The Abominable Bride Recap

The 19th Century

After being shot in the leg during the Second Afghan War, John Watson returns to London A man, Stamford, approaches him in the street and reminds him that they were at Barts together. When John says that he’s looking for a decent place to live that he can afford, Stamford mentions that John is the second person he’s met that day looking for the same thing.

Stamford takes John to see Sherlock Holmes, who is busy in a morgue whipping a corpse to see how long after death bruising is still possible. They finally get Sherlock’s attention, and Sherlock tosses John his crap to determine his reflexes. Impressed, Sherlock says that he’s acquired a suite of rooms at 221 Baker Street . Examining John, he deduces that he served in Afghanistan and is looking for the room, gives John the address, and departs to witness a hanging. Stamford sheepishly admits that Sherlock has always been like that.

Later, John and Sherlock take a hansom home and Mr. Hudson comes out to greet them. She admits that she’s read John’s exploits of his and Sherlock’s exploits, but doesn’t like them because she never says anything in them. As they open up the drapes, John prepares to relate the tale of The Abominable Bride.

There is a woman waiting in the sitting room and Mrs. Hudson explains that it’s a client. Sherlock immediately recognizes the veiled woman as John’s wife Mary. She explains that the only way she could see her husband was to pretend to be a client. They argue about how John always leaves her behind, until Sherlock interrupts. He looks out the window and says that they have a case: a very old one which he will have to go deep within himself to solve it.

Inspector Lestrade arrives and claims that he’s there on a social call. Sherlock impatiently they all wish each other Merry Christmas and Sherlock tells Lestrade to get on with whatever case he has. John realizes that Lestrade is afraid of something, and Sherlock assures him that fear is wisdom in the face of danger. The inspector relates the trail of an enraged bride, Emelia Ricoletti, who opened fire on the neighbor men with a revolver in each hand. She opened fire the previous morning on her wedding anniversary, and her face was white as death, and her mouth was a crimson wound.After the shooting, she blew her own brains out. They took the body to the morgue and her husband Thomas was leaving the morgue after identifying her body. According to a bobby, Emelia emerged from the carriage and shot Thomas dead with a shotgun, and then walked off into the fog.

Intrigued, Sherlock heads for the morgue and tells John to come along, John tells Mary that they’ll be hungry later. Mary sits by the fire, exasperated, and Mrs. Hudson comes in. The landlady says that a letter came for her. Mary reads it, sees the signature “M”, and tells Mrs. Hudson that she’ll be home late because she has urgent business. She tells the landlady that England needs her help and departs.

As they take a carriage to the morgue, Lestrade tells Sherlock who is on duty there. They arrive and find the corpse in chains, and the mortician’s assistant--Anderson--explains that they did it for everyone’s safety. The head mortician, Hooper, comes in and casually dismisses Sherlock’s deductions as tricks. Lestrade tells her to cooperate. She identifies the chained corpse as Emelia, and notes that Thomas and the cabbie identified her before she killed Thomas. Emelia had no twins. Sherlock wonders why Lestrade was so frightened, and Hooper explains that there is a smear of blood on the corpse’s finger... and it wasn’t there before the shooting. Lestrade points out the word “You” scrawled on the wall in blood, and says it wasn’t there earlier. Sherlock, intrigued, wonders how “he” survived. Lestrade corrects him and Sherlock says that he’ll send them a telegram when he solves it and walks out. Before he goes, John points out that there were signs of consumption. When Hooper sarcastically responds, John says that he is observant in some ways and that it’s amazing what one has to do to get ahead in a man’s world. Hooper stares at him and Anderson what he means.

On the way home, Sherlock admits to John that he has no theory... and he shall have to go deep to solve the case.

Five months later, Lestrade comes to Baker Street with news of five more murders. In each case, the word “You” was written on the wall of the victims’ own homes, and rice scattered on the floor. Lestrade insists that it’s the Bride, Sherlock says that they’re copycat killers, and calls out to John to say that they have a case. Lestrade points out that John moved out months and Sherlock never noticed.

At home, an exasperated John finally wrings for the servant, Janine. She comes in and explains that Mary is out and hasn’t been around to chastise her about failing in her duties. Janine points out that John has been out a great deal himself, and asks when he’ll be seeing Mary again. He irritably dismisses her, and she remembers that a telegram came for him. It’s from Sherlock, and Janine complains that John never mentions him.

John goes to Baker Street at Sherlock’s request, and Sherlock has them take a hansom to his brother Mycroft at the Diogenes Club. Complete silence is required except in the Strangers Room, where the enormously obese Mycroft is enjoying a substantial breakfast. Mycroft finally explains that he summoned them there because they are under attack from an invisible enemy, unstoppable. However, he wants Sherlock to confirm his conjecture. Mycroft explains that he’s sending a woman, Lady Carmichael, to call on Sherlock at Baker Street. He warns that they won’t defeat their enemies because the enemies are right, and they are wrong. Sherlock agrees as long as Mycroft has another plum pudding, speeding up his demise.

Lady Louisa Carmichael visits and asks for Sherlock’s advice and help. She says that something unusual and terrifying has happened, and suspects that it may be a matter for a priest.

Louisa has breakfast with her husband Eustace and her children Daniel and Sophie when a letter arrives for her husband. Realizing that he’s shocked, she abruptly sends their children out. Inside the envelope are five orange pips. Eustace says that they mean death, and then abruptly says that it’s nothing and he’s mistaken. The envelope is blank, and Eustace soon destroys the letter.

Two days later, Louisa wakes up to find her husband at the window. Eustace says that “she” is coming for him, and his sins have found him out. He gestures out the window, saying that she’s there, but Louisa says nothing. Eustace says that it was the Bride and breaks into tears.

The next morning, Louisa wakes up and sees Eustace outside. She runs out after him into the fog, and the Bride passes behind her, unseen. The Bride sings and Louisa finds he, and Eustace staring at her, dazed.. She demands answers, but the Bride doesn’t respond. Eustace says that the Bride is Emelia Ricoletti, and the Bride tells him that he will die that night. She begins to raise her veil, and Eustace faints. When Louisa looks up, the Bride is gone.

Louisa confirms that Eustace refuses to speak about the matter, and Sherlock says that he must stay where he is. He plans to set a trap and needs Eustace as bait.

Later, Mary reports to Mycroft that Sherlock has taken the case. Mary assures him that Sherlock will have no idea that she is reporting to him.

On the train to the Carmichael Manor, Sherlock insists that there are no such things as ghosts... except for the ones they make themselves. When they arrive at the manor, Eustace says that he was sleepwalking, and says that the pips were a grotesque joke. He dismisses Laura as a hysteric and knows that the Ricoletti case involved a woman. However, he denies any connection to the case. As Sherlock and John go, Sherlock sends Laura a note telling her to sleep alone under the pretense of having a headache. She is to lock all the doors and windows, but Eustace will follow the Bride because he is consumed by guilt. The orange pips were a reminder, and they are a traditional warning of avenging death in America. Sherlock is sure that Eustace believes he is to be dragged to Hell by the Bride, and confirms that John brought his revolver.

That night, Sherlock and John hide outside the manor. As they wait, John tries to make small talk about Louisa and how she’s too good for Eustace. Sherlock isn’t interested in discussing marriage, and John points out that he kept a photograph of Irene Adler. He wonders why Sherlock is so determine to be young, and Sherlock wonders why he’s prying. When he says that he has no use for emotion, John points out that’s the version he presents of Sherlock in the stories, but is sure that he has emotions and has a past. He wonders what made Sherlock the way he is, and Sherlock says that he made himself.

Something moves in the darkness, and they see the Bride in the fog. Sherlock casually approaches her and the Bride fades back into the darkness. Eustace screams and a window breaks, and Sherlock confirms that the doors are still broken. They break in through a window and Sherlock tells John to stay at the window to investigate, since the window is the only way out.

Sherlock runs up the stairs and hears Louisa screaming. He finds her standing over a pool of blood, and Sherlock follows the trail of blood while the maids come to assist Louisa.

John hears someone approaching and goes to investigate. He tells the intruder to show themselves and lights a candle.

Sherlock goes upstairs and finds Eustace’s corpse, a dagger in his chest.

A breeze blows out John’s candle. He lights another... and the Bride appears behind him. He turns to face her and she wails, and John runs off. Sherlock finds him and they go back to the window, and discover that the Bride is gone. John insists that it was a ghost, and Sherlock yells at him that there are no ghosts. When Lestrade arrives, they examine Eustace’s corpse. John confirms that Eustace was stabbed with a great deal of force, but the dagger is sharp enough to have been used by a woman. The doctor insists that it’s a ghost, and Sherlock says that there is no ghost and it’s obvious who the killer is. As he points out that there is only one broken window, but they heard one break before they broke in. Lestrade points out that there’s a note tied to the dagger, and Sherlock insists that there was no note there when he found the body. He stares at the note in shock and then walks off. Lestrade looks at the note and finds the words “Miss me?” written there.

Later, Sherlock meets with Mycroft. Mycroft asks if his brother does miss Moriarty, and Sherlock admits that the body was never recovered. Looking around, Sherlock notices that Mycroft has put on weight since the day before when they met. Mycroft warns that his brother is in deeper than he ever intended to be, and says that they need a list. Sherlock figures that Moriarty is trying to distract him, and insists that he has to finish it. He says that he’ll be waiting for Moriarty to seek him out. Once he leaves, Mycroft worries that Sherlock will do exactly that.

For the next two days, Sherlock sits at home and meditates, reviewing all of the facts of the case. Lestrade comes to visit and Mrs. Hudson explains that Sherlock has isolated himself, and Lestrade wonders why Sherlock won’t explain. All Sherlock has said is that he is waiting... for the Devil.

Later, Sherlock contemplates a syringe of cocaine. Moriarty comes in He realizes that Sherlock has a gun as a precaution, and draws his own. Sherlock knows that he has visited the flat six times in the past, Moriarty abruptly aims his revolver and Sherlock aims his at his rival. Aftera moment, they set their guns aside and Sherlock says that he wants the truth Moriarty dismisses the truth as boring , and says that Eustace got what was coming to him. He tells Sherlock to stop because there’s only one thing that he finds interesting in the whole case. The room shakes and Moriarty says that it’s impossible that the Bride killed herself and came back, and knows that Sherlock’s ignorance is tearing his world apart. The room continues to shake, and Moriarty says that it’s all happened before. He tells Sherlock to remember the previous case, and puts his gun into his mouth. Sherlock advises him not to kill himself, but Moriarty shoots himself. Much to Sherlock’s surprise, Moriarty is unharmed despite the fact there is a large hole in the back of his head. Sherlock wonders how Moriarty can be alive, and Moriarty tells him that it’s not the fall that kills someone: it’s the landing.


Sherlock finds himself on the private jet as it returns to England. Mycroft, John, and Mary come aboard, and Sherlock says that he has to go back because he was running a case in his mind palace. The Bride killed herself a hundred years ago, just like Moriarty, and Mycroft called him five minutes ago to tell him that Moriarty is back. Mary finds a syringe nearby. Mycroft doesn’t believe him, and asks if Sherlock made a list. Sherlock hands over a list of what he’s taken, and Mycroft explains that they have an agreement that Sherlock always makes a list no matter how many drugs he’s taken. He’s sure that Sherlock was high before he got on the plane, and Sherlock insists that he uses cocaine to relieve his boredom. Mary hacks the MI5 archive and looks up Emelia Ricoletti, and confirms that the case was unsolved. Mycroft assures Sherlock that he’ll always be there for his brother, and figures that locking up in solitary confinement was hard on him.

Sherlock hears John ask “Morphine or cocaine,” but John says that he didn’t say anything. As everyone stares, Sherlock blocks out.


John comes in and finds Sherlock passed out on the floor. When Sherlock wakes up, he says that Moriarty was there and then he was on a jet. John asks if he took morphine or cocaine, and Sherlock says that he’s taken a 7% solution of cocaine. The doctor says that he’s glad to pay the fool but says that Sherlock needs to hold himself to a higher standard because people expect it of hm.

An Irregular runs in with a telegram. Sherlock reads it and tells John that Mary may be in danger. John doesn’t believe it and wonders if it’s the cocaine talking, and Sherlock says that he is always in a fit state for Mary.

As they take a hansom to the country, Sherlock explains that Mary is at a de-sanctified church and she thinks she’s found the solution to the case. They arrive at the church and find Mary waiting. She leads them to the heart of the conspiracy where people are chanting. Robed figures are chanting in the distance, and Mary explains that Mycroft had her make enquiries. She figured that Emelia had help, and Sherlock works out that Mary is a spy.

Sherlock leads Mary and John to confront the robed group. There’s a gong and he bangs it, and explains how Emelia faked her death by pretending to shoot herself with one revolver while shooting the other into the ground to simulate the shot.

The woman says that the envelope was blank and Eustace destroyed it. An accomplice sprayed the curtains with blood, and a substitute corpse was put in her place. She then hired a cab driver who knew her to take her to confront Thomas and killed her. She then had a conspirator shoot her and substitute her corpse at the morgue: any identification would be 100% positive.

Mary wonders why Emelia did it, and Sherlock says that it’s war and every great cause has martyrs. He says that they are at war with an unseen enemy just as Mycroft described. All of the figures remove their hoods to reveal that they are women, and John points out that Emelia was dying of consumption. She decided to make her death count by confronting Eustace.

A woman--Hooper, without her disguise--steps forward and says that Eustace knew Emelia in the States, and threw her over after leaving her abandoned and penniless. John’s servant says that Thomas was a brute as well, so Emelia killed him. Sherlock explains that the breaking glass that they heard was a theatrical trick: the reflection of the Bride. Any of the women could have played the Bride, and they broke the glass when they removed it Sherlock realizes that only one person could have organized the entire thing: Louisa.

The veiled Bride steps forward, and Sherlock wonders why Louisa engaged him to stop Eustace’s murder. Moriarty removes the veil and says that it doesn’t make sense because it’s not real. He tells Sherlock that he’s dreaming.


Sherlock wakes up to find John examining him. He asks where Emilia was buried 120 years ago, and Mycroft warns that it will take weeks to find out. Mary hacks the MI5 records again and finds out where she is, and they go to the cemetery with Lestrade. Sherlock explains that his investigation was a fantasy but the crime happened just as he deduced. He figures that the conspirators must have placed the substitute body there in Emelia’s grave, and prepares to dig it up. John figures that he needs a fix and points out that they have a case, and insists on going home with Mary until Sherlock is ready to focus on the present.

Once the couple leave, Mycroft points out that John is right. Sherlock says that it’s boring and asks his brother to help. After a moment, Mycroft tells him to proceed and Lestrade helps Sherlock dig up the coffin. The corpse isn’t there, and Sherlock is sure that the coffin in beneath the coffin. There’s nothing there,and Mycroft reminds Sherlock that they have to deal with Moriarty. The corpse starts chanting “Do not forget me” and rises up, and then falls on Sherlock...


Sherlock wakes up at the Reichenbach Falls and realizes that he’s still in his mind palace. Moriarty is waiting and says that he’ll never be dead in Sherlock’s mind palace. He’s a virus in Sherlock’s brain, and Sherlock says that Moriarty will die again. They struggle on the precipice and Moriarty boasts that he is Sherlock’s weakness as he beats him. He says that they have to go over together because they are bound together.

As Moriarty prepares to throw Sherlock over, John arrives and orders Moriarty to stay way. Moriarty complains that it isn’t fair that there are two of them, and John says that there are always two of them. Sherlock thanks him for his help, calling him “John,” and John tells him that it’s time to wake up. He knows that he’s in the mind palace, and asks what his other self is like. Sherlock admits that he’s smarter than he looks, When Moriarty complains, John shoves him over the edge. John wonders how Sherlock plans to wake up, and Sherlock prepares to step off the precipice. He tells Sherlock that he always survives the fall and then jumps.


Sherlock wakes up on the jet and tells the others that he’s fine. He says that he doesn’t need drugs now that he has real work to do. Mycroft asks him to promise, but Sherlock dismisses him and walks out. As John follows him, Mycroft asks him to look after Sherlock. Once he’s alone, Mycroft picks up the list and adds it to his notebook, where there is a reference to Redbeard.

As Sherlock goes to the car, he tells John and Mary that Moriarty is back but he’s still dead. He knows exactly what Moriarty is going to do next.


In their 19th century flat, Sherlock explains that planes and cellphones were his conjecture of what the future would look like. John says that he is writing up their newest case as a rare failure, and titling it The Abominable Bride. Sherlock figures that he would be at home in such a future world... because he’s a man out of his own time.

Written by Gadfly on Jan 2, 2016