Seeing as how we won’t get season four of Sherlock until 2017, this year’s holiday (?) special, The Abominable Bride, was highly anticipated.
Just as the series premiere (A Study in Pink) was a modern version of the first book Sherlock Holmes book (A Study in Scarlet), The Abominable Bride is almost identical to A Study in Pink, but it’s set in the 19th century.
Dr. John Watson returns from war and moves into a London flat with the observant, genius, and obnoxious Sherlock Holmes. As they work together to solve cases and annoy the police, Watson chronicles their adventures not in a blog, but the local paper.
As the title suggests, the case of a bride who committed suicide and returns from the dead to kill philandering men takes up a large portion of the episode, delivering some fairly effective chills. But what really makes the episode work is the occasional interjections of Sherlock and Watson in present day, right where we left them: Holmes is given a stay of execution so he can solve the case of someone who committed suicide and returned from the dead, and that someone is Moriarty.
As usual, the episode was visually stunning with detailed sets and costuming, and a few legitimately scary nighttime action scenes. Cumberbatch and Freeman displayed their undeniable chemistry, proving why theirs is the best bromance on TV.
You can’t set your special in Victorian London without addressing the women’s movement. Mary, Watson’s wife, is frustrated being left home while her husband runs around with Sherlock. Watson doesn’t seem to “get it,” that’s why it’s surprising when he’s the only one who notices a woman pretending to be a man simply so she can work in her profession of choice. And it’s even further perplexing that he talks down to his maid, suggesting that he’ll have words with Mary to tell her to have words with the maid because that’s women’s work.
It also felt a little… off… that Sherlock later delivers a speech about how shitty it is for the women in their society, while a room full of women just stand there in silence.
Still, this was as good as Sherlock gets, which is pretty damn good. I won’t spoil why our duo is in Victorian London, but rest assured the return of Moriarty wasn’t ignored. We’ll just have to wait till 2017 to find out what it means.
Sherlock - The Abominable Bride
This was such a pleasure to watch. I gasped out loud, loved the twists, and it was great seeing the gang again.
Considering the reveal when The Abominable Bride case is solved, and thinking about The Joker on FOX’s Gotham, I’m pretty sure I know where they’re going with “Moriarty’s return.”
Why isn’t it 2017 yet?