The Abominable Bride
While this site has primarily been focused on the more Scientific and Fantastic elements of the world, I’d be remiss if I missed the latest episode of Sherlock (it’s only been 2 years – but who’s counting). After all, I am a SuperWhoLock fan & I’m guessing so are you!
While the biggest complaint I have for Sherlock – which I’m sure is echoed by many – is its lack of continuity – i.e. the huge gap in between seasons, not so much in the story itself, the addition of a Christmas Special was a good way to help tide the gap between seasons. Sadly with Benedict Cumberbatch going the way of Hollywood (you do know he’s the next Doctor Strange in the Marvel Universe don’t you?) I expect that this gap will not get any shorter and we might have to either say adieu to him as the titular character or get used to even longer gaps between seasons.
The Case at hand
Previous episodes and seasons of Sherlock have focused to a very large factor on the modern day era vs. how the character was actually written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This episode, however, puts our characters into that long ago & bygone era and has us deal with a murder somewhat dissimilar to one we’ve grown accustomed to from our favorite sleuthing duo. The mystery of the story is that of the deceased Mrs. Ricoletti, who after randomly firing at people in the street blows the top of her head off with her last shot. Inspector Lestrade fearfully recounts how Mr. Ricoletti was murdered the evening after by… Mrs. Ricoletti. Sherlock takes the case but for several months, nothing happens until more deaths occur at the apparent hands of the vengeful Mrs. Ricoletti.
Mycroft & Lady Carmichael
When Sherlock meets his brother Mycroft, he puts him in contact with another victim of Mrs. Ricoletti and asks him to take the case. While Mycroft (who is massively corpulent) indicates that he’s already solved the case (and in fact informs Sherlock its a case that he MUST lose) he wants Sherlock to take it on to see if he comes up with a different solution. Mycroft makes a bet with Sherlock to see if he can solve it and Sherlock meets up with Lady Carmichael. Lady Carmichael recounts how her husband had seen the ghost of Mrs. Ricoletti in their garden and she’s frightened that he will be her next victim. Sherlock agrees to take the case and informs her that her husband will be protected. When Sherlock meets up with Eustace Carmichael, he denies any connection to Mrs. Ricoletti but is murdered soon after.
Watson and Sherlock had staked out the Carmichael’s country mansion. On the night of the murder they see an apparition of Mrs. Ricoletti, but Watson fails to pursue her. Sherlock becomes scared when a note is found on Eustace from Moriarty after he has inspected the body. Mycroft berates Sherlock for his failure in dealing with the case. That evening Sherlock takes a large amount of cocaine and undergoes a vision of Moriarty. After taunting Sherlock that he is more than a figment Moriarty again commits suicide by shooting himself in the head.
Moriarity & Sherlock
If you recall from Season 2 and the somewhat amazing finale, Moriarity was Sherlocks most able nemesis and he had seemingly killed himself at the end of the Season by committing suicide. Now while Sherlock himself seemingly plunged to his death at the conclusion of that season only to return from the beyond in Season 3, could Moriarity have also returned from the dead somehow? The conclusion or finale to Season 3 definitely seemed to imply that he had.
The Addict & the Abominable Bride
Sherlock as we’ve learned previously is not afraid of experimenting on himself with drugs if it will help him solve a case. Well in a twist that I wasn’t really expecting, it seems the whole case of the Abominable Bride was in fact Sherlock under the influence and in his mind palace trying to solve a long-dormant case! When he wakes up back in the plane, we realize that the case we’ve been following is something long lost to history – and while he’s not fully out of the woods in regards to his drug overdose, now that we understand why he’s in the Victorian era it starts to make sense, but in a somewhat sad way, we also lose the magic that was prevalent in that version of Holmes and Watson.
Sherlock then wakes up back in the Victorian age. At an abandoned church in the countryside Mary reveals she has been working for Mycroft trying to solve the case. In the church they discover a group of woman dressed as cultists. Sherlock reveals to them he knows how they faked Ricoletti’s suicide and used her haunting to go after men they deemed unworthy. They are the precursors to the woman’s sufferage movement and are trying to gain acceptance for women in society.
Now while the whole case might have been nothing more than a drug-induced coma, it does allow Sherlock to deduce (after a further confrontation with Moriarity at the Reichenbach falls) that Moriarity is truly dead. Someone else is using his likeness for their own nefarious purposes. This special episode of Sherlock is hard to judge. It is an improvement over season 3, but the fun and mystery of the first two season’s has yet to return. To sum things up, the first half hour of The Abominable Bride was a bit boring. Sure it was fun to see how Watson and Sherlock became friends in 1895 and how it mirrored the pilot episode. It was also fun to see how certain female characters were interwoven into the story. The Abominable Bride has a number of big reveals at the end. As a viewer I was only interested in one. How did Mrs. Ricoletti rise was from the grave to kill her husband after her apparent suicide. The revelations that she and her female conspirators left a dead look alike at the scene of the suicide felt novel. That they later on switched the body with that of the real Mrs. Ricoletti, who committed suicide just for the occasion, reminded me of the how good things were during the first two seasons.
Was this one of the better episodes? … well compared to Season 1 and 2, probably not. It was good as a standalone episode, and was also generally better than most of Season 3, however the best part of the episode was probably simply the return to our screens of Sherlock and Watson!
I really love Sherlock: the way they made the adaptations from Doyle’s writings to present day was rather brilliant. That being said the reason why I love the show so much is, um, Moriarty. He is, at times, even more fascinating than Holmes or the cases he has to solve. With this being said I haven’t watched the movie yet, but I didn’t have high hopes for it and this review proved me right. Other than that it’s a shame Cumberbatch is more focused on Hollywood than on Sherlock. I think this is, was, and will be his best performance to date.
Hey Alice – yeah it started out really well, but after the grand reveal it lost its allure unfortunately! I’m actually quite worried about the future of Sherlock as losing Cumberbatch would be tragic. Conversely Moffat is leaving Doctor Who to focus more on Sherlock and other projects from what I understand so perhaps I’m worrying needlessly.