Moffat Appreciation Week: The Sherlock Special
“I’m your landlady, not a plot device!”
The Abominable Bride is a story about stories within stories within stories. Here the tale of a Victorian Sherlock is embedded in a modernised Sherlock Holmes in the present time, with short stories and blogs and a journey back into the painting of a waterfall. This characteristic is not only visible in the episode’s parallels, references and it nods to storytelling, but it also extends to its Victorian plot and the deconstruction of the role of women in the show, the original story, and society.
The episode judges and preaches, with a deliberately dramatic flair, but it almost side-steps the issue of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss being the one to indirectly critique, by making the male perspective explicit in the text itself. This is not a woman’s narrative, not outside and not inside the show, and it’s not even attempting to masquerade as one. It clothes itself in its own limitations – that of a story written by two men about two other men. And so it takes place in the mind of a man, filtered through his point of view, entire scenarios made up within an already fictional world.