Baker Street Wiki

His Last Vow

820pages on
this wiki
His Last Vow

Series 03, Episode 03

Air Date 12 January, 2014
Writer Steven Moffat
Director Nick Hurran
Viewers 8.8 million [citation needed]
Previous The Sign of Three
Next TBA

His Last Vow is the third episode of series three of Sherlock. It was written by Steven Moffat and directed by Nick Hurran.[1]

It was first broadcast on 12 January, 2014 on BBC One in the UK[2] and on 2 February, 2014 on PBS Masterpiece in the USA.[3]


In the final episode of this new series, a case of stolen letters leads Sherlock Holmes into a long conflict with Charles Augustus Magnussen, the Napoleon of blackmail, and the one man he truly hates.


Charles Augustus Magnussen is being questioned by several high-ranking Government officials about his frequent meeting with the Prime Minister. He later meets Lady Elizabeth Smallwood, one of the officials and blackmails her by using information about her husband's past. She reluctantly obliges, and on her way home, decides to seek the services of Sherlock Holmes. 

John Watson wakes up in the morning beside his wife Mary. A distressed neighbour comes to them to ask for help regarding her drug-addicted son, who did not return home the previous night. John and Mary drive to the drug-den, and John finds Isaac, and surprisingly, also an undercover Sherlock. Watson is mad at Sherlock for abusing drugs (which Sherlock denies doing and insists that he's working undercover on a case) and not contacting him for a month after the wedding. John also allows the door guard boy, who he injured, to come along. They all go to Bart's, along with the door guard who was sprained by Watson but thought that his arm was broken. There Molly tests Sherlock's urine for drugs and then repeatedly slaps Sherlock for his reckless behavior. They all realize that the drug-den door guard, Bill Wiggins has impressive skills in deduction.

Back at the apartment, Anderson helps Watson search for drugs, much to Sherlock's annoyance. Mycroft realizes that Sherlock is working against Charles Augustus Magnussen, a newspaper owner who blackmails people, and warns him not to. But Sherlock is adamant and plans to meet Magnussen. Magnussen visits Sherlock to intimidate him and refuses to enter negotiations over his client's stolen letters.

John is also baffled to find Sherlock is now in a relationship with Mary's bridesmaid, Janine, until he learns that Janine is Magnussen's personal assistant and the liaison a ruse. Using her help, Sherlock and John break into Magnussen's apartment, only to find that Janine and a guard are unconscious. Sherlock goes upstairs to investigate, but is shocked to find Mary holding Magnussen at gunpoint. Mary shoots Sherlock, who harnesses all his mental powers to stay conscious. He is taken to hospital. In his mind palace he's fighting to stay conscious with the pain while Moriarity mocks him.  While in the real world Sherlock's vitals are dropping as he's rushed to the hospital.  His heart stops beating in surgery, and the doctors fail to revive him.  When his "mind palace-self"  fights back back and escapes Moriarity,  his real world self makes a come back.  He wakes up in surgery and mutters "Mary".   The next morning(only hours later)  John announces to Mary that Sherlock is stabilized.  Mary visits the stabilized, yet in critical condition Sherlock, and tells him to keep the shooting incident between them.  

Janine realizes that Sherlock used her and retaliates by turning down his pain medication and talking to tabloids. John begins to suspect something about Mary. Sherlock runs away from the hospital and arranges a confrontation with Mary, who confesses to having a past as a secret agent and assassin, for which Magnussen is blackmailing her. It is also confirmed she intentionally shot Sherlock in a non-lethal spot and called an ambulance, and she says she is desperate to keep John in the dark as she loves him. John, however, witnessed the conversation and is in turmoil.

Back at Baker Street, Sherlock points out to him he is addicted to a dangerous lifestyle and was most probably attracted to Mary because of her hidden past. The three talk, and Mary gives John a memory stick containing information on her, marked with her true initials. The stick is labelled "A. G. RA". She also tells him the content will destroy his love for her. On Christmas, after sitting on the memory stick for a few months, John decides to destroy it without reading it and to love Mary regardless, much to her relief.

The couple spends Christmas with the Holmes brothers at their parents'. Sherlock drugs everyone, with the help of Wiggins except John and takes him to Magnussen's country property, Appledore, which is supposed to contain his blackmailing archive. During their confrontation, Magnussen explains his purpose in putting pressure on Mary was to arrive at Mycroft via John and Sherlock. Magnussen also reveals he was the one who had John abducted and hidden in a bonfire (in "The Empty Hearse") in order to confirm that John is Sherlock's "pressure point". Sherlock offers to buy his information on Mary with the state secrets contained in Mycroft's laptop, which he has just stolen from him. Magnussen realises immediately Sherlock is setting up a trap: security services looking for the laptop will raid his vaults, find their contents and arrest him as a blackmailer. He reveals triumphantly this cannot work because his vaults are empty: he actually relies entirely on his memory and keeps no physical records. By giving Magnussen Mycroft's laptop, Sherlock and John are now guilty of attempting to sell government secrets whereas Magnussen cannot be charged with anything.

To pass the time, until Mycroft's government forces arrive, he demonstrates his control over Sherlock and John by taunting them while repeatedly flicking John's face. When Mycroft and the police arrive, a distraught Sherlock shoots Magnussen in the head realising he has no alternative if he is to securely protect the Watsons from Mary's past, and save John from being charged with high treason. 

Sometime later, Mycroft convinces the government to spare Sherlock a trial and, as an alternative punishment, press him into a highly dangerous MI6 mission to Eastern Europe. John and Mary fondly bid goodbye to Sherlock thinking that it is their last encounter, and Sherlock boards the plane. However, within minutes TV screens all over England are hacked to broadcast a loop of Jim Moriarty asking "Did you miss me?". Thus Sherlock is asked to return.

Allusions to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories Edit

Allusions to other sourcesEdit

  • Sherlock Holmes's way and reason to kill Charles Augustus Magnussen resembles, how Hercules Poirot killed Stephen Norton in Agatha Christie's book - Curtain.[citation needed]


  • This episode starts in June, and ends during Christmas of 2013.





  1. ‪#‎Sherlock‬ fans, there we have it,, 20th July 2013, 6:31 AM.
  2. TV Programme Information: Sunday 12 January, BBC, retrieved 28th December, 2013.
  3. News: Sherlock Season 3 Premieres Jan. 19, 2014, PBS, retrieved 28 December, 2013.

Start a Discussion Discussions about His Last Vow

  • His Last Vow Ending Theories (spoilers)

    16 messages
    • TimeShade wrote:I doubt he ever died, if he did how was he still able to hold his gun after "shooting" himself, it's simply not possible. Not t...
    • My theory is that Moriarty had a twin brother. That brother later changed is name to Richard Brook, because Richard Brook in German is Reichanb...
  • His Last Vow (potential spoilers)

    6 messages
    • His Last Bow is one of Doyle's original stories (and also the name of the collection of stories which includes His Last Bow).   His Last Vow...
    • To answer the original post, Mycroft is upset because he finds Magnussen's knowledge of pressure points useful at times.  Sherlock is repulsed...
Advertisement | Your ad here

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki