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08 January 2016 @ 02:15 pm
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride  
Okay, major warning that I did not like this outing.

To give some context, I was really looking forward to this one off when I heard from Moffat and Gatiss that it would be a completely separate story that's outside of the current canon of the show. It would be an isolated story set in Victorian times which sounded kind of nice, given that I largely disliked the canon that we got in the last episode of series 3. However, that turned out to be such a lie that my disappointment in the episode was severe and rather unforgiving.

To start off, I was liking the actual mystery. I wanted to know about the bride and what was happening and why these murders were taking place. But then everything took a sharp turn to the left when it came about that the whole Victorian sequence is modern Sherlock's mind palace. After that reveal, the Victorian story seemed to devolve really quickly into a slapdash solution which left a very bad taste in my mouth. I'm very much willing to admit that if someone else had written this episode, I might have been kinder to the solution of the bride and the murders being the work of women. However, given that Moffat had some say in this, this really felt like some sort of lipservice toward those who criticized that Moffat cannot write a female character with any depth. And you know what? HE STILL CAN'T. My biggest problem with the reveal is that it's Sherlock who actually speaks for the women who are right there in the room. Why aren't they the ones doing the revealing with Sherlock just chiming in? The whole sequence felt like Moffat's version of "Here you go, ladies. The validation and representation you are looking for. I put women in this scene! More than one!" I'm not lying that after that I scene, I actually muttered, "Fuck off, Moffat" at my screen.

Perhaps I'm being unfair or maybe at this stage I actually dislike Moffat too much to see anything of his with an objective eye. However, even setting aside the solution to the mystery, the episode felt drawn out in a way that didn't really interest me. In general, I've never been a fan of the usage of Sherlock's mind palace as a storytelling device so that the majority of the episode was this didn't help. We also learn nothing by the end, other than that Moriarty is definitely dead so someone else is obviously taking up the Evil Flag in his honor. Some viewers have defended this episode saying it's more of a character development episode for Sherlock and John. If that's the case, I can't agree that it was well done. All we really learn is that Sherlock mentally let go of Moriarty as a necessary foil to his own genius and has John in his mind as the one to keep him steady. However, we already knew all of this. Wasn't that the bulk of last series? I know Sherlock needs John and I know that as much as he flirts heavily with Not Good Things, he can always right himself because he has John and also Mycroft. I don't need to be told this again. I'd rather get Sherlock developing a bit more as an actual human which seemed to be happening a bit in the wedding episode before we ended up back here.

And because it's tradition: my Likes and Dislikes.

1) Victorian Mycroft: So, I was kind of pleased that they went canon with this and made him obese. I also did find it pretty amusing that he and Sherlock were taking bets on when he would die because Mycroft is the kind of person who would kill himself to win a wager against Sherlock. It's completely morbid but very in character for this show's Mycroft.

2) Everyone looked good: the Victorian sequences were all lovingly dressed and tailored. I also liked seeing the old-timey versions of the events we'd already seen in the show, like Watson at war and Stamford introducing Watson to Holmes. Those were all nice moments.

1) See above: I mean, really, there's no point in beating a dead horse on this one.
Shezan: Agrippashezan on January 9th, 2016 10:08 pm (UTC)
Given that I loved the whole thing, which worked for me on many levels, I especially liked the Mycroft scenes, and in general what we learned of Sherlock and Mycroft's difficult relationship. Like you, I loved the nod to the ACD canonically hugely fat Mycroft (the diet joke at the end of ASIP, when they didn't know the series would be that successful, was a wink at canon; afterwards they belaboured it to death). But, talking about death, it is very obvious that Sherlock himself is painting in his mind a competitive dance of death by addiction with his brother; it is to me by far the darkest scene in all 10 episodes, and I find it absolutely brilliant. We learn here both that Mycroft has regularly saved Sherlock from overdoses (go fanon; I myself admire the quiet angst of Mycroft negotiating with his beloved, out-of-control brother that AT LEAST he will write down the list of what he dosed himself with before he has another bout; it's right after denial and anger; the bargaining stage prefiguring depression and acceptance; so infinitely sad); and that Sherlock dreams himself as betting on his own brother's death.
aelfgyfu_mead: Watson plotaelfgyfu_mead on January 10th, 2016 01:11 am (UTC)
Perhaps I'm being unfair
I don't think so, because I totally agree! I clung to shreds of belief that it was really a standalone even after Mycroft said "the virus in the data," the huge clue that it was really twenty-first-century Sherlock's mind.

I was so frustrated. There wasn't even any real development of John, because we hardly saw the real John—just a John in Sherlock's head who didn't seem quite as bright.

I was hugely disappointed. I thought I didn't have high hopes, but when they were dashed, I realized that they were.

I still love the cast. I loved Mrs. Hudson throughout, but we didn't get enough of her!