‘Sherlock’ Season 3 Stories Revealed; Fall 2013 Premiere

Published 3 years ago by , Updated September 14th, 2012 at 10:26 pm,

Sherlock Season 3 His Last Bow Sherlock Season 3 Stories Revealed; Fall 2013 Premiere

Now that a good portion of Doctor Who season seven is in the can, executive producer Steven Moffat is ready to start teasing the return of his other fan-favorite BBC series, Sherlock. The show was expected to make a return at some point, whenever Moffat and the producers were “ready”, and now it sounds as if BBC is targeting a fall 2013 premiere date for season three.

As usual, Moffat is tight-lipped about what fans can expect and, instead, offered hints in the form of three simple words: “Rat. Wedding. Bow.” The words line up perfectly with another set of well-known stories from Arthur Conan Doyle’s collected Sherlock adventures – but the matching of “Bow” could prove to be a bittersweet revelation for fans of the series.

Yesterday, Moffat set-up his impromptu teaser game by tweeting to over 360,000 followers:

Last year it was Woman, Hound, Fall. This year’s three words revealed tomorrow at #MGEITF #Sherlock Master Class.

Viewers should easily recognize the connections between the words and last year’s “based on” stories:

  • Woman = A Scandal in Bohemia
  • Hound = The Hounds of Baskerville
  • Fall = The Final Problem

Today, Moffat followed-up the tease with his promised “Three Words” reveal tweet:

So. The three tease words for the next run of Sherlock … Rat. Wedding. Bow.

Following the same logic, which not only reveals which stories Moffat intends to reinterpret, we can also expect the episodes to air in the following order:

  • Rat = The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire (or possibly Moffat intends to expand on the oft-referenced case of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra)
  • Wedding = The Noble Bachelor
  • Bow = His Last Bow

Both “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire,” which contains a reference to “The Giant Rat Of Sumatra” (“A story for which the world is not yet prepared.”) and “The Noble Bachelor” (centered around the disappearance of a bride on her wedding night) should provide plenty of engaging story material for the show’s writers and viewers. However, as mentioned, the final story connection “His Last Bow,” has a lot of fans wondering if season three of Sherlock could also the last.

“His Last Bow” is often considered the final Sherlock Holmes story (in terms of chronology) – where the famed investigator retires once and for all. Considering Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have become increasingly hot commodities in Hollywood (starring as the Star Trek 2 villain and Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, respectively), it’s going to become harder and harder to keep bringing the actors (and equally in-demand writer/producer Moffat) back together every couple years. Not to mention, fans of Doyle’s Sherlock legacy are typically not very accepting of writers who try to shoehorn new stories into the series canon. Given that Moffat has framed his modern Sherlock series around actual Doyle stories, as well as the fact that Moffat is a huge fan of the author, it’s unlikely that he’d attempt to carry-on with the character beyond Doyle’s original “His Last Bow” bookend.

sherlock season 3  Sherlock Season 3 Stories Revealed; Fall 2013 Premiere

Although, Moffat has previously mentioned that he’d love to revisit the characters when they’re older (with the same actors) – long after their current set of adventures. It’s hard to say whether or not the showrunner would actually go through with that idea, years in the future, and if he did actually decide to proceed whether or not Cumberbatch and Freeman would have the time or interest in returning.

The last we’d heard of Sherlock (excluding Moffat’s opinion on the CBS series, Elementary), the creator as well as the actors, had basically asserted that everyone loves coming back season after season – so, in spite of busy schedules, the potentially bittersweet “Bow” reveal still comes as somewhat of a surprise. Of course, the “Bow” reference could just hint at Doyle’s larger His Last Bow story collection – which includes a number of other cases (“The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge,” “The Adventure of the Dying Detective,” among others) leading up to the aforementioned, “His Last Bow” story. Plus, Moffat has been known to only pull certain aspects of the “based on” stories into the modern series – meaning he could only choose to use portions of the story “His Last Bow” without sticking to the retirement element.

We’ll keep you up to date as we hear more on Sherlock season three – as well as the possibility that Cumberbatch might take “His Last Bow” as Sherlock Holmes in fall 2013.


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more Sherlock coverage as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Sherlock is expected to return on PBS in Fall 2013.

Source: Digital Spy

TAGS: Sherlock
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  1. Could it be “bow” as in bow and arrow, rather than as in “take a bow?” That would make it something entirely different.

    • or bow as in ..violin bow

    • It’s a reference to the story, obviously…

  2. I believe the word “rat” = The Boscombe Valley Mystery story. Read it and you will see what I mean.

    • Agree totally, that’s what struck me first up.

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  4. I must have misheard, because I thought the three words were, RAT, WEDDING and BOX not Bow. I wasn’t sure about Rat, but did think about the little fellow in The Sign of Four, (have seen a provisional title for the Sign of Three for the new series) and Wedding automatically bought to mind the Eligible Bachelor, and as I have seen mention in the media of an episode called the Empty Hearse, I assumed that was where the Box came in, but can’t think what story that might be from. I’ve also seen promo shots of Benedict and Gatiss in wedding suits, which seems to tie in with the Wedding aspect. Ben’s in Japan at the moment promoting Into Darkness, that could also be why shooting has been a bit protracted. They will get there in time, and I dearly hope that it won’t be the last of Sherlock because they are really only just getting started after all.

    • Nope, it’s bow. Right from the lips of Steven Moffat himself.

  5. I believe that the Adventures of the Empty House is next. Rat, wedding, and bow are all on the same page in this story.

  6. So, not his Last Bow after all, thank goodness! Series 3, THE EMPTY HEARSE, THE SIGN OF THREE and finally announced today/yesterday HIS LAST VOW. Also,series 4 has been confirmed so that is excellent news for the future! Bring it on,I can’t wait!

  7. season 3 isnt the last season coz martin freeman and benedict cumberbatch have already signed on to the 4th season so ‘bow’ might not neccesarily mean the last bow. :)



    Rickenback Falls:

    Moriarity teases Sherlock with riddles and tells Holmes that he will cause him to FALL.

    Sherlock goes to the hospital and apologizes to Rose and tells her that he needs a favor. I believe that she makes him some sort of a drug to vastly slow his heart beat and simulate death. She might also make him a rubber life mask.

    On the Roof of The Rickenback, Holmes stalls the final confrontation with Moriarity asking for a few minutes of privacy. This is to allow Watson to arrive from Baker street to be a witness to what is about to transpire.

    After Moriarity kills himself on the roof, Sherlock talks with Watson on his cell phone, in the process carefully preventing him for coming any closer and clearly positioning him on the far side of the street. Sherlock throws the dead Moriarity off the building clad in Sherlock’s coat, and perhaps with the life mask, Watson runs toward the lifeless body but he is thwarted first by a hit and run bicyclist who knocks Watson to the ground preventing him for reaching Sherlock. Within 20-30 seconds a large crowd gathers including Medical emergency staff. No way they get there so quickly if not positioned by Holmes ahead of time. The crowd forcefully prevents Watson from getting a good look at an Sherlock or from taking his pulse for more that a second or two. The cyclist, the Emergency Medical Tec’s and the crowd are all in the employ of Sherlock in order to prevent Watson and the world from realizing that Sherlock is NOT Dead.

    Sherlock ran down the stairs, and switched positions with Moriarity who was spirited off and hidden. When the EM Tec’s take Sherlock’s body away he switches places again with Moriarity, who is then buried as Sherlock.

    This is similar to the Movie “Dave” where Kevin Kline is a Presidential look alike who impersonates the President who is in a vegetative coma. He switched back in the ambulance with the help of the Secret Service.

    And that is how he fools Watson and the World into believing that he is dead, giving him time to roll up Moriarity’s criminal web so that they would not look to kill all of Sherlock’s friends; Watson, Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, and Rose as Moriarity has threatened to do if Holmes does not jump off the building and commit Suicide.

    • Molly! It’s Molly, Charles….THAT mistake negates most of the rest of your hypothesis. Jeeeeeze.

  9. Is this for real, or just another theory doing the rounds?
    Ok, the throwing the dead Moriarty off the roof, doesn’t work for me. It was definitely Sherlock who stepped off the roof, he threw his phone away, took a deep breath and then leapt. If that had been Moriarty’s dead body falling, how do you account for the flapping of the arms and legs, Holmes looks like a Vampire trying to fly as he is falling, fighting gravity all the way. And he’d have to be Usain Bolt to run down stairs and change places with Moriarty before Watson got there, despite the hinderances put in his way, after all, he wasn’t all that far away, and Sherlock would have been so out of breath by the time he got to the ground, he wouldn’t have been able to fool anyone that he was dead. The body on the pavement was Holmes, we saw his face, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s unusual eyes, wide open, too realistic to be a mask, but that was what we were meant to see, wasn’t it. The rest of it is ok, plausible, but I don’t buy the Moriarty’s dead body flying off the roof. Sorry. However they explain it, its very clever and it’s got us all talking and biting our nails waiting to see.

    • They’re going to show a flashback of Molly Hooper rolling in a giant trampoline.

  10. Ok, all you Sherlock officionardo’s, can you help me out. I’m writing a Sherlock fan fic, purely for my own enjoyment at present, and whilst doing some research on Holmes family, I came across something on the net that intrigued me.
    Sherlock is adopted!
    Is that true?
    Are both he and Mycroft adopted, or is their rivalry due to the fact that Mycroft is the natural son and Sherlock is adopted and he always thought that he had to try just that little bit hard to be better than Mycroft, and Mycroft resented his arrival in the household?
    Food for thought.
    Does anyone know for sure? Would appreciate any help. I know it’s not strictly speaking anything to do with Season 3, unless of course they delve a bit deeper into Holmes background, just didn’t know who else to ask.

    • In reply to Lorraine:
      In one of the Doyle stories (it may be the Musgrave Ritual) I seem to remember that the Holmes family is represented to be a cadet branch of peerage (the family of a younger son, not in line for whatever title is referenced). No, I believe that the rivalry is that of a younger son trying to outdo his older, perhaps favored, brother. If one were the natural son, and the other adopted, how would one account for the same prodigious intellect and similar somewhat autistic-spectrum avoidance of social contact? It would stretch credulity that a family would adopt a child so unusual in the same way that their natural son is exceptional.

  11. Even though the third season isn’t even out yet, I’m really depressed that there might not be a fourth. This is one of the few shows left worth watching.

    • Thy already signed for season four!!!!! :D

  12. I think the pavement where Sherlock jumps looks a bit odd and I believe mystery is behind it and even the van which promptly clears the place after Sherlock lands on the ground is a mystery…

  13. I’ve been wanting to see His Last Bow turned into a movie or episode for years. Do you know the only time it’s been made before was a silent 20 something minute long silent film? It’s one of my favorites of the books, so even if the ‘Bow’ mentioned here has nothing to do with it, I dearly hope it will happen at some point.

  14. Well since many people probably assume bow means “his final bow” it’s probably something completely different. The creators are clever to give out “bow” when it’s something everyone will assume it actually means it is his final bow. They want us to be surprised!