Reference: In the original canon, Sebastian Moran is a colonel, not a peer of the realm, but he shares the distinction in this episode (very nearly named after the original story: “Empty House” = “Empty Hearse”) of being the central villain of the first story after Holmes’ return from his supposedly fatal end at the Reichenbach Fall.
Moran is one of several suspected terrorists Sherlock calls his “rats,” so when we find a bomb set up in a tunnel called Sumatra, we also of course hear the echo of a never-penned, only-mentioned adventure called the “Giant Rat of Sumatra.”
Event (culprit): The wedding photographer is the (attempted) murderer.
Reference: Well this isn’t from the original canon (though the name of the murderer [Jonathan Small] and the act of Sherlock catching him by handcuffing him to luggage is indeed from the original namesake of this episode, The Sign of Four). However, this particular plot point was so uncannily like an episode from an earlier TV series, one very Sherlockian in nature, that I can’t help but think Mofftiss were inspired by it and lifted it.
In episode 1.4 of stellar TV series Lie to Me, the reason Cal Lightman, micro-expression expert, can’t see malicious intent on any of the wedding guests in the wedding videos after the groom has been shot, is that the would-be murderer is actually behind the camera. The plot there involves a jilted jealous past love, whereas in Sherlock 3.2 it involves revenge against Major Sholto (another character name from the canon original).
From: ep. 2.1 (and also brought up frequently in the rest of Seasons 2 and 3)
Event (costume): Sherlock, in an attempt to hide his face from paparazzi, grabs a random hat from a costume rack as he leaves a building. It’s a deerstalker. He mutters, “I’m a private detective; the last thing I need is a public image.” The resulting pictures of him in the hat become iconic and famous.
Reference: Though in the canon, Holmes only wears hats like this when in the
Original canon illustrator Sidney Paget was a big part of the reason why Holmes has been pictured in this hat since way back then.
country, as is normal for a Victorian gentleman (and the hat is only mentioned in Doyle’s words once, as an “ear-flapped travelling cap”), the most famous image of Sherlock Holmes in global culture is that of his profile in the deerstalker hat (and meerschaum pipe, which is also not from canon). There’s a glorious line in ep. 2.3, when John is admonishing Sherlock about not being careful enough with his fame. He says, “That’s not a deerstalker anymore; it’s a Sherlock Holmes hat.” And he’s right.
Reference: Actually, the only reference was to the title of the same name. In the ep, the three men named Garrideb are dangled outside the prison window by evil Holmes sister Eurus, as one of the deadly puzzles she poses to Sherlock in the Saw-like long string of deadly puzzles. The orginal canon tale is a bit more involved and complex, as it follows an American ostensibly trying to find a third man named Garrideb in order to claim an inheritance from an odd will. What follows is rather a chase tale of derring-do, resulting in a counterfeit scheme stymied, Dr. Watson wounded, and what’s probably the most tender and loving description of Holmes’ reaction to same that’s possible.
“You’re not hurt, Watson? For God’s sake, say that you are not hurt!”
It was worth a wound—it was worth many wounds—to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.
Reference: “The Adventure of Black Peter” (canon original) shares a few components with this ep: 1) there’s a pirate called Black Peter; 2) some of the evidence in the central murder case involves blade strikes strong enough to go through the body, implying a very strong arm. In the story, the body is pinned to the wall with a harpoon. In the ep, it’s deep sword stabs. (Also: remember the scene in Sherlock ep. 2.2, with Holmes coming home, blood-covered, harpoon in hand? That’s nearly directly from the original); 3) a subplot involving a log book and someone named John Neligan, intertwined w the murder scene but not a cause nor an effect.
Reference: “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax” is one of the most underrated, underplayed mysteries of the whole canon, and on of my personal favorites. It involves a kidnapped lady and has one of the most chilling “gotcha” moments at the end, of any of the canon stories.
Though there are twists and turns in this ep, the Lady Frances is not a woman, but a Carfax Desperado guitar, described as the “Stradivarius of guitars.” Which of course is another reference to Sherlock Holmes’ musical instrument of choice.
Reference: in this ep, you can only hear the name Gregson overlapped by other dialogue in Lestrade’s protest of his use of Sherlock to his superior, when he says “I’m not the only senior officer who’s done this; Gregson–” before he gets cut off. We never see Gregson or hear mention of him (her?) again. In fact, I have long taken Lestrade’s first name (Greg) as an Easter egg of sorts, referring to Gregson and Lestrade in one character.
In the canon, Gregson and Lestrade are two of the best of the Scotland Yarders that work with Holmes on his cases, or bring them to him. In A Study in Scarlet, Holmes describes the two as competetive “as a pair of professional beauties,” and neither of which would admit to needing or admiring Holmes for what he does for them.
Later in the canon, there are others that Holmes comes to respect, and a lovely moment in “The Six Napoleons” wherein Lestrade tells Holmes just what he thinks of him.
Event: Mr. Holder delivers a Beryl Coronet to Joan, to be delivered to Sherlock as a payment or memento of sorts from an earlier case.
Reference: From the adventure of the same name, we have a Mr. Holder and a mysterious Beryl Coronet. The circumstances of the canon piece are rather different than its appearance in this episode, but I and I’m sure all Sherlockians knew exactly what would be in the box when we saw Holder’s name. When Joan Watson commented on it being a crown, I have no doubt that all of us shouted at our TV screens: “It’s the Beryl Coronet!!”
Line: (variations on:) MYCROFT: The East wind is coming.
Reference: In the BBC series, this phrase refers to a scary story Mycroft would tell Sherlock as a child (at least that’s the indication).In canon story “His Last Bow,” a Sherlock Holmes in his sixties says to elderly Watson, just after they unmask a German spy, “There’s an East wind coming,” referring to the onset of World War One. Watson responds that he thinks on the contrary, it’s very warm. This optimism makes Holmes muse upon the impending terrible times thusly:
Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.
Reference: This title is obviously a play on the canon short story title, “The Six Napoleons,” and one must wonder what sort of dig Mofftiss is making about Thatcher, being a Napoleon substitute in the title of the ep. One also wonders if there will be smashed plaster busts, the mafia, and the Black Pearl of the Borgias involved.