Review: The Abominable Bride, BBC Sherlock 2016 Special

BBC Sherlock has been incredibly successful in adapting Sherlock Holmes into the contemporary world, and all teasers for the 2016 Special of the TV Series depicted Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in 19th Century London, indicating a plot that goes back in time. While everyone was curious as to how the creators of the show would do that, I had the excitement of finally seeing Sherlock in his original setting, something that was supposed to be reminiscent of the Doyle canon.

The beginning of the Special had Doyle Canon written all over it. I was quite impressed by the way Sherlock was shown to become famous after stories published by Dr. Watson in Strand Magazine, and the new case, of the Abominable Bride, seemed quite strong to lead the Special in an unusual direction.

Well, turns out, the Special did end up being led in an unusual direction, so much that it became incomprehensible.

The first half made everyone believe that the mystery was thick enough for even Sherlock to solve it, and then exactly at the point where something was supposed to happen that would change the course of events, we see Sherlock flipping back and forth between his drug inflicted fantasy. Surprisingly, the case of the Abominable Bride, along with 19th Century London, is the drug inflicted fantasy.

But why did Sherlock drug himself? To find out the answer to a question that’s really, really lame: How has Moriarty come back to life.

Wait? Didn’t Moriarty die after shooting himself right through his head, with Sherlock being the witness?

The question answers itself: Moriarty isn’t back. The game of him showing up on screens is at least not played by him. This seems to be perfectly clear to a lot of us, but we still find Sherlock fixating himself on this one question.

What’s more is some ‘Inception’-istic bullshit, where we find out that Sherlock is finally back on his toes, after fantasizing about himself fantasizing about him being in 19th Century London.

I’m sorry, but that sentence really was crappy, but so was the plot.

The creators try to enlighten us by emphasizing equality for women and their respect in society, but there would have been much more seriousness about that issue if the plot had been more continuous. But what we find is Moriarty right in the middle of our supposed conclusion to the case.

It’s annoying to see him make Sherlock get back to present day London once more, and the creators just wrap everything up with Sherlock sitting with Dr. Watson in — any guesses? -19th Century London, with Sherlock asking Dr. Watson to quote this case as one of his rare failures.

This Special has a weak story to start with, and Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are the only saving grace in a mess that’s unrealistic and unexpected from the series.


Originally published at The Philosophical Nerd on January 4, 2016.

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