First and foremost let’s celebrate the fact that Sherlock is finally back in our life, even if it is just for 1 special episode. It’s been two years since The Last Vow aired back in January 2014 and the fans of the show were dying to see some Sherlock action. The Abominable Bride aired on January 1st and that certainly was the best New Year’s gift any Sherlock fan could’ve hoped for.
Let’s first recall how The Last Vow ended. Sherlock shoots Charles Augustus Magnussen, a.k.a. the Napoleon of blackmail, in the face and is being sent off overseas by Mycroft. However, just minutes after he gets on the plane, Moriarty appears on all screens in the country saying “Did you miss me?” Naturally, Mycroft calls Sherlock to let him know he’s coming back after being in exile for only 4 minutes because England needs him.
Since then we’ve all been wondering what will happen next. Is Moriarty actually back? How could he have possibly survived? We’ve all seen him blow his own brains out. Well, the new episode has a very interesting and trippy way of answering those questions.
We’re going back in time to the Victorian era. Or are we? The Abominable Bride is a brilliant episode that points out the fact that Sherlock Holmes and John Watson fit seamlessly into any time period. This might be the 19th century, they might not have smartphones and laptops, yet they’re as brilliant at solving crimes as ever. Sherlock is still a high functioning sociopath, even if that term doesn’t exist it the 19th century and John is still his loyal friend who is ready to run along and help him solve any murder mysteries.
Mrs Hudson is still hilarious and Lestrade still needs help. Mycroft is still essentially the British government, even if he has gained a couple hundred extra pounds. Mary, John’s wife is on a mission to smash the patriarchy and so is Molly Hooper, who is masquerading as a man for most of the episode “to get ahead in a man’s world.” Moriarty is as crazy as we remember him, and amazingly even more stylish. Even Anderson is here, being his stupid, annoying self. The only things that are different are the fashion choices and the time period, but the characters are still the same, and they don’t feel out of place, not even one bit.
There’s two themes in this episode I’d like to call attention to. First, the question of equality is brought up. Seeing Mycroft talk about women as the invisible enemy that they shouldn’t defeat, but certainly must lose to, “Because they are right. And we are wrong” was incredible. Such a powerful message. And Mary, campaigning for women’s right to vote, made me extra proud.
Another subject that was brought to attention is Sherlock’s drug addiction. It’s never been a secret that Sherlock is a drug addict. It’s been referenced quite a few times in previous episodes. We’ve seen him act like he’s high, we’ve seen the “three patch problem”, we’ve heard Mycroft and John talk about danger nights, we’ve seen Sherlock searching around the flat for drugs. However, none of those mentions and references were as blunt as the syringe and “the list” in The Abominable Bride. Makes me wonder exactly how far will they go with this subject?
The main mystery is the ghost bride that’s killing men and Holmes is bursting with excitement. They only thing is, throughout the story there’s these very noticeable parallels with Moriarty and it visibly throws Sherlock and the audience. We’re left wondering is this really happening or is this some sort of a dream sequence?
SPOILER ALERT! Turns out it’s neither one of those. In fact, Sherlock is still on that plane, he overdosed on drugs to figure out if Moriarty is actually back, and this whole time we’ve been wandering around his mind palace. The good news – Moriarty is definitely dead. The bad news – we’ll have to wait until 2017 to find out what happens next.