Retrospective Review #10: The Abominable Bride


Written by Prof. Jenn

As a reminder:  I am writing these as RETROSPECTIVE reviews, so I will be discussing reveals, revolutions of cliffhangers, ends of plots, etc. If you are reading these reviews without having seen the eps, a) what is wrong with you?? Go watch them now! and b) these reviews are not for you till you’ve seen them.


Er, hm. THAT was interesting…

And by interesting, I mean…I don’t even know. Postmodern? Meta? As meta as meta can be. Seriously. I’m a little exhausted.

Christmas special 2016, aka Episode 4.0, aka ‘The Abominable Bride’, opens much the same way as the Granada series. Actually, nearly exactly like the Granada series, right down to its theme music. We have some lovely Victorian snowy London and some delightful banter between our heroes and beloved Mrs. Hudson, putting us right back in comfy territory as far our characters go, even if the clothing is a little stiffer. Back when Mofftiss announced this special, they declared it would be set in the “proper” era, and would be a fun one-off. When pressed as to why they decided to do a Victorian era episode, they responded that there was no reason for it, that it was just fun, and that it wouldn’t have anything to do with the continuing longer arcs of the plot of the show proper.




Honestly, if they had kept to that premise, I’d have liked it a lot more. The way-too-heavy-handed feminist message notwithstanding, it was charming, if a bit too fanservicey, to see the Victorian versions of all the characters we already know and love. Especially original character Molly Hooper, who does not show up in this era in canon–makes sense how she’d have to finagle things to have the same job she does in the modern era, and it was just heaps of fun to see Mary Watson retain her spy-assassin badassery in the older time period. So all that good. Even Increased Mycroft, who was, though goofier, much more like his canon version.

But then…

Really? Mofftiss, from all the excellent writing you’ve done, all the nods and all the brilliant new and original turns from the three series so far, the best you could come up with is: “It was all a drug dream?” Really? Okay, sure, argue with me that it was a Mind Palace trip and not a drug dream, but I submit the appearance of Sherlock’s Mind Palace and its properties in ep. 3.2, 3.3, and then this. This is not his mind palace, this is …. I don’t even know what this is–once we meet Moriarty and especially when we’re at the Reichenbach Falls, Watson talking about: what’s the other version of me like, yadda yadda….. Just. Stop. And did you have to have Sherlock say “Elementary, my dear Watson?” Did you? Really? Is that good writing? Or is it nothing but a long chain of winks and nudges to your followers instead?


FINAL THOUGHT: Though it’s ridiculous to include if this really is Sherlock’s mind palace (mind palace within the mind palace?), I did muchly enjoy the Victorian version of the mind palace: grabbing all the scraps of paper out of the air. It was very like Canon Sherlock and a cool effect.

EASTER EGG: There are plenty of Easter Eggs in this episode, but one of my favorites is just the title of the episode itself. Ricoletti of the club foot and his abominable wife is mentioned in passing by Watson in the canon, of a case that maybe one day he’d put into print, but never does. It doesn’t look like Mr. Ricoletti had a club foot in this ep, though it is kinda hard to tell…

RATING: 2.5 murderous proto-feminists out of 5


4 thoughts on “Retrospective Review #10: The Abominable Bride

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