If I did not review this episode I probably would’ve punched my self in the face with regret.
There are so few times I am motivated to review something I have recently viewed or read and in all the times I have, most of them I have usually done so either because I am absolutely profoundly in love with it or just because I need to write it for future use. This one is of the former.
It goes without saying that I am a fan of first and foremost the novels (most of which I am still in the process of reading) and of course Gatiss and Moffat’s modern TV series adaptation of Conan’s Sherlock. So naturally, when the special episode was announced to be released in January 2016 I banged my head in agony on my wooden kitchen table in the continuous torturous patience that comes with being a Sherlock fan.
Today however, after a two year wait, the blessed day arrived and like any eager soul I skipped in excitement to the nearest big screen to watch what can only be described as the most satisfying, fulfilling and awe inspiring episode in all the history of Sherlock. I will try my utmost best to write a spoiler free review but be warned that I cannot contain my excitement so if there are by chance spoilers in this review I can’t apologise. You will understand me once you have watched it yourself. Honestly some of this may not even make sense if you haven’t watched the episode, it may just sound like a fan girl’s cry of joy… But well we all have to cry once now don’t we, it’s what makes us, us.
Where to begin!? Let’s start with the throwback to the Victorian era. We all know in this day and age anything is possible, just say the word and technology will be able to solve it all for you. The cinematography in this episode is so harmonic and captivating, every moment of the episode, you are led to believe that this version is the one it always has been (ironically because it should be – that is when it is set.) You forget about the tech savvy Sherlock and Watson the blogger. Everything is reminiscent of those good old traditional book characters. The layout of the room, the props, even to the point of Watson’s moustache and Sherlock’s slick hair.
With that comes the politics which the producers have so finely mastered. It’s so relieving to watch something which displays its effort in research into history, every word has been carefully selected and has great meaning, every action has importance and value. Sherlock has always taught us this but in this episode the producers cleverly played with the history of politics of the time. They used the knowledge of today to their advantage to enhance the knowledge of the past. Seriously, Gatiss and Moffat have pure genius minds and it would make you a fool to believe otherwise. Take a modern day adaptation of Sherlock, keep all the actors in their respective character roles but place them in a slightly older period in time (making sure that you are adhering to those social, historical and political values.) Finally, take some of those brilliant ideas from the modern day adaptations and throw them in there as well. If that does not amaze you, you need to push away your pride and appreciate the beauty in man’s capabilities.
If none of that made sense then what I am trying to say is that they have basically taken the set from Sherlock, transformed it into an older version without actually transforming it much at all. Well except the kitchen goes and technology is replaced with equivalents. It’s just all too clever.
Let’s move on from my poor attempt to make you understand something that will only be understood once you’ve watched it. The politics then. Oh it was just magnificent. Female empowerment! And what better way to do it than to have THE Sherlock Holmes, usually selfish, conceit, self centred and vain talk about the strength, intelligence and relevance of a woman. There was no better way any women could’ve put it themselves and at the same time there is self development. Sherlock and Watson both recognise their mistreatment of women in all the previous cases and in general and become more aware of their actions.
One thing I loved about this episode was its smack in the face, right there, thrilling Gothicism. A much needed reminder of the true horror of the murders that Sherlock dealt with in the novels and the reality of crime solving in the Victorian era. It was also a dark little advance on the tense modern adaptations. The colours, the music and of course narrative had you gripping your armrest or popcorn (or whatever else you had in your hand) because it was not anything you were expecting. The kind that makes you shiver because it’s so close to reality.
There are just so many things I could go on about I have barely even touched the surface with these descriptions, but I want to keep it short so I’ll end it with the main and most important part of the whole experience. The story! For the story there just aren’t enough words to describe it which will do it any kind of justice but this episode was (she says in the most cliché terms ever) a rollercoaster ride. Ever wanted to be a part of the cast, or a part of the story, one of the characters even if it was just a minor character? This episode more than any other will have you feeling attached and then slightly (in my case more so) upset that Sherlock is just a character and that you were just a viewer watching the magics of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and oh God.. Every blumin’ actor that was ever a part of Sherlock. In this episode I think it is fair to say that they have achieved the ‘no such thing as a small character’ idea. Every actor and consequently every character was a beautiful part of the series and I could write pages worth on each one of their brilliancies. I should though, end it now…
I shall leave the review on this note however, if Sherlock were real and living in our world, it would be (from a fan girls point of view) way too good to be true (this is me taking into account his original sour character) #loyal.