Written by Lauren Shultz and Prof. Jenn
Sherlock is a series filled to the brim with hidden references and clues to future events. The show has even made a game of these at times, with us viewers left to pick up the pieces about how Sherlock could have faked his death back in Series Two. You could fill a whole website with all of those subtle moments and visual motifs (don’t take our word for it, read Prof Jenn.’s collection of secret references in Sherlock here) but today – to celebrate Easter – we’ve picked out five ‘Easter eggs’ that you might have missed…
Even the seemingly insignificant yet character-building moments between Sherlock and John are very thoroughly thought out by Moffat and Gatiss – something that is actually carried over into the set design. In the beginning of ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’, John argues with Sherlock that he’s never going to play Cluedo (a murder-mystery board game–called Clue in the U.S.) with him again because he won’t follow the rules. In the previous episode ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’, at one point behind Mycroft you can see the Cluedo board pinned to the wall next to the mirror with a knife. Clearly, that game didn’t go so well!
As we’re on the subject of ‘Hounds’, that episode also contains another tasty Easter egg. When Sherlock is desperately searching for his cigarettes, he grabs a pointy-toed slipper and looks inside it. Likewise, in ‘His Last Vow’, we see him depositing a bunch of cigarettes in the same slipper. In the original Doyle canon, Holmes keeps his tobacco inside the toe of a “Persian slipper.”
2. There’s something above Mary
Foreshadowing is a popular device in film and TV, and it appears manifold in Sherlock. In ‘The Sign of Three’, Mary sends Sherlock and John off on a well-needed case. Right as they’re about to leave, she gives both of them a thumbs-up and you can see the horns from the bison skull on the wall behind her line up perfectly with her head – forming what looks very much like devil horns. Of course, this imagery foreshadows her character’s big reveal in ‘His Last Vow.’
Fun Fact: Mary’s initials on the thumb drive: A.G.R.A. are a nod to the Doyle story in which she first appears: The Sign of Four. The treasure which is the cause of murders, plus a fast steamboat chase, is called the Agra treasure.
3. Sherlock and Janine
By the end of ‘His Last Vow’, Sherlock and Janine’s rollercoaster of a relationship seems to be at an end. It’s the usual story: Detective meets Bridesmaid. Detective gets engaged to Bridesmaid to spy on her boss. Bridesmaid sells story to tabloid newspapers.
But, if a subtle piece of dialogue suggests what it seems to suggest, Shanine (as we have just christened them) might not be apart forever. From the money she made from selling her story, Janine says she is moving to a Sussex cottage, where there are beehives. In the canon, Sherlock retires from detective work to – you’ve got it – a cottage in Sussex where he keeps bees. Could Sherlock be set to move in with Janine in his old age?
4. Mrs Hudson’s name
Like Inspector (Greg) Lestrade before her, Mrs Hudson was a minor character in the original Conan Doyle books but one who has had her character embellished in Sherlock. And what’s the first thing you would do to flesh out a character? Give them a name, of course. For three series, Mrs Hudson’s first name was never uttered but if you look closely in ‘His Last Vow’, you’ll find the mystery has been solved.
According to Magnussen’s internal data read-out, Mrs Hudson’s full name is Martha Louise Hudson, nee Sissons. Who knew? Perhaps we’ll soon have Sherlock and John referring to her by her first name in future, now that it’s out in the open. Though knowing Sherlock, he’d probably get it wrong.
5. Five Pips Tattoo
In case you didn’t know before, you probably have got the gist by now that Moffat and Gatiss love to sneak in references to Conan Doyle’s original stories. Just to ram the point home here’s another one that’s very easy to miss.
In ‘His Last Vow’, when Sherlock and John rush into Magnusson’s office and find Janine and a bodyguard knocked out on the floor, Sherlock notices five dice pips tattooed on the bodyguard’s hand. He then tells John not to bother with him, as he’s a white supremacist. This is a sly nod to Doyle’s story “The Five Orange Pips” in which the murderers are the KKK. The story has also been alluded to back in ‘The Great Game’ in the form of the Greenwich Pips Moriarty sends as a clue for Sherlock on the pink phone.
Bonus Easter Egg: The TARDIS materialises in the opening scene of ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’
We’ll just leave this here…
Is your favourite Sherlock Easter egg not on this list? Then let us know in the comments! Oh, and happy Easter!