It had been two years since Sherlock flew off for his suicide mission abroad, only for the plane to be turned around due to the reappearance of his arch nemesis Moriarty, but sadly for the awaiting public, instead of a new series we had to just do with a one off special, which oddly enough was set in a more traditional timescale, but hey some Sherlock is better than no Sherlock!
There will be spoilers found within this review.
It was always going to be a risk taking a well-established show back to its roots, because after all this version of Sherlock sold itself on being a modern take on a classic, however the transition was seamless. The question throughout for me was ‘is this canon for the series?’ Which in the end the answer was sort of, but not exactly.
The thing about Sherlock is that it is a beautifully acted TV show, both Cumberbatch and Freeman are perfect in their roles and have great chemistry, and Andrew Scott (Moriarty) is the perfect nemesis. Sherlock is also written very well, it’s a witty show which once it gets going never lulls, the dialogue is at times excellent, and the ninety minute format makes it stick out above all of its counterparts.
The episode was essentially in two mis-sized blocks, the main block was set in the Victorian era and the much smaller block was set in the present and was there to progress the series story. If you take the Abominable Bride part alone and look at it as a standalone special which was not canon, then it is a really good episode which tried to do something different, which contained a nice twist at the end and for Sherlock was particularly on the spooky end of things.
The problem however with the episode was when we came back into the modern day and discovered that the Victorian era Sherlock was nothing but Sherlock in his mind palace, off his nut on drugs. What is actually another nice twist to the story is spoiled because they decided to try and make the show too complicated and it ended up all over the place.
Once the revelation of Sherlock on the plane has been made, we bounce about from Victorian, to real life to imaginary Sherlock at a regular occurrence, it was all too much. It isn’t that I couldn’t follow what was going on, however why make your show over complicated when it isn’t really necessary, especially when Sherlock in the UK is not a niche program. When you are broadcasting to the mass public a show needs to be as streamline as possible, and jumping about all Inception style isn’t really going to go down well.
Anyway on a more positive note it was great to see Sherlock take on Moriarty again, even if it was in his imagination. It is hard to not wonder if the writers didn’t make their biggest blunder by having Moriarty shoot himself at the end of series 2, because he really is the perfect villain of the peace, and the chemistry between the two actors is off the charts. We shall see in series 4 if they manage to get their way around their misjudgement or whether they stick with their decision and have it as someone using Moriarty as the face whilst they work behind the scenes.
This one off special of Sherlock had its problems later on in the episode when things started to get rather messy, however generally it was a good episode, which was naturally very well acted and written. It is so often the case that something which you expect so much out of ends up being a disappointment, when if you had no expectations at all it would seem great. When you look back at the festive line up, then Sherlock stands head and shoulders above the rest, which in itself says a lot.
So what did you think of this one off special of Sherlock? Are you twitching waiting for the next instalment, which could be two years away or has this drug addled mess of an episode put you off for life? Well leave a comment old chap and share those views.