*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

 

One of the most anticipated treats of this festive season was the one-off episode of Sherlock. This was further stoked by the lack of information about the plot – bar it being set in the Victorian era and being called The Abominable Bride, we were given next to no information. Such mysterious and evasive marketing works up to a point with the right shows, but thankfully Sherlock is one of them.

It turned out, in my opinion at least, to be a decent 90 minute romp with enough twists to compensate for what, on the face of it, was a lack of actual development. Because, let’s face it, all that really happened was that Sherlock got off a plane and into a car, having decided, thanks to an overdose, that Moriarty can’t be back from the dead.

Of course, it was more complicated than that. The overdose was designed to allow Holmes to unlock his mind palace and explore whether it was feasible that, having seen Jim Moriarty shoot himself, he could have somehow survived the experience. To do this, he riddled through a previously unsolved case about a Victorian bride coming back from the dead to kill her cruel husband, which itself was part of a wider scheme of suffragettes and feminists avenging themselves on the tyrannies of men.

Of course, this leaves us with a number of unanswered questions that will keep us anticipating the new series, whenever that will be. Firstly, the case of the bride itself is never fully solved. Sherlock never convincingly proves his thesis, although admittedly he is still in a dream state whilst trying to do so. Is this, as his Victorian self at the end says, one of his few failures? Readers of the original story, please do enlighten me on to what extent this follows Doyle’s original plot.

Also, what to make of Moriarty’s comeback? A lot of this episode was geared towards Sherlock reaching the conclusion that Moriarty could not have survived what went off on the rooftop. So are we to believe that he isn’t really back, or rather that he is back in that schemes he laid down before he died are beginning to come to fruition and he planned before his death to send everyone paranoid that he had returned? Or did he, like Holmes, fake his own death?

I fully expect, in full Moffatt style, for none of these questions to be properly answered when the series returns in full. There are still story arcs from Doctor Who, Moffatt’s other pet project, that have left me utterly bewildered to the point of incomprehension. Or maybe I’m just a bit dense.

Still, overall, this was a joyful triumph. The whole cast, from Cumberbatch to Una Stubbs to Mark Gatiss, delight in their roles. There is a beautiful balance of playfulness and tension, the latter building nicely. Yes, there were nay-sayers, but these people are professional complainers. Most of us just enjoyed the ride. Now it is up to Moffatt to take us somewhere fantastic next.

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