“His Last Vow” Is Fulfilled On The Sherlock Season Finale

Photo: BBC
Photo: BBC

Hello fellow Sherlockians, it is time for the season finale…that season went by so fast, seems like it was only three weeks. Oh wait.  Anyway let’s get on with it shall we?

This episode introduces the villain of this season – Charles Augustus Magnussen played by Lars Mikkelsen.

The episode starts off with what appears to be a questioning session with Magnussen and it appears like he has Google glasses that show a person’s pressure point? I don’t know, it’s really creepy though. Them Mikkelsen brothers definitely know how to play creepy.

When Magnussen  gets home (to a very nice house, may I add) he goes into this secret area that seems to have information on everyone – in an orderly fashion. He uses this information to manipulate people..and lick them? Do we have the right Mikkelsen brother, did we check?

Someone needs to stop Magnussen, question him. There is only one person who is capable of that – Sherlock.

Post credits we have John and Mary sleeping. John seems to be having dreams (nightmares?) about Sherlock when there is a frantic knock on the door. Neighbour’s son is lost (to drugs) and John thinks she is looking for Sherlock; she isn’t, she just needs help. So off John and Mary go!

John finds who he is looking for and then some. Sherlock is in the crack house “undercover.” Sherlock is acting like a little drama queen (again) and now his new name is Shezza. The adventures of Shezza and Hudders – let’s make it happen.

To Molly they go to find out if Sherlock is clean (of course he isn’t) and luckily Molly is there to smack some sense into him – literally. You go girl.

Shezza and John get back to 221B to find Mycroft there after John called him. Intervention time – with Mycroft, John, and…Anderson? Sure, why not. His little fan club is in on it too.

He keeps insisting that his little drug bit is due to a case and when he mentions Magnussen and shit gets real.

Mycroft threatens the room and kicks them out – Magnussen has something on Mycroft. Sherlock doesn’t like being belittled when he is high.

Wait. What? Janine comes out of Sherlock’s room in just his shirt? John is basically the entire fandom in this scene – completely befuddled.

Apparently none of the people Sherlock has faced have turned his stomach like Magnussen, but honestly we all are sitting there wondering what the hell is up with Janine and him. She calls him Sherl…WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

Ah, there it is – the face change. He’s faking it; it all makes sense again.

Magnussen has arrived at 221B. 

Interesting facts: Hudders is a former ‘exotic dancer’ and her pressure point is marijuana…who knew.

Well apparently wherever  Magnussen is is his office, and he isn’t listening to Sherlock at all – he’s trying to read him and brings up the name Red Beard. And then he is peeing in the fireplace?

This guy is nuts.

He managed to see that Magnussen has the letters that Sherlock needs and decides to break into his office – enter Shezza’s need for Janine. She is his PA. That asshole. He ‘proposes’ to get into the office. She uses her ‘human error’ of love. HE IS THE WORST PERSON, BUT YOU ALL LOVE IT.

They get up and Janine has been knocked out – something is up. Time to hold our breath.

Claire-de-la-lune perfume – the same perfume that Mary and Lady Smallwood wear. Except it isn’t the Lady Smallwood that is holding the gun to Magnussen’s head…it’s Mary. And she shoots Sherlock.


Into Sherlock’s mind palace we go – goal number one: Stay. Alive.

This segment brings viewers deep into the mind of Sherlock as he looks to the people he trusts most to help save his life. The clip takes what would normally be seconds to a long segment that includes Molly basically explaining the medical side of things to Sherlock – making sure he stays alive and focused on the task at hand. Mycroft also makes an appearance poking at Sherlock’s insecurities which also help him to figure out how to stay alive. They help him figure out which way to fall and not going into shock.

Apparently their childhood dog Red Beard is what calms Sherlock down – the scene is rather heartbreaking if I’m going to be honest.

Next up is the pain and learning how to control it. Now, who is the one person that scares Sherlock the most – Moriarty. Sherlock has locked the image of Moriarty up in the depths of his mind palace in a stray jacket. This shows fans JUST how scared Sherlock is of this man.

In the meantime John is doing all he can to keep Sherlock alive – it is when Moriarty is talking about all his loved ones that he finally fights back. More specifically when Moriarty says “John Watson is definitely in danger.”

Sherlock’s determination to make sure John is safe is what pulls him out. Their friendship is just so beautiful.

Mary arrives at the hospital and it turns out the first word Sherlock said when he woke up was her name…awkward. In Sherlock’s drugged induced sleep Mary asks Sherlock not to tell John it was her that shot him.

Janine then shows up and turns out she has sold Sherlock out to the press – it’s great that she gets her revenge (also turns out that they never did the deed). They actually end on rather amicable terms considering what he did to her.

Lestrade and John go to his room and Sherlock is missing…of course. Every one is trying to find him and Mary is the only one smart enough to go to his fan club, but John suddenly realises that Sherlock is trying to protect him and things are about to get intense.

Sherlock manages to get a confession out of Mary, he knows she is lying about who she is but doesn’t want John to find out – well surprise! The shadow she thinks is Sherlock is actually John. Oh no.

The scene then jumps to Christmas at the Holmes house! Such a great environment.

Surprisingly Mary is still at Christmas and so the fandom is confused for a bit. Until we go back to the previous scene where they are chatting at Baker Street.

Turns out John is drawn to psychopaths – well dangerous situations and people.

I’m just always so floored with Martin Freeman’s acting and this episode is just another example of his skill (another BAFTA? Maybe?).

A.G.R.A. these are Mary’s actual initials. She tells him that her whole story is on there and for John to read it when she isn’t there because she doesn’t want to see John fall out of love with her. She was an assassin who was also out to get Magnussen. BUT, she did purposefully shoot Sherlock to only maim, not kill and she also called the ambulance.

John doesn’t end up reading the files because he doesn’t care what happened in the past – only what is to happen for the two of them in the future. It’s so sweet. He throws the USB in the fire.

Brotherly chats ensue over a smoke, and they are both still terrified of their mother as they hide their cigarettes when she walks out. Mycroft manages to actually say something really loving and brotherly to Sherlock: “your loss would break my heart.” To that Sherlock chokes on smoke, naturally.

And then everyone is knocked out. Sherlock has drugged them in order to make a deal with the devil: Magnussen.

Turns out Magnussen’s Google glasses aren’t actually Google glasses – they are just normal and everything is in his mind.

So off Sherlock and John go to Appledore to do something dangerous, as one does on Christmas.

So, remember when John was kidnapped in the first episode? Yup, that was Magnussen. He has known Sherlock’s pressure point all along. Side note: Mycroft’s pressure point is Sherlock. AWWW.

Sherlock brings Mycroft’s laptop (which has a GPS…oops) to trade for any information on Mary that Magnussen has so it can be destroyed. But Sherlock has made a mistake – the ‘Appledore vaults’ are in Magnussen’s mind palace. Didn’t see that one coming, eh?

Magnussen is evil. Not Moriarty evil, a different kind. It’s almost worse. I saw a post on Tumblr that perfectly described his character: Moriarty is the Voldemort of the story, but Magnussen is Umbridge.

After Magnussen has a flick fest on John’s face the police and Mycroft arrive, and basically they are screwed. But Magnussen hasn’t done his research. Sherlock isn’t the hero of the story – he’s a high functioning sociopath.


Let’s go back to last week’s episode shall we? What was Sherlock’s last vow? To keep Mary and John safe. Well, he is fulfilling it. Getting rid of Magnussen ensures Mary’s safety. So many feelings about this, not nearly enough words to explain them all.

Also, Mycroft still sees Sherlock as a little boy – despite what he says when he is trying to negotiate Sherlock’s fate…wait? Did he say look what happened to the other one? WHAT OTHER ONE? TELL US MORE, DAMMIT!

It is decided that Sherlock will head off on a very dangerous six month mission that is mentioned when Sherlock and Mycroft are smoking at Christmas.

He asks for time alone to say goodbye to John (aw) and reveals that his full name is William Sherlock Scott Holmes, you know…for baby names (too bad it is most likely going to be a girl). It is so obvious they really don’t want to say goodbye to each other but no worries, “The game is never over.” 

Sherlock then gets all sentimental saying there is something he needs to tell John that he has always wanted to say, but never has…”Sherlock is actually a girls name.” We were so close guys, so close.

Sherlock gets on the plane and the end credi…no? Something is happening. Four minutes in Sherlock gets a call that he is coming back.

The impossible has happened.

Moriarty is back.

And then season three ends. Just like that.

Now we wait. The life of a Sherlockian is just not fair is it?

Well I have certainly enjoyed recapping this episode for you, so let me know what you guys thought of the season below.

Until next time, the game is on..hold.



Melissa LoParco
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