There's a new killer in town… and it's Vinnie Jones! He likes to kill people by setting up an enormous tripod in their homes and then letting all their blood pool up on the floor before vanishing without a trace. Holmes recognizes this as the Modus Operandi of "M," a mysterious serial killer he tangled with in London. And that's who killed Irene Adler, so his plan is to find him, torture him and kill him.
He finds him pretty quickly, thanks to a reference to the Baker Street Irregulars, and soon Holmes has Vinnie Jones chained up in an abandoned loft, all set for torture. But Vinnie successfully argues that he didn't kill Irene, although he admits that he killed everyone else. So Holmes stabs him non-fatally and takes him to the police. He does not mention his plan to hunt down and torture Vinnie's boss, the mysterious Moriarty.
But the real action is in the Holmes-Watson relationship, because this is the episode where Watson was supposed to finally leave Holmes. There's a lot of talk about Holmes filling her bedroom with bees, but she admits that she'll miss working with him. And when Holmes is shaken by learning that Vinnie Jones isn't the one he wants to torture and kill, he admits to Watson that he'll miss working with her, too. She tries to get Holmes's father to extend her Sober Companion contract, but he declines. She then lies to Holmes and says his father said yes. So she's staying around, but she hasn't officially admitted that she wants to be a detective yet. Although she did advance the plot by the very Sherlock-Holmes technique of recognizing the white powder on Holmes's shoes at one point.
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Someone puts together some tubes while watching Manchester United beat Arsenal on television. It's a good thing those are famous teams, because it relieves me of the problem of deciding whether to call it "soccer" or "football." Although I think there's a chance I should have called them "clubs" instead of "teams." Someone's tied up in the background and I'll just tell you now that this is the victim. The non-victim has made his tubes into a giant tripod. He's got some kind of block and tackle operation going, so the victim can get hung up by his feet. He seems to object. There's even a winch! This is pretty fancy. There's also a big wall full of books, but they don't look all that accessible because it's one of those rooms with thirty-foot ceilings that you see in television shows and on interior design blogs. Once the victim is hanging upside down, the bad guy starts to cut his throat. Oh, and the bad guy is Vinnie Jones. He plays a lot of bad guys! It's actually the second time I've recapped him as a villain, thanks to him appearing on The Cape.
And now: bees! In the living room of the brownstone, in fact. Holmes claims he's studying how they deal with the indoors and he's thinking of making Watson's soon-vacant room into an apiary. She mostly ignores this because she wants to arrange an exit interview. They talk to each other through the hive (which I mention because it's a fancy shot that someone's probably pretty proud of), then Gregson finally calls so we can move on with tonight's mystery.
The victim was a CPA named Ian Vickers. But there's just blood on the floor. Watson is surprised that all this blood is from just one person. Frankly, there should be about four times this much. Watson's not a very good doctor, if you ask me; she should know how much blood is in a person. Holmes studies the blood as Gregson explains that the place is completely clean, with no clues of any kind. Holmes announces that there was a tripod device because there are marks on the floor. The villain drained Vickers and took the body with him. And he didn't deduce any of this: "I've stalked this particular madman before. In London."
Holmes explains to the police (who are mostly sitting at their desks listening politely) that the villain is "M." We all assume it's "Moriarty," unless we jump to "Mycroft" because we've read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. M has a body count of 37 ("in a row?!") and he's never been photographed. He's got no victim profile, killing people aged as young as twelve and as old as late-eighties. He dumps their bodies in the ocean. This all seems very elaborate. You'd think there'd be a chance of getting caught if you're constantly toting exsanguinated corpses out to the beach. Bell goes off to alert the coast guard. Gregson confirms that "all twelve pints" of the blood were the victim's. Holmes says there were rambling letters to the police, but he thinks they were a feint to make people assume M is crazier than he is. And he kills in bunches, so watch for more, because shows like this don't really work if someone kills once and then doesn't follow up later in the episode.