If series three was a derailment, then The Abominable Bride went a long way in getting things back on track. The character development I've come to expect was again at the forefront, and this was a marvelous amalgamation of the original stories and earlier episodes, and that marriage did not feel at all contrived. I was reminded why I once thought the dynamic duo of Cumberbatch & Freeman were worthy successors to Granada, as while Holmes had an edge to his character, it was not so over the top as to be nigh on intolerable as it had been in the past series. Watson was just lovely - well fleshed out, snarky, but the epitome of a friend.
I thought more time should have been spent on the nuances of their relationship as it was in Canon, but it seems that in an attempt to discourage slashers, whilst simultaneously egging on that segment of fandom, there was not as much interaction between Holmes & Watson as I had hoped there would be. Even so, a marked improvement and attempt to mop up the mistakes they made previously.
Mary would have been wonderful save for the fact she belonged to some league of murderous suffragettes, who killed their husbands in cold blood because they were discontent with their place in society. We need not condone Victorian social standings to conclude that murdering another human being is wrong, especially when they have committed no crime but be products of their age, who went out to work when women's options were limited. What, did these suffragists intend to slay every man on earth to get what they wanted, or merely use fear and intimidation to eventually get their way? Both prospects do not paint them in the brightest light, and prove what a misogynist Mark Gatiss is at heart, as not even Steven Moffat's worst compares with this.
Aside from that unbelievable denouement, however, I enjoyed this episode. It put a band-aid on most of what caused me such grief about series 3, and went a way in restoring my hopes this could once again prove itself the best thing on television. Of course, that's not saying much. Yet I am very torn about the unjustifiable message it loudly proclaimed, and have no wish to support anything that condones first degree murder. It really was quite mentally sick, but I suppose that is to be expected, considering the writers.
I'd like to have another watch before I bang the proverbial gavel. I'm probably unhealthily attached to BBC Sherlock at this juncture, but the best way to sever the strings if need be is to make a final determination as to whether the objectionable message outweighs the overall picture. We shall have to wait and see...