Sherlock: The Abominable Bride review

Sherlock.jpg

Here be, Spoilers

It’s been a long wait, but that’s what we’ve come to expect.

Season 3 of the hit BBC show finished just 2 short years ago, and in that time, TV has kind of changed. Not wildly, but the gradual rise of the Netflix’s of this world has led to a greater dearth in original content, and in many ways this generation doesn’t have time for the weekly shenanigans of a British detective.

Then again, these episodes come so few and far between that it doesn’t matter in the end, this is a special, meaning that it’ll be even longer before Season 4, and so everyone’s gonna be sitting around in fervent anticipation for this one no matter where they watch their favourite shows.

I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Season 3. It still had its humour, and its great performances, but the 3 episodes were built up incorrectly. The first episode was fine, the second episode was good, if had too much fan service and silliness, whilst the third episode spend too much time trying to do two plotlines at once, losing the impact of both, rendering them null and void.

In the end, it was a disappointing season, that had little of the spark of the previous two seasons.

Now, we come to the much-hyped special, and if I’m honest, I didn’t hugely enjoy it. Where is the fizz and excitement of the first two seasons? It seems to have been replaced with over indulgence and broad fan service. This is not the same show it once was.

So firstly, all the theories were true. The whole Victorian setting did indeed take place in Sherlocks mind palace, apparently as he attempted to figure out how Moriarty had survived. Except then, he hadn’t survived, and he was actually dead.

Sherlock had overdosed, conjured up a reality to figure it all out, and it was all very confusing.

The thing is, in the end it was all pointless. The whole mind palace was to determine if Moriarty was alive or not, and we guessed early on that it took place in his mind, so in the end, the only outcome was that he was dead, so that was just an exercise in pointlessness. The whole mystery of the Bride was a fakeout, because that had no real bearing on the outside story, meaning It was all just one big distraction.

It’s just another sign of the sad deterioration of the show’s writing. The rest was all there, acting, direction, cinematography, music and editing. Just the rest didn’t hang together easily.

The Victorian stuff was good for a while until it started to be strangely sexist. Then you find out why it was being sexist, and it was because of a strange Suffragette cult that killed men, and maybe the show was trying to win itself some brownie points, but because it had no relevance at all, it felt very much like an excuse, a means to point at itself and say it knows the problems it had previously with women characters, but doesn’t do anything of merit to legitimately count as an apology.

Then there’s the big cliche of comedy, the misinterpreted language, in this case, sign language, and it wasn’t funny. Even Martin Freeman, who is one of the finest comedic actors out there, couldn’t make such a common joke funny.

Lestrade was there with comical side burns. Mrs Hudson was a put-upon housekeeper. Mary was Watsons put upon wife, but had some mysterious shady going on in the background, and Molly dressed as a man, because Victorian London was so sexist that she couldn’t even get to cut up dead bodies.

At times the pace was very quick, then it was too languishing. The start was a brown tinged recap of past Sherlock, then the story sauntered in, clues occasionally being dropped as towards the whole mind palace stuff. The plot was filled out with set pieces, the main one being set around a guy’s house who was being ‘haunted’ by the Bride, and it just led up to the duo revelation of Moriarty and the avenging women.

The bit where Sherlock finds the note on the body is good, but it just leads to nout. Guys, you killed off your best villain, you don’t need to keep getting him back for pontificating in Sherlocks living room. This was a waste of an hour and a half, as it offered nothing new beyond, he’s definitely dead, but he’s still causing trouble. That’s it. You couldn’t have told us that in 5 minutes at the beginning of Season 4, cause that’s how long that little revelation took.

When you guess the mind palace thing straight away, you don’t mind all the Bride stuff, only when it gets to the mind palace stuff, you realise that it has no bearing when Moriarty is DEAD after all, and so both things feel pointless, making it all disappointing.

Argh.

After this disappointment, I can’t say I’m looking forward to Season 4. At least with Doctor Who, I know that there will be a new showrunner eventually. With this, it’s small stories stretched over empty posturing, and it’s just my opinion, but I feel like even though the first 2 series had stretching, it worked far better.

In the end it was good and fine. Funny, and well made and entertaining, but it had flaws.

Rating: B-

 

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