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Episode 4.0: The Abominable Bride (alias The Special)


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What did you think of "The Abominable Bride"?  

122 members have voted

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    • 10/10 Excellent.
      47
    • 9/10 Not quite the best, but not far off.
      26
    • 8/10 Certainly worth watching again.
      32
    • 7/10 Slightly above the norm.
      12
    • 6/10 Average.
      2
    • 5/10 Slightly sub-par.
      1
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    • 1/10 Abominable.
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Copied this from an interview (https://www.yahoo.com/tv/sherlock-special-pbs-abominable-bride-200829184.html) with Steve Moffat (and it's not the first time he's said something like this:

 

And this special doesn’t tie into the other episodes, continuity-wise, right?
Steven:
No, it’s in a bubble on its own. That’s why, when we went and pitched it to Sue, we said it can’t be part of the series. We have to have a special. And if we hadn’t gotten that extra special, we wouldn’t have done it. It had to be on its own. So this is genuinely an extra episode. We had already been commissioned for the three, and then we said, “Let’s go epic and do four." 

 

 

 

Well played, Mr. Moffat! I have to admit you almost had me convinced that there would be no connection to the regular series, but I'm so happy there is .... and that I didn't know it for sure until I saw it. Much more fun to find out as I went along.

 

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I'm confused about Sherlock's reason for the overdose is to prove Moriarty is dead. We're told earlier Sherlock was high BEFORE he even got on the plane. (Addicts lie) Then, a few minutes into the flight, Moriarty appears on television screens, and Mycroft recalls the plane. (I've only been gone 4 minutes!) When would Sherlock have had time to learn of Moriarty's appearance on national media, then OD, then have a dream sequence?

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@Sherlockandjohn, you are quite right! But enhancing his perception through the famous seven percent solution is entirely due to ACD, so in this mishmash of Christmas leftovers all mixed together to make a New Year's pie to induce even more discussion and debate until S4 ( after this, I very much doubt BBC will commission a fifth one), it did its job

Moriarty in mind palace sequences only, Mycroft declaring "I was there for you before,...I'll always be there for you," made it look as if the greatest fictional consulting detective in history is a mentally imbalanced personality on top of being a junkie! And the Tarmac scene was one of the most moving bits in that otherwise controversial episode. To trash both it and Sherlock's LUCID melancholy look out of the aeroplane window for the sake of a drug-induced haze will definitely bite the creators in the back, and good luck with that!

Speaking of which, Moriarty and Mary got the best one-liners! Miss me? Does the illustrator travel with you? Where's the intimacy in that? Truth is boring!

On top of that, Mycroft the recluse of the Diogenes Club tasking a woman in 1895 with anything, is engaging Douglas Adams's Improbability Drive in the Hitchhiker trilogy!

A bit MORE than not good! And as for the above query, what's a plot hole or twelve among fanboys, as long as they take in the cash?

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Well, I've watched it twice now.  Still not sure I picked up on all the dialogue.  Did BC seem to speak faster in this one?  I'll look forward to getting the DVD so that I can watch it a few times with subtitles.  I'm still digesting it.  I think a lot of the dialogue has double meaning.

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All I can say is that I quite enjoyed the ACD references! Otherwise, it proved a waste of money for the cinema viewing, because it was all Mr Gatiss waffling about their "concept" and behind the scenes stuff. By golly, if this is the best they can do until S4, trying to "fix" TRF by making Holmes an out-and out junkie when 1895 was supposed to be his best year, then they had better quit while they're still ahead, because they certainly weren't on top of their game! No comparison with SiP, TGG, SIB, HOB even. Re-warmed Christmas dinner leftovers in a re-hash, indeed. If the critics were aggressive towards Hamlet, a perfectly acceptable performance, they will pan this, if they don't bury it six feet under.

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And here is a recap from The Nerdist although i will say that anyone who has only seen it once can't really give an accurate review of it since it is so complex, so full of double meanings that it is impossible to catch all the slight of hand, or writing in this case.  I don't know how to create a link in the spoiler tag.  Sorry.

 

 

 

Edited by Arcadia
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Here's Digital Spy chiming in, and they have some good points:
 

 

Edited by Arcadia
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@Sherlockandjohn, you are quite right! But enhancing his perception through the famous seven percent solution is entirely due to ACD, so in this mishmash of Christmas leftovers all mixed together to make a New Year's pie to induce even more discussion and debate until S4 ( after this, I very much doubt BBC will commission a fifth one), it did its job

Moriarty in mind palace sequences only, Mycroft declaring "I was there for you before,...I'll always be there for you," made it look as if the greatest fictional consulting detective in history is a mentally imbalanced personality on top of being a junkie! And the Tarmac scene was one of the most moving bits in that otherwise controversial episode. To trash both it and Sherlock's LUCID melancholy look out of the aeroplane window for the sake of a drug-induced haze will definitely bite the creators in the back, and good luck with that!

Speaking of which, Moriarty and Mary got the best one-liners! Miss me? Does the illustrator travel with you? Where's the intimacy in that? Truth is boring!

On top of that, Mycroft the recluse of the Diogenes Club tasking a woman in 1895 with anything, is engaging Douglas Adams's Improbability Drive in the Hitchhiker trilogy!

A bit MORE than not good!

 

I sometimes feel like such a no-knower (if there is such a thing). Can you tell me what the Tarmac scene is?

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This article says that a 5th series has been approved.  Is this news official???

 

http://metro.co.uk/2016/01/02/benedict-cumberbatch-gives-some-exciting-hints-about-sherlocks-future-5596247/?ito=twitter

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My one big question mark is this, maybe you can help me to wrap my head around it:

 

Why is Sherlock convinced that the overdose and resulting "investigations" helped him prove Moriarty's death?

 

 

 

 

Sherlock thinks taking drugs improves his thinking. Which it probably does - short term.

 

 

 

 

Yeah, of course, but how did this particular case help him solve Moriarty's case? I see some parallels, yes (two people seemlingly blowing their head off and then seemingly being alive again), but in other regards the two cases are so different that solving the one case doesn't mean having solved the other one as well. I don't think that he has proved anything but that it is theoretically possible to fake your suicide by headshot and of course that he can solve ancient cases by nothing but the power of his mind. But Moriarty's death he didn't prove at all. Why is he so certain that he did just that, though? Sherlock being so convinced of his own breakthrough makes me wonder whether I didn't understand something - since that's so much more likely than him being wrong.

 

 

 

Yeah I have to say, the portrayal of him as an addict I found quite disturbing. If the mind palace version of him is how he sees himself, he seems in pretty deep- the images with the syringe, and Mycroft's flashback, I found really sad to watch. And I had hoped that John, Mary and Molly's slight intervention had been the turning point. I'm hoping the drug thing was more of a plot device, because it would be so depressing to see him go further down that road in season 4.

 

I don't think they will expand that storyline too much in season 4, since then, Sherlock will have other stuff to occupy his mind.

That still means that he is dependent on cocain/... whenever he has no work to do, and in that sense he is an addict. But I don't think we'll see too much of Sherlock as a junkie in season 4 since then he'll have cases to solve - and as he said at the end of the episode: He won't need any drugs once he has the real thing, i.e. work!

 

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If people haven't seen the episode, they shouldn't be reading this thread.   I'm not sure why we're hiding things with a spoiler tag.

 

I have so many thoughts about this episode that I'm not even sure where to begin.  

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My one big question mark is this, maybe you can help me to wrap my head around it:

 

Why is Sherlock convinced that the overdose and resulting "investigations" helped him prove Moriarty's death?

 

 

 

 

Sherlock thinks taking drugs improves his thinking. Which it probably does - short term.

 

 

 

 

Yeah, of course, but how did this particular case help him solve Moriarty's case? I see some parallels, yes (two people seemlingly blowing their head off and then seemingly being alive again), but in other regards the two cases are so different that solving the one case doesn't mean having solved the other one as well. I don't think that he has proved anything but that it is theoretically possible to fake your suicide by headshot and of course that he can solve ancient cases by nothing but the power of his mind. But Moriarty's death he didn't prove at all. Why is he so certain that he did just that, though? Sherlock being so convinced of his own breakthrough makes me wonder whether I didn't understand something - since that's so much more likely than him being wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was confused about that as well. What I could pick up from what we saw were some similarities between his theories about the Bride and what Moriarty may have done.

 

1. She used a hidden network of women to help fake her death (and her resurrection)- much like Moriarty's network- has Sherlock missed somebody from this network who is still at large and working for Moriarty? It is also interesting that the women in the story were hidden within the lives of the characters- is it somebody we have already met?

2. The faking of her death was all about timing- eventually, she would really have to be dead, but in the in-between period she could commit a final act of murder- was Moriarty somehow able to set a murder in motion before he pulled the trigger, or, in doing so?

3. I definitely think Moriarty has set up a final act of murder, that will play into season 4 somehow.

4. The part that throws all of this off, or course, is when it turns out to be Moriarty beneath the veil, instead of the murdered man's wife. At that point I could just about throw up my hands in despair.

 

 

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@Sherlockandjohn, you are quite right! But enhancing his perception through the famous seven percent solution is entirely due to ACD, so in this mishmash of Christmas leftovers all mixed together to make a New Year's pie to induce even more discussion and debate until S4 ( after this, I very much doubt BBC will commission a fifth one), it did its job

Moriarty in mind palace sequences only, Mycroft declaring "I was there for you before,...I'll always be there for you," made it look as if the greatest fictional consulting detective in history is a mentally imbalanced personality on top of being a junkie! And the Tarmac scene was one of the most moving bits in that otherwise controversial episode. To trash both it and Sherlock's LUCID melancholy look out of the aeroplane window for the sake of a drug-induced haze will definitely bite the creators in the back, and good luck with that!

Speaking of which, Moriarty and Mary got the best one-liners! Miss me? Does the illustrator travel with you? Where's the intimacy in that? Truth is boring!

On top of that, Mycroft the recluse of the Diogenes Club tasking a woman in 1895 with anything, is engaging Douglas Adams's Improbability Drive in the Hitchhiker trilogy!

A bit MORE than not good!

 

I sometimes feel like such a no-knower (if there is such a thing). Can you tell me what the Tarmac scene is?

 

 

The tarmac refers to the plane on the landing strip.  That area is the tarmac.

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Spoiler Free Review: 

 

Frankly I didn't like the Special especially because of story. (You read it right.) Production Design (and VFX) of Victorian Times was awesome. No question in that. Actors did great job as always. Connecting it with present was cool idea. ( but jumping from past to present looked weird a bit. Presents shots simply don't fit. )  But invariant of that The Special was "The poorest episode/Drama" in BBC sherlock + Elementary + RDJ's Movies. (for the record. BBC sherlock is my favourite adaptation) Although it adds stuff to the main story line, it surely surprised us and also amazed us with the visuals but it failed in one basic thing. Sherlock Holmes is not just about mysteries. It's about solving them. Writer are too busy creating mysteries and just simply answering some of them for the sake of it. As a great fan of Sherlock, I want to be fooled not just be in the dark. The special was more of a ploting device for season 4 which is no compliment. It may even work if the next episode in the next week. But when you take 2-3 years to return this simply doesn't work. It's just a poor way to create excitement rather than showing what Sherlock has been for three season. As a stand alone episode, it falls short. Magic it has is only because of what Season 4 can be. Not for what it is. (except the Victorian Visuals) Again Sherlock is about Charm of solving the mystery. Not The Cliff hangers or so many unanswered mysteries that writers won't answer or "don't dare" to answer (because of over hype) in any near future. This is bad storytelling (Even if you are excited about next season). Especially bad for a Stand alone.

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I am also against spoiler hiding in a spoiler thread. It's almost unreadable. And feels like the episode itself.

 

But as long as you use them:

 

I jumped seeing the YOU on the wall. The connection was more than obvious. YOU - it reads like "why owe you" doesn't it?

 

 

I will of course take a closer look at Mycroft's notebook. Do we have a mathematician on board? Someone who is able to explain metric tensors in few lines, unlike Wikipedia? The other words need attention too.

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I don't know how to use spoiler boxes - I'm old and technically dim - so I won't be commenting yet on any details. Though, as sfmpco says, I don't quite understand why we have to hide comments on a thread specifically designed for spoilers. I will, however, confine myself to saying how I felt about it.

 

I loved it but, unlike previous episodes, I won't be watching it with my granddaughter. It was so creepy! As always, it was the dialogue between Sherlock and John which was its greatest strength - snappy, funny and occasionally touching. I liked the fact that 19th century Holmes had an even posher accent than his modern incarnation. Mrs Hudson's appearances, though brief, were priceless. It was a pleasure to see familiar faces popping up in unfamiliar guises. And enough material there to keep us pondering...

 

Sherlock really is the jewel in the BBC's crown. Wish we didn't have to wait so long for S4.

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Ehm, did someone on this forum mentioned that they had to use a wig for the present time pieces (I just recall someone mentioned it somewhere and you cannot do a quick search with all those spoiler boxes)

This means that the wig that they presented in London was a real thing!

 

The stained glass door at 221B contained links to: The Hound of Baskerville, The Blue Carbuncle and The Adventure of the Lion's Mane (those yellow things were indeed lions) I also noticed yellow maple(?) leaves, that could be a hint to The Maple Leaf Murder, according to Google

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First of all: I think Tim only asked for us to use spoiler boxes here because the episode was shown at different times in different locations. I think it's safe to assume now that everyone has had a chance to see it. I won't use the boxes (or edit them into anybody else's post) any more.

 

 

Oh, and congrats to everyone who guessed right about the story taking place in Sherlock's mind palace! I've forgotten who you are, but you called it!

 

Tee hee... That was more wishful thinking on my part than anything else, and I am particularly delighted that it came true. I am equally delighted that "The Abominable Bride" really did turn out to be a parallel case to the one of Moriarty's reappearance that Sherlock was working on inside his mind. This was my "best case" scenario for explaining the Victorian setting, and they did it - sometimes, this series seems to be made up of a list of big favors for me. No wonder it is my favorite.

 

 

And this special doesn’t tie into the other episodes, continuity-wise, right?
Steven:
No, it’s in a bubble on its own. That’s why, when we went and pitched it to Sue, we said it can’t be part of the series. We have to have a special. And if we hadn’t gotten that extra special, we wouldn’t have done it. It had to be on its own. So this is genuinely an extra episode. We had already been commissioned for the three, and then we said, “Let’s go epic and do four." 

 

 

 

Well... it isn't really a lie. The Special is connected to the series (in lots of ways), but yes, it is also inside it's own bubble (that being the very, very complex bubble of Sherlock's mind). Also, it wasn't clear whether "reality" is in the 21st or the 19th century - whether the past is a drug-riddled mind palace exercise of Sherlock's or the present is a cocaine-fueled vision of Mr Holmes'. If you take the Victorian setting as the real one, then the Special really is in its own bubble, because in the series, there is not a doubt about which world is supposed to be real.

 

I'm confused about Sherlock's reason for the overdose is to prove Moriarty is dead. We're told earlier Sherlock was high BEFORE he even got on the plane. (Addicts lie) Then, a few minutes into the flight, Moriarty appears on television screens, and Mycroft recalls the plane. (I've only been gone 4 minutes!) When would Sherlock have had time to learn of Moriarty's appearance on national media, then OD, then have a dream sequence?

 

I still think Sherlock only overdosed because he was locked up somewhere and terminally bored. Then the Moriarty video showed up, Mycroft called him back and he used the drug-boost to go on this big epic mind palace journey. Although... theoretically, Moriarty (or whoever) could have given him warning before anyone else.

 

If the critics were aggressive towards Hamlet, a perfectly acceptable performance, they will pan this, if they don't bury it six feet under.

 

I really, really really do not care what "the critics" have to say about this, or anything else I watch. I do not require self-proclaimed experts to tell me what to enjoy and how and why. I am perfectly capable of making up my own mind by my own self.

 

how did this particular case help him solve Moriarty's case? I see some parallels, yes (two people seemlingly blowing their head off and then seemingly being alive again), but in other regards the two cases are so different that solving the one case doesn't mean having solved the other one as well. I don't think that he has proved anything but that it is theoretically possible to fake your suicide by headshot

 

Well, but that's rather a biggie, isn't it? If 19th century people with 19th century technology can fake that kind of a suicide, then I am pretty darn sure 21st century Moriarty could too. The case of the Abominable Bride proves that "I saw him shoot himself in the mouth and then he fell over and there was a pool of blood" does not mean "he is alive" is one of the impossibilities to be immediately eliminated. That's valuable information for a man trying to solve a case. What I am not sure of is why Sherlock concluded in the end that Moriarty was dead. But he also said "I know what he will do next", so that statement was kind of ambiguous, anyway.

 

I was confused about that as well. What I could pick up from what we saw were some similarities between his theories about the Bride and what Moriarty may have done.

 

1. She used a hidden network of women to help fake her death (and her resurrection)- much like Moriarty's network- has Sherlock missed somebody from this network who is still at large and working for Moriarty? It is also interesting that the women in the story were hidden within the lives of the characters- is it somebody we have already met?

2. The faking of her death was all about timing- eventually, she would really have to be dead, but in the in-between period she could commit a final act of murder- was Moriarty somehow able to set a murder in motion before he pulled the trigger, or, in doing so?

3. I definitely think Moriarty has set up a final act of murder, that will play into season 4 somehow.

4. The part that throws all of this off, or course, is when it turns out to be Moriarty beneath the veil, instead of the murdered man's wife. At that point I could just about throw up my hands in despair.

 

I like your list! I think Moriarty was behind the veil instead of Mrs Whatshername, because Moriarty was truly behind the murder, even though she was probably the person who executed it. Moriarty never gets his own hands dirty, remember? And he loves turning people's sins of the past against them. He's quite a devil-figure. At this point, actually, I am not sure whether Sherlock sees Moriarty so much as a person. He seems to have become the embodiment of evil and / or criminal intent - the driving force behind murders, suicides, conspiracies, blackmail, everything Sherlock is up against in his work. Maybe that is why he can be dead and yet alive, gone and yet always present.

The scene took place inside Sherlock's brain. It wasn't real. So of course one person can morph into another, like they can in dreams or in anyones imagination.

 

I loved it but, unlike previous episodes, I won't be watching it with my granddaughter. It was so creepy!

 

Yup! I was glad my other half agreed to see it with me. Snuggled up against a big warm man, I was pretty happy and amused, but alone, I do think I would have gotten the shivers.

 

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This is all very interesting. I didn't get to see the Special yet but by reading various news portal, spoilers is unavoidable. Better embrace it as chance to make an educated decision whether to buy the DVD or not. Thank you, ladies and gents, please carry-on with the discussion. ^^

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This is all very interesting. I didn't get to see the Special yet but by reading various news portal, spoilers is unavoidable. Better embrace it as chance to make an educated decision whether to buy the DVD or not. Thank you, ladies and gents, please carry-on with the discussion. ^^

 

So, what have you decided on? Will you buy it or not?

 

I only have one little complaint so far: I think it was highly unfortunate to connect the secret society of angry women to the original story of The Five Orange Pips. Because there, it was the Ku Klux Klan (that's why Holmes mentioned America, btw). The costumes they wore were way too reminiscent of that organization as well, even though they were purple. Now, even though all this was supposed to be only a product of Sherlock's imagination on drugs, it's still very unwise and quite offensive to liken a group of radical feminists to a gang of racists. 

 

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It sounds very interesting but I think I will search for more data before deciding. ^^

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Well, still haven't seen it 2. time. Too busy to read the comments.

 

Well, Claire Pritchard wrote that the wig at Sherlocked was the one for a stunt double. But if you look at the pic posted here https://twitter.com/Anythingbatch/status/683254234771501056- do I see grey hair or is it only the light. :blink:

 

By accident I started to read the first ACD story on Thursday and the beginning of TAB was almost quoting the beginning of the canon. Which makes me wonder why they put so much stress on this. Can it be the whole story is not Sherlock's but John's head? Or some kind of Fanfic he wrote on his blog? It starts to feel a bit like "Vanilla Sky over London"

 

Another point before I go - the things that made me jump were the little tiny bits. Like YOU or those little words out of place (at least those I was able to undestand), like victorian Mycroft suddenly saying "virus in the data" :huh:

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I absolutely loved this

 

tv at its best, what with this and 'Dickensian' the Beeb are spoiling us!

 

can't wait for the BD release to see it in gorgeous hi-def and relive all my favourite moments

 

only downside was that ridiculous fatsuit!

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