Well, the episode is on in about fifteen minutes so I need to publish this now…These are my predictions for the type of events that are going to be occuring in Series 3 Episode 1 The Empty Hearse. They’re based on official pictures, synopsis, setlock spoilers and my own ideas. As I said, these do include some spoilers so if you don’t want to know…wait till after the episode to read it. It’s currently 8:40pm here in the UK, there’s not long left to wait. I’ll be publishing predictions for the other two episodes too…and then I shall laugh at how wrong it is :P

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The all important return of Sherlock. We know a little bit about this through the official adverts and even more through the spoilers. It’s two years on and Sherlock has returned to London just at the right time as a serious terrorist threat looms over the city. In the Empty House, the reason for his return was because he realised Moriarty’s top man Sebastian Moran was in London and as Moran was the only person who knew of Holmes’ continued existence, it was important that he caught up with him and bring him to justice. Really, he couldn’t resist, but there was a part of him that was concerned for the safety of his friends too. This concern would be even more apparent in BBC Sherlock going off what happened in Reichenbach and the threats made to John, Lestrade and Mrs Hudson. If there was anything that compromised their continued safety then I’m sure Sherlock would make his return for that. It will be interesting to see whether they mirror that in anyway. I’m sure there must be an actual specific reason for his return, not just “I’m bored.”

Judging from the adverts, one of the first things he does is go to see Mycroft. I should imagine he sees Mycroft, Molly and Lestrade first, although the actual order of that I’m unsure on. Then Mrs Hudson and finally John.

Now we get to some spoilers…

We know that John is in a restaurant when he first encounters Sherlock, all dressed up for a night out and looking very dapper (we’ll ignore the moustache). I think he’s probably on a night out with Mary, or waiting for her to arrive. Maybe that’s the night he’s planning to propose to her, which is why he’s taken her to a really posh restaurant and is all dressed up.

Sherlock turns up, apparently dressed as a waiter or someone working in the restaurant. There’s a confrontation and an argument which results in them getting ejected from the premises. John stalks off down the road, Mary following quickly behind him. Seeing as they didn’t actually get to eat in the restaurant, they’re both still hungry and end up diving into a fast food take-out place. Sherlock catches up with them in there, wanting to continue his conversation with John. John isn’t having any of it. Another argument occurs during which John headbutts Sherlock and leaves him with a bloody nose. Mary says she’ll try and talk to John on Sherlock’s behalf.

At some point, John is kidnapped outside Baker Street, stabbed in the neck with a needle and bundled into a car. Sherlock and Mary realise he’s been taken and go to his rescue, with Sherlock epically commandeering a motorbike and Mary riding on the back clinging to his waist. They arrive at a big bonfire party (it’s Bonfire Night), where Sherlock disembarks and pushes his way urgently through the crowd, promptly rescuing John from the bonfire itself just in the nick of time. And he says he’s not a hero, pahhh!

This is pretty much all I know from spoilers. We know there’s a terrorist attack plot, so that’s going to be weaved in somewhere. Presumably it’s the terrorists – or someone linked to them – who kidnapped John.

I predict that Sherlock WILL describe how he faked his own death, despite John’s insistence that “I don’t care how you did it, I want to know why you did it…” Well, we all already know why he did it, we’re one step ahead of John on that point. We’re more interested in the ‘how’ and I’m sure John will be too, once he knows the ‘why’. It will be told in flashback style with Sherlock’s voice over, quick jump cuts to different moments, deductions. It’ll probably only take about a minute of screen time.

We also know he has some kind of press conference where he explains the fact that he’s not dead and so on. I presume we will learn a little bit about what he got up to when he was away. He will need to straighten everything out with the media and with Scotland Yard which, with Mycroft’s help, probably won’t take all that long. Again, a couple of scenes in actual screen time.

His changing relationship with Anderson will be interesting to watch. Anderson has had a complete character change really, from someone who was skeptical of Sherlock’s skills, was complicit in making fun of him (although not as active in it as someone like Donovan), and was essentially instrumental in his downfall thanks to him and Donovan falling for Moriarty’s hype and lies; to someone who is now a total Sherlock fanboy, plots his apparent sightings on a map, gives them case names, hangs out with a group of weird Sherlockians wearing deerstalkers etc. He’s lost his job, probably because he became so obsessed with Sherlock, and now wears a scruffy beard and looks generally disheveled. It’s obvious Sherlock’s death hit him hard. He, like John, WANTS to believe that Sherlock is still alive. He needs to have that belief, because it helps him deal with his own guilt.

That’s all I really have to say on the Empty Hearse right now. They’ve obviously taken the title from the Empty House so it will be interesting to see if they employ any of the other elements from that story. We’re also expecting a rat to be mentioned at some point, due to the original clues we were given – “rat, wedding, bow”.