The Sign of Three – what can we deduce?

Amanda+Abbington+and+Martin+FreemanBBC Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have revealed that the title of the second episode of series three will be – The Sign of Three.

Well, it’s obviously a play on the title of the original Sherlock Holmes story, The Sign of Four. And this is very significant because it’s the story in which John Watson meets and falls in love with Mary Morstan, who he eventually marries.

News broke a few weeks ago that Martin Freeman’s partner Amanda Abbington would be joining the cast playing, “a role that significantly impacts upon the lives of John and Sherlock”. Speculation was already growing that Amanda would be playing Mary Morstan and today’s news compounds that theory rather nicely. Given that the second key word to describe the series was revealed to be ‘Wedding’ last year, it now seems highly likely that John will indeed meet, fall in love with and marry Mary Morstan.

But it is worth remembering that the creators of Sherlock do like to mess with our heads. Remember the very first episode and how it led us to think that Gatiss was playing Moriarty rather than Mycroft? They do love to tease us with misleading clues and of course, that cliff-hanger ending which concluded series two was the biggest tease of all.

Perhaps Amanda will be playing Harry Watson, John’s alcoholic sister? Perhaps she’ll turn up at his wedding drunk and reveal a tantalising secret which sets Sherlock and John off on a new adventure? Or perhaps she’ll be a villain, a female colonel Moran or Charlie Milverton?

I know what all the clues point to but I’m keeping an open mind just in case. And I’m off to re-read the Sign of Four . . .

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6 Responses to The Sign of Three – what can we deduce?

  1. Leah Guinn says:

    Ha! I’m betting a traditional John/Mary combo, but at the same time, it never even occurred to me that Amanda might be playing “Harry.” The fact that “Harry” and “Mary” rhyme just makes me think that Mofftiss decided on the name for just that reason, so that they could mess with us later. They could have chosen another name which started with the canonical “H.” Right?

  2. I hope the authors will mess with our heads once more. I don’t want to see John Watson married for now 😦

  3. Berberis says:

    It may be bordering on heresy, but I have to admit that I find the idea of casting Amanda as Mary both obvious and lazy. I’ll be disappointed if it turns out to be true.

  4. Valerie says:

    I am keeping an open mind too, but so hoping she is Mary…

    I am re-reading The Sign of the Four and the way she is described could fit Abbington to a tee. Mary was described as blonde and I don’t think I have ever seen her as one; always seems to be portrayed with red or darker hair.

    I for one am keeping my fingers crossed that we will get to see some great Mary and John scenes from Abbington and Freeman–both wonderful actors.

  5. Berberis says:

    SImply because replying to myself feels odd, I’m going to add another comment to try to explain my previous one, which I will admit was rather churlish. In the first two series, Messrs. Gatiss and Moffat were so brilliant with details – all those subtle, exquisite scripted and visual moments, the teasingly tangential canonical references – that I’m sure there are some of us (myself included) who still haven’t spotted all of them. My reaction to the idea of casting Amanda Abbington as Mary Morstan is nothing whatsoever to do with either her acting ability. It just seems unsubtle and far too easy a decision to choose Martin’s real-life partner to play the part on-screen. Does it stop me looking forward (with increasing impatience) to S3? Absolutely not. Am I hoping Mark and Steven are (to paraphrase mybloodyvalentina) messing with our heads? Most definitely.

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