A woman, Molly Morgan, goes to a church and enters the confessional booth. She tells the priest that she feels darkness around her and it compels her to do shameful things. Molly says that she let the darkness inside of her, and the priest assures her that will not let Molly come to harm. She says that she's afraid for the priest, not for herself, reaches through the screen, and tears at the priest's face. He staggers out and Molly runs after him, muttering in Latin. She bites the priest's face and then steps back, and her body contorts backward. Molly's back breaks and she collapses to the floor, dead.
Arthur is in his study, staring at the blank paper in his typewriter. He takes out a photo of his childhood home and looks at it, and then looks at an offer to purchase the home. Arthur then finishes off a bottle of alcohol.
Later at the church, Arthur, Harry, and Adelaide examine Molly's body. Harry asks Adelaide if she's found out anything more about Nigel's death, and she refuses to discuss it at a murder scene. He persists and Adelaide asks Arthur if he's discovered anything. Arthur says that Molly died of stress-provoked ventricular fibrillation: she was frightened to death. Harry notes that Arthur looks worse than usual, and Arthur claims his children were up late. The priest claims that Molly was possessed by some sort of demon, but Harry figures that Molly was sick. He doesn't believe in Lucifer, and figures that Molly was insane. Arthur points out five vaguely star-shaped blemishes on the corpse's neck, and Adelaide notes that Molly's institutional clothing as a BRH tag on them: Bethlem Royal Hospital, better known as Bedlam. The clothes are the ones issued to patients who are released.
The trio goes to Bedlam and Arthur dismisses it as a snake pit. They go in and meet with Dr. Pilsen, who insists that Molly should never have been released. She had a weak heart and a history of delusions, and says Dr. Randall authorized her release. Randall hopes to cure fear itself and has had glimmers of promise. Pilsen insists that Randall won't do it again, and that adheres to a regiment of electroshock and lobotomy.
Pilsen takes the trio to the main room and Pilsen insists that the patients lived in filth until he took over. A male patient comes over and recognizes Arthur, and introduces himself as Sherlock Holmes. Pilsen notes that they have three patients who believe that they're the Great Detective, and Holmes complains that he's noted 87 times when Arthur has portrayed him inaccurately and plans legal action. An orderly leads Holmes away, and Pilsen says that possession is a common delusion. He admits that one patient, a defrocked priest named Nathaniel, has made him believe that possession may be real. He provoked the imagination of several other patients, and Arthur demands to see their records in case they were released. Pilsen refuses to release the confidential files, and Arthur says that he'll appeal to the Lord Chief Justice.
At home, Arthur calls the Chief Justice and finds him at lunch. He stomps down the discarded pages of writing in his garbage can as Kingsley comes in and suggests that they play some football. Arthur irritably says that he's working and angrily tells his son to leave. The boy breaks into tears and runs out, and Arthur remembers his father telling him the same thing when he was a boy.
That night, an exorcist performs a ritual on a man, Simon Fleming. Simon insists that Christ is a myth, and then goes into convulsions when the exorcist sprinkles him with holy water.
The next day, the trio is called in to examine Simon at the hospital. He's catatonic and wearing release clothes from Bedlam, and Harry notes that he can smell whiskey on Arthur's breath. He deduces that Arthur has writer's block, and Arthur admits that keeping Holmes dead is more effort than he thought. Harry suggests that his friend bring Holmes back, while Adelaide notices the same set of blemishes on Simon's neck. Arthur writes the pattern down and connects them to form a star, which matches the Mark of Abaddon in a book Adelaide has on Satanic rituals. Abaddon paralyzes his victims with fear and feed on their souls, leaving his mark on their prey. Harry dismisses it as a spontaneous allergic reaction and wonders why Adelaide has a book on rituals. She shows them another page with a symbol that matches the one on her husband Benjamin's ring. It's the insignia of a Polish anarchistic group who have conducted several bombing campaigns. Adelaide figures Benjamin was trying to stop them and that's why he was killed. A messenger brings a warrant from the Chief Lord Justice's office.
The trio goes to Bedlam and Arthur presents the warrant to Pilsen. He has no choice but to agree, and has an orderly take them to Nathaniel's cell. Nathaniel is restrained but first etched a pentagram into his forehead. He says that he's been waiting for them, and says that Molly and Simon were his acolytes. Nathaniel says that the Beast must be fed and their souls are gone, and says that he corrupts the souls so Abaddon can feed on them. He exposes them to their greatest fears and then Abaddon comes from them. Arthur asks Nathaniel what his greatest fear is, and Nathaniel says that he's weak. He lunges at them, laughing, and they quickly leave as Nathaniel yells that there will be many others.
Back in the office, Harry dismisses Nathaniel as a talented cold reader trying to get credit for what happened to the two former patients. Arthur and Adelaide don't believe it. They find files on six patients that were close to Nathaniel, and one is dead. Arthur tells Harry and Adelaide to check them out while he talks to Randall. Once they leave, Arthur hides away the file on the dead patient and takes it with him.
Arthur meets with Randall, who shows him sketches his patients have made of Abaddon. He thought Molly and Simon were cured when he released them, and explains that Pilsen encouraged Nathaniel to have contact with the other patients. According to Randall, Pilsen believes that if they terrify the patients then they'll run to God. Arthur insists that Pilsen's treatments are barbaric, and warns Randall that he's going to search the place and find out what's going on there. He asks if he can count on Randall's help, and the doctor offers him a cup of tea.
Later, Arthur goes to his childhood home and lets himself in to the desert building. He remembers orderlies taking Charles away as he looked on. Arthur then goes to his father's desk, takes a drink, and looks through Charles' file. It describes Charles' paranoia and aggressive anger, and how he had to be held in restraints. Arthur continues reading and drinking, and the report refers to Charles' alcoholism. Pilsen was the attending physician.
Harry meets Adelaide at the Yard and she informs him that four of the five released patients have been detained, and are safe and healthy. He points out that Adelaide set aside a file when he entered, and she shows Harry the coroner's report on Nigel. It indicates that Nigel was strangled before being tossed into the water, and rules his death suspicious. Benjamin was Nigel's business partner and the police believe that Benjamin gambled all of their money away. Nigel thought Benjamin embezzled it and knew where it was, and was trying to open an investigation into Benjamin's death. Adelaide explains that Benjamin took her to the Eiffel Tower so that they could kiss at the top of the world, and insists that her husband was a romantic, not a gambler. However, Harry isn't convinced.
Arthur goes through Charles' files and finds a hidden letter. In it, Charles says that Pilsen forced him to worship Abaddon. He confronts Pilsen and says that he knows what he did to Charles. Arthur accuses him of torturing Charles to death, and Pilsen realizes that Arthur has been drinking. The writer grabs him and says that he's going to prison, and the orderlies come in to pull Arthur away. Pilsen informs Arthur that he's committing him for his own good. The orderlies take Arthur to the cell where Charles was held. On the wall is the Mark of Abaddon with Charles' initials.
At the Yard, Harry confirms that Arthur hasn't returned. He admits to Adelaide that there's something going on at Bedlam and insists on going back there to investigate further. Adelaide says that they should get Arthur first.
A guard brings Holmes in to Arthur's cell and says that he's Arthur's new roommate. The guard ignores Arthur and leaves, and Holmes deduces that Arthur has been drinking. He suggests that Arthur suffers from fear, and wonders what has wounded him so profoundly. Holmes asks why Arthur killed his fictional counterpart, and Arthur insists that his creation stood in the way of something more profound. The patient points out that Arthur killed off Holmes after Charles died.
As Harry and Adelaide take the train, Adelaide says that she's confirmed that Charles was a patient at Bedlam and died there eight years ago.
Holmes continues to analyze Arthur, figuring that Charles was proud of him when he became a doctor and hated it when Arthur turned to writing. He asks if Charles ever acknowledged Arthur as a writer, and Arthur ignores the question. Holmes suggests that Arthur investigate from the inside, and that Arthur focus on Nathaniel. He points out that patients were given a fear-inducing poison in one of Arthur's Holmes novels.
At the Doyle home, Harry and Adelaide find Arthur's discarded alcohol bottles and the paperwork to sell Arthur's childhood home. Vera confirms that Arthur isn't there, and Adelaide tries to reassure Kingsley.
Arthur says that he needs to see Nathaniel, and Holmes yells for the guard, claiming Arthur is ill. When the guard runs in, Holmes knocks him out and takes the keys. They go to Nathaniel's cell and the man says that he can smell the fear on Arthur, just like he did on Charles. Arthur points out that Charles died eight years ago, before Nathaniel came there, and Nathaniel insists that Bedlam is everywhere. He insists that he works for Abaddon, not Pilsen, and then snaps his own neck. Pilsen runs in with the orderlies and assumes that Arthur killed Nathaniel, and Holmes claims that Arthur dragged him there. Pilsen gives Arthur a sedative and the guards take him away.
Arthur wakes up in an operating theater and Pilsen prepares to lobotomize him. The doctor says that he could have saved Charles' life if he had done the same thing for him, and begins to operate.
Harry and Adelaide go to Arthur's first home and find no one there.
Holmes enters the room and asks Pilsen to stop. He apologizes in advance for knocking Pilsen unconscious, and then knocks Pilsen unconscious. As they run, Arthur wonders how Holmes knew about the poison when it was cut from the novel before it was published, but Holmes avoids the question. They leave through the outside door... and find themselves back in their cell.
Harry finds Arthur unconscious on the floor behind the desk.
In his hallucination, Arthur insists that nothing is making sense. Holmes reminds him of the line, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains is true." Since everything there is impossible, Arthur realizes that it's all a figment of his imagination. He's been given ergot and is hallucinating, and the real him is dying.
At the hospital, Dr. Chandra concludes that Arthur has been poisoned. He can't identify which one, and Harry realizes that it's ergot. When Adelaide wonders how he knew, Harry says that it was a lucky guess. Vera brings Kingsley and Mary in, and Adelaide assures the children that their father will be fine. They refuse to leave their father, and Chandra warns that without an antidote, there's nothing he can do for Arthur. Harry says that they'll get one and leaves with Adelaide.
Holmes tells Arthur that he has to find a way out of his mind. Touie appears and tells Arthur to stop looking for a cure because she feels wonderful.
As Harry and Adelaide take the train, Adelaide figures that the two dead patients were in Bedlam when they were poisoned. Harry points out that Randall and Pilsen were the only ones with access to the victims, and the only time Arthur wasn't with them was when he was with Randall. They confront Randall and figure that he's trying to inoculate people against fear by exposing them to it. Randall denies it, but they figure that he administered the ergot in the tea and that he has an antidote. Harry tells him that he laced Randall's tea with ergot, so he'd better produce the antidote. Randall says that he was close and begs them not to do it, and Harry asks if he's willing to die for his cause. Once Randall gives them the antidote, Harry heads back to the hospital.
In his hallucination, Arthur and Touie have a picnic lunch. He realizes that she's not real.
Harry runs through the streets.
Touie says that it doesn't matter if she's real or not, and kisses Arthur. She tells him that the feelings are real and that's all that matters. Arthur says that he must go back, and Touie points out that he'll have to watch her die. She wonders why he's going back to the pain and torment, and Arthur says that if that's real then so is the joy. He apologizes and Touie says goodbye before disappearing.
The lights flicker and Holmes comes in and says that Arthur is dying. Thinking, Arthur suggests that a massive surge of euphoria would constrict his blood vessels but wonders how he can do it. Holmes tells him that he has to eliminate his misery, and Charles appears. Charles tells Arthur that he's losing his mind.
Harry runs into the hospital but trips over a wheelchair, dropping the antidote.
Charles admits that he's a terrible father, and figures that it's about Arthur's writing. He points out that Sherlock was contemptuous of everything he was, and that Arthur created him to get back at Charles. Arthur admits that it's true and says that the best day of his life was the day they took Charles away.
In the hospital bed, Arthur convulses as Harry arrives.
Charles tells Arthur that it was no one's fault what happened. Arthur says that it was horrifying to have a lunatic as a father, and Charles explains that he knew he was going insane and drank to try and conceal it. Despite that, the insanity took his work, his wife, and his children. When he read Arthur's work is when he came to despise him.
Charles admits that he was a disappointment as an artist. He was jealous of Arthur's brilliance, and there was no obituary when he died. The world mourned Sherlock's death, and he couldn't tell Arthur that he was proud of him because he was weak and petty. Charles says that he despised himself and then hugs Arthur, admitting that he didn't have the courage to do it when he was alive. As Holmes looks on, Arthur breaks into tears.
Arthur stops convulsing.
Arthur thanks Charles for the gesture, and Charles realizes that Arthur knows that he's just a figment of his imagination. He advises his son to take his word for it that the real Charles felt the same.
Arthur opens his eyes and calls his children over. They come over and Arthur says that he was cross at himself, not them, and tells them that Holmes told him that Randall was the killer. Adelaide says that Harry realized that Arthur was poisoned with ergot, and Harry insists that he didn't receive a telepathic message from Arthur. They argue until Adelaide tells Harry to let Arthur have the last word.
Later, Arthur signs the papers and looks around his former home one last time. He finds a bottle of his father's alcohol hidden in the piano where Charles left it, along with a story that Arthur wrote as a boy. Smiling, Arthur leaves for the last time.
Harry returns to his suite and checks on his sleeping mother.
At the Yard, Adelaide finds a note on her desk. It tells her to stop investigating Nigel's death or die.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 29, 2016