Season: Four — Episode: 14 Director: Larry Teng — Writer: John Tracey — Aired: February 25, 2016 — Viewers (millions): 5.82 Summary: Sherlock investigates the assassination attempt on his father while trying to solve the triple homicide of Chinese gangsters. A secret about Sherlock's mother is revealed.
These are dangerous times for you. So I'd tread carefully.
— Sherlock to Morland
At a rural home in Quebec, a woman named Soleil receives a visitor whose car has broken down and asks if she can use her phone. Welcoming her in, the woman introduces herself as "Nicolette" but it is Joan Watson. As Soleil goes to make tea, Watson unlocks a door. Later, Watson leaves and joins Sherlock in a car where he broke into the house and took all materials relating to Soleil's mother Sabine, who was Sherlock's father Morland's lover, and died in an attempt on Morland that left him wounded. Sherlock wants to ascertain if Sabine was a part of the plot to kill Morland. At night in an arcade, a Chinese man is killed by a shotgun blast. The killer leaves, passing by two other bodies, and appears to be an elderly woman. At the scene the next day, Captain Gregson tells Sherlock and Watson that the dead men belong to a Chinese gang, "Snake-Eye Boys" and their leader, Meng Zhou, is watching.
You're a lifesaver.
A rival gang, "Ghost Mountain", moved into the neighborhood and Gregson fears a gang war. The three dead men were scam artists, the arcade has no cameras and a neighbor reported an old woman leaving the scene. From a pool on the floor, Sherlock deduces the killer faked a seizure, was recognized as a gang member and let in. Believing that Ghost Mountain turned a Snake Eye Boy traitor, he and Watson visit their leader, Xi Hai Ching, in his shop. Xi insists that he's not part of any gang and was at the hospital with his mistress when the shootings occurred. Indicating that his mistress' nephew was mugged and beaten, he recriminates them for the violence in Chinatown. Leaving the shop, Sherlock has swapped Xi's phone for one with malware in order to ascertain if he recruited a mole in the Snake Eye Boys.
The arcade is co-owned by the three victims.
Morland arrives at The Brownstone having heard of Sherlock's theft from Soleil. Morland believes that Sherlock is investigating if Sabine was part of the plot against him out of spite. Blaming himself for Sabine's death, Sherlock reminds him that he was also responsible for the death of his mother, which increases the acrimony between them. At the 11th Precinct, Detective Bell shows Watson that the nephew Xi mentioned, Kevin Chang, was attacked just after the arcade shooting. In hospital in a coma, his head wound appears to have been made by a shotgun butt which they believe the killer inflicted. At the scene where Chang was found, witness Sven Eklund says Chang was bloody and said an old lady hit him. Looking through trash cans, Sherlock finds a wig and a mask of an old woman. At the precinct, Xi and Meng are told that Chang tried to mug the killer, who beat him and then ditched the mask and wig.
You haven't changed.
DNA from the mask indicates the killer is white and the mask, along with a seizure, convinced Meng's men to open the arcade where they were shot. Xi and Meng are satisfied that this wasn't a gang attack and later, Gregson tells Bell that the gang members are going about their usual business. Sherlock shows them that the mask matches Bai May-Lung, the "grandmother" of the gang, who Watson questions at her retirement home, Willowbrook Assisted Living. Told that the killer wore a mask of her, Bai says a white man with brown hair took her picture for a Willowbrook ID. Her failing eyesight prevents her from providing more details but he took some of her clothes. Sherlock joins Watson at Willowbrook where she draws his attention to a poster advertising a Chinatown charity. She relates that the charities are often run by gangs who work to convince the seniors to will their estate to it. The home manager, Michael Haas, indicates that no white people work there and the only evidence he can offer is the visitor log.
You know who did it, don't you?
At the Brownstone, while looking through the criminal records of murdered gang members, Sherlock fills Watson in on his earlier discussion with Morland. He opens up and says that Morland forced May out of their home when he was 8 and he and Mycroft were sent to boarding school. Forced to live in cheap housing, May died in a fire which Sherlock has never forgiven his father for. Examining the visitor log, Sherlock sees that one entry matches the handwriting of Sven Eklund, who wrote down his contact info for police. Looking on-line, they find that Eklund is a mortician who does a lot of business with Willowdale and, is noted for making the deceased's faces look life-like. Bell and Gregson lead a police team to Eklund's but he's absconded. In a workshop, Bell finds shotgun shells, pictures of Bai, Meng and a Latino man and, evidence that he's created masks of all of them.
He may not be finished killing people.
The next morning at the Brownstone, Watson tells Sherlock that Eklund texted his wife that he's still in NYC. She also told police that Eklund has a terminal illness and one year to live. At Willowbrook, Sherlock shows Bai a picture of the Latino man, who she doesn't recognize. She does indicate that the man that took her picture looks like Eklund, but with a bigger nose. At the precinct, Meng doesn't recognize Eklund but the Latino man he identifies as Terry Perez, who fixes the arcade's machines. He says one of the murdered men, Ray Mui, said that Perez came to the arcade at 1:00am and looked odd. They told him to come back in the morning and when they called him the next day, Perez said he hadn't been there the night before. Leaving Meng, Watson tells Gregson that they now need to find out what Eklund plans to use the Meng mask for. Sherlock sends her alternate pictures of Eklund with varying noses, which Gregson adds to those sent to various law enforcement entities.
More attacks could be coming.
At Morland's office, Sherlock tells his father that Sabine's letters indicate she was in love with Morland but he asks for access to her emails. Morland gives Sherlock an old file that shows that May was a drug addict and admitted to a rehab center. He explains that when she refused to go back to rehab after a relapse, and her continuing behaviour affected the family, he invoked a condition of their prenuptial agreement and forced her out. Sherlock and Mycroft were sent to boarding school to spare them continued exposure to a difficult situation. Morland expresses deep regret and didn't tell Sherlock to respect May's wish but, Sherlock isn't prepared to forgive Morland. At the precinct, Eklund is brought in having been caught at the airport. He readily admits to using the masks, killing the gangsters and beating Chang. He claims to have thought better of using the Meng mask to get into the arcade and won't give a motive for the murders.
There's three fewer bad guys in the world.
Bell believes Eklund killed someone else while wearing the Meng mask and Watson notices a fresh scar on Eklund's arm. Noting that Ray Mui had a switchblade that matches the scar and positing Eklund's attack was revenge, Eklund refuses to continue talking. Later, Watson shows Gregson hospital records that confirm Eklund was stabbed and likely at his mortuary. Gregson wonders why Mui would stab Eklund when his boss Meng didn't know him. At the Brownstone, Sherlock and Watson examine Eklund's records and find the morning he was stabbed, he was working on the body of Brent Arrieta from Willowbrook. He took a break to call Haas and was stabbed a few hours later. Sherlock tells Watson that the charity poster has been taken down at Willowdale and they need to exhume Arrieta's body. At the Morgue, Haas is forced to see and smell Arrieta's body, who died of a muscle relaxant overdose.
It might help put you in the proper frame of mind.
Accusing him of administering the relaxant to any residents who agreed to give their estate to the Chinatown charity, which was run by the three murdered gangsters, Haas denies it. Eklund discovered the overdose and not knowing Haas was in on the scam, he called Haas who dispatched the gangsters. They threatened Eklund to not reveal the scam and stabbed him in the arm. After Bell threatens autopsies on all Willowdale residents who have recently died, Haas offers to testify in exchange for immunity against Meng. He's surprised when they know that Meng came to see him with a note that the scam was to continue, and a new bank account to put the funds into. Told that it was Eklund who visited him in a Meng mask, and that he was trying to provide for his family through the scam, they ask what made Haas kill. At Morland's office, Sherlock tells Morland that a virus was found in Sabine's email that was forwarding her messages to an assassin, Ruslan Krasnov. Able to track their moves, Morland vows to find a way to get at Krasnov, who is in a Russian supermax prison, and discover who hired him.
I know what it's like. To lose a great love.
Sherlock speaks Mandarin in this episode.
"There is a vast gulf between impossible and impossible to imagine."