Comprehensive EMP Analysis and Predictions
Last week I posted a Meta about how we are due to return to CAM tower and I still believe that to be the case, however I’ve changed the details surrounding it. I also posted a popular gun-meta that has people believing that we will be revisiting the aquarium in TFP- and in a way, that is true, but it is not in the way you think.
In this ask and this post I began to postulate how I think things are going to go down, but I am going to expand on that theory in this post as well as collect a few other metas that I’ve posted over the last few weeks. I figured it would be nice to have a EMP theory masterpost for my blog so this will serve as that. It is thorough, so it is quite a long read.
Let’s start at the beginning: His Last Vow.
This is the episode I believe EMP begins because all of the signs point to that being the case. There are a few errant details and clues that would suggest that perhaps we have been operating in Sherlock’s mind since TRF, but ultimately, I do not think that is the case. There is such a thing as too long when it comes to EMP, but I do not think one season is that. In fact, I think its bloody brilliant.
In HLV, we have a relatively normal episode, up until Sherlock and John enter CAM’s tower, private office, and ultimately his private flat where the confrontation with Mary begins.
Before Sherlock’s entrance into CAM’s private flat, we have him deducing whose perfume he is smelling.
He doesn’t recognize it immediately, saying out loud, “Where do I know it?”
John answers with, “Mary wears it.,” but Sherlock tells him that it is someone else and disregards Mary. He believes it is Lady Smallwood.
In this post, I point out the parallels of this scene with the one in TAB about Mary’s perfume deduction. In one situation, Sherlock correctly deduces that it is Mary’s perfume and in the other- he does not. I came to the wrong conclusion in that particular post, but the parallel itself exists for a reason. We’ll talk more about that when we get to TAB.
So, Sherlock goes upstairs to CAM’s flat, believing he is about to walk in on Lady Smallwood threatening CAM, but is shocked to find it is Mary. They exchange words, then Mary shoots him. Sherlock loses consciousness in seconds. What we see after that is not what really happened, but it is what Sherlock thinks is likely to happen. He believes John would have gotten to the room too late to save him or see Mary. He then goes into his MP to save his own life, but fails. He flat-lines. The doctors give up. He only returns to life when he realizes that if he dies, he would be leaving John alone with Mary and John doesn’t know Mary shot him. Sherlock comes back to life, but he does not regain consciousness. He begins what he referred to in both TST and LYD. He starts to calculate every possibility by accounting for every detail, effectively predicting the future. The lovely creators of EMP theory, (shout out to @monikakrasnorada @gosherlocked & @the-7-percent-solution ) dubbed this long-term premonition exercise: Extended Mind Palace.
So, there is some debate about whether Sherlock wakes up for a short period of time in the hospital only to consciously begin EMP after Janine leaves the hospital, but I believe he never woke up. Sherlock believes Mary is alive and she definitely is not. More on that later.
Sherlock has a problem, he just doesn’t know yet what the true problem is. He believes he has to Save John Watson from Mary, knowing that if he left John alone with her and Mary never got caught for shooting Sherlock, that Mary would undoubtedly hurt John in the future. So, Sherlock begins running all the possibilities of how he can save him.
1.) Scenario 1: Tell John the truth, because he knows better than to keep things from him like in TRF, but trust that Mary has a very good reason for shooting him. He wants to see the best in her. He runs through what would happen if he decided to trust Mary and push John to forgive her. He gets rid of CAM to ensure their domestic bliss. He sells himself a fairytale. However, this fairytale ends up sending him to Serbia on a suicide mission and turns Sherlock into a murderer. Better scrap that idea. At the end of the scenario, the longest Sherlock has probably ever run, we get a crack in his subconscious. At this point, he is in so deep, his mind grows less stable. The ‘Miss Me’ broadcast seeps in, distracting Sherlock long enough to make him think there is another puzzle to solve.
Throughout this scenario, there are inconsistencies that many have found too glaring to ignore. The dramatic feats of an internally bleeding man, the missing six months, the duplicate A.G.R.A USB drives (one John shows Mary and one that he throws into the fire), the super secret laptop with potatoes on it, CAM’s men not patting down SHerlock or John for guns, CAM saying, “It was very difficult to find a pressure point on you Mr. Holmes”, even though we saw him scroll through several at the beginning of the episode, the inconsistencies about CAM’s glasses and MP sequences, and the fact that Rosie was supposed to be born in December but Mary was still very much pregnant when Tarmac hell happened on January 1st.
What is interesting throughout this scenario that Sherlock runs, is the way he casts John. On a conscious level, he wants John to forgive Mary for the sake of the MP exercise, but unconsciously he has made a lot of John’s actions and dialogue go directly against the forgiveness he is supposed to be feeling. Sherlock doesn’t want John to forgive Mary and its showing through.
Scenario 2.) Explore Mary and John’s relationship more, see if it is worth saving in the first place and try to better understand where the ‘Miss Me’ broadcast in his MP came from. We begin TAB (after the introductions are made) with Sherlock once against deducing a woman’s perfume. However, this time, he deduces its Mary’s perfume correctly and makes a jab at John’s marriage while he does it. There is a Watson domestic and Sherlock says quiets them then says, “The stage is set, the curtain rises, we are ready to begin.” This line is to symbolize the beginning of the new puzzle, not the one Sherlock is already trying to solve. He remembers the flashback of Moriarty’s broadcast and believes it to be worth looking into. He didn’t place it in his MP, and yet it made its way inside. He has to know how. In TAB he goes in an out of a deeper part of his MP, the mystery of the broadcast pulling him back under even when he regains focus enough to realize he needs to get back to his original plan. The “Miss Me” phrase and then later the note is a trigger for this. However, once he realizes none of it is real and that Moriarty is in fact dead, he stays in MP long enough to make a very important deduction about his relationship with John. There is always two of them.
This episode is the basis for all of Series Four. I break that down in detail here.
In HLV, John was right behind Sherlock when Sherlock ran off to confront Mary. He wasn’t staying with Janine anymore. He leaves his post with her, just as he left his post in TAB. Sherlock deduces, because there are always two of them, that John would have walked into the room soon after he did, just in enough time to see Mary shoot him. In TAB, there are two sets of glass windows breaking. One that is unexplained (until the deduction sequence), and one Sherlock can account for. Sherlock realizes he remembers a second gun going off. He deduces that John shot Mary. Killed her.
Scenario 3.) Sherlock realizes that John killed Mary and he also deduces that John would not kill CAM, as he was not an immediate threat. SHerlock knows he can’t outright kill CAM to protect John from CAM’s blackmail, because he’d end up going to jail or Serbia. So, in TST Sherlock runs a scenario to create John an alibi. Something so convincing that CAM’s word would be useless. He uses old cases as a backdrop for how he would create an alibi for John, just as he used an old case to deduce that Moriarty wasn’t responsible for the unconscious ‘Miss Me’ inserted into his MP. It is no longer as important because John is once again at the forefront of his mind. He needs to figure out how to save him from CAM’s wrath. He creates a scenario that paints John and Mary as a happy and loving couple, adding the necessary fairy tale flair that we expect from him. He knows that CAM will tell about Mary’s past, so Sherlock creates a new identity for her, something redeemable, something Mycroft could easily fake, so that when her past catches up to her eventually, it looks like John would have still been devastated by her loss because they were such a happy couple. He once again wrongly deduces the baddie is Lady Smallwood, but this time he casts someone else to take Mary’s place because Mary is a good person in this reality. The fact that Sherlock introduced the issue of who the baddie was and didn’t remember that it wasn’t Lady Smallwood, is a sign that his mind is breaking down further. The fact that he labeled the entire thing “Amo” is his conscious mind trying to get him to focus.
However, as I’m sure you noticed, Sherlock once again cast John in a role his subconscious knew John didn’t want to play. He just couldn’t help himself. Down deep, Sherlock knows that Mary isn’t what John wants or needs, but he doesn’t want to admit it to himself. The cheating arc we saw was Sherlock’s mind not cooperating with the process. It was rebelling against him. Its yet another sign that, at this point, Sherlock’s mind is fracturing. He is in far too deep. Pieces of his mind that were once forgotten or deleted are making themselves known again. There are cracks in the foundation of his MP. The ‘Miss me’ DVD resurfaces, but this time its Mary, someone he has discounted as being the reason for the crack in his MP, but she does remind him of it. Once again, “Miss Me’ is a trigger. He decides to stay in his MP to figure out what this his subconscious mind is trying to tell him and also goes to MP therapy to think about what he should do about John. Now that Sherlock has taken care of the most important issue, making sure John is safe, he can run a scenario as to how he should handle the fact that John just killed his wife for him, an emotional event that Sherlock isn’t exactly prepared to deal with without careful thought. I also suspect that Sherlock may not be able to leave his MP even if he wanted to- he’s been triggered by the note “John” gives him, which undoubtedly says ‘Miss Me’ on it. He’s being forced a level deeper. This is representative of this text, “The curtain rises. The last act. Its not over.” The phrase is referencing TAB- the beginning of the second puzzle. Sherlock here knows he has already solved the case as to how to give John a good alibi, it just has to run through. Now he is forced to think about the other puzzle again. The crack in his subconscious holds him hostage until he figures out what it means.
Throughout this episode there are glaringly obvious clues that things are not right. I summarize that here.
Scenario 4.) In The Lying detective, we find Sherlock completely off his rocker, just like I anticipated because that was where we left off in TAB. Sherlock now believes that he must be prepared for the emotional fallout of John choosing to kill his wife for Sherlock. Sherlock anticipates that this will be an extremely upsetting and devastating experience for John. He makes no time for the baby that was in TST because there never was a baby and there is no need to involve it here in this deduction. He does feel guilty about the fact that none of this would have happened if he had just been honest with John about his feelings or never left him in TRF, you can see that coming through pretty clearly. Sherlock is punishing himself. He remembers John in ASiP, berates himself for not being more careful about John’s suicidal state then. He imagines John talking to Mary about Sherlock because Mary comes to represent their relationships potential. With her gone, they could finally be together. If you’re wondering why she became team Johnlock, its because SHerlock cast her as the physical embodiment of everything he should have done right the first time with John and everything he wants to do right in the future. She is also there to convince John of this, because I think Sherlock still believes John may need some convincing. (He also probably picked up on this- sad face) Sherlock runs through how he might do that. However, once again, SHerlock’s subconscious takes over Mary’s characterization and while painting her one way, his mind makes it so that she is ultimately responsible for all his strife. She set him up to fail.
This is also deepest Sherlock has ever been, this is his forth scenario. Most people give up after three, but he’s gone one further. He is falling further into the pit and cant get himself out again. He needs John…but there is something pulling at him, haunting him. His MP is breaking down, he cant keep scenes right, he can’t keep facts straight, he’s remembering things he deleted. Sherlock’s mind is breaking down, allowing that which he doesn’t even know to protect himself from inside. From this crack, a trickle becomes a flood and Sherlock is bombarded with memories of his sister. A sister he didn’t know he had but his broken mind has supplied for him. We know Euros didn’t really shoot John because John is walking around fine in The Final Problem. No, that was Sherlock being his dramatic self, realizing the thing that has held him back from declaring and embracing his feelings for John, is the same thing that made him put on the sociopath mask in the first place. Whatever happened with his sister, she is why Sherlock is the way he is and she is the reason he isn’t with John. She put their relationship in danger. He realizes this after he picks up the paper “Faith” left in his flat. Triggered again, he goes one level even deeper.
There are a lot of signs in this episode that things aren’t as they seem. I wont go through all of them, but you can check my #EMP tag for some quality stuff. A quick list: phone booths every ten feet, walls changing color, skull hell 2.0, no mention of ELla, no mention of the note John supposedly gave SHerlock, ASiP parallels, and a host of other tom-foolery. There are bucket loads of evidence that TLD is not real.
So at this point, we are at conjecture, but seeing as how we still have half an hour of TAB to account for, I can make some guesses. There will be a long deduction sequence where SHerlock realizes he is dreaming because Euros comes to him as Moriarty did in TAB. There will be imagery of John in the well (the perfect place for Sherlock to stick him in his repressed mind- surrounded by water, i.e. gay love, but completely out of reach), having been placed there by Euros and she will taunt Sherlock about his relationship with John. Eventually, Sherlock will awaken, most likely because he remembers that John still needs him. When he wakes up, there will be a funny bit where John and Mycroft have essentially already done everything Sherlock was going to tell them to do about Mary and we get a nice role reversal from TLD. (There will be cute smiles between John and Sherlock.) With Mary out of the way and John safe from CAM, Sherlock and John will confront Mycroft about Euros. There will be a lot of backstory here and there is only so much I can guess. Due to the fact that John is paralleled to a dog often, Im going to make a stab and say that Redbeard was Sherlock’s replacement for Euros in his MP when he deleted or was forced to delete her. Other than that, I don’t have a lot to go on.
At some point though, we will get a waterfall scene parallel just as we got an Irene Adler/greenhouse sex talk parallel. However this time they will not be constrained by the times and our boys will be truly honest with each other. Love confession and likely a kiss will follow and our boys will end the episode happy and in love at Baker’s Street.
EDIT TO ADD:In a private chat @thisbetterbeworthit reminded me of some really important details that I left out here. The final problem! No, not The Final Problem the episode, but the final problem as given to Sherlock by Moriarty. I talk how the final problem is Staying Alive here and here, but my friend here has some excellent additional commentary.
How exactly did Sherlock stay alive in TRF and then again in HLV? No, I’m not talking about the exact details I’m talking about what made him want to and how did he find the strength? The answer to both of these questions is John. We know that the final problem is Staying Alive, and we know that John is the key to saving Sherlock, now it just comes down to Sherlock admitting this is what happened to him.
My new friend also pointed out that in TAB John says this,
Which would imply that there will be a scene where Sherlock will need to figure out how to wake up in TFP and this will happen after what would resemble the waterfall scene in TAB. I don’t think they will do a true confession here, because they’d want to save that for the real world, but I think they could do something that makes it obvious to the audience but not yet to John.
I think what a lot of people have trouble swallowing about EMP is how long it is taking to get Sherlock through it. However, if it is done this way, I honestly think this could be considered groundbreaking. Doing a dream sequence this way and doing it correctly could honestly be the finest bit of television I’ve ever seen. I mean, obviously, I like my own theory but I recognize that things may not be exactly like this. But even if this is just close- I think it could be amazing. I don’t care that it was an entire season, because we saw Sherlock grow and figure things out and we saw it happen in a way that allowed him to account for other peoples reactions because as he said in TLD, he knows them so well he can predict their behavior in scenarios he devises. We can take at face value that a lot of what we saw is what would have happened if Sherlock actually went through those scenarios for real. I love that we got to see two realities, I really do.
Hopefully, if I’m right, everyone else will do.