So how does “Sherlock” begin its third season? The episode will be titled “The Empty Hearse.”
Gatiss’ message reads as follows:
“Exclusive! Ep 1 will be called ‘The Empty Hearse’. The game is on!”
The message comes with a photo of a clapboard announcing the first scene will begin filming. Since Gatiss is involved with pretty much every aspect of “Sherlock” — in addition to his writing and producing, Gatiss also appears in the recurring role of Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft Holmes — we can probably trust him to give us valid information on the title.
What does the title mean? Considering recent plots and the habit of “Sherlock” to make subtle changes to original Sherlock Holmes stories, there is probably a loose connection between “The Empty Hearse” and the 1903 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle short story, “The Adventure of the Empty House.”
One of the main highlights of the original story is Sherlock explaining how he managed to survive his presumed death in a struggle against the villain Moriarty. As fans will recall, the television version of Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) also appeared to have died at the end of Season 2. Of course, he’s still alive, so finding out how that works will be an interesting part of the Season 3 premiere.
The plot of “The Adventure of the Empty House” involves a Moriarty lieutenant, Colonel Sebastian Moran, trying to take out a wax effigy of Holmes visible from the empty house across the street from 221B Baker Street. Although this obviously has no ill effect, Sherlock does make his public reappearance after a three-year absence. There is also a murder to be solved — a young gambler is found shot to death in a closed room.
Will any of these plots make it into “The Empty Hearse”? It’s hard to say — in addition to the modernization of the stories, “Sherlock” takes a lot of liberties with plot. It will, however, be months until we find out for sure, so let the speculation begin!