Well, it took awhile, but the wait was worth it. With the new year came the new season of BBC’s Sherlock, and they wasted no time in delivering what I felt was their best episode to date. We picked up right where we left off, Sherlock and Watson in peril and for the first time, face to face with Jim Moriarty. As the first season ended all involved appeared to be in mortal danger, a Mexican standoff if you will. As A Scandal in Belgravia begins, there they all stand, at the pool and around an explosive vest when Moriarty gets a phone call. The woman on the other line inadvertently diffuses the whole situation and both sides are allowed to back down.
Now to some this might feel like a cop-out, but that’s what makes the relationship between Sherlock and Moriarty so interesting. Much like the Joker with Batman, Moriarty doesn’t really want to kill Holmes, it’s more fun just to play with him. And as Sherlock Holmes is half the original inspiration for Batman (along with Zorro), it’s no wonder that Batman and the Joker can be drawn in such a similar light.
Now in June we told you that the sophomore season would feature the likes of the infamous Irene Alder, and feature her it has. Behold, the only woman to ever set a flutter the heart of our robotically cold Investigator.
Adler (Lara Pulver) is the introduced to us not as your run of the mill damsel in distress, but instead the target of Sherlock’s most recent case. The treat of digital blackmail and royal scandal have the Crown spooked, and for this reason Sherlock is asked to handle ‘evidence retrieval’ from outside Buckingham Palace. In the modern setting this comes in the form of an encrypted phone.
Upon introduction between Sherlock and Ms. Adler, it becomes quite clear that the retrieval of the phone is about more than just some racy photos. Whatever the true nature of the case is, it’s dangerous enough to interest the Americans as well. Sherlock and Dr. Watson once again find themselves in for more than they bargained with CIA Spooks and kidnappers running amok.
The episode takes place over the course of several months, encompassing Christmas and New Year. It also once again shows that despite how brilliant he is, Sherlock can sometimes miss the most obvious of conclusions – namely the fact that coroner Molly Hooper is in love with him. As sweet and obvious as she can be with Sherlock, she constantly tries to display her feelings for him, but unfortunately for her, she is not Irene Adler and therefore remains near invisible to Mr. Holmes.
Sherlock instead prefers to have a one-sided text message relationship with Irene that goes on for months, and is a rather endearing to see, even if we do feel for Molly. His unwillingness to answer Ms. Adler’s texts though is simply proof that the man who often seems heartless, does in fact have a heart and his silence speaks volumes. Even upon learning of Ms. Adler’s death, it’s what Sherlock does not say that speaks the loudest.
At a certain point the whole case becomes less about getting the photos back for the crown, and more about figuring out what else is on the phone. It’s obviously important if the CIA is so interested in it, and for months Sherlock try to decipher an unlock code for which you’re allowed only 4 guesses before the thing self destructs Mission Impossible style.
Without spoiling how it ends, I will simply say the whole episode was excellent, and you should check it out. They’ve made Sherlock certainly more of a badass this year, and the involvement of Adler and Moriarty raise the stakes considerably. It is a little sad that the new Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. can’t really compare to even the weakest episodes of this show in terms of quality writing. I give the premiere 5 of 5 Bears and wish that there were more than 2 more episodes coming this year…
Source for Several Pictures Used: Sherlock BBC