Hoo boy, the time has come at last to review "A Scandal in Belgravia", and explain my problem with it.
So, after a brief recap of the final events of "The Great Game", and the (rather humorous) resolution to the cliffhanger, life goes on as Sherlock and John do more cases. But in the middle of one of Sherlock's latest cases, Mycroft drags him away from it. He wants Sherlock to aid him in getting some...compromising photos of a female member of the royal family and... *shudders* dominatrix Irene Adler. (Oh, that hurts to write). This leads to a six month game of cat-and-mouse. Deduction, seduction, and some of my faith in Moffat's destruction ensues.
|Eh, you probably figured, but just to be safe...|
Yeah, you can already see my problem with this, so let's just get it over with. I dislike what Moffat did with Irene Adler. I'll admit, upon re-watching, I saw shades of the Irene Adler I love in the Canon and the Guy Ritchie movies: A clever, capable woman who's a good match/opponent for Sherlock. I can see what people like about this version. But it's hard to appreciate it when she's got so much "fanservice" heaped on her.
First, there's the whole matter of her profession here. How the heck does "Opera Singer/Adventuress in the 19th Century" equal "21st Century gay/bisexual (she identifies herself as gay in-episode, but then it's revealed she has feelings for Sherlock, so...) dominatrix"? Well, I tried doing the math and it didn't add up. But after I dismissed it at "fanservicy-wericy, Moffaty-Woffaty stuff", I looked up something just to double-check my facts here (as I write this review, actually), and apparently (according to Wikipedia (though that in itself is rather dubious truth)) "adventuress" (at the time of the original "A Scandal in Bohemia" story), meant "courtesan", which int turn means mistress or (in today's society) high-class prostitute. So, I guess I see where he was coming from with that.
Doesn't mean I like it.
I mean, honestly, did you have to take that little detail and blow it up? Seriously, dominatrix? You couldn't have gone with anything else?
I mean, even knowing the courtesan thing, now, that wasn't really that big a thing with the Canon one, it was just a minor detail that she'd had an affair (or "affairs", possibly). It's not something that's a big part of her character. More of a cliffnote. Here, we get plenty of reminders that she "knows what men like". Honestly, Moffat, on Doctor Who you had the character Amy, who was a "kissogram", and you didn't drag that out hardly ever. And there's the fact that he and Gatiss said on the commentary for "Pink" that they wouldn't make a big deal out of the whole "drug" thing, since it didn't matter much in canon anyway. But we're exaggerating something most people probably wouldn't realize? I don't like that.
It sort of similar to the problem I have with Millerlock on Elementary. He has things I'll admit I like about him, and traits from canon, but one of the things I can't quite get past with him is the fact he (to use the euphemism from this episode) "has dinner" with random women.
I mean, of all the female characters to mess up with (for me, anyway), you chose one of my favorites to mess up with? And it's a shame, I usually like the female characters he writes (River Song, Clara/Oswin Oswald, etc.). I guess I wish Irene could've been more like them instead of what she was like, too.
(And I feel obliged to add that I mean no disrespect to Lara Pulver, the actress who plays her in this show. She did an amdittedly good job with the role presented, and she seems like a very nice woman from what I've seen.)
And there's the fact we have a whole scene where Adler's naked (albeit everything inappropriate is obscured by camera angles) in front of Sherlock (and eventually John). Really, Moffat, really? I mean, I know it had two points in-story (throw off Cumberlock's deductions, and give him a way to get her measurements), but really? That was the option to go with? And apparently, it caused a minor controversy in England, because things like that aren't allowed to be shown there pre-watershed (the cutoff at 9:00, before they show more adult programing). So, yeah...
And finally, there's the whole matter of the ending. After Sherlock's final "confrontation" with Adler, Mycroft reveals to John some time later that she was captured by Middle-Eastern terrorists and beheaded. Or so he thinks. Turns out Sherlock managed to get there and secretly save her. (Hooray. She gets to live while the movie version gets killed off in the first few minutes of the second movie to rarely be brought up again and the unknown Elementary version is apparently dead if you believe Millerlock...) Oh, the questions it's since raised for me...
First of all, I don't think terrorists work the way they do as shown there. Second, Irene gets to make a last text with her own cell phone. Uh, do terrorists allow that? (Forgive me if I don't know how such things work, I've been fortunate not to be involved in such things.) Let alone with their victim's own phones? And how'd Irene Adler tick off the terrorists anyway? Did she mess around with a prominent member and blackmail them? How far does her business extend? And how did Sherlock find out she'd be in Karachi, anyway? Let alone get in there in time? It just raises too many questions!
But even after reciting the MST3K mantra of "It's just a show, I should really just relax", why was the scene necessary? After all, in Canon, Irene more or less saved herself by by fleeing to America with her husband and taking the photo with her, and outwitting Sherlock by using his pride against him when following him. Here, she needs Sherlock to come in and save her. It's kind of sad when the version from the 19th century (a time I don't associate with "feminist") seems better than the 21st in that regard.
But enough moaning and groaning! I think I have to be fair and mention the positives. Besides Irene, this episode had some very decent things. Mostly with characters.
There were some really nice interactions between all the regular characters. First of all, there's John, who spends the episode looking out for Sherlock throughout the whole episode, trying to do what's best for his friend. Then there's the interactions with Mrs. Hudson. I've sort of ignored it these past few reviews, but I love the mother/son-eske relationship between Mrs. Hudson and Sherlock (and to an extent, John). It really sweet andI feel it's most prominent here. Especially when Sherlock nearly destroys an American agent for harming and threatening her.
Also, there's Molly and Sherlock. We see a little more of her standing up to Sherlock when he's being... well, Cumberlock. You can see a bit of a turning point with the two, when she calls Sherlock out for the horrible, blunt things he says. And I felt good that she at least got an appology and kiss on the cheek from Sherlock. Lord knows the woman earned it.
Plus, Mycroft got some good scenes, too. We get to see more of him caring about Sherlock in his own way. Such as trying to console him after Irene's first supposed "death" (she fakes being dead twice here), in his own way. And there was the conversation between John and him when they try and deside what to tell Sherlock when they think terrorists killed her.
Speaking of Sherlock, as usual, Benedict is awesome as Sherlock. As is the character. He's firing on all deductive cylinders. And he proves when it comes to some fights he gets, that he's got them moves like Downeylock. Ooh, and we get to see him half nacked. And the female portion of the fandom rejoiced. ;)
And just some last minute Lestrade love here, seeing as this is the season I started to adore him, I loved him talking another inspector through working with Sherlock. And it was nice to hear he was helping John deliver a drugged-up Sherlock back to 221B (even if he was recording the whole thing on his phone...) And they even invited him to Christmas! ^_^ And now, I take a moment to appreciate Lestrade's face when he sees Molly all dolled up...
|Oh, you... ^_^|
-Canon nods (besides this being a reinterpretation of "Bohemia") include: the counter stuck on 1895 on John's blog (that being the "best year" for Sherlock), "the client is illustrius" ("The Illustrius Client"), and "The wheel turns, nothing is ever new" is a quote from Canon, too, I think.
-I don't have too many "Favorite scenes", but I do like the opening scene (until we get our first glimpse of Adler...), the Buckingham Palace scene, the Christmas scene, and Sherlock taking down the American agent...
-Speaking of Americans; man are we jerks here...
- I'm now convinced Moriarty can somewhat break Fourth Wall and read the subtitles, for some reason. (Though the movie version can do "Holmes-O-Vision", so it wouldn't suprise me...)
-Funny, in the first movie, Irene Adler drugged Downeylock (though it was through a drink, not a needle like this one did) as well, and he was naked afterwords with a pillow to cover him up. Cumberlock covered up with a sheet, but his half-naked scene was before the scene where he's drugged . Okay, I'm calling it now: if we ever see Irene Adler on Elementary, she's going to/ will have drugged Millerlock at some point, while he's naked covered up with an air matress! :P
-Okay, so we have: Molly who's got a crush on Sherlock, Moriarty who at least flirts with Sherlock, characters who've (at one point or another) thought John's romatically involved with Sherlock, and now Irene who has a crush on Sherlock. HOLY CRAP! Just imagine if he was trying! O_O
Well, if Violet Hunter (or even that girl Sherlock gets engaged to for crime-solving purposes in "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton") came to play, or anyone ELSE reveals they have/had feelings for him or anything of that nature, I think he gets a free sandwich at Speedy's...
-Fun Fact: all the cases in the opening montage of cases can be read on the blog (yes, they actually have an in-character blog for John, along with Sherlock's website, and even a blog for Molly Hooper which soldifies my desire to hug her if she were real). They're pretty good reads, and based on canon cases.
Overall, it wasn't up to the standards I have for Moffat when it comes to writing. Like I've said, this episode (along with most of season 5 of Doctor Who) kind of damaged my faith in him as a writer. Oh well, you can't write gems all the time. And, to be fair, it was a decent episode (minus Adler). Not one of his better season kickoffs. But still a better episode than "The Blind Banker".
Well, only one thing left to say: GATISS! I NEED YOU TO SAVE ME AGAIN! MOFFAT DIDN"T DELIVER THIS TIME!
Oh, and Happy New Year's Eve...