Everyone has heard about the brilliant detective under the name Sherlock Holmes. Whether through the original books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or the vast number of movies and TV shows inspired by them, Holmes only grows in popularity as a timeless character. The BBC is one to cherish the detective, and back in 2010 released the first season of the TV series Sherlock, a twist on the original story that places the Holmes and Watson in present-day London. It has since gained worldwide acclaim and currently has three seasons that consist of three 90-minute episodes. On January 1st, the series’ one-off special The Abominable Bride was released, to much anticipation of the fans, but simultaneously pushing back the long-awaited fourth season for another year.
The story goes full-circle as it places the fascinating detective Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his loyal companion John (Martin Freeman) back in Victorian London. It replaces smartphones with telegrams and taxi cabs with horse-drawn carriages as is follows the clues to the mystery of the “ghost bride”: a murderous woman who appears to return to life after having killed herself. Sound familiar? Those impatient to know what happened after the last season finale of the show may turn to this episode for answers. But do they get them? Not exactly.
Although brilliantly performed and interestingly played out, one can’t help but ask themselves the question, was this episode worth pushing back a whole season? Many viewers were left confused by the over-complicated storyline and the final cliffhanger that does not really reveal the long-awaited answers to the last season finale, released in January 2014. At the same time, this episode seems to defeat the purpose of the show, which was meant to be a modern-day twist on the original Sherlock Holmes, as this subsequent twist brings the detective back to his traditional context.
Regardless of these issues, The Abominable Bride is nonetheless a very interesting watch and fans around the world are glad to see the characters back in action. While waiting for the fourth season, which is being filmed at this very moment, Sherlock Holmes fans could try out a different modern adaption of the tales of the detective, namely the American show Elementary. Despite the many changes (Watson is in fact a woman, played by Lucy Liu), it is still quite spectacular and exciting, while slightly more dramatic, playing on various current issues such as feminism. By all means, watch this episode, Sherlock will not disappoint, but you will want to take notes so don’t forget to bring a pen!
– Catalina & Femke