Sherlock 'mansplaining feminism to feminists dressed in KKK hoods' in The Abominable Bride has annoyed viewers

'Not sure the suffragettes being portrayed as some sort of Dairy Milk KKK was the best twist...'

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The Independent Culture

Sherlock’s much-anticipated return to TV in the New Year Victorian special wasn’t exactly what everyone was hoping for. Spoilers ahead

8.4 million Brits tuned in to watch Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman reprise their roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

Many expected the episode to be a self-contained one-off look into what it would have been like if the BBC show was set in the Victorian-era - like the original Arthur Conan Doyle novels.

Instead, it flickered between the present day and the past, linking in with the end of series three and leaving many viewers confused. However, it wasn’t just the time-travelling aspect of the show that annoyed viewers

The case of the Abominable Bride focussed on the death of Emilia Ricoletti, who was seen faking her own death in order to kill her husband. In the months after the original murder, many other men are killed by the ghostly bride in copycat cases, all taken out by the same “murderous cult”. 

Eventually, Sherlock solves the crime and finds the group of killers in a spooky church-like scenario, each person wearing a purple hood. 

Sherlock 'mansplaining' feminism

It turns out that they were all women, with the detective seemingly implying that it was the suffragette movement behind the murders. 

He then continued to give a speech about how "one-half of the human race [is] at war with the other”, saying of the women: “The invisible army hovering at our elbow, tending to our homes, raising our children, ignored, patronised, disregarded, not allowed so much as a vote. 

“But an army nonetheless, ready to rise up in the best of causes, to put right an injustice as old as humanity itself. So you see, Watson, this is a war we must lose.”

Tweeters were quick to point out that the movement wore hoods similar to those worn to the Ku Klux Klan, just in purple instead of white. 

Viewers also noted that the climax saw Sherlock “mansplaining” feminism to a room of suffragettes. 

Meanwhile, others praised the segment for taking on feminism. 

Many fans have tried to explain the convoluted plot of the episode, with this theory hitting the nail on the head.