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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

open thread: Sherlock: The Abominable Bride


The latest episode of Sherlock debuted last night. The Victorian-set “The Abominable Bride” is pure fan service, and a sop to those who’ve accused Steven Moffat of hating women. But it’s not even much of a sop by the end: it suffers from that eternal Moffat flaw, that he is unable to fully commit to any of his ideas.

And that’s all I have to say about this. The thread is yours. Assume that the comments below are full of spoilers.

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  • DuffPaddy

    I loved the first hour or so of this, but said “Oh, come on!” when the switch happened. There were still good moments to come, but the timey-wimey-Inceptiony-mind-palace gubbins came across as arseing around for the sake of it. And it ultimately made zero difference to the modern day timeline. As someone commented on Twitter, the episode essentially consisted of Sherlock getting out of a jet and into a car. Please, Mofftis, pull back on the mind palace stuff next time. It’s been done to death now.

    As for the ‘feminist’ theme, I think it managed to be the worst of both worlds. There was just enough for Daily Mail readers to froth about the “right-on, lefty BBC”, yet it was essentially about a terrorist suffragette sect, which is hardly a positive feminist message to take away. It was all rather clumsy, and I winced at the reveal.

  • NorthernStar

    Enjoyed this despite it’s obvious flaws. The 2 leads have ridiculous amounts of chemistry that they can bring polish and shine to just about any dialogue. The whole “suffrage is about women angry at men” is so WTF that is honestly feels unworthy of protest. Let it’s stupidity stand for itself.

  • ruth waterton

    I find the way Moffat recycles ideas between his two shows somewhat tedious. It was hard to get behind the mind palace idea, complete with grave digging scene, when we’d just seen it done in “Heaven Sent”. Better done, to be honest.

    Whilst I was never a BTF, I enjoyed Sherlock more before Mary entered the proceedings. At that point the narrative became locked into a cycle – Sherlock suffers without Watson, he starts using, Watson stages an intervention and shows how much he cares, but ultimately the bromance is over. I’m beginning to understand the people who said that as soon as the Doctor started caring about his companions, the show would be all about him. I think Sherlock worked much better as a cerebral show – the pressure from fandom to up the emotional ante hasn’t really done it any favours.

  • Martin

    Up until we got to the twist (which was kind of signposted, thought it was odd for a Victorian to use the words “Virus” and “Data”) I was on board. To be honest, I’d have been happy if it was just a straight “alternate” universe story with no connection at all to the modern version. Hell, it could have been Moffat making the point that Holmes and Watson work no matter what time period they are in (with the potential for a Sherlock in Space for next year) but he has to try and be too clever for his own good.

    Because, ultimately, the story is rendered as pointless, because the whole scenario Sherlock plays boils down to “nope, it’s impossible, just like I thought”.

  • “Virus” and “Data”

    Yup, that was the moment when I knew this was going to be Clever.

  • Bruce

    Did not like one bit. It was barely 15min in and I wanted to turn it off and go do something else… But I still finished it and the end was even worse.

  • althea

    “Because, ultimately, the story is rendered as pointless”

    That was my problem. For a minute I thought maybe it was some kind of reflection of a real case, but no. Just throws all the attention I’ve paid out the window. And in the end there’s no story at all.

  • ketac6

    This was essentially an hour and a half of a man getting off a plane. To me it only confirmed the woman-hating aspects as well; these weren’t just feminists fighting for equality, these were murdering feminazis of the type normally dreamt up by ranting internet misogynists.

    The only thing I liked was when Cumberbatch seemed to be channelling Jeremy Brett.

  • And this is my problem with Moffat’s DW, too: None of it matters. None of it means anything, not even on the simplest level. This is why it’s no longer any fun to write about it: there’s no there there.

  • Danielm80

    I just came across this quote from Charlie Jane Anders, and it reminded me of the things a lot of people have been saying about Steven Moffat:

    Part of revising a book is paring back all the “ooo shiny” ideas so you can get to what the book is actually about, of course.


    Sometimes the “ooo shiny” ideas are the best part of a Moffat episode. “Blink” has enough ideas for at least four different episodes. But in this case, if he had cut out most of the meta-commentary and the gratuitous character moments, we would have gotten a pretty good one-hour special.

  • MegawackyMax

    I kinda–KINDA–accepted the whole Mind Palace thing in the concept of Sherlock wanting to find a potential solid clue on whether Moriarty could be truly alive or not. It was not the worst twist, the change of setting in the middle of the story. I *could* forgive a lot… BUT…

    …ANOTHER twist by the end? Moffat, this is not Doctor Who. Please, don’t ruin Sherlock for me as well. I haven’t forgiven you for the latest DW season, yet (nor I think I will).

  • Maria Niku

    Ugh… think I’ll just dig up the old Jeremy Brett version now…

  • Except there are people today, in the 21st century, who think that feminism is about hating men and making men suffer. This ridiculous notion doesn’t need any help.

  • Or, as writers are instructed, “Kill your darlings.” A good writer knows when to cut the stuff s/he loves but that is not important to the story, or at least knows to give his/her stuff to an editor who will them them what darlings to cut. Moffat doesn’t do either.

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