ByCamille Heartfield, writer at
Just a geek with internet access
Camille Heartfield

(WARNING: Sherlock series spoilers throughout)

The latest season of BBC’s hit series will hopefully be gracing our television screens January 2017, and just when we thought things couldn’t get any more dramatic than "The Reichenbach Fall" or "His Last Vow," the writers have promised to deliver us a dark, gut-wrenching fourth season of Sherlock.

To mentally and emotionally prepare for what we’re all about to go through, I’ve been researching theories about the past three seasons, and I’ve written up my two favorite “conspiracies” for the show so far, and what they might mean for Season 4.

The Three M’s Conspiracy

One of the major plot points we’re looking for in Season 4 is finding out who is behind Moriarty’s reappearance.

The belief that Moriarty really died on the rooftop at the end of Season 3 has in many ways been thrown up in the air thanks to "The Abominable Bride," where Sherlock solves a case that basically explains how Moriarty could have faked his death.

Personally though, I do agree with Sherlock’s conclusion at the end of "TAB," that Moriarty really is dead, but that his vast criminal network has been keeping the idea of him alive.

Yes, definitely yes.
Yes, definitely yes.

So, odds are we’re dealing with either a criminal mastermind who controlled Moriarty, or one of Moriarty’s associates.

My hypothesis, which is basically just a smaller version of the M Theory, is that Mycroft is the mastermind and Mary is the accomplice working with Moriarty. While other criminals are involved, these three M’s have been running the show and pulling the strings.

There is plenty of evidence for Mycroft as a secret villain, going all the way back to "A Study in Pink," the first episode from Season 1. After deciding to move in with Sherlock and join him on a case, Watson is abducted by a mysterious black car and brought to an isolated location where he meets a man who describes himself as Sherlock’s arch enemy.

Those familiar with Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories assume this is a confrontation between Watson and Moriarty, but by the end of "A Study in Pink," it is revealed that Watson met Mycroft, Sherlock’s older brother. The arch enemy line is then played off as a joke, revealing the brothers’ tenuous relationship.

We know that the writers are clever (incredibly so), and this Mycroft-is-the-real-enemy plot twist could very well have been foreshadowed from the first episode of Season 1.

Now Mary, we know, has a criminal past, and it’s no leap of logic to assume that her past will align with John and Sherlock’s. Seemingly small, random details in the show almost always end up playing a part in the larger storyline, so to me, this is just inevitable. The bigger question is: What role will Mary play in their future?

The Abominable Bride
The Abominable Bride

While it would certainly be painful to witness, the idea of the two people who should be closest to Sherlock and John (brother and wife) betraying them is intriguing, to say the least.

I’m currently cringing in nervous anticipation over the three M's Conspiracy/M Theory.

The JohnLock Conspiracy

This isn’t just some shipping, the idea that Sherlock and John’s relationship is romantically charged is a legitimate interpretation of the series. And again, this has been set up from the very first episode.

Sometimes it’s buried in subtext, and sometimes the evidence is right at the surface, staring you (longingly) in the face.

The “Final Problem” story arc of Moriarty trying to burn the heart (John) out of Sherlock, and Sherlock choosing between Moriarty (death) and John (life) has been set in motion since "A Study in Pink," and the end of Season 4 should hopefully resolve that plot line

Sherlock was so close to admitting his true feelings for John in almost every episode in Season 3, especially in "The Last Vow," and "TAB" just showed us that his inner turmoil over their relationship is growing.

"TAB" did so many amazing things for us, but one of the most significant was show that Sherlock (at least in his mind palace) resolved some that inner turmoil. Specifically, Sherlock’s regret over shutting John out of his life and keeping his fake death a secret from him, driving a wedge in their relationship and providing the opportunity for Mary to invade John’s life.

In his mind palace, Sherlock goes back to the Reichenbach fall to face off with Moriarty, who taunts Sherlock for being alone, reminding him that it has always been their destiny to die at the fall. But this time, Sherlock changes the story, and John comes to the rescue, reminding Moriarty that there’s always been two of them.


In this pivotal scene, Sherlock and John accept their role in each others' lives and express genuine affection for each other. Now the stage is set for this resolution to make its way from fantasy to real life.

"It's not the fall that kills you..."
"It's not the fall that kills you..."

I’m rooting for Sherlock to finally admit his love for John and (fingers crossed) for John to reciprocate, finally accepting himself. Even though Season 4 looks to be dark and dramatic, I think the writers can give us this one happy ending.

Whether or not these two theories come to fruition in Season 4, there’s no doubt we’re in store for some major twists, turns, and unexpected developments — and finally figuring out what the Dickens is up with Redbeard!

Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a wild ride on one of the best written, acted, and produced series of the 2000’s, and I for one can’t wait.

The Game Is On!

What are your favorite Sherlock theories? Comment below!

[Sources: TJLC Explained, The Loudest Subtext in Television, Reel Rundown, Digital Spy, Literally all of Tumblr]


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