I consider BBC's Sherlock one of the best modern tv shows out there right now. I did not think it possible for it to rise any higher.
BBC just loves to prove me wrong.
I had no idea what was going on when I saw previews and pictures leading up to the episode's premiere. We're in Victorian London? What happened to modern Sherlock? How are they going to make this work?
Here's the synopsis for The Abominable Bride:
What if the world's most famous consulting detective and his best friend lived in a Baker Street of steam trains, hansom cabs, top hats and frock-coats? Welcome to 'Sherlock' in 1895!
Some things, though, remain reassuringly the same. Friendship, adventure and especially, MURDER...
Why is Thomas Ricoletti a little surprised to see his wife dressed in her old wedding gown? Because, just a few hours before, she took her own life...
Mrs Ricoletti's ghost now appears to be prowling the streets with an unslakeable thirst for revenge. From fog-shrouded Limehouse to the bowels of a ruined church, Holmes, Watson and their friends must use all their cunning to combat an enemy seemingly from beyond the grave and the final, shocking truth about...the Abominable Bride!
The team of Sherlock has created a masterpiece that pays homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work, and the show itself in equal measure.
As difficult as it is to believe... This episode was worth the wait.
Clever, well written, brilliant characterization, gorgeous setting, fast paced plot... It has it all. I was not quite thrilled with a part of the solution to the mystery but it was still creative. A brilliant episode that I want to rewatch repeatedly.
*WARNING! Here there be spoilers!*
Whoever was in charge of wardrobe and makeup for the cast deserves a raise. The Bride herself stands out the most. Almost supernatural in appearance, her gown and "crimson wound" of a mouth were beautiful and alarming.
With rich and surreal settings the episode thrives on the wind of fancy without committing to the ride and keeps you firmly planted in the real world. I could have been watching a supernatural show, or a historical movie, or a mystery. This episode wears many genres well.
The Characters: Each character has a clever twist about them. Mycroft had a delightful portrayal. We also get a glimpse of his more caring side towards his brother.
Watching Mary, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, and Molly all appear in their "new" roles was like opening a whole extra round of Christmas presents. Each one contained a surprise.
The portrayal of Sherlock Holmes himself was wonderful. He is exactly the same man we've come to love but with a gentlemanly eloquence.
John is still loyal and much smarter than Sherlock gives him credit for. His good humor and friendship to Sherlock are invaluable as always. Their interactions were well balanced.
Excellent dialogue. There were many noteworthy quotes. Most of them had more than one meaning in light of the show, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work, and the episode itself.
The Plot: The Abominable Bride in question seems to be on the loose... Turning up, marking men for death, and vanishing into the fog. Which is quite intriguing as she is dead. She was seen putting a gun in her mouth and pulling the trigger.
Here is where I first started to suspect how the writers were going to pull this seemingly random episode into the modern world.
Who else do we know who blew out his own brains and is back from the dead?
He makes an appearance in this episode that makes you cringe and realize that some humans are really nasty. But you love watching him. Andrew Scott brings such humor and color to such an awful piece of work!
Now how does the story enter the modern world?
This whole adventure is fun and clever. But it's all a bit of a fantasy. A fantasy of such scale that only the mind of a brilliant consulting detective could produce.
*once again... spoilers*
It's all in Sherlock's mind palace. He's still on that plane, returning from exile, about to land.
"It's not the fall that kills Sherlock... It's the landing."
And you're jolted into the real world! Or are you?
You might need to make a List to keep track of everything.
Bravo Moffat. You've still got it.
This episode was layered and full of subtleties. It's definitely complex, but I never lost the story and the plot was straightforward enough to be able to relax and bask in the details.
Go see it. PBS is offering it to watch for free right now.
By the way... A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. I hope your winter holiday was as wondrous as mine. :)