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September 24, 2012 6:05 pm  #1


I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

I'm obviously not the first person who tried to see extra "significance" into Moriarty's "I.O.U'.  There are many people who think that this was just Moriarty's way to be dramatic.  Sherlock has caused Moriarty to "fall" as a master criminal, getting in the way of several of Moriarty's cases, and thus Moriarty "owes" Sherlock a fall. 

I accept that this is quite possible. I have looked around for alternate explanations, and have found one that has come close to what I am thinking, but allow me to express it anyway.

The theme of fairy tales came up a lot in this episode, repeatedly in fact.  The major story being Hansel and Gretel, which came up several times from the children, the envelopes with bread, the invisible trail left by the kid, etc.  Moriarty said several things relating to fairy tales.  "Every fairy tale needs a villain" for example.  And also, Moriarty wrote that fairy tale for Sherlock in the cab.  The one that drove me crazy was "I love newspapers, fairy tales.  Grim ones at that".  This drove me crazy because of his choice of word "Grim", or to me more likely "Grimm".

Further, it was a Grimms' fairy tales that Sherlock found in the kids room.  What does this have to do with I.O.U.?  If you do a direct translation from letters to numbers, A-1, B-2, C-3... then I.O.U.  = 9, 15, 21.

The very book that Sherlock is holding has a table of contents, exactly like the one found on the Wikipedia page " Grimms' Fairy tales".  The three stories associated with these numbers are: The 12 Brothers, Hansel and Gretel, and Cinderella.  The fact that out of 86 stories, we get a match up to Hansel and Gretel seems TERRIBLY suspect to me.  Having just read Cinderella, I have having trouble making any further connections than I already have, and thus brings us back to "Moriarty owes Sherlock", but this coincidence makes me feel at least a closer look is in order.

Edit: Breakthrough in this theory, check the second reply!

Last edited by Joalro (September 28, 2012 2:38 pm)

 

September 26, 2012 12:34 am  #2


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

I can't say I can shed any light, but I admire your diligence!

 

September 28, 2012 2:38 pm  #3


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Update!

I must give credit to my friend for this (Together we make a very smart think tank)

As mentioned, the first story is twelve brothers.  This story begins with a King and Queen who have 12 sons.

The Queen gets pregnant again.  The king says all he ever wanted was  a daughter, and so  if the new baby is a girl, he will kill all his sons and start fresh.  If it's a boy, then he still does not get his wish, so he will keep his sons alive.  The queen does not want her children harmed, so she tells them to run into the forest.  If she waves a white flag, it means that she had a son and they are safe, if it is a red flag it means she had a daughter and she is in danger.  She ended up with a  daughter, so they stayed in the forest.  There is more to the story than this, but this is all that is needed for now.

The 12 sons is like the 12 jury members.  Moriarty threatened them all. If he was found innocent, they were safe, and if found guilty, they were all in danger.   It would appear as though the first part of Moriarty's plan was presented with this story, and the second part of his plan (the children in the chocolate factory) is presented in Hansel and Gretel.  That only leaves the third part of his plan (framing Sherlock/the rooftop) to somehow match with Cinderella.  It would appear to me that somehow the Grimm version of Cinderella will somehow unlock the rest of the mystery!

     Thread Starter
 

September 28, 2012 4:42 pm  #4


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Or could it, perhaps, link with the story of Snow White? In this she sleeps, appearing to be dead and is mourned as such, until wakened by the kiss of a prince. It is the poisoned apple administered by her step-mother that 'kills' her. Just a thought. How does Ashenputtel (Cinderella) fit? Can you be more explicit with examples? I'm intrigued.


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September 28, 2012 4:55 pm  #5


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Aschenputtel/Cinderella = Molly. Just a spontaneous thought....  ??
Did all the work, but never counted. But then: where's the connection to Moriarty?


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September 28, 2012 6:32 pm  #6


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

I still see a stronger connection to Snow White because of the "poisoned" apple (poisoned by Moriarty's message) and the seeming but not being dead.


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"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

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September 28, 2012 6:45 pm  #7


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

You see a stronger connection to snow white than cinderella, or the other two stories?  Hanzel and Getel is quite clearly the strongest connection.  I personally see the twelve brothers connection to be quite strong as well.

     Thread Starter
 

September 28, 2012 6:51 pm  #8


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

I meant I see a stronger connection to Snow White than to Cinderella. Hansel and Gretel is of course very strong. I still have to think about the twelve brothers.


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"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

September 28, 2012 7:01 pm  #9


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Yes, I can see why you would think that.  However, the already present connection between Hansel and Gretel, as well as this connection to 12 brothers definitely implies the connection between I O U as the 9th, 15th, and 21st Grimms stories, particularly as the events in the episode follow (so far) the events in the order of I OU, suggests that Cinderella will have some sort of connection to the plot.

Please also read the Grimm Cinderella, as it is quite distinct from what I thought of as the story.

     Thread Starter
 

September 28, 2012 8:15 pm  #10


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Yes, the Grimm Cinderella includes three nights at the ball, step-sisters mutilating their feet to fit into the slipper, and birds doing Ella's bidding - including the act of pecking out the step-sisters' eyes at the wedding... several things that have been removed from most other versions.


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September 30, 2012 5:06 pm  #11


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

I'm on board with this theory. Two lines are given added significance in the episode's third act if we subscribe to it.  When Sherlock says to Molly "I need you," we can instead hear that as "I need U," or "I need Cinderella."  Cinderella being this archetypal figure of the loyal, hardworking, but disregarded girl who makes good is a role that fits Molly like a glove. It fits that Sherlock would go to Molly if he needed a Cinderella. Molly has been used and disregarded by both Sherlock and Moriarty, both in service of foiling one another;  she is Cinderella to both of them.

This may be more of a stretch, but I hear echos of this when Sherlock says to Moriarty, "I'm not my brother. I am you." I can't really put together what that would mean.  If Molly is Cinderella I don't know very well how Sherlock can claim to be "U," but I think it is an idea worth following. I don't think he is referring to Moriarty when he says 'you/U' in that.

Last edited by Pope (September 30, 2012 5:41 pm)

 

September 30, 2012 5:38 pm  #12


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Well, going along with your premise that the "U" refers to the original Cinderella story, here's my idea after just reading it (at http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/grimm/bl-grimm-cinderella.htm) about how it could tie in:

I propose that Cinderella is Sherlock.  Wait!  Hear me out.     Cinderella is stuck in a situation not of her own making, just like Sherlock.  She is beautiful and pure but surrounded by mean and nasty people, one might almost say evil creatures.  Perhaps Richard Brook and Moriarty are the two step-sisters.  Sherlock is good and true to his ideals--on the side of angels--but is surrounded by mendacity and betrayal, especially when he goes undercover to both hide himself and pursue criminals.  Sherlock is hiding in plain sight--disguised, he is unrecognized by those in his former life.

Cinderella goes to the King's festival, dances with the Prince, but departs without leaving a trace.  Perhaps Sherlock goes to London, associates with Scotland Yard or some other governmental department--maybe he is secretly doing work for Mycroft?--and disappears before people can find out who he is.  (Who IS that masked man?!) 

All the attempts by the evil-doers to pretend to be the right lady for the prince are in vain and the truth finally comes out.  Likewise, all Moriarty's efforts to frame Sherlock are in vain because eventually, finally, the truth about him and about Sherlock is revealed. 

Moriarty is punished for his deeds (he dies), just like the two step-sisters were punished by having their eyes plucked out.  They are reduced to nothing, like Moriarty.  However, vestiges of their former selves remain--they aren't yet dead and still have the potential to inflict harm on Cinderella.  Just as Moriarty's web hasn't yet been sundered and still has the potential to harm Sherlock.

But, mostly, they all lived happily ever after.


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September 30, 2012 10:48 pm  #13


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Don't the breadcrumbs come from Hansel and Gretel too? Forgive me, I'm not too up on my fairy tales.


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October 2, 2012 11:29 am  #14


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Hello! I am new to the forum and, frankly to Sherlock. I have only just now (in the last few days) finished watching both series. wow. what have i been missing?! I love it and am now obsessed with the theorizing of how and why and what happened in TRF.

I have read your theory and i like it. I have a little twist on it. I think I have read your theory elsewhere too. And, I have read this similar theory as well but i cannot post link yet because i am new. sorry. it is on tumblr and its called pretty things & monsters. basically, it states that the I O U referes to the elements in the periodic table and their coinciding numbers refer to Grimm fairy tales.

I agree with you and with the woman who wrote the above: i think that I O U is a riddle. To me it is pretty clear based on what Moriarty ("M") said to SH while visiting his flat:

Sh: I don't like Riddles
M: well, you better start because I O U a fall.

my theory/idea is a variation of yours and the above. I think that the "hansel and gretel" case that M set out for SH has two purposes: 1) it works to set him up as a fraud and to plant that idea in the public and in Lastrade's head; and 2) it gives SH clues to the Final Problem.

M leaves secret messages for SH in linseed oil at the school, including his foot print. SH says the foot print will tell them exactly what the kidnapper was up to because the linseed oil will preserve everything on the shoe. First, why would the contents of the warehouse be on the kidnappers shoe BEFORE he took the kids there? the kidnapper napped the kids and THEN took them to the warehouse. So, why would he have all the identifying elements on his shoes DURING the kidnapping? [this question has been asked by other fans before].  I think that what can be deduced is that M wanted SH to find the kids and thus gave him the information he needed preserved in linseed oil and in his footprint. We, of course, know that this was M's plan b/c the whole purpose of the kidnapping was to set up SH as a fraud.

So, M gives SH "elements" to decipher in order to find the kids. He also gives him the Grimm Fairy tales book. And, he sends crumbs (just like in hansel and gretel). While SH is in the St. Bart's lab deciphering the elements preserved in the footprint, he mumbles "I O U."  Why would he be mumbling this now? while in the lab? while working on the kidnapp case, deciphering the location of the children? I think because he realized that M's clue was to look at the elements.

the element table has numbers associated with each chemical element and the chemical elements – iodine, oxygen, and uranium have letter symbols of I, O, U and each respective number assigned is 53, 8, 92.  These numbers coincide with the Grimm FT's of: Little Snow White, The Strange Musician and The King of Gold Mountain.

Soon after SH solves the kidnapp case, he receives a burnt gingerbread man and says "burnt to a crisp." JW asks what it means and SH does not reveal.

In The Great Game, M tells SH at the pool that he does not want to kill him, he is saving that for a very special occasion which he will get to later. But, he will "burn him. burn the very heart of him." SH replies that he does not have a heart and M says, but we both know that is not true. In TRF, SH asks M during their tea together if M knows yet how he is going to burn him, recalling back to their midnight meeting at the pool. 

Thus what may be deduced from all this is that M has begun to "burn the heart" of SH because he sent the burnt gingerbread man. The bread crumbs are an indicator that M is leaving SH clues to the burn. both the crumbs and the burnt to crisp gingerbread man refer to and relate to the Grimm Fairy Tales. The Hansel and Gretel kidnappings, as mentioned before, function to both set up SH as a fraud and to give him clues to the burn M has in store because they clue SH into the I O U riddle.

the elements of I O U refer to the "very heart" of SH that M will burn - Mrs. Hudson, John Watson, and Inspector Lastrade. Mrs. Hudson is the little snow white. The Strange Musician refers to JW. That story, in short, is about a fiddler who is looking for a companion, and finally finds one he likes who saves his life. Recall what JW was willing to do for SH at the pool; he was willing to die for him and M noted that JW showed his hand and the sniper quickly moved his mark to SH. And, The King of Gold Mountain refers to Lastrade. In the fairytale that M wrote for SH in the cab about Sir Boast-A-Lot, he refers to Lastrade as the king - "soon even the king becomes suspicious." Also, the King of Gold Mountain includes a snake who solves people's problems for a price - like SH does for Lastrade. 

connecting Mrs. Hudson to snow white is more difficult than the other two. But, I still think it fits. Maybe because she is pure and gets saved time and again. She is the epitome of a happy ending.

When SH figures this out, he is then capable of going to Molly, who is not targeted by M to help with faking his death. I think that Mycroft is also in on it. Both Molly and Mycroft worry about SH, but he shows very little esteem for them. Key word is shows- SH shows very little esteem for them. M is certainly watching too. And, the thing that Mycroft and Molly have in common is that SH seems to not care about them, despite their adoration for him. 

The conversation at St. Bart's between SH and Molly is very relevant here. She sees that he is worried. He is in fact worried and does not want to let on to JW. SH is in the midst of the "big burn" and he knows that M knows that JW is at the heart of SH. She tells him that she "does not count," and that he can have her for help (not in the indelicate way).  SH has a very confused look on his face when Molly says she does not count. SH himself does not see things that way M does with regard to who goes to his very heart. He does care for Molly and Mycroft. But, he does not show it and so he realizes what M is after- his landlady/mother figure, his work (lestrade) and his one friend, JW. Once SH figures out who the 3 targets are, he goes to Molly and tells her that he needs her - "I need you." I believe this is a clue that SH has cracked the I O U riddle.

Of course on the roof, M confirms who the 3 targets are, and he does it only when SH pushes the issues, to say the least.

The reason that SH needed to know who was targeted is obviously because killing them is burning the heart of him. And, the Final Problem is "staying alive."

In The Great Game, there were 5 pips, meaning 5 problems. But only four were played out. The fifth was partially started at the midnight pool meeting. M said at that meeting that he had no intention of killing SH just yet. And, yet, he comes back in allegedly changing his mind. But, I think he comes back in only so that his phone would ring and the ring tone would play- staying alive. The person who called is of course Irene Adler. I do not think this was a mere coincidence. I think M left the room to arrange for the call. Irene Adler was probably already looking to get in touch with him and he decided to take her call at that very moment so that 1) the phone would ring in that tone and 2) because its sexy that way since Irene's call basically starts the ball rolling to burn SH.

staying alive IS the final problem and a continuation of the the great game. additionally, in A Study In Pink, wherein M first came into the picture it was over a suicide pill. murder by suicide. SH called it a game of chance, but the cabbie, i.e. M, said it was chess. the key was to stay alive.

So, coming full circle, M set up the big burn for SH- your friends die or you do. and the final problem is staying alive. I am unclear as to how SH deduced that the conundrum would pit his life against his friends. Maybe it is in the fairy tales as well?

the thing that is out of character for SH, i think, is that he was being sentimental, so to speak. As he said in Scandal, you usually find sentiment on the losing side. But, this time, it is because he cared about the people M wanted to kill, it gave him an advantage. Being sentimental- or at least thinking in terms of sentiment- allowed him to figure out how M was going to burn the heart of him and thus plan in advance his own fake death to stay alive.

I also think that SH forced M's hand and thus forced him to commit suicide. this calls back to a Study in Pink. But, I cannot full work that out yet.

sorry for the long post. anyway...yeah. that is what i think. and it is probably ALL wrong.

 

October 2, 2012 11:51 am  #15


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

I must say I have been following this thread with interest, and I find it amazing how many connections you all have found.
A lot of hard work goes into this kind of analysis, and it is pretty impressive.

Nonethless, I personally think the theories are too far fetched, sorry. I am not saying I am right and you are wrong.
But for me, while the fairly tale links are obviously there, they are not meant to be interpreted in such detail. Writers love using children's rhymes and fairy tales to create a scary environment, to remind us of the things we feared when we were little. The way the children's kidnapping reminded us of Hänsel & Gretel, and the apple of Cinderella are beautiful examples of this method. But to me, that is really all it is.
Again, I am not saying that the numbers of the grimm fairy tales or the elements starting with I, O and U are definitely a dead end, it's just that I personally doubt that the writers would go to such lengths for a handfull of devoted (or obsessed  )  fans.


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"There is no such word as 'impossible' in my dictionary. In fact, everything between 'herring' and 'marmalade' seems to be missing." Dirk Gently

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October 2, 2012 12:07 pm  #16


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

hypergreenfrog wrote:

I must say I have been following this thread with interest, and I find it amazing how many connections you all have found.
A lot of hard work goes into this kind of analysis, and it is pretty impressive.

Nonethless, I personally think the theories are too far fetched, sorry. I am not saying I am right and you are wrong.
But for me, while the fairly tale links are obviously there, they are not meant to be interpreted in such detail. Writers love using children's rhymes and fairy tales to create a scary environment, to remind us of the things we feared when we were little. The way the children's kidnapping reminded us of Hänsel & Gretel, and the apple of Cinderella are beautiful examples of this method. But to me, that is really all it is.
Again, I am not saying that the numbers of the grimm fairy tales or the elements starting with I, O and U are definitely a dead end, it's just that I personally doubt that the writers would go to such lengths for a handfull of devoted (or obsessed  )  fans.

I understand, and you are probably right. But, then again, they did the same thing in The Blind Banker. The ancient numbers had to be deciphered and then coded from the AtoZ London book (written by the same man writer of TRF). the only difference is that it was in one episode and not a cliff hanger, which allows fans to speculate. they do not write the story with the intent for the fans to figure out, as much as to watch. some fans like to figure it out. with time between seasons, it is allowed but not expected.

 

October 4, 2012 11:09 am  #17


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Wow, I love all of these ideas!  You guys are putting so much thought into it!  I've only seen the episode twice now and mostly I just don't like to think about it, so it is a complete surprise when I see the third series.  Also, I need to watch it a few more times to pick up that 'one vital clue'!  I used to be a Doctor Who fan and the first thing I thought when I saw the IOU everywhere was 'Bad Wolf', haha q:

warmth , lula x

 

October 4, 2012 12:40 pm  #18


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

Definitely agree that it's a bit far fetched. It is common enough to find connections in anything if you look hard enough. Also the creators have stated everything we need to know is on the screen.

My #1 criticism of this theory also would be that it would be a creative suicide to use the same method of code in another episode; there are millions of codes & ciphers out there, to repeat the use of one kind is something you would only find in children's shows.


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January 22, 2013 8:13 am  #19


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

there is actually a little bit of a reference to Cinderella, the birds. There were birds that flew away from the building that Sherlock jumped from, they flew away AFTER he jumped, which was a bit weird but anyway. At the end of the cinderella story, birds attack the two stepsisters eyes. But in all honesty, this is getting a little too complicated, I think there is a connection to the fairytales but it's more simple, like John and Sherlock being Hansel & Gretel, they were following the clues (like the breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel) and the clues ultimately led to Moriaty (the witch's house).
 


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January 22, 2013 8:43 am  #20


Re: I.O.U. Update: Breakthrough!

I wouldn't give the birds in this scene a greater importance because there are many pigeons around St. Bart's anyway.
(And the film crew didn't change hardly anything from what I experienced on location.) And for the Cindrella motif they are too weak. A lost shoe for example would have been much more obvious if the authors had had the intention to hint at that very fairytale.


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