We are off and running on Season 4 of the BBC Sherlock series with Cumberbatch and Freeman back at it again (with four episodes promised, the ‘Abominable Bride’ being the first). This first episode aired as a Christmas special in the U.K. What makes this particular episode unique is that it seems to be set at the end of the 19th century, unlike the previous episodes, or is it? Things are not as they seem, as you will soon discover. Of course Cumberbatch and Freeman and Mark Gatiss (the series co-creator who also plays Mycroft Holmes) are excellent once again as is the increasingly annoyingly good at being evil Moriarity character. As you may or may not remember, some effort is made to draw on the previous canon of Conan Doyle stories (in this episode there is an hommage to ‘the Five Orange Pips’).
Not wanting to provide spoilers, I will simply say that the mystery in this episode has to do with how a woman who seems clearly to have killed herself, keeps coming back and preying on men, after first dealing with her own husband. The underlying story has to do with women being sick and tired of a male-dominated MCP world and wanting the vote among other rights. In this regard the story has some overlap with the Meryl Streep ‘Suffragette’ movie. There is plenty to like about this 90 minute drama not least the frisson between Watson and Holmes, and there are moments where we get the impression that the Sherlock we know and love is more a creation of Watson’s embroidered and entertaining stories than of the man in himself. And it is nice to see a period piece again that has the Gothic and macabre feel of the original Conan Doyle stories. One word of warning— Sherlock’s Mind Palace is alive and well in this episode.