I'm not sure I ever came back here, (after yet another hiatus,) and gave my thoughts on the Charles Magnussen episode of Sherlock; however, I have reviewed every other episode, so it seems only fair that I review this one. This may be in two parts, however, since there is a lot of ground to cover in this episode.
On January 1st, I got home from work and eagerly searched through the channels for which one Sherlock would play on: BBC America, or PBS. Turned out it was PBS, so I sat back, watching other things as I patiently waited for 9 pm to get here.
It first comes on, and we get a brief overview of 'So far on Sherlock' that gives highlights of the past three seasons. Then, 'Alternatively . . .' and the clock begins winding backwards.
Showing Watson wounded in action and then his narration over it when he comes back to London I found wonderful. Especially when he makes mention that his health is irretrievably damaged, or however his exact phrasing was.
It's when he runs into Stamford and they begin talking that I was a bit, for lack of a better term, disappointed in the writing. I understand they wanted to show the meeting between these two iconic literary figureheads, but it felt very rushed to me. Also, while I did enjoy that it was basically the Victorian version of what they'd done in a Study in Pink, that was exactly what it felt like -- a rehash, old-fashioned version of what they'd done in a Study in Pink, right down to Holmes's (now needless, since Stamford had introduced him,) announcement of his name, and where they were to meet.
When they're seen at Baker Street and Mrs. Hudson greets them, I kinda wondered about the Victorian aspect. If they were doing a "true Holmes" (I'll explain later why that's in quotes,) then why would Mrs. Hudson be going on the way she does in the modern take? Don't get me wrong, I liked how she went on about not having any lines, and how in the stories her sole purpose was showing people up the stairs and getting them tea. It just didn't say 'Victorian' to me. It more said, as is her famous line, "Not your housekeeper."
Clues are dropped about the eventual reveal in the show, (caught by me on the second time around watching it,) and we fairly quickly get into the case. Emelia Riccoletti, a woman seen pointing guns at men in the streets and shouting, "You!" has committed suicide, yet somehow she came back from the grave to kill her husband before disappearing into the mist.
When Holmes and Watson, (because despite the reveal, when they're in the Victorian setting, I can't help but think of them as Holmes and Watson instead of Sherlock and John,) go to the morgue, the audience discovers that Molly Hooper has dressed herself up as a man to work in the mortuary. I thought that bit was ingenious, because seriously, a woman wouldn't have been able to have the kind of job modern-day Molly does. The only way she *might* be able to get away with it is to disguise herself as a man, and I thought it was positively brilliant. I also thought it brilliant that Watson catches onto that little gem and makes it very clear he knows what she's doing, and yet Anderson, (unnamed in this episode, but still lowering IQ's street-wide,) is left clueless.
When they visit the Diogenes Club to see Mycroft, that, that was a treat. Though since I'm used to seeing Mark Gatiss as a tall, thin man, that may have contributed to the fact that the fat suit he was in looked more than a bit ridiculous. The face, hands, and neck, especially. But before we get to Mycroft, can we just talk about how hilarious it was to see Watson completely botch British Sign Language? I'm casually conversational in ASL, so I got a bit of what they were saying, (not enough, since BSL and ASL are different. I only caught two things I know are the same: face and thank you,) and I was laughing at Watson's attempts. "I'm glad you liked my potato." Then Holmes excusing his partner and making fun of him at the same time, and Watson's there, "Sorry, what?" Then realizes his mistake and before he goes to follow Holmes, he gives the other guy a thumbs up. Priceless. Absolutely priceless.
All right. I am going to make this a two part post. I'll end off here and come back soon with the rest of my thoughts.