There will be some potential spoilers for last night's episode… so come back after you have watched it.
After a two year wait, last night we got the return of Sherlock but in a very unique way. The modern day interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective has had three successful series/seasons under the control of creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and has made stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman household names on both sides of the pond. But last night the two actors shed their modern trappings for Victorian garb and did their best Jeremy Brett and David Burke homages in The Abominable Bride.
The 90-minute episode was the first ever to be released in both the U.K. and the U.S. at the same time and was presented as a one-off holiday special. Except it wasn't…
Though we pick up with a 19th century version of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson meeting for the first time that is very reminiscent of the opening of the Sherlock series… and the majority of the episode takes place in that era… the special actually takes place minutes after the ending of the third series and leads us towards the fourth, whenever that will be.
I won't go into details on the episode, but I will share my opinion. As a fan of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the subsequent Brett lead series, I was already inclined to like The Abominable Bride. Add in lots of additional nods to the series and to Doyle's work and the episode is a lot of fun from that perspective. Cumberbatch and Freeman along with the rest of the cast do a wonderful job in the shifted era. The story is interesting, feeling like a classic Holmes tale through most and then slamming hard into a Sherlock episode moments before the big reveal.
Where I feel Moffat has gone somewhat astray with Doctor Who, I think he and Gatiss have a very firm grasp on what makes Sherlock work and it is in play with this special. Now we just have to wait until all these busy folks can get back together and make the fourth series.