2016 TV started with a bang last night. And some head scratching. Because the long awaited new episode of Sherlock was out, The Abominable Bride, and it didn’t disappoint the fans who had waited so very long for the next 90 minutes of Holmes, Watson and Co.
Obviously we knew this episode would be vastly different. It was set in 1895, it would feature Sherlock and John meeting again, and would not yet answer the Moriarty questions from the previous finale. Or at least that’s what we thought…
The story only briefly showed the meeting of Sherlock + John, and then jumped to around the same time-frame after meeting as it was in the current series. John had his Mary, all the characters were established and Sherlock had just learnt of the supposed ‘back from the dead’ Moriarty. But there was yet another case to be solved in ‘1895’, a ghostly women who was killing men around London, bearing a significant resemblance to the death of Moriarty, for a reason of course.
It turned out that the 1895 part of the story was all fake, in a way, and we were really watching Sherlock in his modern mind palace, still in the plane a mere 5 minutes after last series’ finale. He was using the unsolved case from 1895 to try and work out whether Moriarty could be alive, and if he was then how he had managed to pull it off. The next 30 minutes of the episode took us on a magic ride between modern day and Victorian mind palace as Sherlock was able to work out the mystery, kind of at least…
It turned out that Sherlock worked out that Moriarty simply could not have survived, but that he was still plotting from his grave. And that is where the episode left us; simply hoping we might get the next chapter in the next 18 months.
The episode was full of huge positives; the settings were beautiful, the lighting fantastic and the costumes tremendous; but it was still all outshone by the main casts tremendous performances. Cumberbatch’s and Watson’s duo fantastic once more, Una Stubbs and Mark Gatiss providing comic relief. But once again the highlights of the episode quite arguably came from Andrew Scott, his take on Moriarty as chilling and eery as ever.
Obviously there were some things I didn’t quite like. The waterfall scene for me one step too far in the silly direction, the flirting a bit too much for 1895 realism, and I think it’s fair to say Moffat’s views on feminism will come into question on social media. But overall it was the best start 2016 telly could have hoped for. 9/10