Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves, Mark Gatiss, Andrew Scott, Louise Brealey, Lara Pulver, Russell Tovey, Katherine Parkinson
Writer: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Steve Thompson
Air Date: BBC1, Sundays 8:30pm
On Sunday Sherlock returned to our TV screens, and while it may have been over a year since the season 1 finale, it was most definately worth the wait.
The season 2 premiere, A Scandal in Belgravia, took off as soon as it began by quickly resolving the previous season’s cliff hanger involving Holmes, Watson, Moriarty and a bomb, before setting our favourite detective up with plenty of new mysteries to solve. The new cases are posted to Watson’s blog and given titles that are smart little nods to some of Conan Doyle’s classic tales such as The Speckled Blonde and The Geek Interpreter. There was even a special moment where Holmes donned a deerstalker cap. These little touches give the show that special something and show a great deal of respect for the source material, whilst keeping it up to date and fresh.
The addition of Irene Adler was very faithful to A Scandal in Bohemia, the short story from which the episode was derived from. In the original tale Holmes was sent to retrieve some saucy photographs from Adler that would surely ruin the life of a member of the monarchy. Instead of using this to cover the full 90 minutes and making the audience suffer through dull padding, the writers smartly decided to pay their respects to the story by setting it up it in the first 20 minutes, and then spinning off from it with different plot threads and more twists and turns.
Benedict Cumberbatch, as usual, did a terrific job playing the obnoxious Holmes with just that tiny hint of sentiment, giving him a whole lot more depth then many other small screen characters. It was nice that we actually got to see that Sherlock does cares for his friends, from his public apology to Molly (Brealey) after demeaning her at a Christmas party, to consoling Mrs Hudson (Stubbs) after her vicious attack and even throwing her attacker out of a window a few times. It is clear that the writers had a brilliant time bringing Adler into the series, and they made her feel organic to the setting. Her scenes with Holmes were a fantastic mix of clever writing and fantastic chemistry between the actress Lara Pulver and Cumberbatch. She is almost more dangerous than Moriarty, because her motives were never clear and she could use her sexuality as a weapon. Pulver was absolutely superb, and I almost wanted her to become a main feature in the series, but the way her story ended was brilliant and equally as satisfying.
Martin Freeman continues to impress as Watson, and continues to be the audiences eyes into the world of Holmes. Watson is a pretty dull and unimpressive part, always playing second best to Holmes; but Martin Freeman truly excels in the part and really makes the character his own. This show is the first time, in my memory, where Holmes and Watson are on an equal playing field, and so it is the first time on screen that they are shown as a truly impressive and memorable team.
Overall this episode is absolutely spot on. A high flying return that took absolutely no wrong turns throughout its many plot twists. It is excellent to know that the writers are clearly inspired by the original stories, and with that in mind I cannot wait to see what they do in the next episode, which is based on one of my favourite stories, The Hound of the Baskevilles.
Sherlock - Promo