We all know how frustrating it is waiting for the next series of Sherlock to date, there have been ten episodes in 3 and a bit series and each series has had a two year wait between them. Up until now we've let that slide because what we received was well worth the wait. This time... Well it's definitely Sherlock, but as you've never seen it before.
The concept of a Victorian set-episode is bizarre and weirdly sensible after all, this is where the characters originated. Some fans may know very little about the original stories and this gives them a little bit of an insight to where the show they love came from. For fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories (and the many traditional adaptations they've had over the years) this is a treasure trove of references and twists on the familiar. It is almost a love-letter to itself, and that's where the problems start.
That's not to say it isn't worth the wait or your time, but there are a few too many problems to let them slide. To say the reaction has been mixed would be an understatement, but then it was always going to be divisive. And this is without the fact that it was billed as a stand-alone episode something which proved to be nothing more than a devious (though perhaps necessary) ploy by the show-runners to make their wonderful/disastrous (delete as applicable) twist work. Some of this was absolutely great, but other parts, much like the titular bride, were downright abominable.
4. The Performances
When Sherlock premiered back in the distant past of 2010 it wasn't clear if Holmes and Watson would work in the modern world the show's success has proved that they do, and Sherlock and John have become much loved characters in their own right whilst also paying homage to the originals. This holiday episode gives us to take a look at a 'might-have-been', and it's a crying shame that it's only a 'might'.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman shine as the classic characters of Holmes and Watson, with just enough of what we're familiar with to show that they are still the characters we know and love. But there is no doubt that these are different people, with Watson especially coming across as less understanding than his modern counterpart, perhaps as a product of his time. This is all for the better as the moments when the modern and past versions of the characters begin to collide allow the actors to shine.
It's also nice to see the other regular cast members being utilised both as their original book counterparts (Lestrade, Mrs Hudson, Mary Morstan) and as additions to the Victorian roll-call (Molly Hooper, Archie). A powerhouse of performances which makes it all the more sad that we probably (for reasons that should be clear if you've seen the episode) won't be seeing another 'classic' Holmes story with this cast...