Thursday, 16 February 2012

Verdict: Sherlock - A Scandal In Belgravia

Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Lara Pulver as Irene Adler
-  Courtesy of BBC
This review contains spoilers

Picking up directly where the first series had left off, the first 90-minute episode of series two of the BBC's Sherlock hit the ground running and didn't let up for the entire duration.

With Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) facing off against Moriarty (Andrew Scott) in a tense and gripping finale, the first series decided to end there and then, leaving viewers with over a year's wait to find out the resolution. It may not have ended as explosively as hinted at, instead ending somewhat anti-climatically. This however in no way means that it was a let-down in any sense of the word. The resolution of the cliffhanger, left by creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, instead has served a greater purpose in creating a wider story arc for the series and in introducing Lara Pulver as dominatrix Irene Adler.

Tasked with retrieving incriminating and scandalous photographs of the seductive Ms. Adler with a undisclosed member of the royal family by his brother Mycroft (also Mark Gatiss), Sherlock is in full belief that he will have succeeded by that night. Instead however, he is faced with the fact that Adler is every bit as clever and deceptive as he is. I won't give too much away here for those of you having not seen it because it's a cracker.

Whilst the plot demands the audiences full-attention with numerous interwoven and interlocking strands, at no point does it feel overly complicated or confusing. Like any well-written mystery, there are twists and turns aplenty and nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Also, any questions left unanswered are sure to be a part of a wider scheme that will play out throughout the series.

Much like the highly complex storytelling he has crafted on Doctor Who, there is a sense that Steven Moffat is in his element here as he weaves the multi-layered story together strand by strand throughout the episode and no doubt, the series. The ending may seem a little far-fetched for some, myself included, but I didn't let that affect my overall impression of the episode too much.

The electrically-charged interaction between the two characters of  Sherlock and Adler in the opening act of the episode sizzles is fast-pased with brilliant and burning one-liners. It's highly entertaining stuff as the two cross, double-cross and attempt to outwit the other. As the episode trots along, the story jumps several weeks and months, allowing for the relationship between Sherlock and Adler to develop.

This is done really well and it adds another layer to the Detective's character, something that we saw little of in season one, which understandably focused primarily on laying the framework of the show. Like any good sequel, the second series has dispensed with the introductory phase of the show and allows for characters to grow and expand more.

The writers have cleverly found that sweet-spot between the dark and twisting intrigue of murder mysteries and light-hearted and playful banter of the best sitcoms; there are plenty of giggles and chuckles to be found alongside the enthralling brainteasers.

In addition to this, it would seem the writers have also begun to really invest in the relationship between Sherlock and Watson. The two have really begun to understand each other more and this makes for interesting scenes where Watson struggles to hold down a girlfriend thanks to his loyalty to Sherlock. The two also are hugely funny, with one scene including bedsheets, near-nudity and Buckingham Palace springing to mind.

First impressions indicate that Moffat and Gatiss have taken everything that viewers and critics loved about the first series and improved on it two-fold. There's genuine mystery, deduction and intrigue, laugh-out-loud quips and the occasional dark and more sinister, dramatic moments. A Scandal in Belgravia is another top-notch episode of one the BBC's biggest shows. Fairly elementary really (sorry couldn't help myself)

1 comment:

  1. Nice review of the episode.

    For a different look at this episode, check out my review .

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete

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