Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
What a fantastic way to kick off the New Year! The second series of BBC1’s Sherlock hit the airwaves yesterday, starting with a re-imagining of one of Doyle’s most popular Holmes short stories, “A Scandal in Bohemia.” Titled A Scandal in Belgravia, this episode saw the return of Benedict Cumberbatch as the ace consulting detective and Martin Freeman as his ever suffering army doctor sidekick, John Watson. It also saw the premier of Laura Pulver in her role as The Woman, Irene Adler, a dominatrix with a secret and the only one who ever beat Sherlock Holmes.
A case of blackmail threatens to topple the monarchy itself, but soon Sherlock and John discover there is even more to it than that. They find themselves battling international terrorism, rogue CIA agents, and a secret conspiracy involving the British government. But this case will cast a longer shadow on their lives than they could ever imagine, as the great detective begins a long duel of wits with an antagonist as cold and ruthless and brilliant as himself: Irene Adler. (courtesy of the BBC)
So, how did this episode stack up with those of the previous series? Pretty well, I think. The acting was topnotch, yet again, and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep me at the edge of my seat for the full hour and a half. I was a bit concerned when I realized the entire plot of the original story had been stuffed into the first hour (we have a half hour left and nowhere to go!), but the additions Moffat introduced were well thought out and raised the level of the episode as a whole.
The only complaints I have are also those I also have with the Doyle original: not enough deduction! The focus is centered more on the relationship between Holmes and Adler (and Watson) than on tracking down the criminal (since, of course, we know who the criminal is from the get-go). It makes for a much different adventure than that of A Study in Scarlet/Pink or, looking toward the future, The Hound(s) of the Baskerville(s). Viewers curious to see the evolution of Holmes and Watson’s friendship, however, will get a treat, since it is probed in depth–as is the question of Holmes’ romantic interest in Adler. Much is said. Much is implied. Much is still left to the imagination.
Other things I loved: exasperated elder brother Mycroft, Una Stubbs’ kick-butt Mrs Hudson, and Holmes gracing the royal palace in only a towel :).