28 Easter Eggs, References and Tidbits You Might Have Missed In 'Sherlock: His Last Vow'
Previously: 25 Easter Eggs and References You Might Have Missed In ‘Sherlock: The Empty Hearse’ and 23 Easter Eggs, References and Tidbits You Might Have Missed In ‘Sherlock: The Sign of Three.’ Now that you’re all caught up, here are 28 easter eggs, references and tidbits for the BBC Sherlock episode “His Last Vow.” This article only contains spoilers for and discussion of this, the final episode of season/series three. By the by, if you already know all of these facts, well hark at you. A regular Sherlock Holmes you are.
1. And Baby Sherl Makes Three: We’ve talked about keeping it all in the family this season. You’ll remember that Cumberbatch’s real parents played Sherlock’s mother and father and Martin Freeman’s real-life partner Amanda Abbington played Mary Morstan. In this installment we see a young Sherlock played by none other than the son of show creator Steven Moffat. The curls are a dead giveaway.
2. His Last Bow: The title of this episode, “His Last Vow” is a play on the Sherlock story “His Last Bow.” But, of course, it’s also a reference to the speech Sherlock made in last week’s episode which started like this: “I’ve never made a vow in my life and after tonight I never will again so here in front of you all I make my first and last vow”…and ended like this:
And he kept it, didn’t he?
3. SLURRRRP: Our slimy big bad, Magnussen, is based on Doyle’s Charles Augustus Milverton who was described thus: “the king of all the blackmailers. Heaven help the man, and still more the woman, whose secret and reputation come into the power of Milverton! With a smiling face and a heart of marble, he will squeeze and squeeze until he has drained them dry.” Doyle’s Milverton was based on real-life blackmailer Charles Augustus Howell. Magnussen’s glasses and his off-putting geniality are directly out of the book. The lick, however? That’s new.
4. Shark Week: Sherlock’s description of Milverton to Watson in the book goes a little something like this. “Do you feel a creeping, shrinking sensation, Watson, when you stand before the serpents in the Zoo and see the slithery, gliding, venomous creatures, with their deadly eyes and wicked, flattened faces? Well, that’s how Milverton impresses me.” They only changed the words slightly to describe Magnussen in the show. And they nailed it.
5. From One Supervillain To Another: The actor playing Magnussen is Lars Mikkelsen whose brother Mads is best known to us as TV’s Hannibal.
6. A Case Of The Shakes: Did you catch the return of the tremor in John’s hand at the beginning of the episode? You remember that Mycroft said about that tremor in the pilot, don’t you? “You have an intermittent tremor in your left hand. Your therapist thinks it’s posttraumatic stress disorder. She thinks you’re haunted by memories of your military service…Fire her. She’s got it the wrong way around. You’re under stress right now and your hand is perfectly steady. You’re not haunted by the war, Dr. Watson. You miss it.”
7. C.A.M.: That look on Mary’s face makes a whole lot of sense now doesn’t it?
DAAAAAMN, MRS. WATSON.
8. Speaking Of Which, DAAAAAAAMN, MRS. HUDSON: Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson go back and forth with some “pole dancing” jokes and Mrs. Hudson (played by Una Stubbs) accuses Sherlock of “YouTube-ing again.” This is a YouTube video of Una Stubbs dancing in her prime.
9. A.G.R.A.: In the Doyle story “The Sign Of The Four,” Mary Morstan is in search of treasure from Agra, India. Here A.G.R.A. become her initials.
10. Low Blow: Now we understand Mycroft’s oblique reference to “Redbeard” in last week’s episode.
That means when Sherlock was feeling low and insecure about his best friend getting married, Mycroft decided to bring up the dead family dog. Nice one, Mike.
11. The Lie in Leinster Gardens: This is all real. The false fronted house in Leinster Gardens? It’s a real thing. You can read all about it.
12. The Empty House: Sherlock implies that Mary here is, in fact, “The Empty House.” That, of course, is also the name of the Doyle story where Sherlock returns to life. (Re-titled “The Empty Hearse” for television.)
13. Mycroft’s Co-worker: He’s in good company.
14. The Golden Apple: Appledore Towers is the name of Milverton’s home in the Doyle story and also the name of Magnussen’s estate in the show. That’s a play on Apple d’Or or Golden Apple which is a classic literary symbol. The most famous version being The Apple Of Discord which threw three goddesses (Athena, Hera and Aphrodite) into a b*tch fight and kicked off the Trojan War.
15. Esprit d’Escalier: Is every mind palace required to have an elaborate staircase? I think I’d like an elevator in mine.
16. At Least His Bastardy Is Canon: Well first of all, we’re a bit relieved, aren’t we, that Sherlock isn’t actually in love with Janine and that wasn’t really flirting with her at the wedding. It seemed very out of character. But no, of course, Sherlock had an endgame. In the books, Holmes is equally duplicitous and becomes engaged to Milverton’s housemaid Agatha.
17. Don’t Cry For Janine: We don’t feel too sorry for Janine, though, do we? She was an opportunist as well. Her cottage, by the way? The one on the South Downs? That’s a nod to canon. Sherlock Holmes retires there to, oh yes, take up beekeeping. Allegedly, Ian McKellen will be playing this retired, beekeeping version of Holmes in Bill Condon’s upcoming film A Slight Trick Of The Mind.
The Wig Wiggy Bill Wiggins: Both Billy and Wiggins are the names of young men who, in the books, worked in Sherlock’s service. Charlie Chaplin started his career by playing Billy on stage.
Did you recognize the actor Tom Brooke from Game Of Thrones? He played one of the Freys. The hoodie was a dead giveaway.
19. The Fall: Of course it would be Molly who would help him fall. Just as she did before.
20. There Is…Another…Holmes Brother: Mycroft’s dark allusion to a third brother is a reference to some non-Doyle stories written about Sherlock. In them, Mycroft and Holmes have a brother named Sherrinford. The “other brother” theory goes like this, if Mycroft were the eldest heir of the landed Holmes family, he would have to manage the family estate. He wouldn’t be able to have a job in the government. This fictitious Sherrinford frees up both Mycroft and Sherlock to go gallivanting on adventures. Sherrinford Holmes, by the way, was an early name Doyle considered for Sherlock. He’s also the character Steven Moffat has said he would like to play.
21. And Even More Fan Fiction: When Holmes reveals his full name to Watson, he’s alluding to the the Non-Canonical “Wold Newton Family” which is a kind of proto-literary fan fiction that is SO bananas I can’t even get into it. Read up on it if you’re so inclined.
22. Stayin’ Alive: Moffat and Gatiss swear on everything that is holy that Moriarty’s ringtone “Stayin’ Alive” is a complete coincidence.
23. But They Promised: But they did promise that Moriarty was really and truly dead. If they were lying, they’ll have a lot to answer for.
24. The Drug Den: This is a reference to the Doyle story “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” in which Watson goes in search of a man named Isa Whitney at an opium den and finds not only him, but a disguised Sherlock Holmes.
25. Sherlock Holmes, Murderer?: It looks like Holmes is going to get off the hook for Magnussen’s murder. In the books, Holmes doesn’t murder Milverton himself, but he does nothing to prevent the woman who does.
26. Here Be Dragons: This?
Is a reference to this. You’ll never convince me otherwise.
27. You Should Have That On A T-Shirt: They did it again.
28. It’s A Denver Thing: The rundown Magnussen did on John and Sherlock was pretty fun.
John Hamish Watson
Afghanistan Veteran (see file)
G.P. (See File)
Porn preference: Normal
Finances: 10% Debt (see file)
Pressure point: Harry Watson (Sister) Alcoholic / Mary Morstan (Wife)
But Mrs. Hudson? Oh that was magnificent.
Widow (see file)
Former “Exotic Dancer” (see file)
Finances: 21% Debt (see file)
Pressure point: Marijuana