The episode opens with a quick rehash of how Watson and Holmes met then ‘the games afoot’ when Lestrade arrives with the case of The Abominable Bride, a woman—in a wedding dress—who killed herself (in the same fashion as Moriarty) then rises from the dead and murders her husband. A few months later Lestrade returns to 221B Baker Street with the disturbing news that the Abominable Bride has returned and murdered several men in their homes and, of course, Sherlock is intrigued enough to want to solve the case.
Series: Sherlock: A Special | Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman | Studio: BBC | Run Time: 90 minutes | Release Date: January 12, 2014 | Genre: Mystery| Source: BBC | Rating: 3.5
I’m such a fan of Sherlock Holmes, both the original creation of Arthur Conan Doyle and the modern day version brought to life by Benedict Cumberbatch, so I was thrilled when I discovered that the BBC would be releasing a special that would send this modern day Sherlock back to Victorian London.
Warning Spoilers Ahead
Please skip the following paragraph if you do not want to read them.
The show was going brilliantly until the second half, in which the viewer discovers that the case is actually taking place in Sherlock’s ‘Mind Palace’—thanks to him taking a cocktail of drugs— and Sherlock is trying to work out if his nemesis, Moriarty, faked his death.
End of Spoilers
From this point on, the show weaves in and out of the past and the present as Sherlock resolves to solve the case of the Abominable Bride. Thrown in the mix is, oddly enough, the subject of feminism. And when the show ends, while the mystery is resolved, there is still a possibility that Sherlock’s modern day world is askew.
While I enjoyed this special—yes, fellow Sherlock fans, a special is all that we will be getting this year *le sigh*—and the fact it’s mostly set in Victorian times, I was a bit disappointed with the second half. It was an interesting approach, but, at times, it felt a bit jumbled and rushed.
Where the previous shows in the series are based mainly off a single Sherlock Holmes story, The Abominable Bride takes pieces from several Sherlock Holmes stories and creates a unique tale of its own.
The title The Abominable Bride as well as the name ‘Ricoletti’ comes from a rather small reference from The Adventures of the Musgrave Ritual. The orange pips that Lord Carmichael receives shortly before he dies comes from The Five Orange Pips, which is one of only two Holmes stories where the client dies after seeking Holmes’ help. The oddly chosen attire for the secret sect of feminist—which, is sure to raise eyebrows— also stems from The Five Orange Pips.
Another thing that will catch die-hard Sherlockians off guard—and leave some wondering about Sherlock’s reality— in this special is that Sherlock actually says, “elementary, my dear Watson”. While, for some strange reason, that has become a catchphrase associated with Sherlock, it was actually only uttered once in The Adventure of the Crooked Man and not in that order.
Overall, while this special may have left some viewers wondering if they fell down a rabbit hole, and, while I wasn’t thoroughly 100 % impressed, I still found this special and the breadcrumbs it left intriguing. I’m eager to see where the brilliant minds behind Sherlock are going to go with this in the new season, which will probably air in 2017.
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Photos courtesy of the BBC