Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

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Friday night saw the premier of the latest Sherlock ep, The Abominable Bride.  Set in the Victorian era, Sherlock and Watson confront a criminal who seemingly rose from the dead to go on a killing spree.  Lestrade is spooked, Watson is mystified, Mary is eager to get in on the action, and Mrs. Hudson is making tea in a passive-aggressive sort of way.

But all is not what it seems!  Indeed Sherlock’s interest in the Abominable Bride is mostly academic: he’s using an old, unsolved mystery to figure out how Moriarty might have survived, as seen at the send of Series Three. He *might* have come up with an answer, but that’s for us to figure out in the next series.  The whole episode is a drug-induced fantasy that takes place between the time Sherlock hears about Moriarty and the time Mycroft, John, and Mary bring him back to consciousness.

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So, what did your totally impartial reviewer think?

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Let’s start with the “meh”: A cabal of murderous feminists who have their aims explained by Sherlock rather than the very capable Molly Hooper or Mary Morstan?  Meh.  Three instances of trying to bring Sherlock around in the modern day?  Once would have sufficed.  So meh.  Morbidly obese Mycroft surrounding by piles of food?  Meh.

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But enough with the meh!  On to the fun!  The Victorian setting was great, with rich detail and a clever reimagining of how Sherlock and Watson meet.  I was in from the start!  The wordplay was, as always, sharp and the central mystery, even if it was a macguffin, was engaging and slightly confounding.  It was great to see familiar faces pop up, especially Andrew Scott’s Moriarty who is in fine, scenery-chewing form!  The modern day bits were also surprisingly effective, especially the ways Mycroft and John react to Sherlock’s od’ing.  Not surprisingly, Benedict Cumberbatch was swoon-worthy.

Yes there are some issues, but on the whole, I thought this was an exciting, worthy entry to tide us over until Series 4.  I feel like a lot of the criticism I’ve read tends to deal more with the fandom side of things rather than taking the episode as it is.  But those are my two cents.  How about yours??

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About artdorkgirl

Amanda is working on her PhD at Boston University, where she is educating herself out of any useful career. She enjoys art, cats, and arguing about historical figures.
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11 Responses to Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

  1. catweazle says:

    My first impression was that it was a really shitty episode but I think I need to rewatch it with the knowledge that it’s a drug-induced fever dream from the start. I just thought the Victorian parts that didn’t deal directly with the mystery were really weird and tonally inconsistent. Like the thing at Diogenes with the weird sign language! It was supposed to be funny, I’m sure, but the whole “People are inept at speaking foreign languages/doing sign language” is pretty hacky at this point and I think that time could have been better spent explaining the whole Underground Lady KKK situation. And the Fat Mycroft thing was just gross. Ditto the Moriarty licking the gun thing.

    I know a lot of people didn’t like the Reichenbach scene but I thought it actually kind of saved the episode because it let me view the whole thing as Sherlock coming to terms with his own psychological issues and getting over some of his self-loathing tendencies. If it weren’t for that I would just say they should’ve gotten rid of all the modern day/drug overdose parts and just made it a completely standalone episode but ultimately I guess I didn’t hate it. Except for Lestrade’s mutton chops.

    • artdorkgirl says:

      The weird thing is that the Diogenes deal (other than the jokes at John’s expense. I mean, come on, he’s a pretty bright guy), didn’t phase me because that is a thing some of those old clubs did! They had their own signs for things. So if anything, upper class gentlemen’s societies are totally ridiculous.

      I agree with you on the Moriarty licking the gun thing. We get it, he’s if not gay, Sherlock-sexual. Whoop de do. I did figure out that it tied into the present day the first time Sherlock slipped and starting discussing how “he” did it rather than “she.’

      Also, you hated Lestrade’s mutton chops?? Joy thief.

  2. flanny says:

    Ack, I didn’t watch this because it was “on too late.” And it hadn’t hit the PBS app this weekend, so I SHALL RETURN.

  3. martinmegz says:

    I agree with your take except maybe I was even more positive about it. There was a slow patch around the middle when they were sitting in the yard in the middle of the night waiting for the bride, and I hated Fat Mycroft because it was stupid and not funny. Otherwise there’s such a charm to the show. I thought it was just a one-off Victorian episode so I was delighted at the dream reveal. This episode left me so excited to see what’s happening with Moriarty next season. When does that come out? 2018? Before or after the next Star Wars? Will TV still exist then?

    • artdorkgirl says:

      From the rumblings I’ve heard, they may be filming this year with a new series to start next. However, nothing is finalized yet. I know that we’re probably not getting any new Who this year, which suggests that’s because they’ll be working on Sherlock. A girl can dream, anyway. A girl can dream.

  4. I am an unabashed fan, so no surprise that I loved it. I know the Internet didn’t really like the whole drug induced dream idea or whatever, but I was fairly skeptical of the whole Victorian setting prior to watching, so I really liked how they managed to work it in in a believable way, even though I will forever hate the phrase “mind palace”. And I loved fat Mycroft, if only because it was much more true to the original character than their version of Mycroft. I will also always love passive aggressive Mrs. Hudson, she is my favorite.
    The Sherlock/Watson was a pretty faithful rendition of their meeting in Study in Scarlet (I think….?)

    • Simon Spidermonk says:

      Agreed that “mind palace” is dumb. They used kind of the same idea in Doctor Who and it worked a lot better there than it does in Sherlock because the Doctor is a literal alien with an entirely alien way of thinking. Unfortunately, the concept will forever be slightly tarnished for me – no matter how well it’s used – by its association with the ridiculous phrase “mind palace.”

      I was also pretty sceptical of the Victorian setting so it was a relief when it tied into the ongoing, present-day story, but yeah, we seem to be in the minority on that one. I think I might have been disappointed by this episode if I hadn’t been aware of the internet’s negative reaction to it from the start; as it was, I was pleasantly surprised. There were some dumb things, for sure, but they were dumb in the same way that Sherlock has always been kind of melodramatic and dumb, and it had more than enough cool and clever things to make up for them.

  5. old man fatima says:

    I’m late to this party, but I just wanted to say that I didn’t love it, but I did like it a lot! I loved fat Mycroft, just because Mycroft Q Whiskershire, my cat, is a terrible glutton who would weigh 50 lbs if he had the chance. He got into the cupboard once and ate half a tab of butter and most of a loaf of bread!! He’s a small cat!! He didn’t even puke after!! My Mycroft would definitely take a bet based on how long he could live in morbid obesity if it meant he could start ordering pizzas to the house.

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