After a laborious wait, Sherlock came back onto our screens for a New Year’s Day special. With the DVD release, Sherlock fans can watch the one and a half hour long spectacular as much as they like! (It does require more than one viewing; I’ll get to that in a moment.)
For fans like me, the show couldn’t come around quick enough. I needed my Sherlock fix sooner rather than later! I’m an avid lover of all of the episodes and as the show doesn’t come along that often, I was looking forward to the olden-day Sherlock adaptation, at least that’s what I thought initially.
The show was set in 1890s London, far from the mysteries of the modern day at first glance. 221B Baker Street makes an uncanny appearance within the episode, with nothing out of place, except Sherlock’s mind, of course! The director Douglas Mackinnon did exceptionally well bringing the 1800s to our homes, with time and place being no issue for him. He stuck to the times without a hunch of disappointment from me.
What did strike me though was the plot. By golly! That got me in a twist. I had to watch it several times. It’s an arduous task sitting through the full show, so to have to watch it multiple times did frustrate me. While it was not like that for everyone, I was still left with more questions than answers.
It did stick to the books though, which I was happy with. The story was told from Dr Watson’s point of view, similar to the past three series. The link to the Reichenbach Fall was a poignant moment in the episode for me, but not least was the Suffragette link and the inceptuous twist towards the end. It did lead me along – wondering and guessing as usual but I wasn’t prepared for the mind-boggling, if only Sherlock could see that! It doesn’t normally happen when I watch Sherlock, so why this time?
The show was slow paced at first, but during the last half an hour all was thrown into a frenzy. The plot took a major twist and we were thrust back into multiple timelines and the mind palace of Sherlock; the place we all know (or thought we knew) and love. The revelation of a major character not being all they seem was mesmerising. Mackinnon certainly linked the multiple timelines together well. For some it was dizzying and for others it was a pinpoint to answers left from the last series.
However, there was one aspect of The Abominable Bride that didn’t sit well with me. The use of drug paraphernalia threw the edginess of the episode into oblivion. It didn’t feel creative enough and I think it was an escape in itself. The writers, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffatt and Stephen Thompson could have done a lot better in my opinion. Dotting about the paraphernalia in the different timelines left me feeling high-ly annoyed.
But, the performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, the other characters and not least the cast that played the entirety of the abominable brides was stellar. It brought me back into reality. Molly’s character did surprise me as did the rather large change to Moriarty’s character.
Overall, it was a predictably shocking episode which was cleverly adapted to suit the past and present. The name followed suit throughout the show until the revelation at the end. Although it fell short of it’s portrayal of the women’s movement with a possible underlying swoop at feminism and women’s rights, all was restored with the invigorating storyline and characters to match!
Dir: Douglas Mackinnon
Scr: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves
Prd: Sue Vertue
DOP: Suzie Lavelle
Music: David Arnold, Michael Price
Run time: 90mins
The Abominable Bride is out now on DVD and Blu-ray