NOTE: The following review contains spoilers.
Though for the first time in human history the entire world (read except Donald Trump & members of ISIS) got united to term 2016 as a despicable year but it started with a bang. To the delight of fans across the globe BBC premiered a new episode of Sherlock but at the same time, the British network also got fans confused as most of them expected two more episodes.
The return of world’s most favorite shark-face as world’s most famous detective (consulting detective to be precise) and a hobbit with an exceptional reaction-face as his sidekick in this drug loaded superhero flick. The newest British Television adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s numero uno creation is set in current day London and the first three seasons of the TV series has gained huge commercial and critical success.
The special episode is a continuation of the ongoing events but is also set in Victorian England simultaneously filled with cocaine, hallucinations, feminism and the depths of the Reichenbach fall. After reminding us all that happened in the show which revolves around the remarkable life of a “high functioning sociopath” who is also a drug addict. As Sherlock comes back from his minutes of exile due a situation, the story alternatively drives time back to the last half of the 19th century.
In the backdrop of Victorian London Dr. John Watson meets a strange man who is beating up corpses with a cane to establish the principle of bruising after death invites him to share his flat at two hundred twenty-one one B Baker Street. As a quite shocked Dr. Watson gets an assurance of Holmes’ strangeness in the form of friend Stamford the title track hits. The opening monologue of this special episode is recreated from the first ever episode of the Series and established Holmes and Watson relationship in the alternative Victorian narrative.
In 19th Century internet and blogs would have been a serious work of science fiction hence the makers paid their respect to the Strand magazine on which world’s best known sleuth made his first ever appearance. It can be termed as a triumph for the production team for giving the period drama a tantalizing Victorian look. Every significance of the 19th Century were present be it steam engines or hansom cabs even Shelock’s oiled back brushed hair spreader Victorian vibes. These elements became to carry more significance as the two narratives started to jumble with spontaneous flow of mesmerizing imagery. Most of the regular character’s function remained the same within the alternative narrative both thematically and metaphorically. These Victorian plot devices blended with the fast moving unorthodox narrative structure allied with witty dialogues. Among some of the haze of narrative ambiguity of the Victorian part that of Mycroft’s immense presence is an out an out winner.
Mrs. Hudson is the first female character to enter the screen in this episode and thus makes his presence known while discussing her function within the narrative with Watson. The feminist touch that has been drawn to the script has also historical significances, the voting rights for women stood as a monumental step in that era. Every female character in the episode has been shown agitated with this patriarchal society which doesn’t consider the half of human race as equal to the other. The utter unexpected treat of a righteously angry Molly Hooper in the Victorian part disguised as a man is a bright extension of visual metaphor.
The Victorian setting was all a roller-costar drug trip in the mind of modern-day Sherlock, who’d deliberately overdosed and entered his hallucinogenic sphere of “mind palace” to desperately prove that Moriarty couldn’t have come back from the dead. It was also a metaphor for Sherlock’s addiction (though he kept on insisting that he is a user, not an addict) to puzzles, as much as that seven per cent solution of cocaine.
The visual stylization is stellar as always with masterful writing combined with a collectively supreme performance of the cast made the New year a virtual drug inflicted trip to remember for the fans.