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The Lying Detective Recap

John lies in bed, mourning Mary's death. Later, he meets with his therapist and explains that since his wife's death, he hasn't slept and Rosie is with friends. John admits that he can't always cope and is concerned that he's letting his daughter down. The therapist points out that he's holding himself to an unreasonable standard, and John says that there's no one that he confides in.

As John leaves to see his new therapist, he hallucinates Mary being there. She points out that she is dead, and begs him to let go of her. "Mary" insists that she isn't there, but John merely says that he'll see her later and leaves.

The therapist asks if there's anything that John isn't telling her, and he imagines Mary standing behind the woman. He says that there isn't anything that he's holding back, and the therapist wonders what he's looking at. She figures that she's reminding John of a friend, and asks if he talks to Sherlock. John says that Sherlock has locked himself up in his flat and no one has seen him, and the therapist asks if he's attempted to make contact with John. John assures her that he'd notice if Sherlock tried to contact him. A red sports car pulls up out front, knocking over a garbage can, and John and the therapist go out as the police close in. Someone gets out of the car.

Three Years Ago

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Culverton Smith look out on London from his penthouse apartment and his aide calls him over to the conference table. He tells her to bring in the nurses, and they push forward a series IV racks. Meanwhile, Culverton tells the guests that it's good to have friends and family he wants to share good news with. He says that the worst thing that someone can do their friends is tell them his darkest secret, because it can't be taken back if they don't want to know. Culverton then laughs and says that it can be taken back, as the nurses bring in the IV racks. He tells everyone to roll up their right sleeves, and one man--Ivan--attending tells Culverton's daughter, Faith, that it's a drug they make, TD-12, which they sell to dentists and hospitals for minor surgical procedures and it interferes with the memory.

Faith staggers to her office and looks at the puncture mark on her right arm. She tries to write down what she remembers of Culverton's earlier confession. Her nose bleeds onto the paper. Ivan comes in and wonders if there was a meeting before wandering off.

Culverton thanks Ivan for allowing him to use him, and asks if everyone is ready. He ignores Faith's objections and the other guests roll up their sleeves. Culverton tells Faith that all he's doing is getting something off of his chest without burdening them, and rolls up her sleeve for her. He warns that what he's going to say may horrify her, and by the time they're back in the outside world they won't remember any of what they've heard. Culverton explains that they are all highly-placed in their respective fields, and two of them work for him. He figures that life owes him for everything that he's done, However, he has a situation that needs to be managed, and the only way he can do it is to kill someone.

Culverton enters Faith's office and she says that she can't remember who he was going to kill. He hugs her and says that the others are fine, and she won't remember a thing in five minutes. Culverton takes the paper from her and leaves.


Faith tells Sherlock that three years ago, Culverton told her that he wants to kill someone. She shows him the note she made and says that she doesn't know if her father killed that someone, or who they were. Sherlock asks her if she drives a left-hand car, and notices his hand shaking. Sherlock figures that she lives in isolation and doesn't need a car, and figures that she downsized after she left her job and ended her relationship with someone. He glances out the window without knowing why and sits down, bumping a dish with a syringe in it. Sherlock is vague as to how he made his deductions, and says that it's a reflex that he can't stop. He notices that her shirt is damp and figures that she doesn't wear a coat, and wonders why.

A man looks in and asks who Sherlock is talking to. Sherlock tells him to piss off and closes the door, and then tells Faith that her case is too weird for him. He advises her to go to the police, and tosses her bag to her... measuring the weight as he does. Faith says that she has no one else to turn to, but Sherlock says that he's busy drinking a cup of tea. He goes to the kitchen where the man, Wiggins, is sitting. Faith insists that Sherlock is her last hope, and he tells her to go away. Wiggins continues talking, and Sherlock goes after Faith and tells her that he noticed the oil mark on her skirt. Faith says that she came in a taxi, and Sherlock points out that there's no taxi waiting for her and she didn't bring a coat despite the fact that it's raining. He deduces that she has scars on her left arm and asks to see her purse because it's too heavy. Sherlock figures that there's a gun inside and suggests that they get chips. Mrs. Hudson comes out and warns Sherlock that he's in a state. He says that he has a friend with him and goes with Faith.

Mycroft is at an exclusive party when an aide brings word that Sherlock has left his flat.

After they get chips, Sherlock and Faith sit in a bus stop kiosk and he explains how she was in a relationship and then isolated herself. A helicopter flies overhead, and Sherlock realizes that it's watching him. He suggests to Faith that they take a walk.

Mycroft tries to call John, who ignores his phone. Mary says that John should answer it, and he figures that it's about Sherlock because everything is about Sherlock.

Sherlock tells Faith how he deduced where she lives and how large the room is. The helicopter flies overhead again. Meanwhile, Mycroft checks in with Lady Smallwood, who is monitoring Sherlock. She suggests that Sherlock is still in shock over Mary's death, and points out that Smallwood hasn't made it up to her for having security take her away.

On the street, Sherlock tells Faith that she used pain to try to simulate her memories, and her lover never noticed her cutting herself. When she says that it's sweet how he thinks, Sherlock says that he's just high, turns around, and says that it's part of his plan. At the surveillance center, the technicians laugh as they realize that Sherlock has been spelling out "Fuck off" with his path.

John finally answers his phone and Mycroft tells him that Sherlock has left his flat for the first time in weeks. He warns that Sherlock going rogue is a legitimate security concern, and asks John to call him if Sherlock contacts him. John agrees and hangs up, and Mycroft tells Smallwood that he gets regular updates on Sherringford and he's secure.

Sherlock continues spelling out words with their path, As the sun comes up, he says that he's going to take Faith's case because of the one impossible thing that she's said: her life turned on one word, the name of her father's victim. Sherlock points out that names aren't one word. He says that he doesn't work for free and motions for the gun, and Faith gives it to him. Sherlock throws it into the Thames and says that once she dies, she isn't the one who will miss her life. Faith admits that Sherlock is nicer than she expected, as he clutches at the rail and screams in pain, then collapses. When he turns to Faith, she's gone.

Sherlock wanders the streets in a daze, considering everything that has happened. He imagines the conversation that Culverton had with his guests, and he realizes that Culverton said that his victim was "anyone" = one word. Sherlock figures that Culverton is a serial killer, and snaps out of his trance to realize that he's in the middle of traffic. Wiggins appears and says that he's at 22B, and Sherlock is as well. Sherlock finds himself there, and Wiggins tells him that he's had too much. Sherlock asks what happens if someone has the money and compulsion to kill, and then passes out.

Three Weeks Later

The police chase Mrs. Hudson down the highway and she pulls up to the therapist's home. The police warn her that she was speeding, and Mrs. Hudson says that she was on the phone. She gives the phone to the officer and says that it's the government. When the officer takes it, Mycroft introduces himself. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hudson tells John that it's Sherlock and hugs him, sobbing as she says that John has no idea what she's been through.


Sherlock is rampaging through his apartment, and Wiggins runs down the stairs past Mrs. Hudson and says that Sherlock has totally lost it. She goes into the flat and finds Sherlock waving a revolver and quoting Shakespeare. He shoots at pictures of Culverton and then asks Mrs. Hudson for a cup of tea. He has hung pictures of Culverton up all over the flat.


Mrs. Hudson shows John Sherlock's website where he's accused Culverton of being a serial killer.


Sherlock yells at Mrs. Hudson, who drops the teacup.


John refuses to see Sherlock, and Mrs. Hudson angrily asks him who he'll have if Sherlock also dies... because he won't have her. She storms off and Mary motions John to go after her. He does, and finds her at the car sobbing. Mrs. Hudson begs him to look at Sherlock as a doctor, and John says that he will if he gets a chance. She makes him promise, and when he does Mrs. Hudson opens the trunk to reveal a handcuffed Sherlock inside.


Sherlock catches the teacup, and Mrs. Hudson takes the revolver and aims it at him. She tells him to hand over the pair of handcuffs that he has tucked away.


John and Mrs. Hudson take Sherlock inside. He takes the flowers out of a vase and drinks the water, and Culverton calls John. He says that he knows Sherlock has accused him of being a serial killer, and that he's sent a car so that all three of them can meet. The driver rings the bell, and Culverton says that Sherlock gave him the address two weeks ago. John hangs up and confronts Sherlock, saying that he chose the therapist five days ago. Sherlock admits that he's burning up and is at the bottom of a pit, and is never climbing out. He tells John that he needs him to know that he's still got it, and insists that Culverton is the most despicable human being that he's ever encountered. Sherlock says that he can't deal with him alone, and John checks his arm for needle marks. He says that he needs a second opinion to determine what state Sherlock is in, and wants Molly to examine him.

Molly arrives with an ambulance in response to Sherlock's call two weeks ago. Sherlock staggers out to the ambulance while John tells Molly that Sherlock is using again. Molly goes after Sherlock while John tells Mrs. Hudson that she's amazing and he'll do his best. He thanks her and asks if he can borrow her car sometime, and she refuses. As John gets into Culverton's limo, Mary explains how Sherlock deduced which therapist John would pick, She admits that Sherlock is a monster... but at last he's their monster.

Culverton is rehearsing a cereal commercial when John arrives and goes to the ambulance. Molly warns that she's seen healthier people in the morgue, and warns Sherlock that he has weeks if he keeps taking what he's taking. Sherlock tells John that it's no trick, just as Culverton joins them. He asks John to help him with his plan to take down the most successful undetected serial killer in English history, but refuses to tell John what his plan is because John won't like it. Culverton hugs Sherlock and says that thanks to his announcement, he's everywhere. He claims that he set up the whole thing to promote the cereal, and they go inside as he says that now that he's dangerous, the kids think the cereal is cool.

Back in the studio, Culverton films the cereal ad, claiming that he's a "cereal killer." Once he's done, he spits out the cereal and flirts with the production assistant. Meanwhile, John suggests to Sherlock that he's been played. Sherlock figures that Culverton is hiding in plain sight, just as Culverton's aide asks Sherlock to come with Culverton to the hospital to meet with the children. Sherlock immediately agrees and gets into the limo with John, and explains that he set the whole thing up so that Culverton would hug him. When Culverton comes over, Sherlock offers him the phone that he pickpocketed from the man and says that he sent and then deleted a text. Culverton figures that they'll have endless fun, and Sherlock says that it won't be endless.

At the hospital, John waits outside the Culverton Smith wing. An administrator, Miss Cornish, figures that he's not really John, just as Sherlock comes out of the restroom and assures Cornish administrator that John writes the blog. She complains that it's gone downhill a bit, and takes them to where Culverton is waiting with the children. Everyone applauds and Culverton asks Sherlock to tell them about some of his cases. Sherlock says that the reasoning is the important thing and walks them through a case or two. He doesn't do a very good job of it, and Culverton asks how he catches a serial killer. Cornish suggests that it isn't a suitable subject for children, but Culverton subtly threatens her job and then says that serial killers pick their victims at random. Sherlock explains that some of them advertise, and that serial killing is an expression of ego. Culverton says that Sherlock only knows that they're dumb because the dumb ones are the only ones that are caught. He pulls the head off a doll that he's toying with, and talks about what happened if the Queen was a serial killer. When Culverton says that the Queen is untouchable, John insists that no one is untouchable. Culverton says that it's a joke and has a round of applause for their guests.

Afterward, Culverton takes Sherlock and John to his favorite room. Sherlock spots another room and goes inside, and finds a conference room with IV racks. He explains that the drug in the bags, TD-12, is a memory inhibitor, and Sherlock says that he has twenty minutes left. He sent a text and the twenty minute estimate is based on that. As Sherlock and Culverton leave, Mary tells John that the game is on and asks if he still misses her. When he turns back, Mary is gone.

Culverton takes Sherlock and John to the morgue and orders the coroners out. When one doctor, Sahaad, says that they're in the middle of something, Culverton makes the same veiled threat that he made to Cornish earlier, and the coroners quickly leave. Once they leave, Culverton explains that the hospital presented him with keys. He examines the corpse on a table, prying open its mouth, and says that serial killer H.H. Holmes mass-produced the dead. Culverton dismisses Holmes as stupid because he built a hotel to hide murders when all one has to do to hide a murder is find lots and lots of murders... like at a hospital. John asks if he's confessing, and Culverton says that he likes to mess with people. He then tells John to look at Sherlock and suggests that he's on drugs. Culverton tells Sherlock that he's too high to know what's real anymore.

Sherlock apologizes... saying that he forgot to factor in the traffic to his travel assessment. He explains that he sent a text from Culverton's phone to her, confessing his crimes. Culverton says that Sherlock doesn't know Faith, but Sherlock says that they had chips and that Culverton cares what she thinks. The philanthropist insists that Faith never came to 222B,

Lestrade asks John if he knew, and he says that he didn't. No one saw Sherlock take a scalpel.

Faith comes in... and it's a woman that Sherlock has never seen. She doesn't know who Sherlock is, until her father introduces him. Faith says that they've never met, and Culverton chuckles. Sherlock panics and stumbles into a tray of scalpels, and claims that one is missing and Culverton took it. Culverton denies it, and Sherlock points at him with the scalpel in his hand. John tells him to put it down, and Sherlock tells Culverton stop laughing at him. Culverton and John say that Culverton isn't laughing, and Sherlock stabs at Sherlock.

Later, Lestrade wonders if they should have seen it coming, and John points out that Sherlock shots Charles Magnusson in the face. An officer brings in a computer with a news report video that Culverton isn't pressing charges. Culverton thanks John for saving his life, and they run security footage of John subduing Sherlock. Now Sherlock is in treatment at the hospital. He says that he might even move Sherlock to his favorite room. John tells Lestrade that he hit Sherlock hard and then kicked him until the orderlies pulled him away.

Culverton calls them off and thanks John for his help, and Sherlock tells them to let John do what he wants because he's entitled because he killed John's wife. John glares at him and agrees, and then walks out.

An unconscious Sherlock is in a hospital bed with an IV drip. John visits him and Cornish comes in to say that Sherlock will pull through. As John leaves his walking stick and prepares to leave, a call comes in for him. It's Mycroft, who says that there's a car downstairs waiting for John. After John and Cornish leave, Culverton enters Sherlock's room via a hidden door, wearing gloves, and sits down to look at Sherlock.

John returns to 22B and finds Mycroft and his men there. Mycroft says that they're trying to establish what drove Sherlock insane, and wonders why his brother focused on Culverton. John realizes that Mycroft misspoke the last time on the phone and was talking about someone other than Sherlock. Mycroft claims that he misspoke, but John realizes that Sherlock isn't Mycroft's only brother. Mrs. Hudson arrives, furious that people are going through her house, but then bursts into laughter when Mycroft explains why they're there. She says that Sherlock is the emotional one, and asks John what Sherlock does when he can't come up with an answer. John realizes that Sherlock stabs it, and spots an envelope pinned to the mantle with a knife. The letter has Mary's CD, and they play it. Mary orders everyone with a spark of human decency to leave when they realize Mary made it. Mycroft is the only one who stays, and Mrs. Hudson orders him out, and he goes.

Sherlock wakes up and Culverton says that he doesn't want to rush things.

John and Mrs. Hudson watch Mary telling Sherlock to John because no one else will. She then says that Sherlock will need to know a few things.

Culverton explains that he built the whole wing, including the secret passage, and can slip in anytime he wants. He asks Sherlock why he's walked in knowing it was a trap, and Sherlock says that he wants Culverton to kill him.

John leaves 222B and Mrs. Hudson gives him the keys to her car. He drives off in it, making a call.

Sherlock tells Culverton to increase the IV drip and the toxic shock should kill him. Culverton agrees and asks Sherlock how he feels, and Sherlock admits that he's scared of dying but doesn't want to die. The philanthropist makes him say it out, and Culverton tells him that it's coming as he increases the dosage.

John tells Lestrade that Sherlock isn't safe and remembers Mary's message: that he never refuses hope.

Culverton asks why they're doing it, and Sherlock says that he needed to know he was right. He figures that Culverton only confesses to the dead, so he had to die.

Lestrade calls the police officer on guard, and he discovers that the door is locked. Cornish arrives and says that it always jams.

Mary warns that the only way to save John is to make him save Sherlock.

Culverton says that he kills because it makes him happy. He likes to make people into things because then he can own them. Impatient, he then covers Sherlock's mouth and nose.

Mary tells Sherlock to go to Hell to make it look like he means it. She advises him to pick a fight with a villain and put himself in harm's way.

As Sherlock struggles, Culverton explains that murder is an addiction that has to be carefully managed.

John arrives and discovers that there's no one at the locked door. As Sherlock flatlines, John breaks in with the officer. Culverton claims that Sherlock was in distress and he was helping him, but Sherlock says that he was suffocating him. He explains that he got Cornish to switch the bags, and there was nothing in his but saline. When Culverton points out that there's no confession, and says that they found three potential recording devices in Sherlock's coat. Sherlock points out that people always give up after the number three, and John realizes what his friend did. He unscrews the top of his walking stick, revealing a recording device that Sherlock put there... three weeks ago.

Later, Lestrade reviews the recorded confession with Culverton. He admits that confessing was enjoyable, and is happy that he'll be famous.

At 22B, Sherlock explains that he had several other backup plans but couldn't remember what they were. He wonders how "Faith" told him information he didn't have, and suggests the drugs opened up certain doors in his mind. John refuses to let him take more drugs and warns that Molly will be there in twenty minutes to do the same, and Mary tells John to stay and talk with his friend. He goes to get Rosie, and says that it would be okay if Sherlock came to see her. As John goes, Sherlock warns that the recordings might be inadmissible but Culverton can't stop confessing. He asks if John is okay, and John says that he isn't. John says that he'll never be okay, and that Sherlock didn't kill Mary. Sherlock admits that he doesn't know what to make of the fact that Mary saved his life, and John says that he'll see him the next day.

Irene Adler's text alert goes off on Sherlock's phone. Mary figures that Sherlock saved her, and John wishes Sherlock a happy birthday. Sherlock refuses to discuss the matter, insisting that he doesn't text Irene back. John tells him how lucky he is to have someone alive that loves him, and Mary smiles in satisfaction as John says that the chance for love is often gone before someone knows it. He then tells Sherlock that Mary was wrong about him. Mary taught him to be the man she thought he was, and then admits that he cheated on Mary by texting with another woman. John assures her that texting was all that it was, but he wanted more and still does. He says that he's not the man she thought he was and never could be, and that's the point. Mary smiles and tells him to get on with it, and disappears. John breaks into tears of grief, and Sherlock awkwardly hugs him and says that it is what it is.

Later, Sherlock and John prepare to go out for the birthday party that Molly is having for Sherlock. Sherlock assures John that it was texting, and that John is just human. He puts on his hat and they go.

John meets with the therapist and she points out that he's better and Sherlock is back to normal.

Sherlock kicks out a boring couple with a boring case, and finds Faith's note on the floor.

Mycroft and Smallwood are in his office, and she gives him her private number and suggests that they have a drink sometime. He isn't sure what to make of the offer.

Sherlock realizes that "Faith" was real.

Mycroft picks up Smallwood's card... which is on his appointment book with a 2 pm call scheduled with Sherringford.

The therapist asks how Sherlock's other brother is doing. John wonders how she knows about the secret brother that he mentioned, and the therapist claims that they spent a night together and they had chips. The therapist does Faith's higher voice, r3emoves her glasses, and says that a mutual friend set her up with Culverton. He gave her the original note, locks the door, and says that she added some notes to it to give Sherlock something to deduce. However, he missed the big clue.

Sherlock turns off the lights and trains a UV light on the note to reveal the hidden message: "Miss me?"

The therapist removes her contacts and reveals a plastic daisy in her hair. John recognizes it from the woman on the bus, and he realizes that she was the woman on the bus wearing a wig. The therapist draws a gun on John and says that she's Euros. Her parents loved silly names like Euros, Mycroft, and Sherlock. She suggests that Sherlock's secret brother might actually be a sister, and then shoots John.

Written by Gadfly on Jan 9, 2017

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