|Oh no, you didn't!|
A Scandal in Belgravia is inspired by A Scandal in Bohemia, that famous story where Sherlock Holmes is beaten by Irene Adler. After the episode gets Moriarty out of the way, it launches into an impossible crime, when a man comes to visit Holmes. While his car broke down and he attempted to fix it, he spotted a hiker—and eventually, he spotted the same man dead, murdered somehow but without a single footprint around the body. The police seem to consider this man the prime suspect, but Holmes has a different outlook on things altogether.
I loved this episode. Just about everything is perfect. The characters of Holmes and Watson are the same, every bit as charming. As for the references to Sherlockiana, you’re in for a treat! There are plenty of references to other cases Holmes investigates. My very favourite is The Geek Interpreter, involving a website about comic books. The second is all about the mystery of The Speckled Blonde. Steven Moffat is one of the best screenwriters today, and these moments are all the more special for his writing.
Irene Adler is wonderfully portrayed by Lara Pulver. (Odd, I never thought I’d say that about an interpretation which casts her as a lesbian dominatrix.) Her role in the story is simply delicious in its complexity, and her moment of triumph when she beats Holmes is really something! I’ve seen some reviews that take a look at this character and Sherlock’s treatment of her and complain that Sherlock is a misogynist, a complaint to which I briefly answer: “Don’t talk such nonsense—he’s a misanthrope.”
As for the score by David Arnold, do I even have to mention it? He’s done five James Bond films, Amazing Grace, Hot Fuzz, the most recent Chronicles of Narnia film… He turns out quality work on every production, and this is no exception. (I look forward to the score of series one being released.)
Overall, A Scandal in Belgravia is a triumphant return for Sherlock. While I thought the series had written itself into a corner, it gets itself out of that corner very nicely indeed with physics-defying acrobatics, and then plunges straight into a complex plot that is absolutely delightful from start to finish. It manages to shake off the flaws of the first series and get right to the meat of the affair. I am glad that it was these folks who came up with the idea of Sherlock—they’ve done a fantastic job with it.
Now cue the blatantly obvious CBS ripoff! (But hopefully not.)