An explanation for the flora in the top of each frame:
Mycroft is shown with roses, partly because roses are a symbol of England, but mostly because I couldn’t resist the visual pun of having Mycroft standing literally under the roses when everything he does is sub rosa. Sherlock is shown with laurel, which symbolizes victory but also pride; John is shown with English oak , which symbolizes strength and courage; Lestrade with irises, which are associated with faith, valor, friendship and wisdom.
Sally is shown under the tansy flower, which symbolizes hostile thoughts. Anthea is under a blackberry. Molly is shown under the shy violet, a symbol of humility - apparently it doesn’t think it counts. The brambles over Anderson’s head are prickly and intrusive - but you could probably use them to feed your pet dinosaur.
Henry has wolfsbane over his head; hope it keeps the monsters away. Mrs. Hudson favors lavender, a universal symbol for hominess and little old ladies, but it is also a tough and hardy plant which can thrive in a wide variety of environments (though it doesn’t do well with damp; that may account for the trouble with the hip.) Mike’s peaches are a symbol of abundance, but are there mostly just because he’s peachy. Sholto’s red poppies symbolize fallen soldiers.
Magnussen is pictured with hemlock. Mary with the flowers of the Judas tree. Irene is shown with green willow, which is very flexible and willow rods are sometimes used for discipline. Jim is, of course, shown under deadly nightshade.
Wow, Molly’s style at Rosamund’s baptism is… gorgeous, flashy and flowery… Just like at John & Mary’s wedding, but more red. (Red = warning? Danger? Seduction? Lady in Red? => what is Molly’s role? Mirror or protagonist? Good or evil? Team Sherlock or Team Mary?)
I believe the flowers on Molly’s dress are either hibiscus roses or amaryllis (or maybe azalea?).
@isitandwonder mentioned the possibility of a nasturtium, but I believe this flower is way to tiny to match? I might be wrong, though?
Interestingly, the name comes from Greek “hibiskos.” The flowers received their name from Pedanius Dioscorides, a Roman botanist, but also a doctor in the Roman army (John Watson, hello). Molly as a mirror for John in the scene?
The symbolism behind the flower:
Often symbolises young women. (Young women + red = seduction => lesbian Molly? Mirroring same-sex attraction from John?)
In Victorian times, hibiscus was a symbol of delicate beauty, but a red hibiscus also conveyed “consumed by love”. (especially since Molly’s hair is wrapped in red?)
Molly is consumed by love for Mary (esp. as the hibiscus is also the Chinese rose)? or Greg => remember their interactions at the wedding? Molly’s intense love parallels John’s passion (both carry red flowers on them).
Hibiscus is also known as rose mallow. “Mallow” is a type of sweets/candy. Parallel for the Hansel&Gretel case in TRF?
Molly could potentially be the one providing belladonna, either to help Sherlock or help Mary poisoning John/Sherlock. I believe Molly might play a bigger role in series 4, and her loyalty could be questioned. Btw, Molly is in Sherlock’s mind palace, and we know Sherlock experiences problems within his MP and mind… She could seen on screen as the “virus in the data”.
Molly also has been a powerful mirror for John. As explained here, the red amaryllis is a symbol of passionate love.The legend behind the flower could point out to a Three Garridebs moment => John sacrificing himself for Sherlock (to Mary’s gun?), voluntarily “piercing his heart” for his lover, showing him he truly loves him (not Mary). This sacrifice would push Sherlock to act on his own love and declare himself, effectively healing John’s wounded heart and his own.
The sacrifice theory also applies to Molly => she is seen crying with her mouth on a woman’s hand (Mary?). Molly could sacrifice herself, showing her true affection and loyalty, possibly to Mary.
Red azalea, a more questionable choice
The azalea could also match John’s pocket square.
The plant was thought to be reserved and self-managed by British gardeners, so it became associated with temperance in Victorian floriography (emotional evenness). “Stay in control of your emotions”. => both Molly & John reminding themselves to repress their love for Mary/Sherlock at the ceremony?
The red shade leans towards a romantic meaning. For azalea: a developing passion, abundance of beauty, intelligence and elegance. Molly acting on her developing passion for Mary or Lestrade? Mirroring John’s move towards Sherlock? The two take delicate steps while their relationship slowly evolves?
Linked to the rhododendron => Mary’s threat. The flower is toxic and poisonous; in a black vase, can be a death threat. Molly playing a role in Mary’s plan against Sherlock/John? Molly being threatened (hence crying on Mary’s hand?)?
Flowers at the ceremony
I wonder how the flowers will be shown in the actual episode, but a couple of theories here:
Isn’t there shamrock-like figures on the stoup (on the right)? Shamrocks are a symbol of Ireland => Moriarty comes back? It makes sense, as he was at the wedding (”Ted & Stella”, CAM, the Mayfly Man). Btw, Jim is the abominable bride too. Mary = Jim?
I believe the white flowers could either be peonies or asters, possibly chrysanthemum.
Peonies are a symbol of anger, shame, bashfulness, as well as compassion; white peony is a way to express regret. “Claire de la lune”, Mary’s perfume is the name of a white peony. The Peony also takes its name from the Greek character Paeon, who studied with the god of medicine. John’s emotions => anger towards Mary, shame & bashfulness towards Sherlock?
Asters are a symbol of patience, fond remembrance, elegance; but also a way to represent afterthought (the wish things happened differently).
Chrysanthemum symbolises life and rebirth (esp the birth of a child), loyalty and devotion, recovery after a long trial.
We’ll know more when we see the actual baptism scenes, I believe.
Btw, I love how Mary is dressed all in white with hearts on her ears => overdoing the sweet facade a bit, isn’t she? It gives us a powerful contrast with Molly, who is almost like a bright red seducer (the Madonna & the whore? Molly paralleling Irene?). Also, it contrasts a lot with John’s outfit, mostly black with a white shirt and colourful pocket square. Mary is the only one in white (it’s the colour of mourning in China => Mary is often associated with China).
I can’t wait to see more of this! Loo is absolutely gorgeous and the scenes look full of symbolism!
Speaking of symbols, @just-sort-of-happened, don’t you just love that Mrs Hudson’s outfit is full of circles? :)