Sherlock Television

Sherlock Rewatch: “The Abominable Bride” Special

Sherlock
Source: BBC

Welcome, dear Sherlockians, to the final edition of our Sherlock series rewatch. It’s been fun. That is, if you consider the emotional trauma of watching this show “fun.”

It’s 1881, and we’re treated with an alternate opening to the series: John returns to London after sustaining injuries in the Afghan War, and he’s in search of a flatmate. It’s a
near mirror-image of the first few scenes of our beloved show; except, of
course, for the gorgeous Victorian London setting. But everything’s there: the
beating of a corpse with a stick, the limping John, the initial mind-blowing
deductions… It’s a much-needed walk down memory lane.

Several years pass, and it’s now 1894. Sherlock and John are close friends, and becoming quite famous due to John’s stories of their adventures, published in The Strand magazine. They return from one of these adventures and Mrs. Hudson greets them at the flat, making it clear that she really doesn’t appreciate how John depicts her in his stories. (C’mon John, even in an alternate-reality 1800s world, she’s still not your housekeeper!) They find Mary waiting in the apartment, disguised as a client, irritated that she’s constantly being left alone as John and Sherlock embark on their cases. Lestrade arrives at the flat, desperate for a drink. (Rough day at
the office, man?)

Lestrade describes a case to Sherlock and John: the case of Emelia Ricoletti, a woman who, dressed in a wedding gown, started shooting at people on the street from her balcony,
shouting “you?” as she shot. She then proceeds to commit suicide by shooting
herself in the head. Definitely a dramatic case, but not exactly mysterious or
intriguing enough for Sherlock. But wait, there’s more. Later on the day of
this incident, Emelia is seen again, very much alive, and kills her husband.
Now this makes Sherlock excited.

Sherlock and John visit the morgue to study Emelia’s body. Dr. Hooper states that the body is positively Emelia’s, identified as such both after she “killed herself” and right before she killed her husband. There is also a smear of blood on Emelia’s finger that Hooper says wasn’t there before; on the wall, the word “you” is also written in blood. Sherlock is both
puzzled and fascinated about how one could survive a gunshot to the head and
live to tell the tale (or haunt people; whatever turns your crank.) Aren’t we
all, Sherlock…

The case goes unsolved for several months. Lestrade reports 5 other murders blamed on Emelia’s ‘ghost,’ now commonly known as “the bride.” Sherlock shrugs these murders off as being copycats of the original murder, and continues to study some astronomy theories rather than focus on the case.

John receives a telegram from Sherlock to come to Baker Street immediately (if convenient, that is. If inconvenient, come anyway.) They head to the Diogenes club to meet with
Mycroft.

(Side note: DAT SIGN LANGUAGE DOE Never gets old.)

Watson Potato
Photo Source: wildwoodgoddess.tumblr.com

 

They find Mycroft surrounded by food, and very much overweight. In true competitive Holmes brother fashion, the two place bets on how long Mycroft has to live if he continues with these habits. Mycroft also says he is referring a case to Sherlock.

Back at Baker Street, Sherlock and John meet Lady Carmichael, the client referred to them by Mycroft. She says her husband Eustace was threatened with an envelope containing 5
orange pips (a death threat in some secret societies), but he tried to laugh it
off and ignore it. She then says two days later that he awoke in the night,
petrified at seeing “the bride” in the garden. She followed him out to the
garden and found him face to face with the bride, whom he identifies as Emelia
Ricoletti right before fainting. Lady Carmichael says she doesn’t recognize the
name at all, and that her husband is refusing to leave the house. Sherlock
decides to use this to his advantage by using Eustace as ‘bait’ for the bride.

At the Carmichael estate, Eustace denies the entire story, claiming he’s a sleepwalker and that his wife is hysterical. He rejects Sherlock’s help and denies any connection with the
Ricoletti case. That night, John and Sherlock stage a lookout on the estate,
hoping the bride will appear. While waiting, John questions Sherlock on the
subject of women and his feelings (or lack thereof) towards them, and Sherlock
is, as usual, defensive and uncomfortable about the subject. Suddenly, they
spot the bride, who disappears quickly, and they hear Eustace’s scream and the
sound of breaking glass.

They break through a window to get inside the building, and John guards this entrance while Sherlock runs upstairs. Sherlock finds a distraught Lady Carmichael, then finds Eustace lying
dead, stabbed with a dagger. Downstairs, John sees the bride, and runs to find
Sherlock. By the time they get back, the bride has vanished. Sherlock stands
firm that the bride is not a ghost, because ghosts are impossible, but John
thinks otherwise.

Lestrade arrives on the scene, and they study the scene of Eustace’s death. Sherlock still refuses to accept any theory of a ghost. Lestrade then reveals a note attached to the
dagger that Sherlock is sure wasn’t there before. The words “miss me?” are
written on this note, shocking Sherlock. These are the words of Moriarty, whom
he thought was dead, although his body was never found…

Sherlock meditates for days, searching his mind palace. After injecting himself with a cocaine solution, Moriarty shows up in his hallucinations. Moriarty reveals the similarities
between his death and the death of Emelia—both shot themselves but still came
back, somehow. He then shoots himself again, and Sherlock suddenly wakes up in
the present day, on the plane, right where we left off in S03E03. He’s rambling
on about the Ricoletti case—an unsolved case from the 1800s, stored in his mind
palace—when Mycroft, John, and Mary realize he had used drugs to ‘enhance’ his
mind palace search. He is convinced that by figuring out the Ricoletti case, he
can figure out why Moriarty is back, since the cases are so similar. He
re-enters his mind palace, waking up in the 1800s-universe 221b flat again.
John is there, clearly upset about his use of drugs.

John then receives a telegram from Mary, claiming to have found the ‘copycats’ of the bride at an old church. It turns out to be a secret group of the Women’s Rights Movement, members of which include Dr. Hooper, Janine, and Jane (John’s servant.) Sherlock realizes
that a double was used to fake Emelia’s death, therefore creating the image of “the
bride” that returned to kill her husband. That image was then replicated by
others in various other similar murders. He also concludes that it was Lady
Carmichael, disguised as the bride, who killed her husband. She approaches him,
in the old church, still disguised as the bride, but as the veil is lifted, he
is shocked to realize it’s Moriarty. (What. Is. Happening?!)

Sherlock awakes again in the present and insists on digging up Emelia’s grave to prove a double was used. After opening the coffin, the corpse attacks him, and he awakens (again), this time on a ledge next to the Reichenbach Falls. (At this point, I think we just
accept that we’re all on a drug trip here.) Moriarty appears, telling Sherlock it’s
all been a dream, and the two start to fight each other. Then John arrives, gun
at the ready, and kicks Moriarty off the ledge. Sherlock also decides to jump off
the ledge in order to finally wake up.

He wakes up (for real this time) on the plane, present day. He’s met by John, Mary, and Mycroft. Before exiting the plane, the elder Holmes brother asks John to keep an eye on
Sherlock, worried about his drug usage. (He really does care, underneath all
that big brother stuff.) Sherlock reveals to John that he is confident that
Moriarty is dead, but had planned events, like the “did you miss me?” broadcast
after his death.

Back in 1800s/alternate-221b, John and Sherlock discuss the futuristic world he saw in his mind. Looking out the window, a bustling modern-day Baker Street can be seen… (I’m getting so many Doctor Who vibes off this episode…)

And that, my friends, marks the end of our Sherlock series rewatch. (It gives us a temporary fix, anyway.) The countdown is [almost] on for Season 4… Hopefully this helped pass the time a bit for you. Anyone else planning on just going back to episode 1 now and
starting again?

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