Will Sherlock’s Nostalgic Special ‘The Abominable Bride’ Be Remembered as a Success? – Review


The Sherlock Special episode “The Abominable Bride” has aired, there are a lots of nods to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories and novels.

There might be spoilers and the readers who are yet to watch the episode are recommended to bookmark this post and come back later.

The Sherlock Special episode “The Abominable Bride” has aired, and there are a lots of nods to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories and novels. The episode title, The Abominable Bride involving the bride, Emilia Ricoletti and her husband, Thomas Ricoletti. Sherlock Holmes mentions this case to Dr John Watson in The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.

After watching the episode, it somehow reminded me of the movie Inception. Sherlock has to go deeper and deeper within his brain to deduce how Jim Moriarty could be alive – in actuality, the whole episode happens within five minutes.

Remember the last scene of season 3, where sherlock is in the plane and Moriarty comes back? They call sherlock back, and all this happens between the landing period. Anyhow, you’ve already seen the episode, so lets dig a little deeper…

A further two years have flown by and once again, the year begins with a return to 221b Baker Street. Followed By Sherlock deducing the identity of his client as being Mary Morstan based on her perfume. There is a reference to this by Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles: 

There are seventy-five perfumes, which it is very necessary that a criminal expert should be able to distinguish from each other, and cases have more than once within my own experience depended upon their prompt recognition.

Telegrams replace the on-screen cursive script that is usually the familiar, modern font. So far, the show had been self-referential, but still good. The period setting is often shot in attractive hues, relying too often on ugly scene transitions awkwardly contemporising what could have been an admirably dry, historical feel.

Once settled into 1870s, the ‘humour’ creeps in a little too much. An extended joke conveyed via sign language in the silent lobby paves the way for a visit to Mycroft that struck as having aimed for canon but landed somewhere past it. Purists may have hindered at the modern show’s “skinny” Holmes sibling, but this version seems to be inspired by Monty Python’s Mr Creosote, taking Doyle’s original descriptions of “gross” and “massive” perhaps too far. In retrospect, the silly jokes about plum pudding and predictions of a remaining lifespan seem like filler.

The stand-off between Holmes and Moriarty will please many fans, but it added nothing to a story that was already creaking under the weight of unnecessary changes in scenery and time period. The addition of Watson to a scene in which he never originally featured shows that the creators were desperately trying to give fans of all three characters everything they could wish for, rather than making the best episode possible.

It has been written that Mycroft possesses the greater intellect, the more orderly mind of the Holmes brothers. Having sat through this jumble of drug-induced, exquisitely crafted period drama taking place entirely inside the mind of his younger sibling, all in the name of solving a century old case in the hopes of understanding a new one, it seems clear that not only is Mycroft the superior thinker, but also infinitely more capable of acting out the life of a believable human being. This Special episode can be considered an hour and a half long teaser for the new season, whilst giving a glimpse of the original story by Arthur Conan Doyle.

What are you most looking forward to in Sherlock Season 4?


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