Massive Sherlock Christmas Special spoiler ahead.
Having slept on last night's episode of Sherlock, letting the brain digest the whole thing, I awoke with the conviction that there was only one flaw with "The Abominable Bride."
I mean, sure, it was a bit of a lark. But we had a bit of a lark or two last season, which was met with mixed fan reaction. And the promos had prepared us for a Sherlock and John set in Victorian times. An alternate universe version. We were totally ready for that. AUs are common these days.
But here's the big problem I found with the way it was handled: I think what we saw last night was a writer too used to doing Doctor Who, a fantasy series where you can get away with any outlandishness, trying to bring a fantastic mechanic to what was, at least to some degree, a more "real world" series.
Truly, the episode might have as well been the "never going to do it" Dr. Who crossover.
Sherlock's "mind palace" gimmick got pushed to what I thought was it's furthest limit in "His Last Vow" in season three. Boy, was I wrong. Using it as the "it was all a dream" way for a modern Sherlock to solve a Victorian Sherlock case . . . too far. Too damned far.
And to even pretend that some magical drug concoction helped make that dream possible?
While I've never been a fan of the "Sherlock Holmes, drug addict detective" route, when it is done, drug addiction is a topic to be taken seriously, not used as a part of a fantasy lark episode. And for those magic drugs to make this magic-mind-palace Sherlock come up with Watson publishing short stories in The Strand Magazine at a time when serialized novels were the thing was pretty much the equivalent of Victorian Sherlock dreaming up an accurate replica of a Lear jet (or whatever brand that private plane was -- sorry, out of my price range).
Had they left out all the modern-day attempts to tie the episode in to the current storyline, I think I would have been completely satisfied with "The Abominable Bride." I was enjoying the Victorian romp for what it was, until the attempt to "it was all a dream" shoehorn it into the series continuity happened.
If only the creators had followed the gist of Holmes's "It is never twins!" comment. It should never be "all just a dream" either.