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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

And So It Begins

BBC’s Sherlock Starts Filming Today, And Now We Know the Title of the First Episode

Courtesy of writer Mark Gatiss‘ Twitter, the title of the first episode of season three of Sherlock is…


The Empty Hearse.

The title is a reference to Arthur Conan Doyle‘s The Adventure of the Empty House, which sees Sherlock coming back from the dead after taking a tumble over the Reichenbach Falls in The Final Problem.

The Empty House also marks the first appearance of one Sebastian Moran, Moriarty’s right-hand man, who briefly showed up in the season two finale as the sniper who was after John. (It’s not been confirmed that that was Moran, but a big part of his character is that he’s an excellent shot, so it’s a fair assumption that it is–unless Gatiss pulls a fast one on us, which is entirely possible.)

Fans have been looking forward to Moran’s appearance for some time. Though, interestingly, we haven’t heard anything yet about casting. Could it be that he’ll be mentioned in episode one only to show up later, à la Moriarty in season one? Or maybe he’s been cast but Gatiss and Steven Moffat are keeping it under wraps? We’re so close to knowing, yet so far way. And I though the first year of the hiatus was rough.

If you’ll remember, last summer Moffat gave us three words that would match up to the episodes in season three. They are: Rat. Wedding. Bow. Can anyone with more knowledge of Doyle than I chime in with which of those words connects with The Empty House in some way?

C’mon, Sherlockians. Time to start with our deductions in earnest.


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  • LydiaT

    A while ago, somebody on tumblr posted a scan that showed of all three words, in the same order, appearing n one page of The Adventure of Charlea Augustus Milverton. Could potentially be something! At the very least it’d be a huge coincidence if it wasn’t related at all.

  • loretta obuchowski

    I do not think any have to do with The Empty House. I would say Rat: Giant Rat of Sumatra. Wedding: Watson toMary Morstan. Bow: His Last Bow.

  • Guest

    And it’s been leaked that Moriarty’s lawyer in the courtroom scene was Moran.

  • Charlotte Varlet

    Did anyone else think of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, which is alluded to in the Holmesian canon but never explained?

    Also “His Last Bow” could be the bow in question. It’s a bit broad, but I trust Gatiss to make each word mean a zillion different things.

    Hmm. Wedding? Solitary Cyclist, maybe? Or the one with the disappearing bridegroom? I really hope it’s solitary cyclist.

  • scottmonty

    There’s also “The Noble Bachelor,” in which Lord Robert St. Simon was left at the altar. But that was a relatively weak story, so it wouldn’t make for a rousing episode of “Sherlock.”

  • Anonymous

    A couple of Twitter msgs last week indicated that actor Tomi May was to be in ‘The Empty Hearse.’ He looks as though he could easily play a Moran ‘type.’ We’ll see! I’m just glad that S3 is finally filming!

  • Anonymous

    I really hope the Giant Rat of Sumatra makes an entrance.

  • Straker

    “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” old wedding saying for a bride – so how about “Blue Carbuncle” for wedding clue, and as the Christmas Special, since either Gatiss or Moffat once mentioned they would like to do a Christmas piece, and it should be airing around Christmas.

  • dibu

    “Rat” maybe jokingly referring to “the giant rat of Sumatra” Watson once referred – but this was a story he never told.

    “Wedding” probably Watson marrying. While this never played a role in the stories Watson was at least two times married. His first wife died in the time Holmes was away, I don’t know if it was Mary Morstan (from “The Sign of Four”).

    “Bow”: “His last bow”, Doyle’s last Holmes story written in 1927, playing shortly before the first world war: A disguised Holmes helps to uncover an Irish criminal (IRA?) with the help of an aged Watson. The end indicates Holmes feeling “that a big storm will raise in which many of us will fall”, indicating the upcoming First World War.

  • Rakesh Pradhan

    wow! waited for a long time :D