The following is an episode review of Sherlock: Series 2, Episode 1 – A Scandal in Belgravia
17 months after The Great Game‘s cliffhanger was shown for the first time on BBC, A Scandal in Belgravia was televised. We finally had the answer to what would happen in the first real meeting between Moriarty and Holmes. The answer? Nothing.
I wish I was kidding, but I am not. As I wrote in my review for The Great Game, the cliffhanger was a lazy choice to end the first series – and a terrible cop-out by the writers. Moriarty, Holmes, and Watson’s showdown was interrupted… By a phone call. Nothing happens.
What happens next? What should have ended the first series: Sherlock becomes a celebrity. It would’ve been the perfect way to end the season. But this episode could have saved the failed cliffhanger by staying focused on Moriarty, which it didn’t really do either. But while the episode didn’t give us a lot of Moriarty, which we definitely were to expect following the end of first series, the episode introduced us to another well-known character.
“The Woman… THE Woman.”
I’ve heard from people very familiar with Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories that Irene Adler in Sherlock isn’t really true to her origins, but that’s not something I’ll take into account here. Irene Adler, the show version, is an intelligent woman who challenges Sherlock outright and intimately. I like the character a lot, even if I thought they could have handled the very end of the episode differently. Ultimately, I view Irene Adler as a very smart character, perfectly portrayed by Lara Pulver, who is perfectly able to hide her motivations and become an equal to Sherlock… Until she slips up.
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch deliver great performances in every episode, but it is important to really shine a light on some of the supporting characters when they really stand out, and, outside of Lara Pulver, the strongest supporting character performance was delivered by Mark Gatiss. It was the first time in the show that I truly felt his performance.
Ultimately, as disappointing as the episode may seem, it perfectly introduces us to a new essential Sherlock-character, who adds to our protagonists in a great way. Once again the case plays second fiddle to the character drama, but that doesn’t mean the story is uninteresting or unimportant. Not at all.
-I’m Jeffrey Rex