. He also makes sure that Watson doesn't die in "The Three Garridebs."

Jack Harkness switched places with Sherlock mid-fall
Think about it. Mycroft is the British Government. If Harriet Jones knew about Torchwood, it would be ludicrous to expect that Mycroft doesn't. Mycroft found out about Torchwood when he was younger and less subtle, so Sherlock figured it out too. Sherlock needs to fake his death, so he calls Jack, who he's on friendly terms with. The Doctor abandoned Jack on the Game Station, and therefore owes him a few favors. So Sherlock is there for the rooftop scene, but when he falls, the (invisible) TARDIS catches him at just the right moment and goes back in time the few seconds necessary to make the switch. Jack, who has been temporarily changed into a Sherlock clone, falls the rest of the way and dies. Once "Sherlock" is safely away, he turns back into Jack and comes back to life. The "corpse" is replaced with a decoy and the Doctor drops Sherlock off. Sherlock passes the time while he's "dead" by joining Torchwood.

The Doctor Who Classic series exists as a TV show in Sherlock's universe.
Moffat has gone out of his way to establish that Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character in the Doctor's reality, just to remind us that a canon crossover is impossible. He might as well establish that Doctor Who is fictional in Sherlock's universe, too. Obviously, the reference to Sherlock Holmes in the new series (together with some shared actors) means that New!Who can't exist, but the classic series could. Sherlock wouldn't particularly care for it, of course, but John probably loved it as a kid. (His favourite doctor was four . The loopy one with the curly hair and the scarf.)

John and Mary are the parents of Sam and Dean Winchester
At the end of series 3, John will decide that his life with Sherlock is too dangerous and puts his new girlfriend, Mary Morstan, at risk. All Mary wants is a quiet, normal life after being raised by her parents to fight demons so the two of them change their last name and travel to America where a weeping angel takes them back in time twenty years to Lawrence, Kansas where they settle down and Mary gives birth to two sons.

Martin Freeman's role in Love Actually is what Watson did before going off to war.
The timeline matches up reasonably and both characters are named John.

Sherlock is a Vulcan.
It almost makes too much sense. Basically, the Vulcans sent Sherlock to Earth to watch us and see if we could handle being part of Starfleet. If we could, he would help us get warp technology. If we couldn't, he would work against us. He's almost lost faith in humanity when he finds John. Later on, in a future season, he gets married and has a child. Years and years later his desendant threatens Starfleet... John Harrison, because the name John has been passed down since he named his son that. This also explains Spock quoting him. It's really a Vulcan proverb!
  • Well... there is the minor fact that John Harrison is an alias, and his real name is Khan Noonien Singh...
  • Maybe Khan Noonien Singh is the alias , and he's really Sherlock frozen by Moriarty. That's why he's so desperate to get to his crew. There were 70 people kidnapped, one of them John. Sherlock was trying to rescue them when he got frozen, and Moriarty froze himself and Moran afterwards. The next Star Trek will involve Bones reanimating John. The next film will be call Star Trek: Burn, in which Moriarty will try to burn the heart out of Sherlock and Starfleet has to capture Moriarty.

Moriarty is The Joker.
Although he may have survived shooting himself in the head, it was not without being scarred. After this happened, he was confident he'd beat Sherlock and decided that the only worthy opponent left was the legendary American crimefighter known as Batman; he also decided that he'd have to match said opponent's goofy sense of theatricality, so he threw on some makeup and a purple suit, adopted an American accent, and headed to Gotham City to sow some chaos.

'Moriarty' is actually Sebastian Moran
  • That's how Moriarty will return- as the true face behind the man. Moran is dead.

Sherlock and Gregory House are half brothers.
  • If the above theory about Father Holmes' affair is true, and he was a high ranking military official as he was in the original Conan Doyle stories, it wouldn't be a stretch to say he met with another military high up, this time from America, and somewhere met his wife along the line. The two get on, then they get it on, and suddenly two borderline sociopathic geniuses with great skills of deduction exist. We already know House's father wasn't his biological one, and that his mother was a serial adulterers. And to top it off, House sure looks like he's got some British blood...

Mycroft and Malcolm Tucker are best friends.
Because that is the most terrifying possibility imaginable. Infinitely moreso than them being worst enemies...

Moriarty knows Silva.
You all saw his "missed me?" animation. It seems to be the kind of half-irksome, half-threatening way of sending a message Silva favors, minus the outing of undercover agents... that we know of.

Mycroft didn't rescue Sherlock because he needed help in uncovering a terrorist ring in London
He knew their parents were coming to town and needed Sherlock's help in dealing with them . . . . .

The "Moriarty" we saw committing suicide was not the real Moriarty
Considering Moriarty's network previously used people with bombs strapped to them to speak on his behalf, he may also have Andrew Scott's character playing the part. This would mean either the presumed dead proxy is a look a like of the real Moriarty which we met, or a man sufficiently coerced and/or insane enough to have made all of Moriarty's previous appearances.

Sherlock owns a Dead Ringer.
Explains everything about how he faked his death.

Mycroft knows where The Village is.
He probably has a hand in appointing the new Number Two.


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