|Directed by||John Polson|
|Written by||Robert Doherty and Craig Sweeny|
|Air date||September 26, 2013|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Next||Solve for X|
Step Nine is the first episode of season two, and the twenty-fifth episode of the series. It was written by Robert Doherty and Craig Sweeny, and directed by John Polson. The episode premiered on September 26, 2013.
Holmes and Watson travel to London to help track down an old partner of Holmes's and investigate an unsolved murder. Meanwhile, Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's estranged brother, reunites with Sherlock and reveals some secrets of his own. Although the siblings suffered a drastic falling-out a few years earlier, Mycroft allows Sherlock and Joan to stay in his new home, 221B Baker Street. With Joan in the middle, the brothers are forced to confront their very complicated history.
Part One Edit
Highgate Cemetery, London, England: A priest is reciting the final prayer for Warren Pendry, with Pendry's son, Lawrence, and other mourners in attendance. The proceedings are rudely interrupted by Inspector Gareth Lestrade of Scotland Yard, saying Warren was a scoundrel who deserves to be "kicked right up his arse and sent down to a very warm place." Lawrence motions to two bodyguards standing by his Range Rover, but Lestrade brandishes a hand grenade and says he will leave as soon as he's finished his business. Lawrence, he declares to the crowd of mourners, is guilty of murdering his wife, but the elder Pendry unleashed a battery of lawyers and newspapermen, to "do a dance on my reputation" for trying to prove it. Still holding the grenade, Lestrade approaches the casket, and says he will not let Warren Pendry be buried before someone declares what kind of man he truly was. He then addresses the casket directly, telling the deceased Warren that if he thought he had succeeded in getting rid of Lestrade, he was gravely mistaken.
Washington Square Park, New York City, United States: Sherlock Holmes is sitting on a bench, admiring a flock of feeding pigeons. An irritated Joan Watson approaches, saying she got his text message summoning her to the park, and wanting to know what reason he has for skipping his addict meeting. Holmes explains that he had a breakthrough in their latest case: they have been investigating the murders of three U.S. Attorneys within the last year, each one connected to the investigation and prosecution of a syndicate of pirates. The NYPD has the name of the suspected assassin, Jaromir Tomsa, but have been unable to establish any link or communication between Tomsa and the syndicate. Sherlock figured out that they have been using carrier pigeons. Sherlock staked out Tomsa's apartment, saw him receive such a messenger, then followed it back to the park. Now it is just a matter of seeing who retrieves the bird carrying Tomsa's reply.
Sure enough, a man in glasses pretends to feed the pigeons, then grabs one and extracts a message from around its neck. Seeing Holmes rise and start toward him, the man takes off running. Holmes gives chase, but the man gives him the slip by hiding in a line of bystanders. As Holmes runs past, the man starts to exit the park, checking over his shoulder - only to run headlong into Watson, who flattens him with three precise strokes from her defense baton. Sherlock catches up and compliments her for keeping up with her training.
As the man is taken away in handcuffs, Captain Gregson and Detective Bell are, again, struggling to keep up with Holmes's reasoning, since six detectives from the Department have been working nonstop on the pirates case, without success. Holmes laments that the bird itself escaped, as Holmes could find a use for all that training.
While one of the detectives asks Watson for a statement, Holmes takes a call on his cell phone from the U.K. When Watson is finished, Holmes says he has been asked to travel to London to help Lestrade, his old colleague.
Part Two Edit
As they are packing for the trip to London, Holmes fills Watson in on his history with Lestrade. Of the few detectives at Scotland Yard who agreed to work with him, Lestrade was "the best of a bad bunch." Watson is surprised that Holmes never mentioned him before, and Holmes says he and Lestrade were never really close - although Lestrade was "utterly adequate" as a detective, Holmes was often (characteristically) quite cutting with respect to his limitations. Because Holmes always preferred to work anonymously, he allowed the glory of their many successes to accrue to Lestrade, and over the years, he began to crave the limelight. "You might say I turned him into an addict," and Holmes feels guilty for leaving Lestrade to fend for himself when Holmes's own addictions incapacitated him.
Watson wonders aloud if Holmes is psychologically prepared to return to the city that he left in disgrace. Holmes is unconcerned: "I'm a different man now, Watson, it's a different city. London is always a different city."
Arriving in London, Holmes and Watson take a cab directly to New Scotland Yard. As they exit the cab, Watson asks if Holmes has considered starting work on "Step Nine" of his recovery - making amends to those people who he has wronged as a result of his addiction, a description that seems apt for Lestrade.
They are greeted by Detective Chief Inspector Hopkins, Lestrade's immediate superior and another old friend of Holmes. In his office, Hopkins briefs the two consultants on Lestrade's last case: thirteen months ago, Lawrence Pendry dialed 999 to report that he and his wife, Mary, had walked in on an armed intruder in their home, and in the struggle that followed, the man's gun fired, killing Mary. Lestrade was assigned to the case, and took an instant disliking to Pendry, becoming convinced that he had murdered his wife and staged the crime scene. The problem is, a neighbor heard the fatal shot at exactly 6:33pm, Lawrence dialed 999 at exactly 6:36pm, and the first police car arrived at their home less than five minutes later. If Lawrence killed his wife, he had only eight minutes to dispose of his weapon, yet the police searched the whole house, top to bottom, and found no gun.
Lestrade - who, Hopkins confides, began to cut corners to close his cases after Holmes left for the U.S. - refused to let go of his suspicions, and Warren Pendry (a media mogul) used his newspapers and a small army of lawyers to "paint a very ugly picture, not just of Lestrade, but of the Yard in general," forcing the Criminal Division to suspend him two weeks ago.
Three days ago, Lestrade used a hand grenade (which Holmes quickly recognizes as a dud) to crash Warren Pendry's funeral, and now he has disappeared. Holmes asks if Hopkins believes Lawrence Pendry might be guilty, and Hopkins says it is not Holmes's concern; he asked Holmes to London to help find Lestrade, not to consult.
As they are walking down the hallway, Hopkins is hailed by Lawrence Pendry, who has arrived early for their scheduled meeting. Hopkins introduces him to Holmes and Watson, and Lawrence immediately recognizes Holmes as "Lestrade's crutch." Over the last year, his father's lawyers dug up several embarrassing facts about Lestrade, including that Holmes was largely responsible for Lestrade's greatest successes. Lawrence adds that he wishes Holmes had been at Lestrade's side when Mary was killed, otherwise her real killer would be in prison and Lawrence wouldn't be being stalked by a deranged policeman. Holmes remains polite, but the twist of his mouth makes clear that he has, like Lestrade, taken an instant dislike to Lawrence.
A cab delivers Holmes and Watson to the door of 221b Baker Street, Holmes's former residence in London. Before he left for New York, he arranged for an acquaintance named Geezer Bob to act as its caretaker. As they climb the stairs, Holmes warns Watson that Baker Street is his original "sanctum sanctorum", and even more a reflection of his sometimes chaotic mind than the Brownstone. But when they open the door, Holmes is aghast to see a rather typical London dwelling. As he runs upstairs to check the contents of the bedroom, Watson begins to look around the living room, when she is greeted from behind and turns to see a tall man regarding her with polite confusion. Her first guess is that this is Geezer Bob, but Holmes runs downstairs and gasps at the sight of the man - who introduces himself as Sherlock's brother, Mycroft.
Part Three Edit
While Mycroft is preparing tea in the kitchen, Sherlock paces the living room, fuming at his father's perfidy at giving away Sherlock's residence to his brother. Watson is more interested in why Sherlock never mentioned that he had a brother, and Sherlock says their relationship is "purely genetic." Sherlock despises his elder brother as a layabout, bereft of ambition or energy, who cashed out his trust fund as soon as he came of age and bought several restaurants in London, which he lives off.
Mycroft enters with tea, and graciously welcomes Watson to London, saying that he's heard much about her from his father. Sherlock interrupts and asks where his possessions are. Mycroft breezily says that he gave them away to charity shops, since he tried to reach Sherlock in New York several times, but Sherlock never responded. Holmes fumes to Watson that a less lazy man would have placed his things in storage. Mycroft wonders aloud if there is some particular reason Sherlock was reluctant to make contact with him - could it be that the last time they spoke, it was when Mycroft caught Sherlock in flagrante with Mycroft's fiancee? Sherlock sneers that he did his brother a favor, as he had already deduced that the woman was a gold digger and not genuinely interested in Mycroft; Sherlock was merely proving his hypothesis. Mycroft informs Watson that Sherlock "proved his hypothesis" at least seven times, "once in a pod on the London Eye!"
Before the argument can escalate, Watson reminds Sherlock that she has been awake for twenty hours, and if they are not staying at Baker Street, they need to find a hotel before she drops from exhaustion. Mycroft smoothly says they are welcome to stay in the guest rooms, since he and Sherlock are still family, in spite of whatever issues they have with each other. Sherlock plainly hates the idea, but, after prodding from Watson, sullenly agrees, "purely for the sake of convenience." With that, Sherlock excuses himself, saying Watson is free to rest while he goes to track down Lestrade.
Without much difficulty, Sherlock finds Lestrade drinking a pint at a pub. Lestrade asks how Holmes found him, and Holmes says it wasn't hard: when they were working together, Holmes confided to Lestrade that he cached money and false documents at five separate places over London. Holmes checked and found four of them empty, and Lestrade is waiting until the security guard outside the fifth goes off duty.
With Watson's advice in mind, Holmes begins to apologize to Lestrade for Holmes's role in landing Lestrade in his current fix, and urges him to turn himself in to Scotland Yard, where Holmes will speak in his defense. Lestrade declines and starts to head for the cache, saying he will not turn himself in until he has collected evidence proving that Lawrence Pendry murdered his wife. If Holmes really wants to make amends, he could help.
The next morning, at Baker Street, Mycroft is chopping vegetables in the kitchen and speaking on the phone with one of his restaurant's suppliers, when Watson wanders in, wearing her sleepwear. Mycroft notes that Sherlock never came home the night before. He then wonders aloud how Watson puts up with him; Watson says she doesn't have to, they're friends. Mycroft says that the Sherlock he knew doesn't have friends, and Watson says he's a different person now. Mycroft shakes his head, saying he's heard that about many addicts before, but Sherlock, even if he's mastered his drug problem, "is addicted to being himself." Watson rejoins that the Sherlock she first met didn't have a brother, but he does. "Does he?" Mycroft asks sadly.
They are interrupted by a text from Sherlock, summoning Watson to an abandoned theatre. There she meets Lestrade, and asks Sherlock why he hasn't turned the man in. Sherlock says that, against his better judgment, he examined Lestrade's evidence on Mary Pendry's murder, and is beginning to think Lestrade might be right. The most suggestive clue, Holmes says, is a photo of a bottle of milk in the Pendrys' refrigerator, from the night of Mary's murder. Lawrence Pendry is lactose intolerant, and Mary was a devoted vegan, so why the milk?
As she begins to peruse the crime scene photos, Watson mentions that Mycroft has invited her to dinner at one of his restaurants that evening. Holmes says it makes perfect sense: Mycroft wishes to sleep with her as a form of petty revenge against Sherlock, while Watson, who "clearly" wants to sleep with Sherlock but cannot do so for professional reasons, will transfer her desires to a "cheap knockoff version" of himself.
Another clue Holmes noticed is a photo of four bronze masks arranged over the fireplace, one of which is slightly lower than the others. What is intriguing is that in another photo, taken by Mary only a few hours before she died and sent to a friend, the masks are perfectly lined up.
Holmes asks Lestrade, who admits that he didn't notice the discrepancy, but the police did check behind each of the masks, and found no gun. Holmes says he needs to examine the living room, and Watson says Lawrence Pendry is unlikely to admit them into his house. Holmes hands Lestrade a pad of paper and a pen, saying Pendry will probably do so when Holmes tells him that he "almost" caught Lestrade, and found a suicide note in his hideout, announcing his intention to murder Lawrence before he kills himself.
In Lawrence's drawing room, he reviews the "suicide note" through a plastic evidence bag, and shakily asks Holmes if he thinks Lestrade is serious. Holmes says it is difficult to say, but Lawrence might want to take a few elementary precautions. In order to get themselves into the living room, Holmes describes Watson as an expert in home security, and asks if Lawrence would like her to take a look around.
Watson fakes her way through an examination of the house, leaving Holmes alone in the living room for a few crucial minutes. When Lawrence comes back in, he sees Holmes examining, then replacing, the nail on which the out-of-place mask was hung.
Hastily excusing themselves, Holmes tells Watson that Lestrade was right, Lawrence murdered his wife.
Part Four Edit
At the abandoned theatre, Holmes reviews what they already know: the primary reason Lestrade was not able to make a case against Lawrence was because the police could not find the murder weapon. Holmes theorizes that Lawrence used a plastic gun, and it was hidden in plain sight the entire time. Lestrade is disbelieving, insisting that the police turned the whole house upside down, and he would have recognized any gun, plastic or otherwise. Then Watson shows him the photo of the milk, and Holmes explains what happened:
At 6:33pm, Lawrence shot his wife with his plastic gun. Then he disassembled the gun and dropped the pieces into a milk bottle filled with acetone, before calling 999. By the time the police arrived, the pieces of plastic had dissolved away, leaving only a liquid that perfectly resembled milk in the bottle.
Lestrade is amazed - "and all this from a photograph of a pint of milk." Holmes corrects him, a pint of milk and a nail. Lestrade is confused, and Watson explains further: because plastic firearms are illegal, Lawrence could not have bought his gun, he would have to make it himself using a 3D printer. Such a homemade gun needs a single piece of metal to function: a nail to act as the firing pin. Since Lawrence could not destroy the nail the same way he melted the rest of the gun, he hid it in plain sight, using it to re-hang one of the masks in the living room. He had to do so in a hurry, before the police arrived, which is why it was out of alignment. Holmes examined that nail and found charring on the tip, from where it struck the bullet.
Lestrade is elated - he was right after all, even if he didn't know how to prove it. He is all for going to Hopkins immediately, even if Lestrade must face punishment for his actions at the funeral. Holmes gently reminds him that their only physical evidence is a nail with a blackened tip, which is explicable in any number of ways - Lawrence would have disposed of the phony "milk" months ago, and any gunshot residue on his hands would have faded away.
Later, Holmes leads Watson into Trafalgar Square, carrying two large poster boards. Watson asks what they are doing, and Holmes responds that since London, like New York, lives in constant fear of a terrorist attack, it is one of the most heavily monitored cities in the world, and there is always someone watching. If they are going to expose Lawrence Pendry, they need to trace the ownership of his 3D printer, and the means by which he made his plastic gun.
Holmes holds up the posterboards to a surveillance camera, announcing his name and asking for a list of 3D printers sold in the last year and a half. Now, he tells Watson, all they have to do is wait. Two hours later, Watson is still skeptical, until a random passerby "accidentally" bumps into her, secretly inserting a printout of names into her handbag.
That evening, Watson meets Mycroft at one of his restaurants, which has been closed for the occasion. After an uncomfortable pause, Mycroft admits that he lied to her and Sherlock when they first met. The first thing Sherlock noted was that his brother had slimmed down from the "Fatty" he had once been. Mycroft claimed he had lost weight through exercise, but the truth is... Joan interrupts, saying she already noticed the scars on Mycroft's wrist, characteristic of a bone marrow transplant. She guesses it was leukemia. Mycroft says she is right. He almost died, and while he was dying, he realized that his one great regret was his poor relationship with Sherlock. The brothers were so estranged that Mycroft never thought to tell Sherlock he was sick, much less ask him if he might be a donor match. After Mycroft recovered, he promised to himself that he would make amends, but, when they appeared unexpectedly at Baker Street the day before, he found himself reverting to old habits. What Mycroft wants to know is "how does one become Sherlock Holmes's friend?" because as far as he can see, Joan is the only person who has ever managed it.
On a bench by the Serpentine, Holmes asks Lestrade to review the list. While he is doing so, Holmes again attempts to apologize for turning Lestrade into a glory hound, which doubtless had a poor effect on his career. Lestrade says he isn't sure what Holmes is talking about: he remembers the days of their partnership as some of the best days of his career, and his life, not so much for the glory of their successes, but just the satisfaction of being a good policeman. Awkwardly, Holmes begins to read from a written list of things he is sorry for, but Lestrade interrupts, recognizing one of the names on the list: Nicholas Gint, a handyman who worked for the Pendrys. Lestrade said that he was suspicious of Gint, but the man had a solid alibi for the night of Mary Pendry's murder.
The two men go to Gint's flat, and there is no answer to their knock. While they are waiting, Lestrade says that if Holmes really feels that he needs to make amends for anything, he should let Lestrade take credit for this case, if they succeed.
Impatiently, Lestrade kicks open the door, and they turn on the light to see Gint lying against his open refrigerator, with a kitchen knife sticking out of his chest.
Holmes and Watson look on while Scotland Yard crime scene techs are photographing the scene. Gint was killed earlier that day, and Holmes ruefully says that Lawrence Pendry is tying up loose ends, obviously spooked by Holmes's examination of the nail. Watson mentions that she passed DCI Hopkins, who is understandably peeved that Holmes is assisting Lestrade instead of turning him in. Holmes says he prefers not to turn Lestrade in until they have made his case against Pendry - and yet, with Gint's death, their best lead has been closed off.
Watson asks if Holmes found a 3D printer in Gint's home, and Holmes dismissively says that Pendry must have destroyed the printer months ago - because, if he still had it, he would have undoubtedly made another gun to kill Gint, who is taller and stronger than Pendry.
Watson remarks that it seems odd: Lawrence Pendry is the sort of man who plans his crimes well in advance, so why would he stab Gint with a knife from Gint's own kitchen, instead of bringing a weapon of his own? Moreover, the position of the knife clearly shows that it was made with the stabber's left hand, but Pendry is right-handed. Sherlock realizes what happened and drops to the floor, looking carefully around. Noticing a dimple in the skin of an apple in Gint's fruit bowl, Sherlock bites into it and extracts a small splinter of plastic. He admits that he was wrong: Lawrence still has his printer, and used it to build another gun.
Lawrence opens his door to Holmes, Watson, Hopkins and a pair of police constables. He trails them to the living room, angrily calling his solicitor on the phone. Holmes looks behind the mask, and is not surprised to see that the incriminating nail has been replaced. However, that is not what they came for.
Holmes explains what happened: after Holmes examined the nail, Lawrence unearthed his 3D printer, made another plastic gun, and went to kill Gint. Unfortunately, Lawrence was in a hurry, so he used a .22 long-caliber bullet, instead of the .22 short he used when he killed Mary. The higher velocity bullet caused the gun to explode in his hand when he fired it at Gint's back. In the struggle that followed, Lawrence grabbed a knife with his uninjured left hand and was lucky enough to fatally stab Gint. After the murder, Lawrence cleaned the pieces of plastic from Gint's home - except the one Holmes found. DCI Hopkins has a warrant that gives him the right to examine Lawrence's hand for injuries.
Lawrence is silent, and Holmes advises that when his solicitor calls back, Lawrence can tell him he is being taken into custody. As Lawrence is lead out of his house, Lestrade is standing by, grinning smugly.
Deciding he needs to take a firm hand with Lestrade, Holmes approaches him and says that Lestrade cannot take credit for this case's solution; if he does, he will simply be perpetuating his "addict cycle," and Holmes will speak up if necessary to prevent him from doing so.
The next morning, at Baker Street, Holmes and Watson are packing for their return journey, while watching Lestrade being interviewed on the news, "modestly" claiming credit for Lawrence Pendry's arrest, explaining that he always knew Pendry was guilty, but it wasn't until "he" made the connection with "recent advances in 3D printing" that he realized how to prove it. Sherlock concedes that Lestrade called his bluff, knowing Holmes prefers to maintain his anonymity. Holmes admits to experiencing a cocktail of emotions he can't quite explain - frustration, anger, mixed with worry. "Welcome to caring about an addict," Watson explains. Then Sherlock receives a text from Mycroft.
The two brothers meet on a bench outside a storage unit, where Mycroft admits that he lied, and Sherlock's things are in storage there. Sherlock snipes at his brother's deception, and Mycroft, controlling his temper with difficulty, refuses to rise to the bait. He takes out a small remote, and says that when he asked Joan for advice on getting through to Sherlock, she said one must begin by "making sure you're listening." Mycroft triggers the remote, and an explosion blows out a window of the storage space. Among Sherlock's things, Mycroft found a series of books on building homemade bombs, and has put the knowledge to use by destroying all of Sherlock's possessions. Mycroft hands the remote to his brother, and says they are even now, but asks Sherlock to remember that "things are different between us."
Sherlock meets Joan at Victoria Station and says that he believes he and Mycroft have reached a rapproachement. Mycroft's use of the bomb has revealed to Sherlock that he is not quite the indolent layabout Sherlock always took him for, and in fact the two Holmes brothers have more in common than Sherlock was ready to believe. "Art in the blood, Watson," he remarks, as he and Joan board the train to Heathrow Airport.
- Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes
- Lucy Liu as Joan Watson
- Aidan Quinn as Captain Tommy Gregson
- Jon Michael Hill as Detective Marcus Bell
- Rhys Ifans as Mycroft Holmes
- Sean Pertwee as Gareth Lestrade
- Rufus Wright as Lawrence Pendry
- Tim McMullan as DCI Hopkins
- John Owens as Priest
- Holmes refers to one of his and Lestrade's past cases as "The Case of the Norwood Builder", which shares its name with one of Conan Doyle's short stories.
- Sherlock's quote, "Art in the blood, Watson, it takes the strangest forms" is taken from the short story, "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", which also introduced Mycroft. It is also the title of Episode 23 of Season Two.
- Holmes fails to explain how Lawrence would have disposed of the shell casing from the bullet that was fired from his plastic gun, since, like the nail, it could not have been dissolved away in the acetone.
- Hello by Oasis plays when Sherlock and Joan arrive in London.
Behind the scenesEdit
Behind the scenesEdit
Pilot • While You Were Sleeping • Child Predator • Rat Race • Lesser Evils • Flight Risk • One Way to Get Off • The Long Fuse • You Do It to Yourself • The Leviathan • Dirty Laundry • M. • The Red Team • The Deductionist • A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs • Details • Possibility Two • Déjà Vu All Over Again • Snow Angels • Dead Man's Switch • A Landmark Story • Risk Management • The Woman • Heroine