Smarter than most things on television, Sherlock’s 10 episodes over six years have made it a global phenomenon. So understandably, the world is going crazy about the first new episode since January 2014, The Abominable Bride.
Writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s Sherlock, which was first aired in 2010, relocates Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories to a time they were not written for — a bold experiment that has seen more hits and misses. Also, it has given the world television’s most loved bromance between a brattishly arrogant yet undoubtedly brilliant Sherlock Holmes and the endearingly bumbling John Watson. Since Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (Watson) are now too busy with their glorious movie careers for there to be any new Sherlock episodes till 2017, it was a surprise of the most splendid sort to catch the standalone 90-minute special The Abominable Bride. The episode will be aired on AXN India on January 9.
The ghost story, featuring a bride who has seemingly died but then returns to kill her husband, takes place in the original 1890s setting and features mysteries that none but Sherlock could unravel. The episode creates a bridge between the 2014 episodes and the ones we’ll see in 2017. It brings the consulting detective back from his doomed MI6 mission in eastern Europe and delves into the mystery of his arch-enemy Moriarty’s impossible return from the dead.
The slight detour in time works like a charm. Sherlock and Watson seem to be in their natural environment in the London of the 1890s. Toggling between the 19th century and the present, all the while keeping the humour and the sharp wit alive, the show is a little more complicated and convoluted than we’re used to. There are more themes, twists, realities and awkwardly placed social commentary that one can usually keep up with. But in a completely Sherlockian way, it all falls into place in the end. After all, when is anything in the show ever irrelevant?