Sherlock: Season 3, Episode 1

The Empty Hearse (19 Jan. 2014)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Reviews: 46 user | 30 critic

Mycroft calls Sherlock back to London to investigate an underground terrorist organization.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Howard Shilcott
Bonfire Dad
Trixiebell Harrowell ...
Lovelace Akpojaro ...
Reporter 1 (as Lace Akpojaro)


Two years after the devastating effects of The Reichenbach Fall, Dr John Watson has got on with his life. New horizons, romance and a comforting domestic future beckon; but, with London under threat of a huge terrorist attack, Sherlock Holmes is about to rise from the grave with all the theatricality that comes so naturally to him. It's what his best friend wanted more than anything, but for John Watson it might well be a case of 'be careful what you wish for'. If Sherlock thinks everything can be just as he left it though, he's in for a very big surprise. Written by BBC

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery



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Release Date:

19 January 2014 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Watson's fiancée, Mary Morstan, is played by Amanda Abbington, the real-life partner of Martin Freeman. See more »


Sherlocke's tombstone appears to have changed locations between this episode and the series two finale. In the latter, the tombstone stands somewhat isolated, in front of a huge tree, with no more tombs around. In "The Empty Hearse", however, the tombstone stands behind the tree, in the middle of an opening, with several other tombstones around. See more »


Dr. John Watson: [furious] Two years. Two years! I thought... I thought you were dead. Now you let me grieve. Hm? How could you do that? How?
Sherlock Holmes: Wait, before you do anything that you might regret, um... one question, just let me ask one question.
Sherlock Holmes: [laughing at John's moustache] Are you really gonna keep that?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, individual letters are coloured red. Together they spell Weng Chiang. See more »


References Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang: Part One (1977) See more »


¿Dónde Estás, Yolanda?
Written by Pink Martini
Performed by Pink Martini
[Played when John and Mary dine together]
See more »

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User Reviews

Sherlock and key
16 January 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Cleverly altering the title of Conan-Doyle's original "comeback" story after his death" at the Reichenbach Falls ("The Empty House"), while it was great to have Benedict Cumberbatch in the role he's made his own, nevertheless I had some issues with this Mark Gatiss-penned story.

Firstly, mystifying as it was, I didn't think that the explanation of Sherlock's death-defying plunge of the previous series' almost literal cliff-hanger had to be stretched out as much as it was. Nor, come to that, did the reunion between Holmes and Watson, have to run on so long too, not only providing some fairly feeble humour with Sherlock adopting the guise of a French waiter, but also holding up the plot here by about thirty minutes. The climactic ending was a bit pat too and again seemed unoriginal to me.

The real lack of a master-villain for Sherlock to pit his wits against didn't help either, leaving the narrative somewhat nebulous and unfocused, while the less said about Watson's death's-eve speech the better. There were some nice humorous touches, particularly the cut-away last-word vulgarity scene, (borrowed I think from a recent TV advert for a soft drink) mixing in Watson's GP consultations with Holmes' new-client interviews.

The isolated mystery and detection scenes, like the disappearing passenger on the subway and Sherlock tracking Watson to the bottom of a bonfire I also liked, but this episode seemed a little smug to me and unwisely sacrificed plot to characterisation, detection to sentimentality. Curiously I rather liked Martin Freeman's new 'tache with T's echoes of Nigel Bruce, but it too didn't last long either.

I do hope that the next two episodes in its new short run remembers to give Sherlock some proper detecting to do and concentrates less on the rather played-out bromance between the leads..

9 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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