BBC’s Sherlock Series 2: Recap and Review

A Scandal in Belgravia

Please allow me a moment to vent my frustration at having to wait two years to see the outcome of a well placed and genuinely tense cliffhanger. One week between episodes is long enough but TWO YEARS is taking the piss.

Where were we? Oh, yes. The first episode of the second series begins exactly where the last episode left us. Sherlock is pointing the gun at the vest of C4 and everything is still a bit tense until Moriarty’s phone ring with a ridiculous ring tone. The call is of great importance to Moriarty so he is forced to leave. He calls his snipers off so Sherlock and John make their escape.

In the passing months, Sherlock and John continue to solve cases and John’s blog gets some serious attention. Sherlock is fast becoming a celebrity, much to his dismay. For a little pop culture, there is even a photo of him wearing the famous deer stalker hat that has become synonymous with the Sherlock Holmes name. But it seems that Sherlock has got another admirer. A woman. THE Woman in fact. Yes, Sherlock has a love interest in the form of Irene Adler and after a humorous sequence in which Sherlock shows up pretty much naked to Buckingham Palace, he is forced to confront Ms Adler who has some compromising photos of some prominent figures. This is mostly down to her day job as a high class hooker/dominatrix who knows what men like. But Sherlock is not that kind of guy no matter how much she tries. Nevertheless, Sherlock becomes enthralled with this figure but mostly for her mind. This lady is as smart as the whip she uses to beat her clients but also has a direct link to the diabolical, Jim Moriarty.

Now that it’s the second series and the audience have gotten used to Sherlock and John, some of the other secondary characters get a bit more screen time. The main plot involves Mycroft when he orchestrates some kind of plan involving a plane with no pilot and a load of dead passengers apparently to fool some terrorists. Also Sherlock discovers Molly Hooper’s crush on him which is totally obvious to everyone else but Sherlock is oblivious.

The ending is particularly satisfying. By now, I had developed a powerful hatred for Ms Adler. Even though Sherlock is an obnoxious smart-arse who very rarely shows his human side, I hated watching this woman fuck about with his feelings. Sherlock’s character is developed a bit more and we know why Sherlock has never settled into a relationship. Because the very moment he started having feelings for this woman, he let his guard down and made a spectacular cock up. But he made everything right in the end and proved just how dangerous feelings are by turning the tables on her in a sequence that was well worth the torment. And even though she betrayed him, pretended to be dead and never
once told him the truth, he still saved her life. Sherlock does seem to be growing as a person.

The Hounds of Baskerville

Once again, the middle episode does little to move the over-arching story forward but this is one of the most famous Sherlock Holmes stories with a modern twist.

Back to our favourite detective who is growing increasingly bored with the string of cases that have come his way. After failing to get John to buy him some cigarettes, an interesting case shows up on his doorstep. Henry Knight (Russell Tovey) claims that he watched his father die at the claws of a gigantic, monstrous hound. He had been seeing a therapist for 20 years only to once again see the hound and he needs Sherlock’s help.

In this case, Baskerville is a research base for the Ministry of Defence in Sherlock gains access by using his brothers security clearance. When his attempt fails, another doctor vouches for Sherlock, claiming to only want the best for Henry.

This is another interesting change in character for Sherlock as he is forced to call is powers of perception into question. When he and John visit the hollow where Henry first saw the hound, Sherlock sees the hound for himself. He is noticeably disturbed and literally shaken by the experience. He is in such a heightened state of emotion that he lashes out at John.

The next morning, he comes to his senses and is all the more determined to uncover the reason for the appearance of the hound. Through a series of trials, Sherlock works out that the hound is actually H.O.U.N.D, a secret project by the C.I.A that was developing a hallucinogenic gas. The project was dropped but another doctor has been plodding on behind everyone’s back.

It all comes to a head in the hollow when Sherlock, John, Henry, Lestrade and the doctor realise that the fog in the chemical agent and is triggered by strategically placed pressure pads throughout the woods. Upon the appearance of the local innkeepers dog, John is forced to shoot it. The doctor tries to make his escape but stands on a landmine and blows himself up.

Just when we thought that this episode had no connection, in the last scene we see Moriarty incarcerated in a padded room. Best place for him but Mycroft shows up. When he enters the room, he sees that Moriarty has written ‘Sherlock’ over and over again all over the room. It doesn’t take a genius or a consulting detective to realise that Moriarty is totally bat-shit bonkers.

The Reichenbach Fall

This one is a big one. The most famous of all the Sherlock Holmes tales. You’ve all seen it so there’s no need for a spoiler alert. In the story of ‘The Final Problem’, this is the final confrontation between Sherlock and Moriarty in which they have a climactic battle on the so called ‘Reichenbach Falls’. The confrontation leads to both Sherlock and Moriarty falling over the cliff face, supposedly leading to their deaths.

At the beginning of the episode, Sherlock is receiving several commendations for the numerous cases that he has solved and the media have dubbed him as the Reichenbach Hero. There is also an eerie image at one of the parties of a Turner painting of the Reichenbach Falls, as if it’s a sign of things to come.

Speaking of what’s to come, Moriarty has been released by Mycroft and has used an app on his phone to open a vault at the Bank of England, open cells at a prison and break into the Tower of London. It is at the Tower of London where he decks himself out in the crown jewels and sits patiently, waiting for the coppers to arrive. Moriarty is arrested and Sherlock is called to speak at his trial. Unsurprisingly, Moriarty gets off because he threatened all of the jury members. He then goes to Baker Street to intimidate Sherlock and repeatedly uses the phrase ‘The Final Problem.’ In the meantime, John is called to see Mycroft who informs him that 4 top assassins have moved into the vicinity of Baker Street. Everything is now coming together for the final act, but we are not there yet.

Sherlock’s assistance is called upon when the British Ambassador for the United State’s daughter is abducted. Sherlock successfully finds the little girl but she freaks out when he comes in to interview her. This leads Sgt Donovan and Anderson to believe that Sherlock must have had something to do with it. They think that he abducted her and wanted to impress everyone by finding her. Lestrade is sceptical because he and everyone else knows that Sherlock wouldn’t do something like that. However, Lestrade is over-ruled and is forced to arrest Sherlock. After giving the Chief Super Intendant what he deserves after disrespecting Sherlock, John is arrested to. Somehow, Sherlock and John end up
handcuffed together and they manage to escape the cops. Sherlock deduces that this set of circumstances was set up by Moriarty who wants to destroy Sherlock’s reputation. He needs to find Moriarty to corroborate his story.

Sherlock goes to the home of Kitty Riley, a journalist who he met at Moriarty’s trial. At her house, Sherlock and John find Moriarty who has fabricated a false identity. He is calling himself Rich Brook which means ‘reicher bach’ in German and claims that he is an actor who Sherlock hired to play the devious criminal mastermind.

In his current state, Sherlock is now a fugitive and is hiding out at St Barts Hospital. With the help of Molly Hooper, they try to find a way of stopping Moriarty and Sherlock invites him onto the roof of St Barts.

Now is the final sequence between Sherlock and Moriarty. We all know how it ended in the book and the audience were somewhat curious as to how the TV series would adapt it. What they did was nothing short of dramatic genius.

Moriarty shows up on the roof and tells him that there are now 3 assassins (One was killer earlier during Sherlock and John’s escape from the coppers) and all of them are posted with Lestrade, Mrs Hudson and John. Once Moriarty gives the order, the assassins will kill the only people in the world that Sherlock truly cares for unless, Sherlock throws himself off the building and completes Moriarty’s story that Sherlock is a fake. Moriarty then says that there is a code to call off the killers but only he knows it and as long as he is alive, there is still a chance for Sherlock to save his friends. Moriarty then pulls out a gun and shoots himself through the mouth. With Moriarty now dead and assassins pointing guns at his friends, Sherlock has no other choice but to kill himself to save his loved ones.

At that moment, as Sherlock steps onto the edge of the roof, John arrives in a cab. Sherlock calls him and tells him to stay exactly where he is. Sherlock, with tears in his eyes, tells John that he is a fraud and that he invented Moriarty. He got someone to do research on John and no one could be as clever as him. Of course, John isn’t buying a word of it. Sherlock confesses that his phone call to John is his ‘note’. Because that’s what people do. They leave a note. A second after he says goodbye, Sherlock drops his phone and steps off the roof. John can only watch in horror as Sherlock lands in a heap on the ground. As John runs to his fallen friend, a cyclist slams into John and knocks him on the ground. Through blurred vision, John watches a crowd gather around Sherlock’s body. He gets up and stumbles to the crowd. Doctors and nurses gather around Sherlock’s bloody body and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Sherlock Holmes is dead. Elsewhere, the sniper disassembles his rifle.

Sometime later, John and Mrs Hudson visit Sherlock’s grave where John pleads with Sherlock to not be dead. He needn’t worry because in the distance, Sherlock is there.

In the aftermath of watching this beautifully crafted episode, I began trying to fathom how Sherlock did it. I was in no doubt that it was Sherlock who jumped off the roof but I also knew that there had to be another bloke who looked like Sherlock because the little girl freaked out when she saw him. We all knew that it wasn’t Sherlock who abducted her so there must be a double. I also remember thinking that when the next series comes around and it ends up with Sherlock jumping onto a big cushion, I’m going to fucking punch someone. *Sigh*

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