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7 Sherlock questions and theories after watching 'The Six Thatchers'

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Sherlock season 4. Well, duh.

We've now had a couple of days to sit and digest Sherlock's season four opener 'The Six Thatchers'. And even though there are only two episodes left, that doesn't mean there's not enough time for a good load of theorising.

So now you've caught up with the semi-shocking scenes that saw the death of Amanda Abbington's Mary, what do we reckon could happen in 'The Lying Detective' and 'The Final Problem'?

1. There's a third Holmes brother

Tom Hiddleston
©  TWITTER

Ever since Mycroft seemed to reveal there was another Holmes at the end of series three ("I'm not given to outbursts of brotherly compassion. You know what happened to the other one…"), we've hoped to have seen the surprise arrival of Holmes 3.0.

In 'The Six Thatchers', Mycroft is seen making a phone call in which he asks to be put through to "Sherrinford". This sent a lot of Sherlock Holmes fanboys and girls into overdrive. Why?

Well, Sherrinford is the name Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was originally considering for Sherlock, and while it never comes up in official stories, it's still the name attributed to a third Holmes brother by writer and early Holmes/Doyle scholar William S Baring-Gould.

He noted that Mycroft simply couldn't have completed his job properly as the eldest Holmes brother, as traditionally that would have meant staying at home and managing the estate (think Hugh Bonneville in Downton Abbey). Therefore, there must have been another brother doing all this hard work instead.

In Sherlock terms, let's imagine that there really is a third Holmes brother. And maybe his abilities are even greater than Sherlock and Mycroft. A scary thought. Mycroft – a high-ranking operative in the British government, if not the highest – has to wait on bloody hold to get through to him. Whatever or whoever Sherrinford is, it's clearly a big deal.

As much as we'd like Tom Hiddleston to suddenly appear as Sherrinford, let's be honest. It's probably all a red herring and it won't be what we think it is at all.

2. John's not actually texting that woman

Perhaps the strangest moment of the episode was the whole segment in which John locks eyes with a lady on the bus, who then gives her his number and then they end up starting a naughty text exchange before it becomes full-on sexting.

We're led to believe that John is texting "E" (revealed as Elizabeth) in the credits, but what if he's actually texting someone else?

It's never actually revealed that he's definitely texting Elizabeth, though we're not quite sure who else it would be, especially with messages like "It was nice to get to know you."

Could it have been his estranged sister Harry? We still haven't met her and all we know is that she's an alcoholic who hasn't seen John for some time. Perhaps they were getting to know each other again but he didn't want her in his life now that he has a baby?

He was definitely texting Elizabeth when he unravelled the note, but the messages we saw him send after that could be to someone entirely different. The moment he sent the text on the bus, he looked surprised and chuffed to see Elizabeth rather than "oh god I just sent that text, that's awkward".

Or maybe John thinks he's texting Elizabeth, but in fact he's been texting Sherlock this whole time? It didn't seem right that John could have been flirting with someone on his phone all that time and his ex-assassin wife and a man with the deductive powers of Sherlock didn't notice.

3. Elizabeth is not all she seems to be

So if we say point #2 is bogus, then surely Elizabeth can't just be a random plot point we'll never go back to. There's got to be more to her.

Not only does her red hair shout WIG (one that will surely come off later in the series), but John's fallen prey to dodgy types in the past, so maybe Elizabeth has something up her sleeve? It's not often that beautiful ladies slip random guys with questionable wavy hair their number, either (sorry, Martin).

The last time we see Elizabeth, she just happens to be sitting next to a poster featuring Toby Jones as Culverton Smith, the baddie in the next episode 'The Lying Detective'. While this might just be a neat little Easter egg, we wouldn't be surprised if Elizabeth is associated with him. Or could she even be in league with Moriarty?

Plus, she's played by actress Sian Brooke, who previously starred opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet as Ophelia, so we can't imagine she'd be reduced to a couple of lines.

4. Sherlock did something bad to Redbeard

Sherlock Redbeard
©  BBC

Sherlock is seen dreaming about his childhood pet Redbeard, first mentioned in series 3, and he also murmured "Redbeard" at the sound of an approaching dog in 'The Abominable Bride', while his name is seen several times in Mycroft's notebook.

In the latest episode, Sherlock dreams of a dog, red galoshes and two boys in the countryside (presumably him and Mycroft).

Later, his therapist mentions Sherlock's "recurring dream". If this is the dream, why is he dreaming about his childhood dog all of a sudden? It's clearly causing him a lot of discomfort. Is his guilt involving Mary's death reminding him of something that happened to his beloved mutt?

5. There's more of Mary's DVD

If you didn't stick around after the end credits, you missed Mary also tell Sherlock to "go to hell" on the DVD she made before her untimely death.

So, does this mean that there's actually more of the DVD that we didn't see? Could there be some clues that will lead to whatever Moriarty's up to?

But more importantly, surely "hell" doesn't mean what we at first think it means. It seemed out of place for Mary to suddenly sound angry when the rest of the message was quite pleasant (unless of course she made two DVDs?). So, perhaps "hell" is really a code for Sherlock to go to next on his quest to "save John Watson".

6. Norbury was just Moriarty's pawn

Norbury Sherlock©  BBC

A tad far-fetched this one, but considering everything that's happened up until now, who the crap knows?

Could it be possible that Norbury was in some way linked with Moriarty? She says the exact same line as one of Moriarty's poor proxies back in season one ("Why does anyone do anything?").

7. New cop lady is in league with Moriarty

Hopkins in Sherlock©  BBC

We couldn't help but be a tad confused as to why DI Hopkins suddenly showed up out of nowhere, didn't really do much and then was never seen again. What was the point of the character? Surely she'll have a bigger role in upcoming episodes?

As much as we'd prefer it if she just became another reliable cop (and potential love interest) to work alongside Lestrade, maybe she could be one of the show's next surprise baddies? This episode focused on the idea of "underlings" working in the shadows only to actually be pulling the strings.

Maybe she's working for Moriarty (whether she wants to or not), or another villain? We can't help but think she'll be a bigger player than we're first led to imagine.

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