As we said in our 5 Throwaway Scenes That May Yet Mean Something article, us Sherlock fans like to spend the (long, long) time between series being detectives on our own; analysing what we have seen so far to determine what could happen in the show’s future. Sherlock fans are particularly gifted at coming up with in-depth and well-thought out fan theories. There are many, many out there but here are five of the most compelling.
5. Sherlock, Secret Agent
It is a thinly veiled secret in the series that Mycroft does not, as he claims, “occupy a minor seat in the British government” but is most likely the head of the secret service. Some fans believe that, before becoming a detective, Sherlock was actually one of his agents. The name’s Holmes. Sherlock Holmes.
The theory goes that Mycroft sent Sherlock and the mysterious “other” brother alluded to in ‘His Last Vow’ on a dangerous mission – in which the third Holmes boy was killed. Sherlock blames Mycroft for this and quit the secret agent business, which is why the brothers have such a strained relationship in the show.
4. Sherlock and Mycroft are Orphans
But we’ve met their parents, I hear cry! Yes, but some fans are not convinced the kindly, completely normal couple we got to know in Series Three are in fact the biological parents of the distinctly unkindly, completely unnormal Holmes boys.
Forgetting that actors Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton are Benedict Cumberbatch’s parents in real life, the pair in the show don’t seem to have much in common with the men who are apparently theirs by birth. This theory states that Sherlock and Mycroft were in fact orphaned as children – which would go some way to explaining their dislike of emotion and getting attached to people – and were adopted by Mr and Mrs Holmes.
3. We Still Don’t Know How Sherlock Faked His Death
The most fervent period for Sherlock fan theories was in the gap between Series Two and Three, as everyone came up with their own explanation for how the detective faked his death. In Series Three opener ‘The Empty Hearse’, we finally got the answer, as Sherlock explained it to Anderson. However, just like the man says, why would Sherlock explain his secret to him? Because of this, some fans think the truth was different from how he described it…
Alternate explanations include the idea that Mycroft was heavily involved, as he used his governmental contacts to forge medical records (along with Molly Hooper’s help, of course). Another is that Sherlock got Irene Adler to help him – after all, she masterfully faked her death in ‘A Scandal in Belgravia.’
2. The Truth About Redbeard
Though we have had the explanation of Redbeard as Sherlock’s beloved childhood pet in ‘His Last Vow’, many think there is more to come with the pooch, as his name was written in Mycroft’s notebook.
One Reddit user suggested the heartbreaking idea that perhaps Sherlock was somehow responsible for Redbeard’s death. The theory goes that the dog was Sherlock’s only friend as a boy but, due to his reckless nature and interest in science, an experiment or game he was playing with Redbeard hurt the dog which meant it had to be put down. This would have caused Sherlock to retreat from his emotions and never get attached to anyone again.
Excuse us, we’ve just got something in our eye…
1. The Johnlock Conspiracy
Probably the Sherlock fan theory with the most ardent supporters, however, is the so-called Johnlock Conspiracy which states that the show is building up to a point where Sherlock and John will be a romantic couple.
There is an extensive amount of evidence collated by followers of TJLC, including the reference to the classic romantic movie Casablanca in ‘His Last Vow’, the secret hearts found in many of the pair’s scenes together and even the clothes of Sherlock’s parents – a happily married couple – mirroring Sherlock and John’s fashion senses. You can find more evidence here.
Though Moftiss have denied that this is where the show is heading, these theorists think otherwise. After all, the writers are no strangers to lying to keep future plot points a secret…
Do you have a favourite Sherlock fan theory? Let us know in the comments!