Sherlock returned last night to finally air its long awaited second season for its American counterpart PBS and to finally end the long suffering anguish U.S. fans have been enduring for almost year and half for the new season.
The premier episode of the three episode season (way too short, for my taste) began with “A Scandal in Belgravia,” which picked up from last year’s cliffhanger – Sherlock and Dr. Watson being held hostage by Sherlock’s arch nemesis Jim Moriarty, but as we all know the “hostage” situation quickly turns into a stand-off leaving viewers crying out in frustration as the first season came to a close.
As stated previously, the first episode immediately picks up with the key main players involved in a standoff, but before it looks like our favorite crime detecting sleuths are done for, Moriarty’s ringtone starts play- the perfect song, Staying A Live by the Bee Gees (I tip my hat to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss). Moriarty silently apologizes to Sherlock for the interruption, as he talks to the other person on the line. Whatever was said Moriarty gets riled up, but it is enough, to help spare Sherlock and Dr. Watson’s lives, “wrong day to die,” as Moriarty states.
As Moriarty struts away making his exit, he leaves Sherlock and Watson wondering what the heck just happened and as Sherlock eloquently puts it “Why did Moriarty change his mind and who changed it for him?”
As it is revealed, our mysterious newcomer is none other than Irene Alder (played fabulously by Lara Pulver) a cunning woman, who happens to be well-known dominatrix aptly nicknamed as “The Woman” with highly sensitive photos concerning a member of the royal family as well as other sensitive information as it is revealed later that Irene uses as insurance for protection, if the time or more likely than not, a problematic situation calls for it.
Moffat and Gatiss’ characterization of Alder in this television series certainly separates itself nicely from its previous incarnations including a most recent version played by Rachel McAdams in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes adaptations. Irene is written as a witty, snarky, manipulative seductive temptress that ensnares Sherlock from the very first moment the two meet, Irene just so happens to be naked during the encounter. She is instantly intrigued by Sherlock and two start a tango of text messaging that presents a new side of the consulting detective, one we have not seen before.
While the overall central mystery is fascinating, Sherlock and Adler’s chemistry is by far the most captivating. I do not want to give the way the whole plot, because it is so good, that no amount of words I try to use to describe would do the duo justice. It needs to be watched not read. Now with that said, the episode was definitely a Sherlock and Alder themed based episode so the interaction between Sherlock and Watson was rather limited unfortunately. I do believe that Watson was used as a tension reliever between Adler and Sherlock which I felt was rather disappointing, because I thought that Watson could have elevated certain moments instead of just the comedy relief.
In all, this episode was just as brilliant as its predecessors and even more so. Moffat and Gatiss’ writing is absolutely stellar along with the outstanding acting performances by Pulver and Cumberbatch. It was a perfect episode which is a hard feat to accomplish especially in a ninety minute time frame. This is the quintessential episode that all fans were hoping for and wanted. I cannot wait for the next episode to see how the writers and actors will top this one.
The next episode of Sherlock will air at 9/8c May 13 on PBS.