Sherlock returned last night and a big part of me was worried the magic of the show would be lost since it has been so long since this cast has stepped in the shoes of these amazing characters, and Mark Gatiss taking a big leap of faith by resetting them back to their original times. Thankfully my fears were quickly quashed as the story brilliantly retold the meeting of the famous duo and it was as if none of them had ever taken the long hiatus. The story starts off as a case of a ghost bride taking her revenge on her husband and other oppressive males of the time and turns it into a brilliant teaser for the upcoming fourth and most likely final season of Sherlock. Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are in such demand there is no way the two of them would ever be able to commit to another season.
The story starts with a woman seemingly committing suicide in front of a crowd only to come back later that night and kill her husband in front of several other people. How can someone survive a bullet to the head and still live? That is the question that haunts Sherlock Holmes as he starts to see the similarities between this case and Moriarty’s mysterious resurrection. The brilliance of this episode is the subtle hints it gives to everything taking place in Sherlock’s “mind palace” before it is fully revealed the entire episode is a dream. Or is our modern day reincarnation Sherlock’s deduction of how the future looks? Gatiss managed to take the worst cliché of television writing and make it seem like new and fresh.
Cumberbatch and Freeman chemistry was perfect as always and the dialogue continues to highlight just how outstanding the two actors are together. The bickering about how it is never twins and Watson’s inability to keep up with Holmes was hilarious. The line “There are no ghosts in this world, save for those we make ourselves” was delivered exquisitely and gave me chills when Sherlock uttered it. I squeed like a fan girl when the famous lines of “The game is afoot” and “Elementary my dear Watson” were said. The subtle homo-eroticism between Sherlock and John is made into full on flirtation between Sherlock and Moriarty and it is as supremely sexy as it is a clever poke at the fan fiction which turned the mortal enemies into passionate lovers.
What made the episode really amusing was the reprisal of all of the roles, including the man who initially introduces Sherlock and John in the pilot episode and the mortician, Hopper, was played by Louise Brealey in drag. At first Brealey in a mustache and a wig felt like a great tongue in cheek joke as women in the Victorian era were not allowed to hold positions of importance, in the end it became a statement about the fight for women’s right of that time (something we still seem to have to fight for in these times). Gatiss continues to make a show that refuses to spell out everything for you. You have to keep up and pay attention in order to enjoy.
Did this episode give us some answers as to what is coming in season four? No, but it was a great bridge to the next set of adventures. What did you think of Sherlock: The Abominable Bride? Were you surprised at the reveal of the mind palace? Are you excited for season four? Let me know in the comments section below.