While surfing the Benedict Cumberbatch fan sites, I found a link to a Conan Doyle book with a foreword by Martin Freeman who plays John Watson in Sherlock, and so I’m officially starting the rumor that The sign of Four will be the second episode in Season 3. We know that The Empty house will start the series because The Final Problem ended Season 2 and they are a pair. But not only is the sign of four arguably the next most popular work after the ones that they have filmed, but… Well let me just quote the foreword.
As stories, they are begging to be dramatized …All I’ll say is that Mary Morston appears, which is good news for John Watson. The rest of it you can discover, and delight in yourself. ( Introduction: The sign of Four)
Now there is some argument as to whether or not this is just part of a marketing ploy to sell books, but someone had to make the decision of which books to sell first. The books being released are: A study in scarlet, The hound of the Baskervilles, The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, and The sign of Four. It is indeed a small deduction then to say that The sign of Four will be part of the series 3.
Now the most interesting thing about this story is the speculation on John’s marriage. If Mary is introduced, you can bet your bottom dollar that Watson will get engaged to her, but what fan girl angst it will cause to have John move out of the apartment. We go from the daily Sherlock/John live-in couple to some sort of sordid affair. Ha, ha, not really, but it will feel a bit like a betrayal when John leaves Sherlock.
Then again, how many girlfriends has John lost because of Sherlock? There is a feeling in the acting however that those girls weren’t really right for him, or even that John was simply using the girls for sex while getting most of his emotional support from Sherlock. Even so.
The bottom line is that the fans won’t release John to Mary unless she is found to be something special. Now I have seen The sign of four, and read much of it, but I did notice that most of John and Mary’s romance was not in the book. There are hints, like John insisting on taking Mary home from time to time, and how John is always talking about how attractive Mary is, but in the end we are as surprised as Sherlock that they have somehow gotten engaged off-screen. (Actually Sherlock says something to the effect of I was afraid this would happen’ so it wasn’t completely unexpected.)
Now in this day and age, I don’t think that the writers have the luxury of just leaving out the romance. And I wonder if the writers can make a good romance that will fit into the B story and be strong enough to separate our ‘pals’ as Mycroft calls them. I’m thinking that there has to be some kind of My best friend’s wedding bridge moment where Sherlock is NOT there emotionally for John and Mary is. In the end, we must simply wait and see.