Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Abominable Bride!


Over the past several years, one of the true absolute joys from the television world have been the infrequent but always fully packed episodes of Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's sturdy detective duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr.John Watson. This series has the conceit (shared by the also rather diverting Elementary) of shifting the Holmes saga to the modern world and letting him have a go at our problems. This opens up the storytelling and we find that Holmes is of course a rather modern figure after all is said and done.


But the latest installment in the series, a special for 2016 titled The Abominable Bride reverses that situation and instead gives us a grand old Sherlock Holmes mystery steeped in the Victorian era, rife with its fixed class structure, backwards attitudes about women and men, and noxious odors such as sweat, decomposition and horse shit. To be fair this story pays a lot of attention to the two former problems and less on the latter, but I'm always reminded of that particular nasal dilemma when folks wax on about the good old days which when we take a second or two to reflect were rich of singular banes we've kindly forgotten.


The story here is a lurid and gothic mystery in which a mad bride commits suicide then seems to many to rise from her grave and commit a range of murders. Holmes and Watson are brought into the case which stretches over many months and have to confront their own fears, attitudes and weaknesses to find a way to discover and reveal the truth which turns out afterwards to have been staring us in the face all along.


The story is brimming with the entertaining banter we've come to expect from this series, as Watson and Holmes exchange jibes and Holmes in his own snotty fashion snipes at the rest of the world. Mary Morstan Watson is along for the ride as well and the delightful Mycroft Holmes, Mrs. Hudson and Inspector Lestrade are on board as well. Molly Hooper turns up as does the enigmatic and excitable James Moriarty. The gang is all there, and believe it or not this does all fold back into the regular story line we've been following now for several years.


There's no new Sherlock due out until later next year, so this impressive one-off will have to suffice for now. It's a hoot and highly recommended.

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5 comments:

  1. Like you said, it was a good episode as usual. I was a little worried there for a while there wondering how they were going to explain the Victorian setting, but they explained it brilliantly. And then I was worried that it would seem eventish like there was no reason for the change but the ending was perfect they couldn't have done that as a modern episode, it wouldn't have made any sense.

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    1. Totally agree. This series is brilliant in its deft handling of Sherlock mythology, getting smart and savvy spins on the classic stuff. Watson's sexism in this episode is outlandishly hilarious, and Mrs. Hudson is amazing.

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    3. Although I enjoyed it overall, I found the modern scenes intrusive and was left wishing that they'd just gone for a straight Victorian-set Holmes story as a stand-alone, unexplained treat, without trying to tie it into the series. The saving grace was the end segment where the Victorian duo refer to the modern parts as a sort of dream in which Holmes imagined how things might be in the future.

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  2. I'm glad they explained it because in the beginning I definitely wondered what it had to do with the rest of the series. I thought that reversal at the end was fun too.

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