"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Fry

Directed by: Guy Ritchie


Welcome back. When I was editing the recap of the last movie, I realized that while Chrissy and I did a pretty good job of picking up our little Sherlock/John roleplay after three years, it felt like Chrissy was doing all the heavy lifting, playing every character except Sherlock. I thought we might need to add another voice to the mix, so I invited Emilio to help us with this one.
Chrissy: You're just trying to put off doing Endgame, aren't you?
Diandra: I don't think I ever tried to deny that.
Emilio: I feel like she's gonna need us to be with her in person for that one, not on a group video chat.
Chrissy: Right. With plenty of alcohol.
Diandra: After doing two of these movies, recapping Endgame drunk might increase the odds that we will forget which of us is Robert Downey Jr.
Chrissy: Good. Something to look forward to.

Okay, so the first movie basically led directly into this one by setting up the whole Moriarty plot. It also set up a device I just learned going into this one is called Holmes-o-vision; the thing where he runs through a fight sequence in his head before enacting it. I apologize for not using this term from the beginning, which seems especially negligent since I kept referring to Sherlockvision in my recaps of the BBC show.
Emilio: Was that the thing that looked like MTV's pop-up videos?
Diandra: ........yeah, sure, that sounds like a pretty accurate description.

We have a bit more sedate opening this time with gentler music accompanying the logos on pages of a book an unseen hand is flipping through.
Chrissy: You call that gentler? It sounds like someone is frantically sawing on a violin.
Diandra: Okay, maybe not.

We open on a bunch of typewritten papers scattered on a desk, being held down by a magnifying glass. We scroll over them and several crumpled pieces to Watson's hands clacking away on a typewriter. His voiceover declares that the year was 1891 and "storm clouds were brewing over Europe".
Chrissy: Ha. Hahahahahahahaha.

France and Germany are already on the brink of declaring war over some bombings. The culprits are thought to be anarchists or some extreme political group, but Sherlock has another theory. We focus on a church somewhere as the entire front of it explodes out onto the street, knocking people over and sending others scattering. We smash to a newspaper salesman shouting a headline about a bombing in Strasbourg that is suspected to be the work of anarchists. We follow a man walking past him carrying a package, passing it off to a woman. We don't see either of their faces, but we can probably make assumptions about the woman based on the last movie. The camera pans up slowly and...yeah, it's Irene Adler.
Emilio: And you conveniently don't have to use the actresses name, which is what again?
Diandra: Don't you start ragging me on that now.
Chrissy: Oh, come on, you can do it. She was the one in Mean Girls.
Diandra: I'm not falling for that again.
Emilio: She's actually not trying to trip you there. Rachel was in Mean Girls.
Diandra: .............she was? Like...as one of the main characters, or...
Emilio: Yep.
Diandra: Oh. Okay.
Emilio: She was also in "Midnight in Paris" if that helps.
Diandra: Who was she? Zelda Fitzgerald?
Chrissy: Oh, great. Now we're bringing a third actress into this.
Diandra: No, wait...right that was the woman who played Liz Cheney.
Chrissy: THAT WAS AMY. WE ALREADY ESTABLISHED THAT IN THE LAST RECAP.
Diandra: All right. Sheesh. It's not my fault a lot of white women look alike.

She walks past what is obviously Holmes laying on a makeshift cot and puffing on a pipe, his eyes closed behind dark glasses. He is dressed like a terrible Hollywood stereotype of an Asian with a wispy, long beard/mustache and braids coming out from under his head covering. He jumps up and starts following behind her, shoving handfuls of rice and beans from stands into a bag. After a while, he just sidles up to her and asks when she started working for the postal service. He snatches the package from her, replacing it with a loaf of bread. She asks when his "activities" landed him in the gutter.
Chrissy: The minute I moved out, probably.
Diandra: Oh, shut up.
He ignores this and asks who the package is for. She suggests discussing it over dinner tonight. He says he's free for lunch right now. She says she's not and offers more specifics on dinner, which he agrees to. She asks if he will be himself. He says yeah, sure, if he must. Then he pulls her aside and mutters that some men have been following her for the last half a mile and they don't look friendly.

She pulls him down a side street where they run flat into one of the men before telling him that they're not following her so much as escorting her. She takes her package back, pats him on the cheek and asks that they be careful with his face because they have a date tonight. She skips off while the four thugs surround him. One decides to taunt him by whistling Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and he just picks up the tune while they rip off his disguise. Then he claims he forgot how the rest of the song goes and goes to run. The first guy who started the whistling grabs him by the throat and slams him into a wooden post. He kicks him in the shin and they all fight. Holmes is holding his own until two of them manage to pin his arms. He spits at the third, who seems to have a glass eye and gets whacked in the head with a crate or something before the whistler goes back to strangling him.

A couple cops walk by down the street and one of the thugs shouts a warning to the others, who drop Holmes immediately and pretend they weren't doin' nothin'. Holmes kind of drops into something like a lotus crouch with his eyes closed. The whistler throws coins at him while meeting the cops' eyes like ‘see? Perfectly innocent!' Everything kind of starts slowing down as the cops leave, then stops entirely as we go into Holmes-o-vision (sort of). He sees two guys have brass knuckles, one with a knife blade attached, another has a club and the whistler has a gun. He runs through the fight without the internal monologue from the last movie, then opens his eyes and everything snaps back into motion.

Knife knuckles dives at him and he deflects it into regular brass knuckles guy's chest. He deflects a blow from the club and flips that guy totally onto his back. The Whistler goes to put the gun to his head and he just reaches up and rips it right out of the guy's hands, turning it on him. He pops the bullets out and hands it back before running off after Irene.
Chrissy: She had to know that would happen, right? I mean...she's seen him fight.
Diandra: Eh, maybe.

Irene enters an auction house where the auctioneer is presenting an Egyptian sarcophagus from the Valley of Kings.
Chrissy: Don't open it.
Emilio: Meh, a vengeful mummy might make things more interesting.
She sits next to an old man she calls "doctor" and hands him his "payment", the package. She says "he sends his thanks". The doctor hands her a note he says the person who sent the package will expect. "Tell him our friend thinks I delivered it to his sister." She starts to leave, but he insists she stay while he opens the package. She insists the money is all there. He asks if "he" assured her of that, really. Has she ever actually met "him" in person?

He removes the paper from the box and Holmes arrives suddenly and slaps an auction paddle down to block a piece of metal that snaps up like a mousetrap. He tells the doctor not to move. He says the size and weight suggest it isn't money. The doctor asks Irene who this guy is.
Chrissy: Oh, just some booty call I can't seem to get rid of.
He acts like he's just noticed her and says "hello, darling" brightly before kissing her cheek. She squirms and tries to pull away. He takes the card from her hand.
The doctor removes a piece of paper covering half of the insides of the box to reveal a bunch of moving gears and a stick clearly labeled "dynamite". Holmes reprimands him for moving it because he's activated a secondary charge now. Irene tries to escape again, but Holmes insists he might need her to help him with this. He jumps up and bids a million pounds on the sarcophagus and knocks a lit pipe into a tapestry, setting it on fire. He yells fire and everyone but the three of them starts clearing the room. Irene goes to leave and this time Holmes lets her. She reminds him that they're still on for dinner and kisses him to try to distract him while her hand slides toward his pocket. He stops her and chuckles that she is "so confident, even in retreat." She kind of shrugs and flounces off like ‘I'll get it eventually.'

The doctor goes to stand and Holmes tells him to stay put. "Trust me, this is what I do for a living." He takes the bomb, runs up to throw it in the sarcophagus, knocks out the plank propping it open and wheels it into the vault nearby as he rambles about this faceless man the doctor is doing business with being the "Napoleon of crime". Fortunately for the doctor, Holmes is on his side. "Perhaps you've heard of me," he says theatrically. "My name is Sherlock [bomb in sarcophagus explodes]."
Chrissy: That would actually be the perfect tagline for these movies. "My name is Sherlock [explosion noise]."
Emilio: Yes.

The doctor has already run right out the door. Holmes follows belatedly and finds him slumped against a wall with a dart sticking from his leg.
Chrissy: We did the midget thing in the last movie, right?
Diandra: Yeah, but there were no poison darts. The plots of these movies don't really adhere to canon, so much as they remix, revamp or allude to parts of it randomly. Much the same way the BBC series did, actually.
Emilio: Oh, are we referring to that series in the past tense now?
Diandra: And disregarding anyone who claims there will be a fifth season, yes. At any rate, it is pretty common to see variants play mix and match with canon and things considered canon even if they weren't technically, like – I recently realized – the fly scene in the last movie that came from William Gillette's stage play. They've done this since at least the Basil Rathbone series.
Chrissy: I'm finding it terrifying just how versed you are becoming in all things Sherlock.
Diandra: Maybe that's the real reason quizzes keep telling me I'm Sherlock?
Chrissy: No. I'm pretty sure those are accurate and you've always been like that.
Emilio: Yeah. You've always been Sherlock. But hey, that would make me your Watson.
Diandra: Aww. Love you too, BroSis.
Chrissy: I thought I was her Watson.
Diandra: You're my Moriarty. But since your role as Watson has been well established by over a dozen recaps by now, I think Emilio should play Moriarty in this one.
Chrissy: And since you just reminded us of the whole BroSis thing, he should definitely play Mycroft.
Emilio: Yes! I forgot he was in this one. Okay. We're set then.

Irene is seated at a table in the restaurant she decided they should meet at. There's a plate of fruit and macaroons and a pot of tea already on the table. She asks for a fresh pot. A voice from the next table – now very clearly Jared Harris – asks if she has the letter. His face is still hidden behind some sort of curtain. She says it was "taken" during the chaos created by that package he sent her with. The waiter returns with her tea and she suggests maybe if he had shared his plans with her this wouldn't have happened before taking a sip. "Did you imagine, Miss Adler, that something would happen to you?" he smarms, asking if that's why she chose to meet in this public place like this. He drops the pen he is writing with, which signals a guy at another table to strike his glass with a fork. Everyone but the three of them abruptly clears out.

Moriarty pulls aside the curtain and we finally see his face. He says he blames himself, really, because it's been obvious for a while that she has "succumbed" to her feelings for Holmes. And Holmes keeps "inconveniencing" him as of late, so...obviously something needs to be done. "But that's my problem to solve now."
Chrissy: Call it the final problem.
Diandra: Ha.
He says he no longer requires her services and calmly turns back to his table. She gets up to leave, but starts stumbling into tables immediately. And we cut back to Moriarty's face, calmly sipping his tea as she crashes loudly to the floor.

So Holmes is waiting for her to meet him for dinner later and wondering why she's not showing up.

The next day. Or whenever. Watson walks Gladstone to 221b. He calls Mrs. Hudson, but she doesn't seem to be in. He goes up to knock on Sherlock's door, waits a few seconds of silence and just opens it. Some branches of a tropical tree spill out. He takes a moment to look at the jungle that is inside the room for some reason before wryly noting "your hedge needs trimming."
Emilio: [cough cough]
Chrissy: Yes, I am fully aware that is not the first time I have said those exact words, thank you.
"Where am I," Holmes asks in a loud, creepy whisper. Watson says he really doesn't care WHERE he is "as long as you're ready."
Chrissy: Yes, that is not a first either.

Watson picks his way through the plants everywhere, hearing a goat, several birds and something the closed captioner can't even identify. He finds what looks like Holmes standing at a window and starts approaching him when a dart hits him in the back mid-sentence. Holmes notes that if that were real he would be dead right now. Watson is like ‘congratulations on winning this ridiculous game I wasn't actually playing. Now can we get going so I don't miss the train?' He picks up a newspaper and another dart spears through it. Holmes notes that Watson still hasn't figure out where he is. Then he steps out of the corner in a full body suit painted to blend into the wallpaper and part of a bookcase. Watson just calmly says he's not going anywhere with Holmes dressed like that. Holmes is like ‘says the person wearing a hideous handmade scarf with an otherwise beautiful ensemble.' "Clearly one of your fiancee's early efforts?" Watson just chuckles and says he missed Holmes. Holmes is like ‘oh, really? Because I barely even noticed you were gone.' Then again, he notes has been busy what with the urban camouflage and the experiments the animals are helping with. He's been working on his most important case yet and he's almost at a breakthrough.

Mrs. Hudson picks her way through the vegetation by the door, holding a tray. She greets Watson and thanks him for inviting her to that thing tomorrow. He thanks her for agreeing to look after the dog. Holmes goes to rip the napkin covering the tray off, revealing some mice under a glass dome. "Feed the snake, woman," he orders. "YOU feed it," she snarls right back in his face. He takes the tray and grumbles about her being "touchy". She begs Watson to please throw Holmes in a sanitarium and throw away the key.
Chrissy: Don't you think I would have done that years ago if I could?
Emilio: See, you really are Sherlock, sis.
Diandra: Hey!
She pulls out one of the darts still in Watson's coat and says Holmes has been on a steady diet of coffee, tobacco and coca leaves and he doesn't ever sleep any more. And she's been hearing him talk in several different voices as if he were rehearsing a play in here. Holmes appears behind her and reminds her that the goat needs worming. She smiles and says she'll get right on that and wishes Watson luck before hurrying off.

Holmes is like ‘right, so...back to why you're here.' Watson reminds him he's getting married tomorrow. Holmes is like ‘oh! Right! And I'm totally thrilled about that!' He hugs Watson, who notes that he's lost weight. Holmes mutters that Watson found it. "Noshing on Mary's muffins, no doubt."
Chrissy and Emilio simultaneously: PHRASING.
Holmes goes to change out of the body suit, inviting Watson to pour the brandy so they can drink to their final adventure and get the stag party officially started. Watson takes off his hat and scarf and follows Holmes through a curtained partition where he finds newspaper clippings and photos tacked to the wall with lines drawn between them in crazy serial killer fashion. He dryly notes that Holmes has made use of his old office space. Holmes is like yep, and indicates a string from behind his changing wall for Watson to follow, rambling about an Indian cotton tycoon, a Chinese opium trader who overdosed, bombings in two countries on the continent and an American steel magnate dying suddenly. He asks what these things all have in common. Watson reaches the end of the thread he was following, which is pinned to a picture of Moriarty. He exposits that Professor Moriarty is a genius and kind of a celebrity. Holmes adds that he is also friends with their current Prime Minister. Watson asks if he has any evidence to back up this theory that he's some sort of master criminal.

Holmes comes out from behind the dressing wall and points to one of the clippings about the attempted bombing at the auction house with a side line about the man Irene was meeting having a fatal heart attack. He notes that Watson has talked about the man often because he was a pioneer in the medical field. And somebody tried to blow him up. Watson shrugs and points out that the article says he died of a heart attack afterward, which is in no way suspicious. Holmes is like ‘clearly I have failed in my efforts to teach you.'
Chrissy: And I failed in my efforts to civilize you.
Diandra: Well, we all knew that was a lost cause.
He rambles about he and Moriarty playing a "shadowy" game of cat and mouse in case you were wondering where the movie title came from. While he's doing this, he pours himself a glass of something. Watson eyes the bottle, which is marked formaldehyde, and calmly suggests Holmes meant to allude to the story of the spider and fly. Holmes mutters that he's a CAT, damnit, not a fly.

Watson doesn't make any attempt at all to stop him as he drinks formaldehyde and just makes the obvious observation that he's drinking embalming fluid. Which explains why he seems a little..."manic". He grumbles that he should have thought to bring a sedative. Holmes is like ANYWAY, Moriarty is a criminal mastermind and he MUST be stopped. Watson asks WHY he would do any of the things Holmes is accusing him of. Holmes thinks criminals don't need a reason beyond "because I can". Watson is like ‘sure...absolutely nobody can uncover the truth of this massive conspiracy but a doped up Sherlock Holmes. Whatever.' He drinks from another glass containing a less toxic alcohol and looks up when Gladstone suddenly collapses in the doorway. He asks what Holmes has done to him now. Holmes says he probably ate some toxic fruit and leaps at the opportunity to try that adrenal gland extract antidote he was working on. He stabs the needle in the dog before half-assedly asking Watson if he minds. Once it's injected, Gladstone, who Watson just noted was barely breathing, jumps up and runs off barking. Watson notes the sudden energy and mutters that he may need one of those injections in a couple hours. Holmes hands him the pouch with the syringe and tells him to call it a wedding gift.

They start heading for the front door, but Holmes asks if they can use another exit. Watson turns and blinks at the bushy beard we can see Holmes wearing even from the back. He asks if something is different suddenly. Holmes mutters that he's under observation. Watson is like ‘oh, finally? What does that have to do with that ridiculous disguise?' Holmes just turns on his heel and walks away like he's not even going to dignify that reply.

In the car, which turns out to be some sort of prototype of a modern car with an engine instead of a horse, Watson mildly asks if his beard is going to be with them all night.
Chrissy: And I will ask that you don't respond with the obvious "will yours?"
Diandra: Wouldn't dream of it.
Holmes thinks it will be safe to take it off once they're passed Trafalgar Square. Watson asks why he's being this conspicuous if he really thinks Moriarty has him under observation. Holmes thinks it's so obvious Moriarty is sure to overlook it, actually.

Once they pass Trafalgar, Holmes takes the beard off and stares at Watson with what Watson interprets as an expression of "concern." Holmes says he can't help but worry. "Your vitality has been drained from you! Marriage is the end, I tell you!" They have a little argument about the costs and benefits of marriage in general with Holmes insisting it isn't worth having to answer to a woman and have so many restrictions and Watson saying that's just what being in a relationship is about and it isn't THAT BAD, Jesus. And besides, "who wants to die alone?" "So we'll have a good old-fashioned romp tonight, you'll settle down, have a family, and I'll die alone." Watson is like 'uh...yeah. That's the plan.' Holmes pouts some more and theorizes that it might be better to die alone, actually than to live "in eternal purgatory."
Chrissy: You know, I can't tell if you're acting like this because you're upset that I'm leaving you for Mary or because you're channeling what everyone assumes is Doyle's regret at having made it more difficult for his great crime solving duo to go off on their little adventures once he saddled one with a wife.
Diandra: ...........was there a question in there, or......
Emilio: Either way, the answer is yes.

Watson just looks at him for a beat, shakes his head and gets out of the car, noting that it's actually a pretty good means of transportation. Stephen Fry's voice comes from somewhere nearby to predict that every town in Europe will have one of those things in the future.
Chrissy: You could dream a little bigger there.
Holmes greets him as Mycie, which prompts him to greet Holmes as Sherly.
Diandra, Chrissy and Emilio in unison: Don't call me Shirley.

Mycroft notes that Sherlock's bootmaker has obviously taken ill and Sherlock notes that Mycroft has changed shaving soap. Mycroft says the chimney in the front room at Baker Street could use a good sweeping.
Chrissy: Is...is that code for something?
Sherlock is like ‘yeah, well, your carriage has a broken wheel.'
Chrissy: Seriously, do we need a translator?
Diandra: And it wouldn't kill you to take out the trash once in a whi-oops, wrong series.

Mycroft says Sherlock has obviously gotten a new bow for his violin. Sherlock snots that it's the same bow actually, just new strings. Watson is like SO ANYWAY, you must be Mycroft. He takes off his glove and offers his hand. Mycroft just looks at it and says "no." Sherlock is like yeah, um...he doesn't shake hands. Watson just shrugs and continues that Mycroft doesn't ever stray from the path between his house and the Diogenes Club, especially when they're serving his favorite shrimp, so he must be here for something more important than Watson's stag party. Mycroft notes that this guy isn't nearly as dim witted as Sherly has led him to believe.
Emilio: In fact, I like him. He reminds me of a young man I once knew...
Chrissy: [cough cough] I thought we agreed we wouldn't speak of that again, sir.
Emilio: Well, you did.

Mycroft starts leading them past the riff raff clustered outside, talking about how the situation in Europe is likely to erupt into something big any day now and he's here to avoid catastrophe. "If the concerns of two nations which shall remain nameless (but I can tell you they speak French and German) are not dealt with tonight I shall be forced to go to Switzerland to attend a ghastly peace summit in Reichenbach." He continues walking, rambling about how much he hates the high altitudes and they give him nosebleeds, while the other two lag behind. "I'm so glad you invited your brother," Watson says with extreme sarcasm.

Inside what looks like a very strange Cabaret, Watson orders some champagne from a waitress and says they'll probably need more chairs. Holmes asks for a cigar and mutters that they will not be needing any more chairs, actually. The Exposition Fairy, just arriving now after having run late, waves her wand frantically at Watson, who asks just what it is Mycroft does anyway. "He's the keeper of the broom cupboard of state," Holmes answers, if you can call that an answer. Just a second...
Diandra: Should I start referring to everyone by first name now so it's not so confusing?
Chrissy: Weren't you referring to Holmes and Mycroft in that Christmas special? Why can't you just do that?
Diandra: ..........fine.

Watson looks at Mycroft off somewhere talking with a group of men while Holmes says basically that he doesn't seem to do much, but "I'm repeatedly told that he's indispensable to the British government." Then he abruptly moves on, standing up and announcing a toast to his dear friend, whose full name (Hamish) he gives while looking around the place distractedly. Watson is like 'I'm sitting right here. What are you looking at? Also, why are we not waiting for my other friends? You do know I have other friends, don't you?' Holmes mutters mid-sentence that they couldn't make it and keeps going, undaunted. Watson is like 'really? All of my friends happened to be too busy to show up at my bachelor party?' Holmes keeps talking through him noting that he should have friends from the military, med school AND a rugby club and it's highly doubtful not ONE of them was able to make it. I don't know "a single damn person here" and you're STILL looking for somebody anyway. Holmes tells him to not get hysterical or be a "ponce". Watson snorts and says he obviously completely forgot about the stag party altogether, so what are they here for?
Chrissy: Was the whole "going on one last adventure" thing some sort of code?
Diandra: What can I say? I paraded around in front of you in a full body suit that left very little to the imagination and you barely looked up from your newspaper. Clearly, desperate measures were required.
Emilio: As well as lots of alcohol, which is why you started drinking before you even left 221b.
Chrissy: Son of a...

Holmes just sucks down his entire glass of champagne so he doesn't have to answer. Mycroft arrives just then to answer instead that they are here to celebrate Watson's "good health" and it really is a shame about none of his friends being able to make it. They all laugh. Watson stops abruptly and announces that he's going to go play cards or dice or whatever they have in this place. He demands Holmes "give me my money." Holmes says fine, but he has to hand over the wedding ring for collateral. Watson sneers that fine, Holmes is supposed to be keeping it anyway if he wants to be the best man. Holmes says he's just making sure it isn't used for gambling, but Watson is still ranting about him doing a piss poor job of the stag party and he has LOTS of friends, unlike Sherlock who barely has the one. He snatches the lit cigar from Holmes, puts it in his mouth and stalks away. After a beat, Mycroft sneers that he's awfully self-centered.

Sometime later, Holmes sneaks off to a private room somewhere with a woman conducting seances or something. She tells him to put his money on the table. He noisily drops three coins into a metal dish and she turns to face him. It is Rooney Mara, who introduces herself as Madam Simza. And she is a fortune teller who uses tarot cards, which she reveals as she waves incense around a bit for show. She instructs him to hold any specific questions he has in his mind while she readies the deck. He grunts and makes a show of concentrating on his question. Then he takes the deck from her hands and says actually he would rather read HER fortune if it's all the same to her. She just sighs and lets him. He throws out the "temperance" card, which he notes is inverted to indicate volatility. Obviously she has recently turned to alcohol to drown out her problems. She's like 'keep embarrassing yourself, idiot.' He's like 'ha, but seriously, the next card is the Fool card.' He says someone was involved in something without their knowledge and "led astray." She says he's not bad at this, actually, but "you have to make me believe you. I have to see it in your eyes." He acknowledges that he could be doing this better. He pulls the Two of Cups and theorizes it's all about siblings maybe. Her face falls as he says he sees a name...Rene? Then he slaps the Devil card over all the others. She asks what exactly he's playing at here and what does he want.

He pulls a letter out of his jacket pocket and throws it to her. He says he stole it from a woman in an auction room and believes it was actually supposed to be for her. She pulls out a drawing of a man on the back of a note from Rene in French. The subtitles translate that he wants his darling Sim to remember his face as "you will never see it again." He has accepted this is the price he must pay for the sake of history and fulfilling his purpose in life. Holmes says the question he had was what Rene's purpose was. She just closes off again and says his time is up and she needs to get to her other possible customers. He starts to get up, then leans over and mutters a couple observations about the bit of fur caught in a nail over his shoulder and the smell of herring pickled in vodka and "a truly unfortunate body odor", all of which point to a man hiding in the rafters above them. And given all those details plus the acrobatics required to hold himself up there, he would have to be a Cossack assassin. "So it's safe to presume that your next client is here to kill you. Anything else? No?" He heads for the exit, then stops and grabs an umbrella from a stand.

And now we get the Holmes-o-vision with narration. But to make it more interesting, he uses avian metaphors to describe each move. "Pillage the nest," he says as he uses the umbrella to knock the assassin from the ceiling. "Clip the wings" describes knocking the knife from his hand and hooking the umbrella handle around his wrist to give Holmes leverage to break his arm. "Blunt his beak" is an elbow and karate chop to the face. "Crack eggs" is probably obvious as he drops to the floor and drives either his shoulder or possibly the umbrella into the guy's crotch, but it is alarmingly followed by "scramble, pinch of salt..."
Chrissy: Season to taste...

Now he's just bludgeoning the guy with the umbrella and deflecting a second blade the guy produces before he can be stabbed in the face with it. Having shifted entirely from raiding a bird nest to cooking the eggs taken from said nest, he ends with "flip the omelet" which involves flipping the assassin over his back and clubbing him one last time when he proves to still be conscious. Runthrough over, he launches into the actual fight, which gets as far as breaking the guy's arm before a knife comes out of nowhere and stabs the guy in the chest. A second knife hits beside the first, followed by a third and the guy falls over. Holmes looks at Simza, whose hand is still in knife throwing pose.
Chrissy: What? You expected her to just stand there and watch like a helpless female? Pffttt.
Diandra: You'd think he would have learned that with Irene Adler.
Emilio: Yes, but he considered her an exception.
Diandra: Right. The Woman.

He recovers and herds her from the room a second before the guy's eyes open and he sheds the really thick coat that was acting as a protective vest. The assassin pulls a knife and does some highly acrobatic moves along the inner balconies, swinging down a floor and intercepting them. Sherlock recommences fighting him while insane fiddle music plays.
Chrissy: It should be noted that the music in this movie is composed by the same guy who did all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Diandra: And DaVinci Code. And, like, 60% of all the DC Comics movies that have come out lately. Yes.

Meanwhile, Watson is cluelessly playing cards down on the main level, seemingly having a good time despite his earlier complaining.

Simza shatters some sort of glass on the assassin's head, which does fuck all. Holmes gets the knife blade driven into one cheek while grappling. They both manage to get him into a side room of some sort and the assassin grabs her by the hair. Holmes knocks the knife from his other hand and starts pummeling him with a wooden staff he got from somewhere, not noticing as the guy seems to attach something to his belt. He ducks to the side and Simza kicks the guy out a window. That's when it becomes clear the thing he was attaching to Holmes was some sort of line tying them together. Holmes catches himself with the staff on the window before he goes flying out after the assassin, landing in a convenient pile of grain outside. He barely catches his breath before the assassin comes up out of the grain under him and puts him in a choke hold.

They grapple and fall over into what looks like an underground room right on the street. This is apparently some sort of fight club as a bunch of rough looking men separate them and the ring leader announces that they may have a new "cockfight" to bet on. The assassin grabs a knife left nearby and nobody tries to stop him. Nor do they care what Sherlock is reaching for, which, when they release them again at each other turns out to be a very surprised chicken. He throws the chicken, grabs a cane from somebody nearby and hits the assassin with it a few times. Then manages to leverage the cord still tying them together to flip himself over the guy's back and then yank him to the ground. Having finally had enough of this bullshit, apparently, the assassin finally uses the knife to cut the cord and run back toward the building, climbing up to where Simza is still hanging out the window watching. Holmes tries to climb after him and ends up blasting through a lower window right across the table Watson was playing at, scattering all the money he just won.

The frantic music stops for a few seconds while everyone at the table blinks at him in shock, then starts up again as we focus on the assassin chasing Simza across the upper floor again. Holmes staggers away and a brawl erupts as the crowd surrounding the table all lunges to pick up the money from the floor at once.

The assassin catches up to Simza behind the stage and she holds her own fighting him with another dagger for a while, but the second he gets the upper hand, Holmes shows up to kick him through another window, this time into water. She wipes blood from her nose and mutters that Holmes was right about him smelling awful. And then Watson staggers in drunkenly and demands to know where Holmes was just now when he was getting into a fight. Mycroft appears at the other end of the room to make a snarky comment about Sherlock taking his duties as best man so seriously.
Chrissy: Yes, you're supposed to be DEFENDING MY HONOR.
Watson yelps that a woman was just BITING HIS LEG.
Chrissy: No, really, Robert, I'm not even sure she was supposed to be on the set.
Diandra: Wait, now we're roleplaying the actors?
Emilio: Haven't we basically been doing that all along? Didn't the two of you have an argument about who won the most awards in Infinity War?
Chrissy: That wasn't an argument. I was just reminding him of who was on whose turf.
Emilio: See?

Mycroft offers to have his manservant – the guy hovering beside him silently – fill their car with fuel.
Emilio: He's really very good at filling things.
Diandra: I invite you to these things to HELP, Emilio.
Emilio: That's not helping?
He reminds them they have a wedding they need to get to. What, right now?

We cut fairly abruptly to daytime, with Holmes pulling up in the prototype car, casually puffing on a pipe. Watson is passed out in the passenger seat, looking like something the cat literally dragged in. Holmes pokes him a couple times, then just gestures at some bagpipers standing near the entrance of the gardens. They start playing loudly, snapping Watson awake. He blinks at them like ‘holy fuck, seriously?!' and tries to roll over and go back to sleep. Holmes yanks the blanket he has thrown over him away, after a brief tug of war.
Chrissy: Feeling some definite déjà vu here.
Diandra: Except usually it's the other way around.
Chrissy: Oh, right. Yes.
Diandra: The conversation about Infinity War made you forget which one you were playing for a minute there, didn't it?
Chrissy: Maybe.

Watson staggers out of the car and Holmes tries to fix his tunic but only manages to rip one arm of it clean off. They look at each other meaningfully and Holmes takes Watson's hand and leads him toward the gate.
Chrissy: I am still marrying what's her face, right?
Emilio: It's okay, it will only be temporary.

Somehow they manage to clean up Watson and install him at the front of the church. Holmes, who is pretty much still looking like he spent the night in the gutter, is asleep in the pew and manages to wake up just as Mary is coming down the aisle. She looks John up and down and looks to Holmes, who just winks at her like 'it's fine. He'll be fine.'
Chrissy: But is he able to sit down?
Diandra: Do you need him to?

We kind of fast forward through Watson putting the ring on Mary's finger and Holmes looking vaguely forlorn. And then the new couple walks under some crossed swords as they exit the church while flower petals are thrown at them. Watson catches a glimpse of Holmes before he sneaks away.

As Holmes is cranking up the car, a guy strikes up a conversation about weddings and funerals and enough chit chat "the professor wants to meet." Holmes is like 'oh, that's later than I was expecting, but okay.' Lackey asks if Holmes can come by the college this afternoon.
Emilio: Or will you be needing more time to uh...prepare?
Diandra: If you are trying to imply what I think you are trying to imply, you'll need to talk to Watson because he usually handles those matters.
Chrissy: And don't you forget it!
Holmes says yeah, sure, now get out of the way. The guy – can probably assume he's Moran – steps aside and waves at the clouds of smoke produced by the "car" as Holmes drives off.

College. Holmes arrives to the sound of a woman singing in German. He identifies the song as Fiecherweise, a Schubert from 1826.
Chrissy: Okay, if Doctor Strange starts bleeding in here this is going to get VERY confusing.
Diandra: Maybe for you.
He recites part of the lyrics...apparently. "Give up your foolish trickery..." "...this fish you cannot cheat," Moriarty finishes. Holmes asks if he's "intruding" given that he appears to be with a student. Moriarty excuses the student, handing him a book to bring to "Mr. Williams" and "make sure he packs my white tie and tails". He explains this last bit to Holmes as preparing to go on a lecture tour. He offers tea or coffee. Holmes declines. Moriarty asks if he would prefer something stronger.
Emilio: I probably still have some of what Miss Adler gave you in that hotel...
Diandra: Ha. No.

Holmes says he would like an autograph and hands Moriarty a copy of his own book "The Dynamics of an Asteroid & Lecture Notes".
Chrissy: I guarantee you he hasn't read it. He still isn't convinced the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around.
Diandra: Nice reference.
As Moriarty sits to write in the book, Holmes wanders over to look at a chalkboard full of formulas. Moriarty casually notes that the "good doctor" was getting married today, wasn't he? "How was the service?" "Definitive," Holmes says distractedly.
Chrissy: Well, that's...certainly a word. Not usually one used in this context, but...
Diandra: I AM NOT SULKING.

Apparently he's not going to even try to pretend here because he further states that Watson will no longer be helping in his investigations and "he's out of the equation. I trust you'll take this into consideration."
Emilio: Wait...are you actually propositioning me here?
Diandra: I'm just saying I'm missing my better half and hoping you'll consider it a handicap.
Chrissy: If you're trying to imply that I'm the wife here...
Diandra: I'm not sure I was, but you kind of are.
Emilio: He totally is.
He focuses on a book of horticulture sitting on the chalkboard ledge and the dead plant sitting on the window ledge while Moriarty asks what considerations Holmes plans to grant HIM. Holmes doesn't reply. Moriarty hands him the book back and asks if he's actually read it. Holmes non answers that it was "compelling", but he's more interested in the professor's current "endeavors". Moriarty says he'll take that as a compliment and adds "I have the utmost regard for your talents. It's a pleasure to finally meet you...officially."
Emilio: I know so much about you. You could say I'm your number one fan.
Diandra: And we're in "Misery" territory now, huh? Haven't we been here before?

They shake hands and Holmes looks vaguely uncomfortable.
Emilio: Sorry, my hands are a bit damp, but you'll get used to it.
Diandra: Oh, hello reference to a random rape-y scene I had almost forgotten about.
Chrissy: Pfffttt. No, you didn't. You went out of your way to recap that scene off YouTube.
Holmes asks if he's familiar with the study of graphology. Moriarty says he's never given it any serious thought. Holmes continues as if he wasn't listening, which he probably wasn't, expositing that it is the psychological analysis of handwriting. He is looking at the signature Moriarty just put in the book and indicating points that would suggest genius intellect, creativity and a "meticulous nature". And overall it suggests Narcissism and a lack of empathy toward others.
Emilio: Well, that part sounds familiar.
Diandra: I know you're making vague allusions to a certain would be despot, but this is actually just reminding me of the whole psychopath versus sociopath argument from "Sherlock".
Chrissy: Wasn't He Who Shall Not Be Named diagnosed a sociopath by his niece?
Diandra: Yup. Pretty sure Hitler was one too. All the dictators, really.

He starts to say that it suggests an inclination toward..."NO," Moriarty interjects, but Holmes just finishes anyway with "moral insanity".
Emilio: Oh, I...thought you were going to say something else that was illegal in Victorian times. Never mind.
Moriarty says the answer to his previous question re: Doctor Watson is no, incidentally. Then he recites a law about celestial objects colliding invariably resulting in collateral damage. Then he rambles about a story about two men at odds with each other and a young woman falling ill "with tragic consequences". He drops Irene's bloodied handkerchief in the middle of a nearby chess board and adds that the woman in the story died of a rare very acute form of tuberculosis. Sherlock both reacts and very obviously tries not to, his face taking on an expression that can only be described as murderous rage. Moriarty asks if he's sure he wants to play this game. "I'm afraid you'd lose," Holmes growls. Moriarty says oh, well, don't worry because if you try it the destruction will be mutual. See, the only reason he hasn't killed him yet is because he RESPECTS him. "If I were assured of the former eventuality," Holmes says. "I would cheerfully accept the latter." He takes the handkerchief and storms out, Moriarty calling after him that he'll be sure to send his regards to the newlyweds. Then he moves one of the chess pieces on the board pointedly.

Train station. Watson and Mary are, apparently, headed on their honeymoon. Mary is impressed to find that they are traveling in a first class car and climbs right in. Watson pauses as he sees some soldiers loading something into another car and Mary sticks her head out to impatiently call him to hurry because "your wife needs you."
Chrissy: You know this libido of yours might kill me faster than running after criminals with Holmes, right?
Emilio: Are you complaining?
Chrissy: Nah.
As she is admiring the bottle of champagne waiting for them, he peeks into the hall to find a steward explaining to a woman at the end of the hall that the lavatories are closed until the train starts moving.

Sometime later, Mary is sprawled on John's lap, checking his tonsils with her tongue when she discovers a pistol shoved down the back of his pants. She pulls it out and he apologetically explains that old habits die hard. A steward knocks on the door and presents them with another bottle of champagne, which Watson says he didn't order. The steward says it's complimentary and suspiciously closes the door as he goes to put it in the bucket. The lights flicker and he pulls a knife, lunging at John. John fends him off and Mary – who briefly leapt to the side like a distressed damsel – points the gun at him and directs John to open the outer door of the carriage. He tosses the guy out the door, takes the gun from Mary and makes a shushing gesture while he goes to check the inner door.

He peeks into the hallway just as another steward comes charging down it. The woman from earlier (because of course that was important) suddenly emerges from the next berth and elbows him in the face, turning around this time so we can see it is Sherlock. Holmes pulls a gun from somewhere and shoots at a few more guys who try to approach before meeting Watson at the door, Watson holding his gun between them.
Chrissy: And don't even THINK of asking if I'm happy to see you.
Diandra: I don't have to. I can see you are.
Holmes says yeah, it's not his best disguise, but he had to "make do".

Two things. First, here's where I have to note something from an interview. When both of these guys were on Graham Norton, the topic of this disguise came up. Despite apparently having been the one to come up with the idea for this disguise instead of the priest disguise that was originally in the script, Robert Downey Jr. was noting that he looked like his own ugly sister or something. Which led to this exchange:
Graham: But you are a beautiful man.
Jude Law (IMMEDIATELY and emphatically): Yes, you are.
[Jude and Robert pause, look each other in the eye and sigh dramatically]
Chrissy: I love how they just lean in to the ho yay.

Second...come on. You expect us to believe you improvised this outfit when there's, like, five layers of petticoats, a bonnet and a massive wig? You're wearing EYESHADOW.
Chrissy: Improvising does not inherently mean that he didn't have those things on hand for SOME reason already.

Watson pulls him into the room and Mary groans loudly at the sight of him.
Emilio: I'm sure he's used to that.
Holmes hands Watson his gun and says those men will be back. Mary begs John to close the door, but he says they'll only shoot through it. Holmes helps her down on the seat, sitting next to her. He apologizes for the terrible inconvenience of all this while she eyes him critically. Then he announces to John that they're running out of time and looks out the window so we can get a panning shot of the cliff and bridge up ahead.

Watson asks who the HELL these guys are. Holmes says they're a wedding present from Moriarty. Then he rambles at Mary about how lovely the ceremony was until she whines "John". He says he's busy and goes back to firing out into the hallway. Holmes grabs her and asks if she trusts him. "No," she says without thinking. Holmes sighs, looks at Watson and mutters he'll have to do something about that then. Later. For now... He shoves her unceremoniously out the door as the train goes over the bridge, landing her in the water below.

He turns to Watson, who is still shooting and hasn't noticed anything going on behind him for the past minute, and asks him to shut the door.
Chrissy: When did he start calling him John?
Diandra: Just now, I think?
Watson hesitates only a second before obeying and looking around the cabin with increasing alarm as he realizes his wife is no longer present. "It had to be done," Holmes says.
Emilio: She was getting in the way.
Watson runs to look out the still open outside door and Holmes says it's okay, he timed it perfectly, she's safe. Watson, apparently not inclined to take his word for it, throws him on the bench and starts strangling him, shrieking "did you just kill my wife?!" Sherlock both fights back and wraps his legs around John's waist so he can't just pull away.
Chrissy: Knew you were a twisted little shit. Also, you just switched to first names?
Diandra: I figure at this particular moment at least, last names are a bit too impersonal, don't you?
Emilio: Yes, I'd say we're past formalities now.

John rips Sherlock's shirt off. Sherlock gets his legs wrapped around John's neck and orders him to CALM DOWN ALREADY. He would have explained the plan, but he didn't have TIME. Of course, this is when some stews break open the door and find the two of them locked together, Sherlock half undressed and mussed with John between his legs. But because these guys were sent by Moriarty, we don't take the time to address what this looks like. Instead, we freeze and go down the barrel of the gun pointed in Sherlock's face, which seems to have a very particular bullet with an ornate engraving on it. We flash back to see it clutched in Sherlock's hand earlier as it forms the base of the lipstick he is wearing. We see the steward telling him he can't use the bathroom while the train is in the station from this angle where it's hard to imagine the guy bought this disguise. Once the stew is out of sight, he breaks into the room anyway and cobbles together some sort of smoke bomb that he uses to distract the guards long enough to exchange a couple of their bullets for lipstick.

So in the present, when the guard tries to fire this "bullet", it causes the gun to backfire and explode the powder back on him and the other guys with him. Sherlock manages to slam the door before throwing John off him. Then he reveals something else he cobbled together in the bathroom and has apparently been storing over his crotch this whole time: the pull chain from the toilet tank, which has a long billy club type bar with a grenade attached on one end and a bulb on the other and looks alarming dangling between his legs.
Chrissy: And here I thought you were happy to see me...
He uses it to bar the door, takes off what is left of the dress and asks if Watson needs him to explain or if they can just get on with it already.
Chrissy: Well, a little foreplay wouldn't kill you.
Diandra: What do you think I was just doing?!

Holmes climbs out the door and along the outside of the train. Watson hesitates for barely a second before following. Now, with the wind rushing crazily, Holmes decides he can talk again, assuring John that Mary is perfectly safe because she is with Mycroft now.
Emilio: What he doesn't say is that he killed Mycroft this morning.
Diandra: Ha, funny. As if I could.
Watson just shrieks that he's supposed to be on his HONEYMOON and WHY ARE YOU GETTING US INVOLVED IN YOUR BULLSHIT?! Holmes says they didn't follow HIM, they came specifically for Watson, so...YOU'RE WELCOME. One of the guards breaks open the door, pulling the pin on the grenade and manages to fire a couple wild shots out the door in their direction before the explosion sends him flying to the ground.

Holmes gets the door to the next cabin open and enters with a polite greeting like the elderly couple in there will just overlook the fact that a half naked man with makeup smeared all over his face just crashed into their room. He opens the inner door and invites them to go check out second class. They just gape at him, clutching each other, so he barks at them to MOVE DAMNIT and they flee the room just as Watson swings in. By the time Watson gets the door closed and turns around, Holmes is laying on the floor. "Lay down with me, Watson," he says.
Chrissy: Look, I know you're gagging for it, but NOW IS NOT THE TIME.
Diandra: You say that every time!
Watson balks, so Holmes just drags him down onto the floor.
Chrissy: Bossy for a bottom, aren't you?
Diandra: What makes you think I'm...no, scratch that. Never mind. We're not going down that rabbit hole.
Emilio: That's not what you said in the last movie.
Chrissy: This is the second time you've referenced other recaps we've done, Emilio. I'm starting to worry about your mental health.
Watson asks what they're doing down here anyway and Holmes says waiting.

The fake stewards/assassins have rigged up a machine gun and, after a pause, they start shooting the shit out of the room. Both men cover their faces, except Jude Law apparently didn't do it fast enough and got a scratch to his eyeball right here. Holmes hands Watson his gun and tells him to wait for his opportunity. The string of bullets reaches the second lipstick Holmes planted and the gun jams. Watson jumps up while Holmes just sprawls with his hands behind his head and tells him to "make it count".
Chrissy: Yes, as I was saying just now...
Diandra: No.
Chrissy: You really are lucky that I'm very good at taking orders.
Diandra: That wasn't luck. Why do you think I chose you?

Watson hits the guy shooting in the arm through a series of holes in walls of the train. Another guy just gets the gun unjammed and starts firing again.

Watson is back on the floor, clutching his eye in pain because I guess Guy Richie hadn't figured out that Jude was actually injured yet. And apparently neither has Robert because Holmes yells that he was supposed to make that COUNT.

Meanwhile, the guy Watson shot realizes he just fell on a pile of grenades. He closes his eyes a second before the explosion that causes several cars of the train to detach.
Chrissy: And hopefully there were very few other passengers on the train after all of that. Did you take that into consideration when you were "improvising" this plan?
Diandra: Er...

Sometime later, Watson is sitting on the floor of the new aftmost train car, staring at the passing scenery numbly when Holmes tries to joke about honeymooning in Brighton being more dangerous than one might have expected. Watson is like JUST SHUT UP BEFORE I DECIDE TO TRY MURDERING YOU AGAIN. No, wait. First, explain how my wife is safe again. We flash back to her falling into the water as the train passes over the bridge. Mycroft and his servant paddle up in a rowboat and Mycroft introduces himself as "the other Holmes" and congratulates her on her wedding. She is less than thrilled to discover that there are two of them.
Emilio: Yeah, our parents weren't too thrilled about it either.
Diandra: HEY!

Back on the train, Watson asks why he was targeted, exactly. Holmes takes a breath and starts launching into a long winded explanation, but Watson cuts him off with a summary: "he's after us because of you." Holmes is like, well, if you must know, this IS partly your fault because you're the one who was in such a fired up hurry to get married before we could finish this case. Watson is like ‘oh, whatever. This is not my fault.'
Chrissy: You can't just go flinging yourself into danger the minute I stop paying attention to you and then blame me when it bites you in the ass.
"Thus, our relationship..." Holmes says in conclusion. Watson winces at that wording, so Holmes sighs and amends it to "partnership" and finishes that it isn't over yet.
Chrissy: Honestly, the fact that you think my relationships with you and Mary are mutually exclusive is worrying.

Holmes clenches his jaw and promises that if Watson helps him "see this thing through", he will never ask for his help again.
Chrissy: Pfft. Liar.
Diandra: I mean...obviously.
Watson sighs and signals acquiescence with "once more unto the breech." Holmes excitedly lurches right into a deduction in progress: that a criminal mastermind isn't actually after the gypsy fortune teller, but her brother and if they can find him... Watson cuts him off with an order to find his luggage first. And also tell him where they're going now, exactly. Holmes is like 'where you should have planned to go for your honeymoon: Paris.'

And we're on a ship. It's daytime and both of them are cleaned up again. Watson has apparently waited this long to ask why they are going to Paris. Holmes picks up a little cloth bag and rambles about a gypsy camp outside of Montreuil famous for dried peaches. He pulls one out of the bag and waves it at Watson. He thinks this is where they will find the fortune teller again. Watson reaches for the bag Holmes has at his feet and pulls out Irene's bloodied handkerchief. They stare at each other for a moment. Holmes grabs the handkerchief and goes to the railing, hesitating for a moment and holding it to his face before throwing it overboard.

Book signing. Moriarty speaks a few words of French with a man whose copy of his book he has signed, just to establish where we are. The lackey who called on Sherlock earlier sits beside him and hands him a note with a bunch of numerical codes. He sticks it in his address book and asks about his ticket. Moran – that HAS to be who this is, right? – pulls two tickets to Don Giovanni from his inner coat pocket and hands him one. Moriarty ominously says he won't be needing his. Moran just walks out and tells a guy hovering by the entrance of the building courtyard to "follow Meinhard."

Holmes and Watson pull a carriage up to a gypsy camp and Holmes tells Watson to brace himself because "we're about to be violated."
Chrissy: Just because you seem to give off pheromones that attract would be rapists doesn't mean everybody is after you.
Actually, Watson jokes that he's being "cynical" and greets the first man he sees in French and asks for Simza.

As they are being escorted from the carriage, Watson notes that they are stealing his luggage. Holmes suggests "laugh[ing] them away" and they take his/Simza's bag too. And Watson's coat. Watson asks again where Simza is because this whole fleecing had better at least be worth it and the guy leading them points to a goose a sleeping man is clutching and laughs. Then he goes one step over the line by taking Watson's scarf and Watson finally snaps and punches him. Holmes giggles while all the gypsies go silent and start surrounding them. He tries to avert total disaster by saying no, seriously, we wanted to discuss her brother. Simza appears, the bag he was recently relieved of in her hand and asks if they're hungry.

So we cut to them eating what Holmes describes as the best hedgehog goulash he's ever tasted while Watson makes faces and chokes down spoonfuls. Watson asks when the hell he's ever had such a thing before. Holmes doesn't remember. Watson suggests that's because he repressed the memory. "Unlike you, I repress nothing," Holmes snots. He reprimands Watson for being rude to the lady who invited them into her tent. "Says the man who throws women from trains," Watson snaps.
Emilio: If you two are finished flirting...
Chrissy: Never.
Simza has had enough and asks why someone is trying to kill her. Watson summarizes that her brother is involved in something shady with a dangerous man who apparently believes he told her something. She says she doesn't know anything and has been looking for her brother for more than a year, in fact. She was in London only because it was the last place he was spotted. Holmes thinks it's unlikely he would have sent any message to her that would put her in harm's way DELIBERATELY. Unintentionally, though...Watson asks if he sent her anything else. She pulls out some drawings.

Holmes flips through the sketches and does quick analyses of them. The gauge of paper is thicker than usual – like the kind of paper used in a printing press. Same as the letter he sent. Watson sniffs the letter and notes that they both smell musty – like they were stored someplace damp. He notes a red stain in the corner of a page Holmes is holding and asks if it's blood. Holmes, of course, tests it by licking the spot on the paper. He concludes that nope, it's wine. Which means they need to find a wine cellar near a printing press. Simza looks at her assistant, who shrugs and mysteriously says "he" promised he wouldn't go back there. She turns to the boys and says that there is a wine cellar that the anarchist group Lapin Vert used. She and her brother were both part of the group at one point, until it got to be "too extreme". The leader of the group is named Ravache. Simza's assistant leaves to get in contact with him. She grabs a jug of something and starts slugging from it. Holmes leans over and warns Watson against drinking anything the gypsies might give him. Except the minute the words are out of his mouth, he's accepting the bottle from Simza and guzzling from it, so...
Chrissy: Basically you're volunteering me as your designated driver then.
Emilio: Doesn't he always?

Simza asks if Watson dances. Holmes hisses at him to for god's sake DON'T. Simza takes Watson's hand and leads him from the tent without any further protest from Holmes, who is busy finishing the bottle of probably moonshine.

The next day...probably. Mary is just climbing some stairs in a castle somewhere when a very naked Mycroft appears to ask if she's had breakfast yet and points to a little old guy slowly bringing a tray in her direction. She splutters and looks very determinedly out the window like I DIDN'T SEE ANYTHING. Another servant appears with a letter for Mrs. Watson. The fact that nobody is at all phased by Mycroft's lack of clothing suggests this is his house and this is a familiar sight to them.
Chrissy: Really, it's probably not the worst thing they could walk in on any given day.
She rips it open and pronounces that the contents don't make sense. He takes it from her and reads "my most loathed Mary, I don't love you, I wish to never see you again..."
Chrissy: No, it makes perfect sense. Sherlock is forging my handwriting.
No, he identifies this as the encryption he and Sherlock used when they were kids. Basically if the first word starts with a consonant, then everything that follows is the opposite of what is meant. That...seems obvious and beneath either of their intelligence, but okay.

He gives a rambling sort of half compliment that he can see how some guys might enjoy the company of someone of her sex under certain circumstances.
Emilio: Someone not me, obviously.
She acts very uncomfortable and looks everywhere but at him before grabbing the letter and fleeing the room.

Elsewhere, sometime. A cab stamped with Les Sept Grenouilles stops in a back alley and Simza, Holmes and Watson pile out of the back. They are escorted into what must be said restaurant through the kitchen, where they are frisked before they can go down into the wine cellar where Ravache is waiting with his back turned. He calls that he's pleased to see Simza in French. She replies in English that she's not here to see him. "Is he here?" Ravache says no, he hasn't seen her brother in a long time. Watson inspects some paper sitting off to one side and notes that it is the same paper Rene used to send a letter to Simza. Holmes says that's because he took it with him and Ravache isn't lying about him not being here NOW. Ravache says yes, he was sent on assignment by some Englishman who offered to fund their cause...so long as they did a few things for him and claimed responsibility for a few terrorist acts. "I made a deal with the devil." But, he says cryptically, it will all be over after tonight. Watson concludes this means there's another bomb somewhere. Simza begs Ravache to talk to Holmes and Watson as they can help. Ravache doesn't think so, actually, and seeing as this benefactor is using his wife and children as leverage to force him to do these things... Holmes promises to help his wife and children if he'll just... Ravache says no, it's "taken care of". He says they have less than ten minutes, puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger.

The thugs upstairs hanging around the kitchen start moving. Holmes instructs Watson to take the gun from Ravache and cover the stairs while he looks around and runs over what a bunch of evidence points to: a hidden passage having been built behind a wall. Watson shoots up at a couple guys as they start coming down the stairs. Holmes pulls on one of the coat hooks on the wall and the secret passage swings open. Watson fires a couple more bullets and the three of them dart down the passage, closing the door behind them.

Simza sneers that Holmes could have WARNED her since he obviously suspected that might happen. Holmes illuminates a bunch of bomb making supplies with a torch along with evidence that points toward the bomb being in the Paris opera house. They make their way out to the street somewhere behind the cathedral and run to the opera house. They walk right in and go backstage past Moran, who the camera focuses on as he smirks evilly and walks away. Holmes gets on a platform that is cranking up onto the center of the stage, throwing a stagehand out of his way unceremoniously. Simza throws a knife to him without prompting. He uses it to slice through the covering on the interior of the platform while the actor on top of it starts singing his part. He finds a chess piece sitting in front of a hole in the platform and looks past it out into the audience. Moriarty is up in one of the viewing boxes with opera glasses. Then Holmes runs back the "tape" in his head of the past few minutes and refocuses on a newspaper in that kitchen with a headline about that Meinhardt guy and the hotel he's staying at. 

He blasts out of the platform and runs off the stage, meeting Watson and Simza in the wings. He says he was wrong and angrily throws the chess piece on the ground.

They go back outside and run toward the nearby hotel, where a couple thugs are already wheeling what is obviously the bomb hidden in some sort of cake through the halls. We catch a glimpse of it placed behind Meinhardt, who is speaking to a room full of important looking men before it explodes. We get a little montage of Holmes et al running in to see the damage, intercut with the opera still going on, Moriarty watching the action on stage with rapt fascination.

Realizing there is a bullet hole near where the bomb was, Holmes follows the line of it back to a roof. All three of them traipse over there and Watson verifies that this is definitely where the bullet came from. He and Holmes identify marks on the ground where the shooter set up a tripod for the rifle and a scorch mark from a cigarette. Watson pronounces it a very difficult shot that maybe only a half a dozen men in all of Europe could have made. Holmes asks how many of them served in Afghanistan because that is what he makes of the bit of tobacco he just found that fell out of the cigarette. Because, you see, he is an expert in tobacco ash. He wrote a paper and everything.
Chrissy: Nobody read that.
Diandra: Shut up.

Now we run back the tape on Watson, who suddenly remembers a smell as they were going down the hallway past Moran. Holmes prompts that he read something about a colonel... "Sebastian Moran," Watson says. "Best marksman in the British army." He was dishonorably discharged. Holmes concludes he's probably a hired gun now and this is his second victim at least. Watson thinks that's an ingenious way to cover up a murder since nobody would think to look for a bullet hole in a room where a bomb went off. And we rewind to show that Moran shot Meinhardt a second before the bomb went off.

Next day. I guess. Watson and Simza are sitting at a café at the base of the Eiffel Tower and Watson is checking his watch, noting that "he" is twenty minutes late. Simza eyes some constables patrolling nearby and mutters that she doesn't have papers. Watson agrees that between that and his status as a foreigner..."this climate is exactly what Moriarty wants." Holmes arrives with a tray of breakfast, which he declares is delicious...except for the tea because France. He sits and launches into a recap of what has happened so far. The assassination/bombing was orchestrated to look like a retaliation on the part of Germany against Strassbourg. AND the bombing covered the murder of Meinhardt. When Simza looks confused by this, Watson explains to her that Meinhardt makes guns. Holmes adds that a large share of his company was bought by persons unknown days ago. Which must be Moriarty, but to avoid making a mistake similar to the one he made yesterday, Holmes needed to gather more evidence, which is why he was late just now.

Elsewhere, sometime earlier, Moran finds Moriarty reading about the explosion in the paper. He announces that the train is leaving in 40 minutes. As Moriarty is leaving, Sherlock jumps up from a nearby table and runs off, stripping his old man disguise as he goes, changing into a porter's uniform and arriving in the hotel lobby in time to wheel the cart with Moriarty's luggage as Moriarty and Moran stroll past. Moriarty asks if they have time for him to "indulge my little habit."
Chrissy: You couldn't have thought of that before you checked out? The maid is probably already cleaning the room...
Diandra: I'm afraid to ask what is going on in your head right now.
Emilio: I'm not, but I think I already know.

Apparently, Moriarty's "little habit" is feeding the ever present pigeons, who Holmes describes as "feral". Watson interrupts his narrative suddenly by reaching over and ripping off a chunk of fake mustache that Holmes missed. Holmes just blinks at him and continues verbally working out the time it takes to get from the park with the highest concentration of pigeons to a train station and concludes that his train is leaving from Gare du Nord which has a 11:04 going to Berlin. Watson cuts in before he can finish with the reveal that one of the stops along that train's route is Hellbron, the location of Meinhardt's factory. Holmes says Moriarty owns it now. Only problem is after the bombing the border between France and Germany was closed, so unless they know someone who is good at getting across borders through less legal means... he looks pointedly at Simza.

So we go right back to the woods, with the boys dressed in less proper English attire. Holmes says Watson makes a very good gypsy, actually. Simza's friend tries to give Watson back his scarf, but he says the guy can keep it because it will look better on him. Which might be an acknowledgment that it really does look terrible. Simza directs them to horses, indicating which is for who and Holmes asks where the wagons are. She asks if he can't just ride a horse. The horse snorts and he looks at it sideways like 'oh, who asked YOU?' Watson says it's not that he can't, he just...doesn't. Because, Holmes adds "they're dangerous at both ends and crafty in the middle. Why would I want anything with a mind of its own bobbing about between my legs?"
Chrissy: What was that earlier about reasons why you chose me again?
Diandra: Ahem. I wasn't going to say anything, but...
He says he'll just find himself a bicycle or something and questions why they couldn't have chartered a balloon because it's 1891 for god's sake. He storms away and Watson asks if they can find a way to make "this" more "manageable".

This leads to the comedy of everyone riding past the camera on horseback and, after a pause, Holmes following on a pony, loudly complaining.

They arrive at a crossing point that is heavily guarded and populated. Simza says they know another way. Holmes makes a face and coaxes his dwarf horse into moving again.

There's a short montage of the group riding through hills and valleys, until they come to a body of water with an industrial area on the other side that must include the factory. Watson lays out the plan: in through the loading bay, figure out what's going on in there and get out before anyone notices. Holmes thinks the getting out part might be harder than he expects. Simza says her crew can facilitate that if they just focus on the part where they get her brother out alive.

Closer to the building, Holmes and Watson hide as a group of soldiers march past. Once they are clear, Holmes asks if Watson is happy right now like 'this beats spending time with your wife, right?' Watson is like '........seriously, dude?' Holmes sniffs, waits a beat, and asks again. Watson snaps at him to FOCUS on the reason they're here, damnit.
Chrissy: We can talk about your insecurities and feelings of abandonment later.
Diandra: You keep saying that, but it never IS later.
Holmes asks what time it is. Watson looks at his watch and says 3:15. Holmes says great, so they can meet back here in exactly an hour after Watson sends this telegraph to Mycroft from the office over there. Watson takes the paper without another word and runs off. Holmes pulls out another piece of paper and starts writing.

We go back and forth for a bit as Watson breaks into the telegraph office while Holmes is running around back alleys. Holmes finally enters what looks like a laboratory. Behind a heavy steel door with a teeny window deep inside, there is the sort of room you'd usually find populated with high ranking military officers, full of maps with little markers identifying various countries laid out like players on a battlefield.
Chrissy: You never played Risk, did you?
Diandra: Uh....no.
On the wall, a bunch of pieces identifying various types of weapons are associated with various countries as well as cost possibly. And I feel I should note the music here sounds an awful lot like the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean because Hans Zimmer.

Holmes goes to another part of possibly the same facility and finds a whole giant warehouse floor full of missiles. All the lights go on and Moran's voice gloats that this is the result of industry meeting weaponry.
Chrissy: [cough] Er...any of them named Jericho?
Coming into view, Moran suggests Holmes put his gun down, holding his own very casually not pointed at anything in particular for emphasis. Because he's not just taking the easy upper hand: he just thinks Holmes should upgrade his choice of weaponry and take one of the steampunk automatic pistols from the crate he is crouched next to. He tosses him a ten round magazine to go with it. They both snap the magazines into the guns simultaneously. Holmes notes that it's easy to load and deduces that he has to pull back the bolt to "engage" a bullet. Moran does so and points his gun at Holmes' head before Holmes can actually do anything. Then a couple other goons run up and disarm Holmes before chloroforming him unconscious. Moran tells them to take him to the "surgery" while he finds Watson.

Watson is pacing at the meeting point outside impatiently. Then he notices the note Holmes was writing earlier stuck to the wall. "Come at once if convenient." He flips it over and reads "if inconvenient, come all the same." Nice reference. The two notes are written on the outside of a folded paper. Watson unfolds it to find one of Rene's drawings of a lighthouse, which can be seen from the location Watson is currently standing, it's light creating a lens flare worthy of JJ Abrams.

Holmes wakes up when someone waves a glass of "schnapps" under his nose, then hands it to him. He tosses it back, coughs and declares that it's actually aquavit distilled from potato mash, but that's a common mistake. "Thank you, by the way," he adds as the guy takes the glass back and spins the chair he's propped in around to face a table where Moriarty is sitting. Moriarty has already started speaking while Holmes was rambling about potato mash, asking who the telegram that was sent from this location was sent to. Holmes just says something similar to what he said to Blackwood in the last movie: that he admires the skill Moriarty exhibits in his committing of horrific crimes. "You used the anarchists and their bombs to create a crisis in Europe, nation against nation. Under various pseudonyms, you bought, schemed or murdered your way into numerous industries, assuring that none of it could be traced to you."
Chrissy: From anyone else, this would sound like the ravings of a conspiracy obsessed lunatic.
Emilio: Ah, pretty sure it sounds like that from him too.
"Now that you own the supply, you intend to create the demand," he finishes. "A world war."

The next two scenes are overlaid and cut rapidly back and forth, but I will recap them separately.

Outside, a goon catches up to Watson. We see Moran trying to shoot Watson from a distance, but the guard is in the way. So after a few seconds he just shoots the guard. Watson leaps for cover.

While this is happening, Moriarty revs up his bad guy soliloquy by reminding Holmes of another Schubert song "The Trout". "A fisherman grows weary of trying to catch an elusive fish, so he muddies the waters. Confuses the fish. It doesn't realize until too late that it has swum into a trap." This is punctuated by a goon coming up behind Holmes and spearing him in the shoulder with a giant hook that lifts him right out of the chair. Moriarty calmly walks over to start a phonograph playing The Trout, drowning out Holmes' whimpering, and turns it to some sort of speaker system that amplifies and pipes the sound outside. Then, because we need to drive home just how deranged he is, he sings loudly along with the song and punctuates the chorus by pushing Holmes and spinning him around to make him scream some more.
Chrissy: This is veering close to cable territory, isn't it?
Diandra: Close, but sadly still not as gruesome enough for, say, HBO or AMC.

Moran is still shooting at Watson, who gets his own pistol loaded just before Holmes' screaming comes drifting from the "speakers".

The phonograph stops just as Holmes seems to pass out and Moriarty has him lowered to the floor. He blinks blearily, the whole side of his shirt covered in blood, as Moriarty stands over him and asks again who the telegram was sent to. Holmes says "to my..." and trails off, seemingly struggling to stay conscious. Moriarty makes a face like he's annoyed that he's going to have to get his hands dirty and leans down over him, grabbing the hook with one hand and pinning Holmes' other wrist with the other. He puts his ear close to Holmes' mouth and Holmes gasps that he sent it to Mycroft. Moriarty leans back and says he just has one more question then.
Emilio: How does it feel to have my hook inside you?
Diandra: ..............
Emilio: Sorry.
Diandra: No, you're not.
Emilio: No, not really.
Chrissy: You can't just expect us to ignore the rape subtext at this point.
Diandra: Is that what this even is? It feels more like a broader hurt/comfort trope.
Chrissy: I mean, it looks a lot like that one story you had saved on your reader where Moriarty fucks Sherlock while John watches.
Diandra: The fact that you know more about computers than I do does not give you the right to HACK INTO MY DEVICES all the time, Chris.
Chrissy: Who needs to hack into anything when you use the same easily guessed lock code for everything?
Emilio: Are we sure you're the one who is Sherlock, Diandra?
Chrissy: Yes, she is. But we're probably giving a live demonstration right now of why I am Moriarty.

Actually, the question is: which of them is really the fish and which the fisherman?

Outside, Watson has isolated Moran's location at about the same time he realizes he is crouching next to a giant covered canon. Up in the lighthouse, Moran sees the cover fall off the canon as it rotates in his direction and scrambles to retreat. Just as Moriarty is finishing that question, Watson fires and the lighthouse starts crashing down right onto the building they are in, which has skylights so they can see it happening. Holmes starts rolling out of the way, but we cut to an outside shot of the crash before we can see how, exactly, either of them escape being crushed to death. Because we all know they will both survive, right?
Chrissy: I mean, there could have been a slight chance that this was replacing the whole Reichenbach falls scene, but making Watson directly responsible for Holmes' "death" would have been especially cruel.
Diandra: Ugh. Yes. Not to mention, he definitely didn't have the upper hand there, so it would have changed his death from a knowing sacrifice to an accident.

Watson climbs from the rubble that his own little bunker has turned into and runs for the main disaster area, calling for Holmes as he picks his way inside. From somewhere, Holmes groans "take your time." Watson finds him and just yanks the hook out of his shoulder, which...yeah, that seems like a bad idea. Holmes grunts a little, but otherwise doesn't seem to find that all that painful, and grumbles that it's good to see him.

And then we cut right to them running across whatever is left of the factory with Watson supporting Holmes like apparently he isn't losing as much blood as you would think he should be. Or maybe it's adrenaline because he stumbles and begs Watson to hold up a minute. Watson lets him drop and he picks up the gun from the floor where he left it before Moriarty decided to stage that torture porn scene. He asks what the HELL Holmes was thinking while he gathers weaponry of his own. Holmes says he THOUGHT he had Moriarty right where he wanted him. Obviously he severely underestimated Moriarty's capacity for sadism though.

Speaking of Moriarty, Moran, who ducked clear enough to escape the destruction largely unscathed, digs him from the rubble. Moriarty snaps that he's FINE and Moran shouldn't waste time here when he could be catching those two.

Simza and the rest of her band of merry gypsies meet the boys and they all shoot their way out as the goons close in, including Holmes, who is awkwardly shooting with his left hand while nursing his right. Once they are out the door, Simza asks if they saw her brother. Holmes says no, but he was DEFINITELY here recently. Watson asks how Holmes knew he'd find him.
Chrissy: I mean, aside from the fact that I always do.
Holmes is like 'is that what you call collapsing a building on top of me? Finding me?'
Chrissy: Oh, whatever. You're obviously fine if you're complaining.
They reach a wall at the edge of the facility grounds and one of Simza's men throws a rope over it to them. But before they can climb it, they have to shoot another half a dozen goons. One goon loads an early machine gun prototype and blasts the shit out of the entire area around them. When the dust settles, there is a giant hole in the wall they needed to climb over.

So they're running through the woods and Holmes asks where the HELL the horses are. Simza says they had to leave them behind and they can't really go back now. Holmes asks where they need to get to and she points at the nearby railroad tracks.

So there's a chase sequence where the German goons are launching mortars just short of the running group and Moran joins the goons running after them. He picks up a rifle and pauses to fire. Everything kicks into slow motion so we can see the bullet just graze Watson's side before embedding in a tree. Back to normal speed for a moment, then slow again as a tree splinters right by Holmes and one of the gypsies fires back and nails one of the goons in the chest. Moran seems to get one of the gypsies in the back. And then one of the goons back at the wall announces that it's time to introduce "Little Hansel".
Diandra: NO! Neither of you say a word!
Chrissy: ......................
Emilio: .......................phrasing.

Little Hansel turns out to be their biggest ass missile, which they load and all cover their ears before firing. We're in slow motion again as the canon fires and trees all around the heroes explode clean through. Everyone is knocked over by the force of the blast. They recover just as the goons arrive and launch into hand to hand combat. Holmes manages to disarm one goon and pass off his rifle to Watson, who shoots another coming up over the hill. The train arrives just then and Simza, Holmes and Watson manage to make it into one of the cars before Moran can catch up. But not before Moran has time to shoot the last of their group as she is trying to get on the train. I don't think it was ever mentioned before, but it is obvious she was Simza's right-hand-man's girlfriend.

So sometime later, he is staring out the open car door mourning silently. Simza is singing quietly while Watson tries to patch up Holmes, who is in her lap. Holmes is just staring at Watson until he suddenly closes his eyes and, according to Simza, stops breathing. Watson checks his pulse, then orders her to support his head and the other guy to lift his legs while he starts chest compressions, muttering that he is bloody well NOT letting him DIE. He keeps checking Holmes' pulse and pounding on his chest in the way of your average drama, shrieking "I know you can hear me you selfish bastard!" until Simza shoves him away. Simza hugs him and the other guy pats his shoulder. And then Watson remembers the "wedding gift" he still has on him for whatever reason. He unwraps the syringe and stabs it into Holmes' heart. After a couple seconds Holmes sits bolt upright screaming and runs to the other end of the car before settling a little.
Chrissy: I love how they found a use for the ugly scarf as a sling to keep his arm immobile.
Diandra: Oh, it is, isn't it? Ha.

He starts rambling about a nightmare he was having wherein he was with Watson and Mary and Gladstone at a restaurant and the "satanic" pony he was riding was trying to eat him with a giant fork.
Chrissy: I would ask what the psychological analysis is of that mess is, but I'm pretty sure it's just nonsense.
Diandra: Yeah. Like the one about oysters taking over the world because they breed unchecked in the ocean. His logical thinking breaks down quickly when he's not fully cognizant.
Holmes asks who was dancing on his chest. Watson is like 'that would have been me and you're welcome.' Holmes asks why his ankle itches. Watson says there's still a piece of wood sticking from it. Holmes, already distracted, tells Simza's friend that he has a job for him to do later and remind him. Watson pushes him to sit down and drink a vial of...something...and he can get the wood from his ankle before it causes any more damage. Holmes suddenly remembers Watson calling him a selfish bastard somehow and Watson is like yeah, well...I stand by it.

When everything quiets again, Holmes mutters an apology that Watson never made it to Brighton. Watson agrees, then after a pause says they should go home. Holmes says yes, but...swing by Switzerland first. Because obviously the plan is to use the peace summit as ground zero for the start of the war and they need to stop it.

Switzerland. We pan over some mountain scenery to a castle built into the face of a cliff over a waterfall. Inside, apparently, Watson exposits that he doesn't understand why Mycroft can't just have the whole summit canceled to be safe. Mycroft thinks the summit will happen one way or another and there's nothing they can do about it. All the parties have arrived already and canceling could very well set them off because really it wouldn't take much for some of them. He passed their telegram to his superiors, but those are the same people who were already consulting with Moriarty – a personal friend of the prime minister - so they weren't inclined to do much. Especially since there is no evidence to prove anything they are saying about him. Mycroft's manservant assures them they have doubled security, which Simza notes around a mouthful of food, is less than reassuring.

Holmes appears in the room (or possibly rises from the sofa where he was sleeping or passed out), puffing on some sort of breathing apparatus, and asks Mycroft if he can have it because "the effect is most invigorating". Mycroft says that's because it's oxygen and NO. Holmes puts it down and waves his empty hand to show that he's no longer touching it. Then because clearly none of them know Sherlock very well, they all just turn back to their conversation like he can be trusted to behave himself.
Chrissy: Yes, well. We keep hoping one day you'll surprise us.
Emilio: Oh, I gave up on that long ago. I just don't care anymore.
Diandra: Love you too, Bro.
Mycroft says he's arranged for them to attend the ball, which is about all they can do because they don't even know what Moriarty might be planning anyway. Simza and Watson agree that it couldn't be another bomb. Holmes says it will be an assassination. Lone gunman. Close range. "Rene," Simza says. Holmes says yes, he suspected that might be the plan, but now that he knows who will be in attendance he is sure. Watson concludes that Rene is the "evidence." Holmes thinks if they can stop him, they will both save his life and "stop the collapse of Western civilization."
Emilio: Eh. More like put it off for another decade or so.

Sometime later, on a dark and snowy night, Moriarty arrives at the ball and joins a line of people being checked at the entrance by a guy using a photobook to identify them.

In the ballroom, Holmes and Simza join Watson, Mycroft and his servant. Mycroft says he's figured out who the targets are. The German and French prime ministers and their ambassadors and all other countries present would have to work out which side of the battle they want to be on since there's a lot of blood mixing across borders. Holmes asks if there will be an official photograph taken. You know, something that would require everyone to gather together and stand still. Because that's when he'll try it. Mycroft looks at his watch and says it's scheduled in 38 minutes. Holmes shrugs that they might as well dance then and holds a hand out to Simza. She accepts, but notes once they are on the dance floor that she's never done this. He tells her to follow his lead. We get an overhead shot to show that the floor is designed like a giant chess board. Because that is the theme in this movie in case you didn't notice and it's about to get a whole lot more prominent.

His eyes rove all over the place while they're dancing and she asks what he's seeing. "Everything," he says. He seems especially focused on the medals pinned to various dignitaries' dress uniforms. She says he doesn't see what he's looking for though. He says nothing, but takes her back to the edge of the floor and holds a hand out to Watson. "I thought you'd never ask," Watson says without blinking. Once they are out on the floor, Holmes directs him to look over his shoulder at the guy with the German uniform and ceremonial sword.
Chrissy: Uh-huh. You do realize I'm letting you lead, right?
Diandra: Focus.
Watson spots the guy and identifies the scar on his face as signifying previous major injury that was repaired really quite well. "Doctor Hoffmenstahl?" Apparently he means the doctor who died outside that auction house was the guy who did the repair work.

"Those twins weren't twins," he adds. This is a reference to some goons working with Moran and Moriarty. Apparently Holmes noticed a scar behind a guy's ear indicating facial reconstruction as he was being chloroformed. Because of course he did. Watson realizes they were part of some sort of experiment in making one man look identical to another
Chrissy: Oh, a German doctor doing experimental surgeries? You don't say.
Diandra: Er, yeah.
So in conclusion: Rene no longer looks like Rene. "What better way to make his world war than to make the assassin..." Watson blinks and finishes "...one of the ambassadors." Holmes says the good news is that means their suspect pool is narrowed down to six men. He tells Watson to take Sim and get on figuring out which one is her brother. "You know my methods." Watson realizes Holmes intends to leave him there, but knows exactly where he's headed and doesn't try to stop him. Holmes asks as an afterthought who taught Watson how to dance. "You did," Watson says, blushing. Holmes says he did a "fine job" if he says so himself and walks away before one of them gets any ideas in their heads or anything.
Chrissy: Too late.
Watson calls after him to be careful.

Holmes hands a slip of paper to the man posted at the door on his way out. Watson goes over to whisper the plan in Simza's ear. The man by the door hands the paper to Moriarty as he enters the room. The photographer starts gathering people for the photo.

Moriarty finds Holmes waiting on a balcony overlooking the falls. Anyone with even a hazy memory of having read Doyle's original stories can see where this is headed. Holmes points to the time clock over on another table and asks Moriarty to bring it over to the one set up for a chess game. Moriarty does and then fetches a cloak to throw over Holmes' shoulders as he sits, smarming that he doesn't want him to catch cold.
Emilio: Yes, I prefer you warm.
Diandra: That...came out sounding creepy.
Emilio: Good, I meant it to.

Moriarty throws on his own cloak and sits on the opposite side of the board. Holmes asks if they should play a five minute game. "If you think you can manage it," Moriarty fires back.
Emilio: I mean, I don't know what kind of stamina YOU have, but...

The following scenes have an incessant ticking noise in the background to give everything a sense of urgency. We cut back and forth between Watson and Simza searching the crowd in the ballroom and Holmes and Moriarty moving pieces. Their banter turns to chess analogies with Holmes announcing that they both have two bishops and he clearly doesn't mean the ones on the board. "I may be absent from the room, but my methods are not." Moriarty understands he's referring to Watson and "that doesn't seem fair".

Watson and Simza meet in the middle of the room again and Watson mutters that only four of the six suspects have a hairline that could hide the sort of surgical scars their guy must have.

Holmes takes one of Moriarty's pawns as he asks if the ambassador Rene replaced is still alive. Moriarty just moves a bishop without thinking, flips the clock back and asks if Holmes needs a recommendation for his next move.

Simza says all the men have the right height and build, but their eyes are all wrong because Rene's eyes are blue. The camera focuses on all the brown eyes in turns. Watson suggests he could be wearing some sort of colored glass lenses, which would hurt like a bitch, so... Simza focuses on one guy lifting a cigar to his mouth and says Rene is also left handed.

Holmes, half over Watson's observations of another guy holding a brandy glass in his left hand, suggests maybe the assassin is taking extra precautions to conceal some obvious tells.

Simza thinks she has identified him. Watson asks if she's sure. The guy they are looking at does a very deliberate blink like he has something in his eyes but is determined not to scratch at it.

Moriarty says his clock is ticking and reminds Holmes that they are playing Blitz chess and "a single miscalculation will cost you the game."

To reinforce this metaphor, Watson says if she's wrong and he tackles the wrong guy he could start a war. Holmes voiceover rambles about less obvious tells like nervous anxiety and ticks while the guy Watson is watching taps his foot and fiddles with his glass.

Moriarty thinks everyone has a reason to be nervous tonight, so...

Watson whispers something to Simza and approaches the guys setting up the camera and flashbulb while Holmes voiceovers that they might need to look for the opposite then. Someone so preoccupied with his performance that he cannot adapt to spontaneity. Watson knocks over the tray of champagne glasses a butler on the other side of the cameraman is holding. Everyone gasps and looks at the loud crash except the guy with the cigar, who drops it and backs away from the guy he was talking to. Watson nods at Simza, who grabs the guy's arm as he starts to reach into his vest. She pleads with him in Romanian. He shoves her aside and pulls a gun. Watson tackles him just as he gets off one wild shot that hits no one. Mycroft starts herding the ambassadors while guards descend and drag Rene away, screaming that Germany will PAY.

Holmes looks in the direction of the shouting and calmly says that's probably not a good sign, is it? Moriarty says his bishop proved useful after all. But it's not over yet.

Just outside the ball room, Moran shoots Rene with a contraption disguised as a cane. Watson hears the screaming from the hall and rushes out, pushing the guards out of the way with shouts of "I'm a doctor." Rene is gurgling and foaming at the mouth. Watson plucks the obviously poison dart from his leg. Simza runs out and falls beside her brother, shrieking at Watson to DO SOMETHING.

Holmes hears Simza shrieking in the distance and Moriarty notes that he's just lost his "most valuable piece." Holmes coldly says winning strategies sometimes require sacrifices. The goal was to stop a war, which they have done. Moriarty is like 'have you, though?' "Didn't you find it strange that the telegram you sent didn't inspire any action to stop me?" Because deep down, people seek out conflict. It's part of the human condition. All he was trying to do is profit from the inevitable because all those European countries are just LOOKING for a reason to fight. All he has to do is wait and they will find another. Holmes kind of swallows uncomfortably. Moriarty goes off on a seeming tangent, talking about how much he loves Switzerland and their respect of "privacy" and wealth. He shrugs off the cloak and stands up like a Victorian version of a mic drop.

Holmes moves a piece and announces that his bishop has taken his knight and check. Moriarty is like 'no, see, we're done playing now. I won.' He says Holmes should get his shoulder looked at in an actual hospital too. Holmes is like yeeeeaaaaahhhh, actually...you no longer have quite the wealth you think you do. "King to rook two," Moriarty says without looking. Holmes reveals that he's actually been attending some of Moriarty's lectures in disguise and at one of them he noticed this little book he carries with him..."rook to king's rook three, check." Moriarty feels for the book in his pocket and pretends to not be taken by surprise. "Bishop to rook three," he says, turning back. Holmes continues that it didn't really mean much until he figured out the pigeon feeding habit and caught him thumbing through it while sitting on a bench. "Bishop takes bishop."
Chrissy: Okay, who is the bishop again?
Diandra: Don't worry about it.
Chrissy: Easy for you to say, your *majesty*.

"Rook to bishop four." Holmes says he just needed to get hold of the notebook then, which he tried to do in that hotel lobby when he was dressed as a bellhop, but couldn't actually get it out of Moriarty's pocket. So he knew he would need to "endure a considerable amount of pain." We flash back on that moment when Moriarty had to lean close after torturing him with the hook and see from a different angle him switching the book in Moriarty's pocket with a different one. Using the hand attached to the arm that had a giant meat hook stabbing through it. Uh-huh.
Emilio: Obviously underestimated your ability to withstand pain.
Chrissy: Or level of masochism, which I'm starting to think is another thing Diandra has in common with Sherlock here.
Except Holmes says the contents MUST be encoded, so he would need to crack that… "rook takes rook." "Pawn takes rook," Moriarty fires back. Neither of them is moving any of the pieces on the board anymore, they're just playing in their heads. "Bishop to bishop seven." "Queen takes knight pawn." This is an actual legitimate game they're playing designed by a professional chess player, by the way.

Holmes asks if The Art of Domestic Horticulture means anything to Moriarty. We flash back on that meeting at the college where Holmes noted that the book was sitting in full sight in his office, yet the flowers in the windowsill were very dead, which doesn't really make sense for someone like him. As in, he probably wouldn't even own the book if he didn't actually read it. Moriarty finally gives in and reaches for the book in his pocket. Holmes says nah, don't worry about it. It's in London. We flash back on Holmes handing the real one to Simza's friend (I have something for you to do later), who hands it to Mary, who uses the decryption key hidden in the horticulture book to decode it because she's not a totally useless character. In conclusion, Holmes gloats, Moriarty just had his money stolen by "perhaps the most inept Inspector in the history of Scotland Yard." This being, of course, Lestrade, who watches some men carry boxes into the office under Mary's direction.

Moriarty flips through the duplicate book, which is blank except for the little sketches that make a moving scene as you flip pages. The scene is a man fishing from a boat and the fish turning into a shark and eating him, a little bubble appearing over its head saying "be careful what you fish for".
Emilio: Hey, if you'd just said you wanted to eat me...
Chrissy: We could have saved a WHOLE lot of time here.
He glares at Holmes, who is finishing his gloating reveal by assuring Moriarty that the money will be donated to a good cause. The Widows and Orphans of War Fund. "Bishop to bishop eight. Discover check. And incidentally...mate." He plops his pipe in his mouth and turns to face a now quietly seething Moriarty. He holds out his lighter and says "I seem to have injured my shoulder, do you mind?"

Moriarty takes the cap off the lighter and vows to find a "creative ending" for Sherlock's dear doctor and the missus. He lights the pipe and Holmes stares at him as we kick into Holmes-o-vision. He notes the clear disadvantages they both have: he has an injured arm and Moriarty is blinded by rage.
Chrissy: I mean, Holmes should be pretty pissed off too after that threat to Watson, right?
Diandra: Er...yeah. Sure.
Chrissy: Oh, come on, we already did the Worth the Wound thing in the last movie. Everyone knows you care.
Emilio: Which is obviously why Moriarty threatened him. He knew Holmes' biggest weakness.
Diandra: True.

We run in slow motion through Moriarty throwing a few punches and getting a couple in before Holmes "uses his momentum to counter", getting in a punch to the gut and the chin. And then we freeze and go right back to the starting point and Moriarty asks in voiceover if Holmes really thinks he's the only one who can play this game. He runs through his own version of the fight, where he blocks Holmes' punch and holds his good arm immobile while he digs into the injured shoulder. He throws Holmes against a pillar and goes to do a "haymaker" and we kick right back to Holmes' perspective as he remembers that Moriarty was a boxing champion at Cambridge.
Chrissy: Well, this is one way to illustrate how a fight between them is evenly matched.
Diandra: Another way is everything else they've been doing in this entire scene.
Emilio: Or the entire movie.
Diandra: Or that, yes.

Holmes blocks the next three blows while Moriarty-vision sneers that he's competent, but "predictable." Holmes gets a punch in to the jaw. Moriarty blocks the next punch with his hand and lunges for Holmes' throat. Holmes notes that he's running out of strategies here and needs to try something else. This being, apparently, stomping on Moriarty's foot. He yelps when he tries to land another punch and Moriarty notes that his wound is starting to really hinder him. He grabs Holmes by that arm and slams him face first into a table, then jabs at the back of the shoulder with a horrible crunching sound. Holmes calmly notes that the injury is "making defense untenable" as he is kneed in the gut. Moriarty throws him onto the railing and he further notes that the prognosis is looking increasingly bad. Moriarty slams his chest a couple times, then sighs that they should stop wasting each other's time and starts throwing Holmes over, pausing long enough for the camera to pan up from the rushing water as he says "we both know how this ends." He lets go and Holmes falls screaming.

And we're back to the beginning again. "Conclusion: inevitable," Holmes says in voiceover as they both chuckle. "Unless..." He blows the embers from his pipe in Moriarty's face and then just locks his arms around him and braces a foot against the table with the chess board. Watson arrives just then and gets one good look at Holmes before Holmes closes his eyes and kicks them both over the balcony. Watson just stares at the empty space where they just were and slowly closes his eyes. And we get a quick shot of the two falling. Moriarty is screaming and Holmes still has his eyes closed. They separate and disappear into the spray at the base of the falls.
Chrissy: So point of discussion...I saw somewhere a possible fanwank that the reason he closes his eyes just then and keeps them closed the whole way down is because he wasn't totally sure he was going to survive and he wanted Watson's face to be the last thing he saw if he died.
Diandra: Yeah, I saw that too. And it seems like an obvious reading, but I'm not sure if that's because I saw that fanwank (and I think I saw it in a fic, actually) or because that's what Robert is actually consciously doing there. I mean...his expression when he saw Watson come through the door suggests it could have been, but that could also have just been relief that Watson would be okay and his sacrifice wasn't in vain or something.
Emilio: Or both.
Chrissy: Yeah, probably both.

Watson numbly approaches the balcony and peers down at the raging water beneath. His voiceover exposits that only a few words are probably needed to tell the rest of the story. God knows Doyle certainly didn't want to linger on it. Anyway. Any attempt to find the bodies was futile, so they had Sherlock's funeral without. We pan across the church packed with people. Mycroft and Mary are sitting next to each other like it's nice to see them getting along so well. A plaque on a pillar of the church reads "in loving memory of Sherlock Holmes 1854-1891. He played the game for the game's own sake." That must have been stipulated in the will or something. Watson is sitting by himself on one wall, staring numbly into space. Simza sits down next to him as the voiceover finishes that he will always regard Sherlock as the best and wisest man he ever knew.

We go to the room where he was typing at the beginning of the movie and where he has obviously just finished typing those words. Mary brings the mail in to him and reminds him he should be packing because the carriage is coming in less than two hours to take them to Brighton for that long postponed honeymoon. He's like 'yep. Uh-huh. It'll be fun' and keeps right on typing. "You know, I miss him too," she says. He types the words "THE END" and says Holmes would have wanted them to go. She snorts and says he would have wanted to come with them.
Chrissy: Uh, yeah, I believe we went over that in the last movie.

Mary leaves the room and Watson unwraps a box that was in with the mail. It has Mycroft's breathing apparatus in it. He stares, the gears in his brain visibly cranking. Then he jumps up to go ask Mary if it was the usual postman who delivered this package or if he looked "peculiar". At that word, part of the chair in the corner moves and Sherlock rips off the urban camouflage hood he's wearing, gesturing at Gladstone on the floor to be quiet. He runs over behind the desk, reads the last line and adds a question mark after "the end". Smash to credits.

Apparently the plan was originally to start filming the third movie back in 2016, but by that point Marvel had taken over Robert's career, so... Between that and the pandemic pushing it out even further I think they may have unintentionally mirrored the gap in the original stories of a full decade between Holmes' death and Doyle finally caving to pressure to resurrect him. Of course, like the Mofftiss version, we were given the proof that he survived the fall immediately because it's been known for over 100 years that Sherlock didn't actually die at Reichenbach and why bother pretending?
Chrissy: We even have the added benefit here of knowing HOW he survived. Although I think the fall itself and the rocky terrain were more of a danger than the actual water.
Diandra: Yeah, which is why when Doyle was backtracking he didn't even have Sherlock going over the falls. I pointed this out when I recapped that episode: both of these versions decided to up the ante by making Watson a direct witness to Holmes' "death". In the original story (and most adaptations), Watson doesn't actually SEE Holmes fall. He just draws a logical conclusion based on evidence. When Doyle backtracked it was very obvious that he was creating a loophole that he deliberately didn't create in the first place.
Chrissy: It was far fetched because he never intended for Holmes to survive.
Diandra: Exactly. He killed him off and ten years later had to figure a way he could have escaped certain death.
Chrissy: Which begs the question of why the hell every adaptation does the "Sherlock Holmes commits suicide, oh, oops, no he doesn't" story when it would be so much easier to just...not.
Emilio: Probably because it's the most well known story and you can't do a Sherlock Holmes without Moriarty.
Diandra: I think it might be possible to divorce Moriarty from the Reichenbach "final problem" story. Elementary had to do it when they couldn't get Natalie Dormer back. But yeah. Doyle's attempt to kill his most popular creation ended up being the most popular of all the stories and has been done in just about all adaptations including very loose ones like "House". The thing that everyone (especially fans of the BBC series) seems to forget is that Moriarty was not really that prominent of a character. He didn't even have any lines. Watson never saw him to verify that he existed, which is apparently why some versions suggest that he didn't.

Emilio: I assume you're planning on recapping the third movie too then?
Diandra: Yeah, that was kind of the idea when I started recapping this series. That and it would remind me of what happened in those first two movies that I haven't seen in several years before the third movie comes out.
Chrissy: Oh, so you weren't just using this as a fun distraction to avoid recapping Endgame?
Diandra: I can have more than one reason for doing things.
Chrissy: At the rate things are going, we should be safe to get together for a normal recap pretty soon, so...should we plan on doing Endgame next?
Diandra: [mumbling]
Emilio: We could plan on doing "Deadpool" or "Far From Home" immediately after if that would help.
Diandra: ...........maybe.