"And then, Mycroft's umbrella turned into a sword! And then a gun! And then a drone grenade propelled Sherlock through a second-story window unharmed! And then there's an island in the middle of the ocean that holds a Hannibal Lector woman with magic powers of mind control! And then Sherlock gets teleported back to his old mansion! And then Sherlock learns the power of love from his psychotic killer sister."
On January 20th, 2017, the citizens of the United Kingdom find themselves watching BBC Nightly News coverage of President Trump’s inauguration. A woman vacuums her flat and sighs at the television, overcome with dread. A man in a pub glances up at the screen before taking a much-needed gulp of beer. Without warning, the BBC channels freeze. Static snow, broadcast colors - an interruption of the feed. The men at the pub glance up at the screen. The woman turns off her vacuum. There in front of everyone, on every BBC Channel, is James Moriarty, flashing a threatening smile back at them.
“Peek-a-boo,” he says menacingly. The men at the pub look around at each other confused. Moriarty mumbles on.
“It’s doesn’t quite make sense, this doesn’t quite make sense.”
All people in the pub watch in silence as his voice sharpens.
“Of course it doesn’t make sense! It’s not real.”
“I mean, come on, be serious.”
“Is this silly enough for you yet?”
“Mad enough, even for you?”
“It doesn’t make sense because it’s not real.”
“None of it.”
The men in the pub are shocked. Could this mean what they think it means?
“You want to see the real series four of Sherlock? Surprise. “The Reigate Puzzle” airs Sunday night at nine. The real story will be told.”
“Shall we go over together?”
The feed cuts out. Back to the inauguration. However, no one in the United Kingdom could care less about that. The news spreads virally, every Sherlock fan finds out about this within hours. The fandom spirals into chaos.
On Sunday, January 22nd, Sherlock fans see what this story has been about from the beginning. The episode starts as Sherlock wakes in his hospital bed, John Watson right beside him. Mary’s gunshot was severe, he barely pulled through. It’s been a few weeks of a medically-induced coma, but he’s back now. Finally out of his mind and into the real world. John holds his hand, tearing as he watches his best friend wake up.
And from there we see the two of them take down the ruthless, smart, manipulative Mary Morstan, who was never an assassin, but something far, far worse. All of the extra filmed clips from the last years build to be a beautiful story of love, loss, and revenge. The theorized storyline of the episode can be found here.