We have waited two long years for the return of Sherlock, which reinvented the classic stories of old for the 21st century. Does The Abominable Bride hold up to the genius that has come before it?
In short, yes.
The Abominable Bride works hard to reacclimate long-time fans to the universe, slipping in nice callbacks to previous plot points and introducing familiar faces. Fortunately, much like Star Wars Episode VII, this is not done to the detriment of story, which (without spoiling) is very Inception-esque.
This allows the show to play to its usual strengths: amazing scene-setting camera work that demands your undivided attention, a script executed with utmost precision by the well-established cast, and the excellent build of tension through confusing twists.
Select realisations provided epic moments of bamboozlement, while also showing the character of Sherlock under a very harsh light. However, some of the confusion did not feel required to further the story, like it did in previous episodes.
Much like Inception, some of the twists felt cheap. Excellently written, but cheap. It was easy to see what the hidden key to the plot was, long before it came to fruition on screen.
Don't let this concern you about the enjoyment of The Abominable Bride, as it turns out to be an amazing gothic horror, meta-commentary detective special. This was exactly what it needed to be: a palette-cleansing refresher in preparation for the imminent return of Season Four.
And now we wait.