Welcome to the LAS Blog’s first Sherlock Discussion! If you’re familiar with our Doctor Who Discussion, this is done in a similar style, with J.A. Prentice (JA) and Jaden C. Kilmer (JC) talking about the episode, going extremely off-topic, and then giving our final score.
Before we begin, I’d like to issue two apologies, one for being rather late, for which I will happily throw Jaden C. Kilmer under the bus and say it is all his fault, and one for often referring to the special’s writer as Steven Moffat, when it was a collaboration between him and Mark Gatiss.
Of course, there are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead, so only reason if you accept that risk.
Read on for our thoughts on The Abominable Bride!
JA: I enjoyed it, even though it wasn’t at all what I expected.
JC: It was exactly what I expected and I didn’t enjoy it
I’m kidding. But wouldn’t that be nice if it was the truth?
JA: It would definitely make for a more interesting discussion.
JC: I just want to know how they kept it under wraps that it WAS actually gonna be canon.
Or at least canon-ish
JA: That must have been really hard to keep secret, especially given how much media attention there is on them.
I actually saw it coming not that far in.
JC: I started to suspect it then went “nah they’d never do that. It would be a cool idea though.”
JA: I was 100% convinced it would happen after Sherlock slipped and said “he” in the morgue.
JC: ooh missed that. I started to suspect on some random line where I went “hmm that didn’t seem very like a 19th century thing to say.” Also fat Mycroft.
JA: Fat Mycroft was amazing.
JA: I was chortling too hard to hear much of that scene lol
That and Molly with the really bad disguise were two of my favorite bits.
JC: Sherlock borrowed from iZombie there.
JA: Which part exactly?
JA: iZombie also had a girl badly disguised as a boy in the magician episode. Basically the same disguise too.
JC: Oh, right. I thought that disguise was a lot more plausible. Although it definitely didn’t fool me. Definitely not. I saw through it before the reveal. For sure. Absolutely.
JC: I did lol. I went “that dude’s too attractive to be a dude. Probably some girl in a disguise.” though for some reason I didn’t put 2 and 2 together and realize character in disguise means that person is going to be the killer
JA: I felt slightly ashamed after that reveal.
JC: lol yea it seemed a little obvious. Anyway, I felt the Sherlock special was very much Sherlock. Probably an improvement too over season 3 on the whole
JA: I would agree, since season 3 was great, but not QUITE on par with the first two.
JC: STOP AGREEING WITH ME JERK
JA: I was actually concerned about this special, since the early previews made it seem like it would be heavy on the jokes and references without much in the way of plot, but it turned out really great.
JC: I was really unsure about a non-canon one off, seeing as there’s so precious few episodes to start with and if they had decided to do 4 this year I was thinking they should’ve spent that extra time on just fleshing out the season more. But I agree. Really enjoyable overall. Had the classic Sherlock technical pizzazz, sharp writing, acting, what else is there to say?
JA: I was afraid for a moment that the story was going to become a little heavy-handed, but I actually thought the meta-commentary on women in Sherlock Holmes was really interesting.
JC: It actually reminded me of a Sherlock Holmes computer game. The TL:DP is that throughout the game you solve cases and then make a morality judgement once you solved them, ending the story by either taking pity on the killer’s motives and letting them go or turning them in to Lestroud. In the final one you uncover a rebellious plot to overthrow the monarchy and institute something resembling democratic socialism. I think Mycroft even has a line in the game along the lines of “we should lose this one.”
JA: Hmm. It’s actually kind of a fairly common detective “trope” to have the killer/thief be someone the detective is conflicted about turning in or someone they let go, but that does sound very similar.
JC: The game also does obviously borrow from Sherlock (when you analyze a suspect you see stuff like “smoker” “left handed” “single” pop up on their clothes like in the show)
JA: Speaking of that, I loved the newspaper clippings flying around Sherlock as a Victorian version of the data flying around him we see in the present day.
JC: YES it took me too long to figure out what was going on though
JA: I also really loved that last scene, which was basically Moffat trolling the audience.
JC: hold on i have a gif for my reaction during that scene
JA: One of the things I love about Moffat is that he just doesn’t care about fan reactions and deliberately implies that, say, all of Sherlock is a fantasy in the original Sherlock Holmes’s head (and vice-versa) and the Doctor might be half-human (Editor’s Note: Moffat didn’t so much imply this as “unignore” it, since the TV Movie firmly established it but everyone else has been trying to pretend that didn’t happen.) just to see people’s reactions.
One day I hope to be able to troll readers/watchers on that level.
JC: I was with you until you reminded me of the half human thing. I hope never to cause people that amount of psychological pain.
JA: 90% of why I’m a writer is that it seemed the most legal way to cause people severe psychological trauma. (Editor’s Note: This is going on Twitter.)
JC: “There are two kinds of people who sit around thinking about how to kill people.”
JA: So what does this episode mean for Sherlock Series 4?
I’m thinking Moriarty is 100% dead, but he has someone acting in his name. Like the Abominable Bride.
JC: I’m thinking that he’s in the “in between” stage. He’s alive, but he’s about to die for real to set something into motion.
JA: Hmm. That wouldn’t explain how he clearly died in front of Sherlock. Unless Sherlock was stupid enough to be fooled by a faked death literally a foot away from him.
JC: UNLESS it wasn’t really Sherlock on the roof? And they’ll actually explain what happened up there? Idk. I’m more hoping that I’m right than really thinking it, because I think it would be more interesting
JA: That… would make so little sense that I would probably give up on Sherlock right then.
JC: It makes perfect sense. You see, Sherlock was actually an egg the whole time
JA: How did I miss that? It all makes sense now.
Sherlock is an egg! You heard it here first!
You mentioned (Editor’s Note: in a message sent while JC was watching, before the discussion.) to me (and I actually hadn’t noticed before) that part of the Victorian plot was actually weirdly similar to my short story, Spiral: A Death Foretold. (Totally Unbiased Editor’s Note: You should check it out to verify the similarities.) They both have a rich jerk predicted to die and some seemingly supernatural events going on as well as a somewhat (although not entirely) similar resolution.
I’d like to think Moffat bought it and decided to plagiarize me.
And I’ll have him know my nonexistent lawyer is right here and ready to issue a law-suit. lol
JC: Thoughtcrime irl
JA: Definitely. He also stole the whole concept from an episode for a TV show script that I haven’t even written yet. (Editor’s Note: You’ll have to take my word for that one.) There’s no other explanation than thoughtcrime.
JC: Now normally thoughtcrime results in a trip to room 101. Would you settle instead for something minor, like becoming doctor who showrunner?
JA: Yeah, I think I’d accept that.
My total lack of experience makes me an ideal candidate for Reasons.
Not Mark Gatiss?
JA: Not Chibnall.
JC: I forget which one Chibnall is again
JA: He wrote the Silurian two-parter, Power of Three, and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.
But more importantly he was in charge of the first two years of Torchwood.
And wrote Cyberwoman, which is hysterically awful. More than Plan 9 From Outer Space.
JC: that resume is… underwhelming
I actually LIKE Gatiss.
After all, he co-wrote the thing we’re supposed to be talking about.
JC: doesnt count. writers take some crazy pills that give them multiplier bonuses to writing when working on sherlock. I don’t know what it is about the show that brings out the best in writers
JA: I think that given how long each series takes, they spend time refining each script until it’s as good as possible.
JC: I think thats possible. Also they only do one ep each so they dont have to spread their writing resources out
JA: And it’s more collaborative, so plot holes, etc, get pointed out.
JA: I thought it was clever, original, and bold. The premise was genius. As always, the technical side was amazing and the acting was great. Both the Victorian and modern-day segments were awesome. Some people thought it was “too clever for it’s own good” or something like that, but I thought it was incredible. 10/10
JC: Sherlock is kind of in a league of its own. There isn’t really anything quite like it on TV. Anything that is on par with it from a technical standpoint isn’t nearly as fun. And anything that’s similar levels of fun is nowhere near as technically solid. Therefore, I deduce that Sherlock is above mere number scale ratings. Instead, I give it a grade of “Jamie Alexander’s Golden Globes dress.”
JA: I eagerly await your Golden Globes post so I can understand what that means.
Join us next time in 2095, when Sherlock Series 4 will be broadcast to the devastated, radiation-blighted remnants of the planet Earth!