Sherlock: A Reaction
Posted on Thursday January 5, 2012, 10:38 by Stephen Carty in Small Screen
Even though Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes sequel A Game Of Shadows has been receiving positive-enough word of mouth, for many of us the real return of literature’s most iconic sleuth was always going to be the second season of Sherlock. Co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it was an intelligent, playful and brilliantly-written take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories which seamlessly transplanted the high-functioning consulting detective from the Victorian era to the modern day. Although the middle instalment was comparatively average, the opening episode (penned by Moffat) of the three-part first season was sparkling, top-class television and the finale was a dizzying, often-dazzling affair which left us begging for more.
Picking up exactly where we left off – a tense stand-off between Holmes, Watson and Andrew Scott’s brilliantly-impish ‘Jim’ Moriarty – the Moffat-written season opener was a confident, fun and head-spinningly twisty return to form. Resolving season one’s cliffhanger in such an impossibly-cheeky way that, it’s fair to say, nobody could’ve guessed throughout all the furious speculation, it’s another unpredictable instalment which delights in asking us to keep up. Perhaps some will be a little disappointed that Scott’s Moriarty barely features, but the focus here is on another important character from the Holmes legend: Irene Adler.
For those unaware, Adler is the one woman able to get under Sherlock Holmes’ skin, a femme fatale of sorts who has questionable motives and is, in many respects, an equal to him. Played far more memorably here than Rachel McAdams’ fine-but-forgettable big-screen version (who suffered from weak material and a lack of screen time), Lara Pulver is spot-on, nailing the balance of vulnerability and superiority. This results in an episode which is to Sherlock what Casino Royale was to the Bond franchise (sort of), as we delve further into our eponymous deducer’s humanity than ever before while asking intriguing questions about his brother, his relationships and his sex life.
So good an opener was A Scandal In Bohemia, in fact, that you wish Steven Moffat would just write all the episodes. Still, co-creator Mark Gatiss (who also features impressively as Mycroft Holmes) also deserves a lion’s share of the credit, as does filmmaker Paul McGuigan whose stylish direction always adds something and conveys Holmes’ mental processes in neat ways. In particular, the manner in which text popped up to inform us of what he had learned by looking at clues on an individual’s clothing, and the way in which with Adler, for the first time, he had nothing.
Okay, so some of the reveals were on the verge of eye-rolling (such as the lakeside murder resolution), but others were so audacious in the way that they winked at the audience (like the eventual passcode for Adler’s phone) that you could forgive them easily enough. Oh, and as always Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman offered a magnificent double-act with their married couple bickering. Wonderful.
Posted on Thursday January 5, 2012, 14:44
Watched the episode last night on iPlayer. So good, I'm gonna watch it again on BBC3 when it airs again om Saturday!
Posted on Tuesday January 10, 2012, 15:26
Spot on, indeed!
Posted on Monday January 23, 2012, 21:10
I wasn't totally sold on Sherlock until this episode, which was total class and the best episode of any show that I've seen for quite some time. The rest of series two didn't quite live up to it, but I'm still looking forward to series three!