The episode begins with Holmes having a phone conversation with Moriarty, and Watson recording the conversation. Moriarty thanks Holmes for passing on his messages to Moran. He tells Holmes that people come to him with various jobs, and he gets it done for them. Holmes is not interested in what he does. The only thing Holmes wants to know is whether he (Moriarty) killed Irene Adler. Moriarty tells him that he is aware that this question has been haunting him for years. He tells Holmes that he will answer her only if Holmes helps him with a case. He wants to hire Holmes as an investigator. ..Read the full recap
(Sherlock finally gets to speak to Moriarty.)
Moriarty: Consider me a spider. I sit motionless in the center of my web. That web has a thousand radiations and I know well every quiver of each of them. I do little myself. I only plan. My agents are numerous and splendidly organized. If there is a crime to be done, a paper to be extracted, a house to be rifled, or a man to be removed, the word is passed to me. The matter is planned and carried out.
Sherlock: So you're a pimp and assassins are your girls.
(Watson questions how Sherlock can be so sure that Moriarty isn't going to kill him.)
Sherlock: Because three years ago he ordered Gottlieb not to kill me. Last night I was in the sights of another assassins rifle, yet here I sit. He couldn't be clearer, he doesn't want me dead.
(Watson wants to know more about Irene)
Sherlock: She was American.
Sherlock: I held it against her only briefly.
(Captain Greson brings Watson in for a secret meeting.)
Capt. Gregson: There's something you gotta try to understand. Guys like him, they walk between the raindrops. They don't get wet. People like you, do. People like his ex-girlfriend, do.
Watson: So you're concerned about my safety?
Capt. Gregson: In case you haven't noticed, a lot of bodies've been dropping around our boy as of late.
Watson: You're in the danger zone also.
Capt. Gregson: I've been a cop for thirty years. I carry a gun.
Watson: And a penis.
(Watson and Sherlock discuss their feelings after handling the case.)
Sherlock: I think this is supposed to be a stupid lesson. To show me, a man who craves vengeance can destroy the lives of others.
(Watson catches Sherlock lying to her again.)
Sherlock: Watson...Most puzzles, I see from the outside, and it gives me a certain clarity. I am right in the center, of this one...It has blurred my vision, to say the least.
(Watson defends her right to be included in this case.)
Sherlock: The reasons I'm here are personal.
Watson: I could say the same thing. I have been with you every step of the way these past couple weeks. We have worked hard on this case. Whatever answers he's got in there for you, I deserve them too.
The way Moriarty describes himself over the phone "Consider me a spider..." is based on how Sherlock himself describes Moriarty in Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Final Problem."
When Sherlock talks about Irene to Watson he says, "She was, to me, the woman. To me she eclipsed and predominated the whole of her gender." In Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Scandal in Bohemia" it says, "To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. ... In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex."