The Abominable Bride
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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The Abominable Bride is a special episode of the BBC TV series Sherlock aired on 1st january 2016 between season 3 and season 4, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. 90 minutes.
In this special episode, the usual 21th century Holmes and Watson are transposed in the 19th century London.
The plot starts with the meeting of Sherlock Holmes and Watson as in A Study in Scarlet, then it is a fiction based on the Untold Story named The Case of Ricoletti of the Club-Foot and his Abominable Wife.
1. The Abominable Bride is a reference to an Untold Stories called: « The Case of Ricoletti of the Club-Foot and his Abominable Wife » quoted by Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual (MUSG, 21)}}). However, in this episode Mr. Ricoletti has no club-foot.
2. The introduction speech by Watson in the episode is taken directly from A Study in Scarlet : « The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. » (8) and « Under such circumstances I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. » (17)
5. When Holmes and Watson arrive in Baker Street, the travelling scene is the same than in the Granada TV series with Jeremy Brett and the music is the quite the same. An hommage to the 1984-1994 show.
6. In his living-room, Sherlock Holmes discovers the identity of the veiled women (Mary Watson) by the smell of her perfume. In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes told to Watson that « There are seventy-five perfumes, which it is very necessary that the criminal expert should be able to distinguish from each other, and cases have more than once within my own experience depended upon their prompt recognition. » (3767)
9. Holmes talks to Inspector Lestrade about Fear and Danger. This is a reference of The Adventure of the Final Problem where Holmes told to Watson : « it is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognise danger when it is close upon you. » (24)
10. Mary refers to "England" thinking about Mycroft Holmes. In The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans, Sherlock Holmes explained to Watson that his brother Mycroft WAS occasionally « the British government. » (54)
11. Watson has some words with his maid Jane about being late, being incapable of boiling an egg, leaving dust everywhere and almost destroying his boots while scraping the mud off them. In A Scandal in Bohemia, Watson told Holmes that his servant : « ... Mary Jane, she is incorrigible, and my wife has given her notice... » (43)
16. Sir Eustace Carmichael discovers five orange pips in an envelop which terrified him. This is a reference to The Five Orange Pips where the K.K.K. was sending 5 orange pips to warn the receiver that they are to kill him soon.
20. Holmes says that : « All emotion is abhorrent to me. It is the grit in a sensitive instrument. The crack in the lens. » This is a reference to Watson describing Holmes in A Scandal in Bohemia : « All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise, but admirably balanced mind. » (5) and « Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. » (10).
21. Holmes yells to Watson that there is no ghosts invloved in the Ricoletti's case. This a reference to the Holmes' aversion about supernatural in The Hound of the Baskervilles (531) and in The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire (54).
22. Holmes tells Watson « ... eliminate the impossible [...] and observe what remains, [...] is a solution so blindingly obvious. » This refers to the famous statement told by Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four : « when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth » (935).
23. Moriarty warns Holmes that « It is a dangerous habit to finger loaded firearms in the pocket of one's dressing-gown. » This is a reference to same sentence in The Adventure of the Final Problem (101) when Moriarty visited Holmes in Baker Street.
26. The Mycroft's notebook has a note about "Vernet". This is a reference to The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter where Holmes mentions that he had a Vernet among his ancestors : « ... none the less, my turn that way is in my veins, and may have come with my grandmother, who was the sister of Vernet, the French artist. Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms. » (10)
Dr. John Watson
Sir Eustace Carmichael
- Sherlock Holmes : Benedict Cumberbatch
- Dr. John Watson : Martin Freeman
- Mrs. Hudson : Una Stubbs
- DI Lestrade : Rupert Graves
- Mycroft Holmes : Mark Gatiss
- Professor Moriarty : Andrew Scott
- Molly Hooper : Louise Brealey
- Mary Watson : Amanda Abbington
- Anderson : Jonathan Aris
- Janine Donlevy : Yasmine Akram
- Stamford : David Nellist
- Lady Carmichael : Catherine McCormack
- Sir Eustace Carmichael : Tim McInnerny
- Emelia Ricoletti : Natasha O'Keeffe
- Thomas Ricoletti : Gerald Kyd
- Newsvendor : Daniel Fearn
- Jane : Stephanie Hyam
- Giles : Damian Samuels
- PC Rance : Charles Furness
- Billy : Adam Greaves-Neal
- Diamond : Richard Sutton
- Driver : Ben Crowe
- Wilder : Tim Barlow
- Director : Douglas Mackinnon
- Screeplay : Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat
- ExecutiveProducer : Rebecca Eaton, Mark Gatiss, Bethan Jones, Steven Moffat, Beryl Vertue
- Producer : Sue Vertue
- Line Producer : Diana Barton
- Music : David Arnold, Michael Price
- Director of Photography : Suzie Lavelle
- Film Editing : Andrew McClelland
- Casting : Kate Rhodes James
- Production Design : Arwel Jones
- Art Direction : Nandie Narishkin, Dafydd Shurmer
- Set Decoration : Hannah Nicholson
- Costume Design : Sarah Arthur
- Makeup Designer : Claire Pritchard
- Main Unit Hair and Makeup Trainee : Catherine Vondrak
- Post-Production Supervisor : Masterpiece : Lauren McGuiness
- Production Unit Manager : Jake Sainsbury
- Second Unit: 2nd assistant director : Heddi-Joy Taylor
- Second Unit: 3rd assistant director : Charles Curran
- Graphics Designer : Samantha Jay Cliff
- Art Department Coordinator : Lesley Elliott
- Props Chargehand : Mass Harris
- Props : Royston Humphries
- Draughtsman : Julia Jones
- Props : George Nelmes
- Property Master : Mike Parker
- Props Storeman : Craig Thomas
- Foley Artist : Julie Ankerson
- Sound Re-Recording Mixer : Howard Bargroff
- Sound Effects Editor : Jon Joyce
- Boom Operator : Bradley Kendrick
- Sound Effects Editor : Stuart McCowan
- Dialogue Editor : Paul McFadden
- Production Sound Mixer : John Mooney
- Boom Trainee : Jordan Newman
- Second Boom Operator : Lee Sharp
- Supervising Sound Editor : Doug Sinclair
- Foley Editor : Jamie Talbutt
- Special Effects Supervisor: Real Sfx : Danny Hargreaves
- Special Effects Technician : Dave Kneath
- Special Effects Assistant Coordinator: Real Sfx : Jade Poole
- Special Effects Coordinator: Real Sfx : James Smith
- Lighting Td : Dominic Alderson
- Technical Support: Milk Visual Effects : Keith Barton
- Head Of Software : Benoit Leveau
- Visual Effects Producer: Milk-Vfx : Natalie Reid
- Digital Matte Painter: Milk Vfx (Uncredited) : Turlo Griffin
- Roto Artist: Milk Visual Effects (Uncredited) : Jay Murray
- Stunt Double: Andrew Scott : Ian Pead
- Stunt Coordinator : Gordon Seed
- Camera Trainee : Ryan S. Adams
- A Camera / Steadicam : Daniel Bishop
- Second Assistant Camera: "A" Camera : John Davis
- Gaffer : Llyr Evans
- Key Grip : Tony Fabian
- Second Assistant Camera: B Camera : Joe Martin
- First Assistant Camera: "A" & "B" Cameras : Jay Polyzoides
- Best Boy : Ben Purcell
- First Assistant Camera : James Scott
- Still Photographer : Robert Viglasky
- Casting Assistant : Isabella Odoffin
- Costume Trainee : Sarah Dagnell
- Principal Cutter : Sara Fay
- Costume Standby : Alison Lyons
- Costume Supervisor : Jan Simpson
- Assistant Editor : Katrina Aust
- On-Line Editor : Scott Hinchcliffe
- Colorist : Kevin Horsewood
- First Assistant Editor : Gareth Mabey
- Associate Music Producer : Nick Hill
- Composer: Additional Music : Rael Jones
- Score Programming : Joe Rubel
- Facilities Driver : Nigel Venables
- Armourer : Jon Baker
- Production Coordinator : Helen Blyth
- Location Assistant : Paige Copsey
- Assistant Location Manager : Jeremy DeCoursey
- Production Staff : Kirsty Dex
- Production Secretary : Jennifer Goulbourne
- Location Manager : Ben Mangham
- Location Marshal : Hannah McCarthy
- Floor Runner: Dailies : Louise Rashman
- Floor Runner : Olivia Sangster-Bullers
Plot summary (spoiler)
It is 1894 John Watson meets Sherlock Holmes for the first time. He is installed in Baker Street and achieves considerable success writing about Holmes's adventures. One day, Lestrade comes by to request Holmes' help with the Ricoletti case: Mr. Ricoletti has been murdered by his wife, Emelia, hours after very publically committed suicide, and while she was already dead at the morgue. In the following months, five more men are murdered by "the ghostly bride." Then Mycroft Holmes summons his brother, Sherlock Holmes, to tell him about a threat to the Empire from an enemy that must... win. In order to achieve this, he asks Holmes to accept the case that Lady Carmichael is about to submit to him.
Lady Carmichael duly arrives at 221B Baker Street and tells Holmes that her husband, Sir Eustace Carmichael, has been terrified by the arrival of an envelope containing 5 orange pips, which he told his wife means death. Two days later, his terror was increased by a vision of the ghostly bride in his garden. As the threat seems imminent, Holmes and Watson decide to travel to the Carmichael house. Although their offer of help is rebuffed by Sir Eustace, they’re sittling vigil the following night, when they see the ghostly bride on the grounds but enter the house too late to keep Sir Eustace from being murdered. A message left on the corpse seems to incriminate Moriarty, who was supposed to have died at the Reichenbach Falls.
Under the influence of a 7% solution of cocaine, Holmes imagines a meeting with him and then awakes in the 21st century. We learn that up to this point Holmes has been in his "mind palace," a trance state in which he has been recreating a world to solve a 120-year-old unsolved mystery, the Ricoletti case. Holmes re-enters his trance and returns to the 19th century, to be awakened from his 19th century trance by Watson. Holmes receives a telegram telling him that Mary Watson is in danger. He and Watson both travel to a desanctified church in the country where Mary has discovered the threat to the Empire: An organized group of women.
As Holmes explains, Emelia Ricoletti simulated her suicide and sent a substitute corpse to the morgue. She then staged her husband murder her husband and then, with by her own agreement, was killed by a comrade. The fake Emelia's corpse was replaced by the true one so there would be no question in the verification of the corpse’s identity. The motive was the support of the suffragette cause and retaliation against the crimes of men against women.
Then Moriarty appears again in the guise of the bride, telling Holmes that none of this is real, and Sherlock awakens again in the 21st century. Holmes want to know where Emelia Ricoletti was buried and insists on opening her grave to see if it contains two corpses (Emelia's and the substitute’s). Disappointed by finding only one corpse in the coffin, Holmes goes back into his mind palace trance and finds himself at the Reichenbach Falls, face to face with Moriarty. They fight at the top of the falls and Moriarty is about to drag Holmes down into the precipice when Watson arrives and kicks the Moriarty over the edge.
Holmes again awakens in the 21st century, and announces that Moriarty is most certainly dead and (as a teaser for Season 4) "I know what he will do next."
And in one final time shift, we find ourselves back in 19th century as Holmes and Watson discuss Holmes's bad cocaine trip into an imagined future, leaving open the question of which epoch was the dream and which was the reality.