Review of Sherlock ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’

Neela Debnath

Sherlock use 300x225 Review of Sherlock ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen Sherlock ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’

‘Sherlock’ is back on our screens and this time it’s even sexier than before. Especially, for fans of Benedict Cumberbatch who got to see a lot more of him than they were expecting.

This week’s case was based on ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, a salacious tale of intrigue surrounding the enigmatic Irene Adler (played here by Lara Pulver). In Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, the character of Adler was never fully explored however this episode imagined what the interaction between Sherlock Holmes (Cumberbatch) and Adler might be like. In the original story, a letter was the only real insight that readers were given into her ingenuity, but ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’ expanded upon how cunning she really was.

There was a sense of sexual chemistry and power play between Adler and Sherlock which seemed to throw him off balance but only by a couple of degrees and made a change to his usual aloofness. Sherlock is a higher being who does not trouble himself with the affairs of most men, including indulging in sentiments such as love. His detachment from the feelings of others can make him come across as uninterested in sex and this notion was played upon throughout the episode, it was suggested a couple of times that he was still a virgin. But the fact that he asked Watson (Martin Freeman) for Adler’s camera phone (in the original text it is her photograph) shows that he had feelings for her even if they were ambiguous. Pulver gave a strong performance and was a convincing opponent to Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes. Something to bear in mind is that Adler is in cahoots with Moriarty, could this prompt the return of ‘the woman’?

This adventure not only developed the character of Adler but also the relationship between Watson and Holmes. They have clearly become used to each other and are now more like equals compared to the first series. Cumberbatch and Freeman are terrific as the odd couple and their friendship feels genuine. Even if nothing happened in the whole episode, the interaction between the pair of them would have been entertaining enough on its own.

Throughout the episode there was a constant stream of comedy that ran alongside the suspense. It was surprisingly amusing from the first scene when the tension between Sherlock and his arch-nemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) was broken by the Bee Gees’ immortal disco classic ‘Stayin’ Alive’. On a side note, Moriarty was such a disappointment last year as Sherlock’s ultimate foe. When he was finally revealed to the audience he was anything but the sinister figure that he had seemed. Moriarty felt more menacing when he was orchestrating events from behind the scenes. There was the expectation that he would be like Cumberbatch, someone who would provide the perfect foil to his Holmes, but Scott just did not have the same screen presence as Cumberbatch. The makers might as well have got Cumberbatch to play a double part as both Sherlock and Moriarty – it certainly would have given a more interesting take on Conan Doyle’s work.

Compared to the stories in the last series, this week ended on less of a heart-pounding finale but this was not a bad thing given the tone of the episode. It’s more than likely that there will be more thriller-type action to come, especially since next week’s story is based on ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. Either way, it’s good to have ‘Sherlock’ back.

Read Tom Sutcliffe’s review of Sherlock by clicking here.

For more information about the series, click here.

Image credit: BBC

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  • Jo

    Are you joking about Moriarty? His unhinged, maniacal performance is the perfect foil to the measured, predictable Sherlock. I’m just devastated how this new series has trivialised him as a bit-part to more feeble characters like the lamentable Irene.

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