Sherlock Holmes is a character that is known to many. If you haven’t read of him, then stop right now and go pickup Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes before you come back and read this. I came across the BBC TV Series titled Sherlock, in January 2012. I was reading up on Dr. Who when I saw that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss had created Sherlock, which placed the eponymous character in modern day settings. The last episode of Season 2 was aired in January 2012, and all fans have been waiting eagerly and emotionally for the next season. Season two ends with Sherlock confronting his arch-nemesis Jim Moriarty, and jumping from a building (or the Reichenbach Falls in the original work) to his death. However as we knew, Sherlock had faked it and the reason why Season 3 is so anxiously awaited is because we find out how. Originally Sir Arthur wanted to finish of the story with his death, but he received so much pressure from the fans that he wrote more so that Sherlock would end up faking his death and have a low profile for some time.

Taking some pity on our souls, a Christmas special Mini-episode ‘Many Happy Returns’ was released which acts as a prequel to the upcoming Season 3, which will be aired on 1st January 2014. What a wonderful way to celebrate the New Year. You can watch it here:

We start the episode with a monk blessing (?) other monks who are sitting in line before him. He stops at the last monk. Could it be Sherlock?


He takes of the hood of the monk to reveal that it a woman the camera focuses on this monk who has his back to the light, hiding his face in the shadow. We can assume that this is Sherlock Holmes.


Cut to present day, we see that Lestrade is talking of this same incident. We see that he is talking to Anderson who has grown a beard.


Anderson thinks that it is Sherlock who caught the woman, while Lestrade thinks that it wouldn’t take much to find a blonde woman in a group of bald male monks. Anderson asks him of a second incident which took place in New Delhi as he points out the location, which is marked by a red X as a dotted line joins it from another in Tibet. It seems Anderson has been tracking situations which would require Sherlock’s abilities to deduct and solve.


Inspector Prakesh is holding a press conference about he tracked a killer ‘by working out the depth to which the chocolate Flake had sunk into the victim’s ice-cream cone.’ This is clearly Sherlock’s work, and the inspector later asks him in a room why he won’t take credit for it. Sherlock is still with his back to the light but we can make out more of his silhouette.


Anderson and Lestrade discuss it and some other cases Lestrade had worked when Anderson says “He’s out there. He’s hiding. But he can’t stop himself from getting involved. It’s so obviously him, if you know how to spot the signs!” Wow, Anderson isn’t so stupid after all. We must give him more credit than we did before.

He now speaks of the third sighting in Hamburg (calling it the case of the mysterious juror), where it is being discussed in a jury if a certain ‘Trepoff’ is guilty of murdering his wife.While everyone else says not guilty, we see a juror at the end of the table tapping his fingers on the table. He stops when his opinion is asked, and we can see the back of the collar of his coat.


The headlines in the papers is that Trepoff is guilty.


Back to the conversation, we come to know that Anderson lost his job as on account of his theory that Sherlock is still alive. Lestrade leaves the pub to meet an old friend. On connecting the other sightings on the map, Anderson realizes that Sherlock is coming closer to London.


The old friend Lestrade comes to meet is John Watson. He has brought a bunch of old stuff of Sherlock’s, one of which is the uncut recording Sherlock had Lestrade shoot as a video message to John as to why he couldn’t John’s birthday dinner. John pours himself a drink to prepare himself as he plays the disc.


We start with the familiar wall from Baker’s street. This is the first time we see Sherlock clearly. He is talking to Lestrade, and asks Lestrade if he should “Smile and wink. I do that sometimes. I’ve no idea why. People seem to like it – humanises me.” He wonders how John can have a dinner with such friends who obviously (obvious to Sherlock) hate him. He had written an essay on ‘suppressed hatred in close proximity based entirely on his friends’ based on his observation of said friends. John smiles, probably thinking that he isn’t surprised at such behaviour from Sherlock. He goes saying that he knows what to do, to which John comments that “You can stop being dead.” Right on cue, Sherlock goes OK in the video, surprising John and me. We even had the same reaction.


The video continues to play and we see that the message he had left for John was
“Hello John. I’m sorry I’m not there at the moment. I’m very busy. However, many happy returns.”

John pauses the video and gets up to answer the doorbell. Anderson chuckles and comes to the realization that Sherlock is coming back.


Lestrade walks past a man (could it be Sherlock?) reading the paper on the last page of which he reads the headlines ‘The game is back on!’


He smiles wondering if this is a sign of Sherlock actually coming back.


Some one un-pauses the video John was watching, and Sherlock winks and smiles at us. All of this while the Sherlock theme plays in the back. How can you not love Benedict Cumberbatch?


I have watched this episode a bunch of times since I first saw it and grinned through it. This is such a small pity as we wait for the first episode of Season 3, ‘The Empty Hearse’ which comes out of New Year’s.

Credits to the show creators for the screen captures from the video. The transcript by Ariana DeVerve was of great help for the dialogue.

7 thoughts on “Discussing the Sherlock mini episode: Many happy returns

  1. What an interesting post, Hrishikesh! We grew up reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s works and have several versions of Sherlock Holmes. And of course, Elementary, dear Watson is a staple phrase around our house.

    I often catch a Robert Downey Jr.version on TV. But I really enjoyed the Jeremy Brett version.

  2. I love this TV series.. and Elementary as well!
    Both are based on the same character, yet handled so differently! Its brilliant!

  3. My first encounter with the detective was a birthday gift – Hound of Baskervilles. I’ve been hooked since!

    I’ve heard rave reviews of BBC’s Sherlock Holmes. Now I must get my hands on some DVDs.

    Happy New Year!

  4. The first Sherlock Holmes book that I read was Hound of Baskervilles too, like Crafty! I also used to religiously watch the Sherlock Holmes series that used come on Doordarshan, every week. Yet to catch the BBC version..

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