Instant reaction post: “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”

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January 2, 2016 by Hope W.

John (Martin Freeman) and Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Happy New Year everyone! New Year’s resolution for this blog: To update more frequently, and timely. Hope it sticks (unlike last year).

In the meantime, I forgot that Sherlock’s Victorian holiday special comes out today! (“Today” meaning New Year’s Day, UK time.) It’s only due to scrolling down my news feed and seeing posts from the Sherlock Facebook page that I didn’t miss it completely.

Once again, the cast and crew have delivered a brilliant episode. I have seen some reviews and comments that say it’s a mess and it indulges too much in its cleverness, but I disagree. It goes back to Sherlock’s Victorian roots, but remains as witty as ever even when touching on issues such as the suppression of women. Such as Mrs Hudson’s refusal to speak in protest of being used as a hardly speaking “plot device”. 😀

Una Stubbs (looking shocked!) in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Una Stubbs (looking shocked!) in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Lestrade looks like a monkey with that beard.

OH MY GOSH MOLLY LOOKS SO DIFFERENT! I can barely recognise her voice, much less her face underneath her disguise!

I KNEW IT (about two seconds before Sherlock said “he” instead of “she”): They were using the story to find out how Moriarty survived blowing out his brains!

“ABSOLUTE SILENCE” — SHERLOCK USING SIGN LANGUAGE TO TALK TO THE CONCIERGE/BUTLER/WHATEVER. WATSON GETTING HIS SIGN LANGUAGE WRONG. LAUGHING MY ASS OFF.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

MARK GATISS IN A FAT SUIT!

I love that Sherlock in his mind casts John as a traditionalist: one who thinks that women’s place is in the home, or as supporting characters in a man’s story; and one who subscribes to the prejudices of the time (he names the socialists, the anarchists, the French, the suffragists and the Scots as the possible enemies they were looking at. That was funny, especially when Mycroft hints that he is suffering from paranoia, and his unwitting reply is: “Ooo, sounds Serbian”). And like most people of that time (and probably even today), he cannot understand when Sherlock says he has no interest in women at all, in a humorous but revealing conversation that confirms Sherlock is not only a high-functioning sociopath, he is also asexual and aromantic. (John’s role here of course is also a “plot device” for the viewers’ point of view. From writing women as a plot device, to being made use of as a plot device to stand in for the viewers, it’s satire at its best.)

Martin Freeman in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Martin Freeman in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

When the room started shaking during Sherlock’s confrontation with Moriarty in his room, I thought immediately of Inception. And I was right — it turned out to be a dream within a dream!

In his mind palace, Sherlock (who’s the only constant in both worlds) bets against his brother’s health. In real life, Mycroft picks his brother up after every drug addiction episode. Obviously Mycroft is the better brother.

The ending with Sherlock and Moriarty (and Watson) at the Reichenbach falls is confusing (Edit: Actually, it isn’t anymore, once you see the Inception parallels, re: going too deep, killing oneself to wake up. Moriarty is Sherlock’s “shade”, the same way Mal haunted Cobb through the dream levels and refused to let him go.) But I still don’t know what Sherlock was trying to prove when he dug up Emilia Ricoletti’s corpse, even if it was just in his dream.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

But overall, I think I understand what Sherlock is getting at when he says Moriarty is dead, but he’s back. Like the legend of the Abominable Bride, there is a secret society of criminal masterminds who will take Moriarty’s place as Sherlock’s nemesis.

Or something along those lines.

I wonder who will be the new face of Moriarty.

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