(Note: I’d originally planned to talk about all three episodes of Sherlock Season 2 in one post, but by the time I’d finished raving about “Scandal in Belgravia” I’d already reached 1600 words, and so I figured it might possibly be a better idea to break them up.)
I TOLD you this would happen. I warned you, and I warned myself, and still I was knocked over backward by how quickly and vehemently I have become obsessed with Sherlock. Seriously. I’m a total mess now. You should see the tweets and facebook posts from last night when I watched episodes 2 and 3 of season 2 (which I stayed up til 3am to do). In fact, in case you missed them, here:
First – “I knew this was going to happen! I waited and waited and waited to watch Sherlock because I KNEW this was going happen. By now I’m so obsessed I feel like the show has sucked my brains out through my eyeballs. I’ll be quoting it wholesale by the end of the week. And in the meantime, ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’ episode has me so wired I probably won’t sleep for hours.
Maybe I should say screw it to trying to make it last and just watch the last episode now…”
Followed by – “Yeah, I just said ‘screw it’ and watched the last episode. AND OH MY FUCKING GOD! *headdesk*”
And – “…it’s by Steven Moffat and Mark Gattis. But you still DEFINITELY need to watch it. EVERYONE needs to watch it. WATCH IT! (can you tell I haven’t slept much…? I feeling a little manic…).”
First – “Oh God, by now I’m so obsessed with Sherlock I feel like my brains have been sucked up through my eyeballs. *drools & returns to watching*”
Then – “Screw waiting til tomorrow, I’m watching the last ep of Sherlock right now. Who needs sleep anyway?”
And – “First 10 mins of ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ : O.M.F.G. #Sherlock”
Finally – “Oh God. I’m going to be a mess for days after that. #Sherlock #ReichenbachFall”
Plus, in response to a comment – “@miriamjoywrites lol, see, I’d waited & waited to watch Sherlock b/c I KNEW I’d end up ridiculously obsessed. I get so addicted to things.”
Did I mention I’m a mess? I’m a mess.
So yeah, prepare for manic raving. Also, this is COVERED in spoilers, because there is no way to avoid them when talking about how awesome this show is, so if you haven’t seen the show yet…
DO NOT READ THIS POST. DO NOT STOP AT GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200. GO DIRECTLY TO NETFLIX TO WATCH SEASON 1 AND THEN GO TO PBS.ORG AND WATCH SEASON 2 (which will be disappearing off their site soon, so be quick about it!) And THEN you can come back and read my rant and see if it meshes with your thoughts.
YOU DO NOT WANT TO SPOIL THE MYSTERIES IN THESE EPISODES. DO NOT READ THESE SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Now, moving on, let’s go through the three episodes of season 2 in order.
First: “Scandal in Belgravia,” ie, the Irene Adler episode. Okay, so this episode opens directly from the cliffhanger at the end of season 1 – Sherlock and John with sniper rifles trained on them while Moriarty stands by, and Sherlock threatens to shoot a bomb and blow them all up. Honestly, I was kinda hoping for some big huge explosion that both Sherlock and John barely escape from. What can I say? I like the pyrotechnics. But the way this scene was resolved was, instead, pretty hilarious, because Moriarty is distracted a by a phone call and changes his mind about killing Sherlock and John (again), and simply walks off. So funny! The scenes after that show Sherlock and John solving a whole slew of little problems, with Sherlock interviewing possible clients with his usual and completely HILARIOUS lack of tact, patience (or sanity, really).
But the real fun is when Irene Adler shows up. I LOVE this incarnation of Irene Adler. She’s a dominatrix who caters to a very high-end clientele. She’s sexy and fierce and smart and really really wicked. In the original story, “A Scandal in Bohemia,” she’s more than a little sympathetic, nice even. But wicked Irene is so much COOLER. Some critics think this portrayal is too sexist, but I disagree. She’s powerful, she knows what she wants, and while she is certainly unscrupulous, she is not portrayed in some kind of simplistic whore/angel dichotomy. She’s WAY more complicated than that. And the way she plays off Sherlock is fantastic. Seriously, when she walks into the room where Sherlock is pretending to be a priest, and she’s completely naked, I just about DIED laughing. His FACE! And then John walks in, and HIS face! OMG! I had to pause and laugh for a few minutes.
And that happened several times throughout the episode. That’s one thing you can always count on with Steven Moffat. Even in a serious drama, even in a crime drama, he inserts just the right amount and kind of humor, and it is so totally worth it. OH! GOD! That reminds me, I almost forgot one of the best parts: when Mycroft first brings Sherlock in on the Irene Adler case, Sherlock goes to Buckingham Palace wearing NOTHING BUT A SHEET, and then Mycroft nearly pulls it right off him! Oh, how I (and every other fangirl ever) wishes he had. *drools* Ahem, yeah…
This, right here, best lines of the episode:
Mycroft Holmes: Just once, can you two behave like grown-ups?
John Watson: We solve crimes. I blog about it, and he forgets his pants. I wouldn’t hold out too much hope.
Or maybe these are the best lines?
Sherlock Holmes: Please don’t feel obliged to tell me that was remarkable or amazing, John’s expressed that in every possible variant available to the English language.
Irene Adler: I would have you, right here, on this desk, until you begged for mercy twice.
[A long silence in which Sherlock and Irene maintain eye contact]
Sherlock Holmes: …John, please can you check those flight schedules, see if I’m right?
John Watson: [Looking stunned]…I’m on it, yeah.
Sherlock Holmes: …I’ve never begged for mercy in my life.
Irene Adler: Twice.
Honestly, there is so much to love about this episode. When Mycroft shouts at Mrs. Hudson to shut up and both Sherlock and John exclaim: “Mycroft!” with the most furious, shocked, disapproving you have ever seen. When Mrs. Hudson is attacked and Sherlock gets SERIOUSLY pissed, breaks the guy’s nose, and throws him out a second story window. And when John suggest Mrs. Hudson go spend some time at her sister’s house and Sherlock says: “Mrs. Hudson leave Baker Street? England would fall!” I love Sherlock’s relationship with Mrs. Hudson in this version. In the movies he is extremely dismissive and rude with her. In the Granada tv show he’s mainly polite the show writers mostly seemed to forget she was even around. In this one, she is counted among one of Sherlock’s few real friends, and it’s ADORABLE (yes, I just called Sherlock Holmes adorable, he’ll get over it).
But, okay, back to the main point of the episode: Irene Adler. The layers and complexities of the plot in this episode were absolutely fantastic. It was quite a ride. And the Irene Adler character was so devious and seductive that it just made it extra awesome. Also, it was really fascinating to watch Sherlock falter just a bit and make a big mistake when he trusts Irene just a bit too much, and then catch himself just in time to shock Irene and fix it.
HOWEVER, I have one complaint, not so much with the episode as with the way most of the fandom portrays the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler.
I know plenty of people are going to disagree with me (as it evidenced by the way Irene is portrayed in the movies, and in Sherlock, and in most fanfiction and in comments from fans, etc), but Irene Adler is NOT some great love of Sherlock Holmes’ life. Folks, she is in exactly ONE Sherlock Holmes short story, and mentioned a couple times after that. Now, I am not denying for a second that Sherlock Holmes admired her, respected her, thought that she was perhaps the only really intelligent woman he’d ever met. He might even be accused of being somewhat attracted to her. But one adventure in which he goes up against her and is outwitted, and is perhaps attracted, does not mean he’s in love with her. Or even that she’s in love with him. They have an interesting relationship, sure, but let’s not over-do it, okay? Okay.
(I would, at this juncture, also point out that Moriarty is, ironically, only in TWO of the Sherlock Holmes stories (with mentions in 5 others): “The Final Problem,” which is the story in which Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes go over the Reichenbach Falls, and The Valley of Fear, which was written AFTER “The Final Problem” but is intended to take place before it. This is because Doyle had intended to kill Holmes off in “The Final Problem” and then a few years later brought him back to life. The point being that even though Moriarty is cast as Holmes’ great rival, Doyle did not originally intend him to be a recurring character. So, even though I LOVE the character of Moriarty and how he is portrayed in the recent reincarnations of Sherlock Holmes, I still find it rather amusing how much cult status he gained so quickly, though Doyle does at least expressly state that Moriarty IS Sherlock Holmes’ great rival and intellectual equal – so that makes more sense that claiming that Holmes is “in love with” Irene Adler.)
I did think, however, that in this episode Moffat and Gatiss (I never spell his name right, I’ve noticed), keep a pretty good balance. Sherlock is definitely intrigued by Irene, and possibly a little attracted to her, and there’s some definite tension, and he obviously admires her, but it never falls into Sherlock outright drooling over her or mooning over her (though he does seem to get depressed for awhile when he thinks she might be dead – however, SEEMED is as far as you can ever say with Sherlock, ’cause God only knows when he’s faking and when he’s not). Moffat and Gatiss also continue to carefully tread that line where the jokes about Sherlock and John being a couple isn’t quite JUST a joke, but isn’t the literal truth either. They are trying very hard not to come out (so to speak) on one side or the other about Sherlock’s sexuality, which I appreciate. Because, as I’ve mentioned before, based purely on the original stories I have always believed (and quite a few critics, fans, and Holmesian “experts” would agree with me – though, obviously, not all) that Sherlock Holmes is either completely asexual or he’s gay.
Back to the episode at hand: the ending, when Mycroft and John are worried about how Sherlock will handle finding out that Irene has been killed was really sweet. But the very very end, when we watch Sherlock actually saving Irene from the death Mycroft and John think she’s suffered: awesome.
All in all, this episode was fantastic, and hilarious, and sexy, and cool. And yet, the next one, “Hounds of Baskerville” was WAY BETTER. But I’ll get to that one next time. BYE!