I’ve been driving myself crazy with speculation as to what Mycroft’s role might be in “His Last Vow" and I think there might be a hint in one of the last things Mycroft says to Sherlock in "The Sign of Three".
Oh by the way, Sherlock. Do you remember “Redbeard”?
Redbeard, or “Barbarossa”, were two Ottoman pirates/corsairs, who used the name at different moments. I found three facts about their lives that might have induced the Holmes brothers to use the name as a code word for a particular situation, much like “Lazarus” in The Empty Hearse. If we look at Sherlock, right after he hears the word, he pauses for a second and nods absentmindedly, before retorting. This could be taken as him needing a second to register the meaning of the word, or me seeing things that aren’t there, both explanations are perfectly plausible, I assure you.
Knights of Saint John.
At the beginning of their career both men had a number of encounters with the privateering Knights of St. John.
The message could be that John is somehow in danger. I am less inclined to this option since Sherlock does not appear to become more protective of his friend after hearing it.
Both Redbeards were brothers. The elder, Aruj, who used the title first, during one of the battles with the Knights, was captured by them and held prisoner for three years. The younger, Hizir, once he learned where his brother was kept, helped him escape.
This message would be clear, the older brother is somehow held prisoner, and needs the younger to save him.
So how those this fit in with what we have seen in the trailer?
We see Mycroft at his home, so he is not physically restrained. We know that Magnussen is a blackmailer, so he might have information that coerces Mycroft to stop Sherlock interfering with him.
I find it unlikely that this information would be something personal about Mycroft. Blackmail comes, generally in two varieties. One is the secret one doesn’t want their loved ones to know, the other is when the information might endanger one’s career. Since Mycroft only has one loved one, the first doesn’t apply. As for the second, since he is not a public figure he does not need to fear a scandal, so anything that would threaten his job would have to be of the “I’m actually working for Iran” caliber. Improbable, I think.
I believe Magnussen has information about members of the government, enough that he could seriously unstabilize it, or, he has information on some of Mycroft’s “masters”, to get them to order him to stop his brother.
There is a second issue that might support this idea. Remember in “A Scandal in Belgravia”, when Mycroft wants Sherlock to stop investigating? He simply orders him to do so. But here he says that that going against Magnussen will mean Mycroft will try to stop him. And there is little Sherlock enjoys more than going against his brother. This would be Mycroft goading Sherlock on, while giving the appearance of trying to warn him of.
Death. Eventually the elder brother, Aruj, dies. Leaving Hizir to inherit his place, his name, and his cause.
This is just one big ball of nope for me, and I refuse to acknowledge the possibility. Ok?
This is very interesting, if terrifying. ‘Red Beard’ will no doubt prove important next episode - this show isn’t one to throw around lines like that for no reason.
I’m rather worried about what’s going to happen next week. It won’t be an easy one. We know that Mary canonically dies, and she seems to be Magnussen’s target at the moment. However, there has been a lot of focus on Sherlock and Mycroft’s relationship this series, and mostly on what Mycroft means to Sherlock. We’ve seen evidence of Sherlock worrying about his brother, and, yesterday, we saw how large Mycroft looms in Sherlock’s mind palace, a voice of authority and guidance inside his own head. I can’t help but feel that we’re being led somewhere…
This is what I was thinking all along since the trailer - maybe Sherlock has to make a tough decision, to decide between the life of two people he cares for:
Mary, whom he has vowed to protect - and Mycroft, who after all is his brother (and who is quite a dominant figure in his life).
And maybe that is why Mycroft told Sherlock not get involved - meaning not to get involved not with all the feelings or the wedding, but especially with Mary Morstan as she is either a threat (the option I don´t favour) or is in a danger/blackmailed in a way that will have to put Sherlock against Mycroft - and this would actually a decision between his Family and his Family (meta on this upcoming when I find time after work).