Saturday, January 02, 2016

My Review of Sherlock's: "The Abominable Bride"

Written by Steven Moffat And Mark Gatiss
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Sherlock (to Watson): "The game is afoot."

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Now ever since the third series (and arguably even in aspects of the first two), Sherlock as a show has been getting a little too metatextual for it's own good and for a one off special until the fourth series arrives next year, we've got this Victorian laced episode that was certainly not quite what it seemed.

It was 1895 and both Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have met for the first time and are soon working to solve the case of murderous dead bride, Emilia Ricoletti (Natasha O'Keeffe) who has been going on something of a murder spree, targeting certain men in spite of the fact that she's meant to be dead herself. How can a woman supposedly dead be killing people if ghosts don't actually exist?

More to the point, how can a man who blew his brains out actually be alive for that matter? I should've copped on earlier into the episode that this was literally a case of crackfic coming to life with Sherlock using a Victorian unsolved case in his mind palace to figure out how Moriarty can still be a problem for him.

To say I was a little relieved that this episode was actually going to try and resolve (or further enhance, mystery wise) the cliffhanger from His Last Vow would be an understatement but it certainly helped to make what could've been a daft but pointless one-off a little more impactful.

The truth of the matter is that between mind palace escapades, Sherlock getting high in both Victorian and modern times, the interesting use of a women's rights group (hello Janine and posing as a man, Molly) and of course, the recreation of an iconic moment then subverted, the truth is that Moriarty is actually dead. Or is he? By this time next year, we're likely to have a proper answer but logically, how can anyone survive blasting their brains out?

I was initially a little wary of the show playing around with Victorian times but there was certainly a lot of fun to be had with some hilarious interpretations and commentaries not just on Holmes and Watson but also Lestrade, Mary, Mrs Hudson, Mycroft (Mark Gatiss putting in a hilarious comic performance and also a touching one too), Molly, Janine and Anderson. This isn't the sort of experiment the show should ever repeat again but for one night only, it was a great effort.

- The episode opened with a handy recap of the first three series, which turned out to be relevant to the actual episode itself.
- Irene did not appear in this episode, other than in a photograph. I would've loved to have seen her with Janine and Molly. As for that sign language, hilarious.
- I liked the variation of the theme and the sight of a rather heavier Mycroft was funnier than Molly dressed as a male doctor. In Victorian times, she's not a Sherlock fangirl.
- Filming for the fourth series begins in April, so assuming there's no hiccups, we should have it on BBC1 this time next year.

It was indulgent, took a tiny bit to follow in parts and was certainly sillier than usual but other than that, The Abominable Bride made me actually miss the show more than when it was off the air, glad it was on air and kept my Twitter entertaining for several hours. Oh and it was actually an enjoyable episode, so that was a plus too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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