“But then I’ve always known I was a man out of his time.”
I was just checking to see when exactly the third season of Sherlock ended because I really thought it was January of 2015. I was mistaken. It was January of 2014 when episode 3 of season 3 premiered on TV. HOW has it been two years since then?
Anyways, two years later we receive a new episode to spoil ourselves with. Granted, it’s not the beginning of season 4 which will probably air in 2017. It is a bonus episode to conclude season 3 that ended with a huge cliffhanger: the possibility that Moriarty might not have died up there on the roof in a final confrontation with Sherlock and in fact might be back to terrify England. This special episode serves as a clarification of what happened with Moriarty after all. But I won’t give any spoilers. At least not too big ones since you might not have watched the episode yet.
This episode portrays an alternate universe, if you will, and we go back to Victorian London in the 1880s-1890s. We get to see how Sherlock and Watson met and got to live together, how they solve crimes and puzzles that ultimately end up in stories, written by Watson, that turn out to be very popular. We see every character we’ve known and loved from the series: Molly Hooper, Greg Lestrade, Mary Watson, Moriarty, Mrs. Hudson and Mycroft (in a slightly larger form).
All of them are present, but in not so present times, as I mentioned before: there is a “war” happening, referring to women’s fight to gain the right to vote, a war that Mycroft says they (as man) have to lose. We see Mary Watson saying she’s involved in this and Lestrade replies “for or against?”. Just to give you a bit of context, in the nineteenth century Women’s suffrage was a national movement in the UK starting 1872. The male dominance, in this episode, is pretty visible in the way the male characters behave and talk to the women around them. Also, this is obvious when Molly Hooper appears first in the episode acting as a man in order to be able to work at the morgue, a fact to which Watson is very receptive and clearly states it, but only for them two to hear.
So now that we established the setting, what is the case we deal with during this episode? The case that Watson names “The Abominable Bride”. A women is witnessed on the balcony of her house, in broad daylight, on a populated street, starting mayhem, shooting random man on the street shouting “You!” beforehand and then shooting herself too. After that, she is seen killing her husband on a street at night. How did she do that if she was dead? Then, in the papers appear more killings of men and at their crime scene there is a bloody “You!” written on a wall. So Sherlock and Watson have to engage in the investigation of the case of the suicide while also investigating a case of a death threat and then crime where the bride appears again.
The case of the bride that killed herself rings way too close to how Moriarty killed himself and we are also given evident cues that point to it, so that we, ourselves, can analyze how Moriarty died and maybe survived. There are a lot of clues throughout the whole episode, if you pay enough attention, as to what is really happening: why we are transported to Victorian London and for the exact case mentioned earlier. Because it is not just an episode with a case set in the nineteenth century where talk and behavior and the dress code is more formal that today, it is also a means to an end and I am not saying much more because that is what makes this bonus episode so good.
In terms of dialogue and characters, this episode is not so different to what we’ve seen before. There’s still plenty of humor and mystery, 19th century Sherlock Holmes is not so much more different than 21st century Sherlock Holmes. What we do get is more of Arthur Conan Doyle’s world created for Sherlock Holmes, and also in the beginning the episode is narrated by Watson which is also a different touch to this episode. By the end we get closure to the Moriarty mystery “did he really die?” and get a glimpse of what season 4 will consist of.
I really enjoyed this episode’s storytelling and even the more complex-than-usual way of proving a point. I really like to properly figure stuff out together with the character and not knowing details beforehand. Can you tell I’m a fan? The only problem is that we have to wait at least until the beginning of 2017 for season 4. I am already predicting I will see all the Sherlock episodes maybe about a couple of times before season 4 begins to keep the missing feeling as low as possible and my mind as sharp as possible for Sherlock and Watson’s next adventures. Whenever those might happen again.
Did you like the new episode?