I watch a lot of serials. I watch a lot of movies. But rarely in my life have I seen something of such brilliance and subtlety as Sherlock, the BBC Original Drama that grabbed everyone’s eyeballs 5 years ago. It was introduced to me by a friend in 2012 who knew just how intensively I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterpiece. No Sherlock fan can ever forget the agonizing pain of waiting for 2 really long years to finally absorb how Sherlock Holmes, the world’s most famous detective faked his death, to perfection. And the wait to watch our favourite sleuth on our TVs again, either making a ridicule out of Scotland Yard’s finest or blowing away our minds with his near-impossible-to-achieve deductions, was worth every second. This time around though, BBC surprizes everyone with a completely revamped Sherlock in a 90-minute special. The question that remains though is, was it worth the 2 year wait?
The episode opens up with a recap of all that has happened on this hell of a ride so far, before rewinding almost 100 years back to the Victorian Era, opening up in the exact similar format as did ‘A Study in Pink’. From the opening scene where our favourite army veteran Dr. John Watson misses the battlefield to the closing of the iconic door of 221B Baker Street, Douglas Mackinnon achieves near perfection in capturing the beauty of 19th century London, whether it be the eye-grabbing bowel hats or the landmark carriages, all under the 20 minute mark. With the introduction sequences of all the characters we have fallen in love with over the years doing perfect justice to each of them, one then can’t wait to get aboard the forte of Sherlock i.e. the stellar plots. And as the plot unravels in the most meticulous although sort of erratic momentum, one cannot help but be struck with a sense of awe and praise, as I found this to be one of the most ridiculously dense mysteries to have ever been shown in this series which itself speaks a lot. But is it necessarily good?
Speaking about the story, we have seen crazy in the form on The Mentalist. Then came more crazy with Hannibal. And then there is ‘The Abominable Bride’. Talking first impressions, the plot feels near-impossible to even exist, and that is freaking awesome! All that until you move on in the story to discover it to be rather silly. The complete plot starts feeling rather out of hand as you progress through the story. Although, it does have its moments when especially when you realise the bigger scene. However, once the mystery does uncover, you are left pretty confused emotion-wise. What was the whole point? The plot surely turn kinda lacklustre once everything is known, however what keeps you on toes is the bigger story that has followed suit, but let’s discover more on that later.
Coming to the characters, there is one thing that you need to know. Benedict Cumberbatch has still got it. And we love that! Narcissist, charming, insulting, you name it and this man will nail it. He is able to capture everything we have loved about him in the last 3 seasons and manages to prove us wrong thinking what he delivered in season 3 was the epitome of Sherlock. This time around, Sherlock was treated with a lot of feisty dialogues and statements that add just perfectly to the grandeur and gentlemanliness of a Sherlock Holmes in the 19th century. And how can I forget those out-of-the-world deductions? Pretty cool as they are and have always been, what I feel obliged to criticize about those sequences are two things. Firstly, I miss how words would fly out evidence and secondly, we are treated to almost all of those ground breaking scenes in the beginning only.
About Dr. John Watson, his character introduction for the 19th century did feel a little too rushed. However, what BBC fails to put forward in the beginning few moments makes do with the importance given to him as the episode progresses. There is however this one really, really short moment, which took my admiration for Martin Freeman leagues beyond where I ever thought he would rank. That moment would be the depth in his eyes through which he sees Sherlock for the first time at the morgue. So many emotions, disgust and amazement coupled with a tinge of admiration and curiosity, all put subtly in 3 seconds fills you in with the sense of satisfaction what I would get after reading tens of Sherlock stories. There obviously were many other characters which we have grown to see in the three seasons that have gone by and witness their daily exploits in the Victorian Era. Again however, many such as a rather different Mycroft, feel quite out of place while some such as Inspector Lestrade fit in just about right.
Concluding this review/opinion, over the years, Sherlock has seen better, far better episodes. Although offering something rather novel for the fans of the original novels and short stories with a truckload of references while keeping the charm and captivity of the new serial, we have seen episodes that qualify to be much, much better. Although, I sure can give full marks to the creative team for executing the idea of Sherlock in ‘the right time’ to near perfection, as Mark Gatiss puts it. What was funny was how the music seemed so lacklustre this time around with BBC, known to make good use of the setting hardly even touching this aspect. Plot seems strong at first but goes awry as it ends, and hence nowhere near does it qualify to be a very good Sherlock episode. So I sadly say this, it wasn’t worth the wait.