Thu
Jan 5 2012 11:00am
Adler Cracks the Whip! Sherlock: “A Scandal in Belgravia”

The long-awaited return of the popular 21st century Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson kicked off the new year with the Series 2 premier of Sherlock titled “A Scandal in Belgravia.” In addition to giving us this splendid image of Benedict Cumberbatch un-ironically rocking the infamous Holmes deerstalker, the hour and a half episode served up a variety of new twists and turns. Most specifically it revealed that this version of Sherlock Holmes not only has a contemporary Moriarty, but the adventuress Irene Adler, too!

Find out who was naked (everyone) and what we thought of the return of BBC’s Sherlock in our very spoiler-filled review below.

Tons of spoilers! You’ve been warned!

The new episode picks up where “The Great Game” left us: in an empty indoor pool, Jim Moriarty has Sherlock and John covered with the telltale laser-dots of snipers while Sherlock trains a single gun on the plastic explosives lying on the ground between them. Sherlock makes to set off the bomb with a gunshot, but soon Jim gets a phone call. Whatever information the call conveys, it convinces Jim Moriarty to call off his snipers and leave the pool with the knowledge he and Sherlock will be crossing paths again.

The episode then gives us a fun sort of montage both depicting a bunch of Sherlock’s new cases and the link between his growing celebrity and the popularity of John’s blog. Not surprisingly, the blog is good for business and John and Sherlock are getting photographed more often in the papers. (The donning of the deerstalker is used as gag here because Sherlock is trying to hide his face from newspaper cameras.) During this sequence we see John writing up several cases which contain clever nods to the Conan Doyle canon: A case about comic book experts reporting on comic book things coming to life is called “The Geek Interpreter” while another case is called “The Speckled Blonde.” (Referencing “The Greek Interpreter” and “The Speckled Band” respectively.) Of course, the episode as a whole is referencing  “A Scandal in Bohemia” the famous Holmes story which featured the blackmailer Irene Adler.

When the story gets going, we’re properly introduced to Irene Adler. This 21st century version is a professional dominatrix, but also someone who collects compromising photographs of some of her more famous clients. Soon Sherlock and John find themselves whisked to Buckingham Palace where Mycroft Holmes informs them they need to recover compromising photographs of someone who Holmes deduces is a member of the Royal Family. What’s relevant is Irene Adler is not asking for money at first, deepening the mystery. Eventually Sherlock and John confront Irene Adler. She already knows they’re coming, however, and greats Sherlock while totally in the nude. (This nicely references an earlier scene in which Sherlock is wrapped only in a bed sheet while taking a meeting at Buckingham Palace.)

As in the original story, Sherlock uses the false alarm of a fire to deduce the location of the all-important camera phone containing the compromising photographs. But things are more complex than that. Soon, American secret agents rush in on the scene and it seems Irene Adler has more than just compromising photographs in her possession. A lot of people want her dead. Throughout all of this, we get the sense that Sherlock has seriously gotten his feathers ruffled by her and though they briefly work together to thwart the Americans, she eventually turns the tables on him, drugs him, and gets back her cameraphone. During this fracas, Adler also screws with Sherlock’s phone resulting in a custom text-message alert for herself. Whenever Irene Adler texts Sherlock an orgasmic “Mmm-ah!” fills the air. Cute? Sexy? Creepy? All of the above.

Time passes and we witness Christmas in Baker Street. Sherlock is rude to everyone, specifically poor Molly, the girl who works in the police morgue who clearly had the hots for him in the last run of the show. John Watson is wearing a terrible Christmas sweater worthy of Ron Weasley, and Mrs. Hudson declares it to be the only day Sherlock and John have to be nice to her. However, this heartwarming scene is broken up by the news that Irene Adler is dead. Mycroft and Sherlock see a body in a morgue with a face mangled beyond recognition, but Sherlock identifies the corpse as Adler by looking at her body (since he committed her measurements to memory.) Sherlock also believes Adler to be dead at this point because she sent him her cameraphone, something she would never do if she were alive. However, it all turns out to be a scam as Watson is later told by Adler herself that she is really alive. The information on her phone is way bigger than photographs, and the true conspiracy of the story starts to be made clear.

Irene Adler’s super badass cameraphone actually contains a secret coded e-mail she obtained from a government official who was one of her “clients.” In Adler’s presence, Sherlock decodes this as information about a specific airline flight, flight 007 to be specific. Mysteriously, he’s given a ticket by his brother for this flight only to find a plane full of corpses. Mycroft reveals the British and U.S. governments had populated this plane full of already-dead people because they knew terrorists were planning to blow it up. More importantly, both governments were planning on letting it happen to make the terrorists think they had gained a tactical advantage. But, the show’s off, because Irene Adler transmitted the information to Moriarty who in turn transmitted it to the terrorists. A super-secret multi-government hoax has been ruined by Irene Adler, and all because Holmes temporarily trusted her. After this deathblow has been served to Mycroft and the government, Adler starts demanding more accommodations or she’ll go public with the other government secrets she’s got in her awesome phone. Cruelly, she asserts she never had a thing for Sherlock and that Moriarty had informed her how to “play him.”

But all is not lost, because our Sherlock knows the truth and realizes Adler did sort of have a thing for him and that the elusive passcode on her phone is S.H.E.R! She liked him after all. Holmes wins, albeit briefly. The episode closes with John and Mycroft meeting in the café below Baker Street where Mycroft tells John that Adler has been beheaded in the Middle East. Both decide to lie to Sherlock about her death and instead convince him she’s involved in a witness protection program in the States. In the final scenes, Sherlock appears to buy this, but then the action cuts to Adler’s execution, and it is revealed that in her “final moments” none other than Sherlock Holmes was there to rescue her.

 

Ryan’s Reaction:

I’ve got real mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, I’m thrilled to see Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and everyone else in this awesome cast back on Baker Street and delighting the hell out of me. But, I was really irked by the writing decision to transform this 21st century version of the iconic character of Irene Adler into a sex worker. In my view, this was a reductive move and somehow made the character more sexist than her original Conan Doyle incarnation. Her overt va-va-voom stuff also bugged me because we’re told it’s totally throwing off Sherlock’s awesome deductive mojo, which doesn’t really make sense. He looks at her and question marks appear on the screen like in a Looney Tunes cartoon. I appreciate the idea that this version of Holmes may very well be a total virgin, ergo the use of sexuality on him might be crippling, but it comes across a little cartoony. Further, dominatrix stuff and sex for the sake of sex isn’t really edgy, and comes across as pandering here to me. I imagine Moffat thinking, “oh this is what the kid’s like.” Personally, I would have much rather had Adler obtaining her secrets in another, trickier and smarter way, rather than taking her clothes off. Actress Lara Pulver is totally awesome in the role, but the “sexiness” of the character was sort of taken away for me by having her be so in your face about sex. In short, it all came across a little porny rather than interesting. I was also pleased to see Jane Clare Jones from The Guardian making an even more detailed argument on this point yesterday.

However, Sherlock is back, which is good. Though I really disliked the characterization of Adler in the story, the story itself was compelling, funny, fast, exciting, unique, while at the same time being perfectly true to Sherlock Holmes. The Christmas at Baker Street scene was excellently done by all the actors, and Mrs. Hudson really shined in this episode. The scene in which we realize the bond between Mrs. Hudson and Sherlock and the important and badass team they make up is bold and touching. Meanwhile, Freeman and Cumberbatch have perfected their chemistry to the point where you could just watch an hour of them bickering and it would be satisfying. The direction and pacing are also exciting, and revelation of what is really going on truly haunting. It also genuinely feels as though the fictional universe of this Holmes has gotten a little bigger with the inclusion of other nations, which is not at all unwelcome. If the Moffat/Gatiss penned version of Sherlock Holmes is truly the new James Bond, then bring it on! But maybe next time, he doesn’t need such a Pussy Galore-esque antagonist. (I mean, at least Pussy Galore was a pilot for crisssakes.)

Either way, the episode was fun, and I’m looking forward to Hound next week!

Emily’s Reaction:

Am I a bad person if I say that, despite some well-pointed out problems, I’m not really upset by this episode at all? Maybe. Even so, I was tickled to death for the full hour and a half. Not that all the fun entirely makes up for the dominatrix angle on Adler, but I enjoyed Pulver all the same, who I thought did a really excellent job with what she was given. In the end, I feel that the real issue with her occupation was that it was just plain uncreative. It doesn’t take much effort to say, “well, she’s sexy and manipulative and lots of people fall for her — I know, she can be a BD/SM sexpot!” I did appreciate that she was gay (outside of her attraction to Sherlock, which just made the choice of having her prefer women more interesting), but since it wasn’t explored at all, that was basically a throwaway as well, in addition to adding to the unhelpful “lesbians want to have power over all men” stereotype.

As to the thought that Sherlock has never had sex at all; it’s typical to see the character portrayed as entirely asexual, or asexual with exceptions (Adler usually being the only one), but the idea that he simply doesn’t have the makeup to handle it, and has therefore never tried it, is an emotionally interesting take. Especially when you see how cruelly other people treat him for it in Mycroft’s snide remarks, or Moriarty’s nicknames.

Outside of that, Sherlock has begun putting its fringe characters to much better use, something that practically no incarnation of the stories has bothered to do. The enjoyable thing about figures like Mrs. Hudson and even Lestrade (who has contradictory traits in Doyle’s stories) is that they have very little characterization whatsoever, making them open for a great deal of interpretation. And we’ve all seen the silently-suffering Mrs. Hudson, or the scolding irate Mrs. Hudson, but when have we ever seen the loving, saavy Mrs. Hudson who’s braver than brave and would do anything for her dear lodgers? Where has this woman been all my life? She’s spectacular.

The further exploration of the Holmes brothers’ relationship in this case was handled with a deft, if at times chilling, hand. We start to get a greater picture of that family bond, the sense that Mycroft raised Sherlock, and might even be responsible for foisting this “don’t care about people, it doesn’t help” attitude on his little brother. We see people handling drug addiction the way they would in the modern world: whereas Watson simply berated Holmes’ use of cocaine in the original stories, we get to see Mycroft calling John, informing him that it’s a “danger night,” that he can’t leave Sherlock’s side. We know that John and Mrs. Hudson have raided the flat before looking for Sherlock’s hidden stashes. (We also now know that Sherlock has a sock index. Of course he does.)

And even with all the damaging parts to these relationships, we see that Sherlock — without wanting or intending to — is building himself a family of sorts. That’s what I’m invested in. Can’t wait to see what next week brings.


Ryan Britt is the staff writer for Tor.com. He eliminates the impossible and replaces it with a gin and tonic whenever possible.

Emily Asher-Perrin is the Editorial Assistant for Tor.com. She hopes that she, too, will one day have a heirarchy of dressing gowns.

37 comments
Nina Lourie
1. supertailz
I also had problems with some of Irene's portrayal, but I wanted to note that while Sherlock is portrayed as dealing with the overt sexuality differently - and sometimes uncomfortably - for me the whole naked thing was obviously so that Sherlock couldn't get clues from her. It was all about the whole "disguise" thing that she then told him; where even the best disguise gives something away. So she was going on the offensive by being completely naked and therefore giving *absolutely nothing* away.

So while there were definitely moments that bothered me, this totally wasn't one of them.

/my2cents
Keith DeCandido
2. krad
Quoth Ryan: "He looks at her and question marks appear on the screen like in a Looney Tunes cartoon. I appreciate the idea that this version of Holmes may very well be a total virgin, ergo the use of sexuality on him might be crippling, but it comes across a little cartoony."

That was not, to my mind, the point there at all. The fact that she was naked and clean and freshly made up meant that there was nothing for Sherlock to deduce anything from. Most of his off-the-cuff deductions about people are based on forensic evidence on their clothing and skin, but she was wearing no clothes and her skin was unblemished. That was why he looked over at Watson and found many clues, but then looked back at her and found none.
Gregg Anderson
3. digrifter
It's quite obvious that the question marks denoted that Holmes couldn't "read" anything from Irene's appearance -- she was a blank slate to him. He quickly looks back at Watson and sees tons of clues about him, but when he looks back at Irene, still nothing.

Nothing cartoony at all. Did you watch the first season?
dreamysusan
4. dreamysusan
I thought Irene's character was lovely and intriguing. And I don't think that makes me a bad person - or a bad feminist - at all.
CE Petit
5. Jaws
I think people are reading too much into the relationship among Irene Adler's gender, her chosen method of obtaining blackmail material, and pro/antifeminism. For Adler (in both Bohemia and Belgravia), the "compromising positions" are merely tools in an effort to obtain power over others for her own advantage; that there are sexual/gender role overtones to the particular tools (innuendo intended) is a secondary point that makes it a worthwhile story rather than an extension of The Prince or The Discourses.

We're dealing with, as Sherlock calls himself in the first series, high-functioning sociopaths; of the potential/actual viewpoint characters, only John Watson is not one. Why is it somehow treason against feminism to accept that Irene Adler also fits that description... or that the particular manifestations of her high functioning sociopathy might lead to particularly sexually charged behavior? In a sense, one could equally argue that the "happens to be sexual" aspect of her character's behavior is a cold, hard sociopath's choice that -- in the way that most extreme conditions do -- has integrated into the character itself through positive feedback over the years. After all, Irene Adler did not suddenly appear as London's dominatrix-of-choice-to-the-rich-and-powerful; it took time (probably years) to build up that reputation. Wearing a role for a long time tends to feed back in to one's own character and subconscious... just ask the Lucifer of Paradise Lost (if, that is, you can get him to stop pontificating before breakfast). In a way, it's archly profeminist to have a female character damaging herself just like the boys do!
dreamysusan
6. Lexie C.
Like the others I had assumed that the questions marks were because he couldn't get a read off her--that's why he'd look at Watson, deduce a whole bunch of clues based on what he was wearing, his shaving job, etc, but Irene...she was just...perfectly blemish-free. Like a doll.

Having only read one original story about Holmes (Hounds of Baskervilles) everything I knew about Irene Adler was gleaned from a friend. Making her a Dominatrix (which I want to point out doesn't necessarily mean she has sex with her clients) was interesting, but I think they could have found a different way to have her get her blackmail (really she could have just been a royal's mistress just like the original story and done away with the Dominatrix part)

I found the rest of the episode more interesting - Sherlock and Mycroft's talk in the morgue about whether they are 'missing' something being the way they are (though wasn't Mycroft wearing a wedding ring? I swear I saw a gold band on his left ring finger, so wouldn't that suggest he found a woman he cares for?) and it was rather hilarious they couldn't just shove aside the bickering even at Buckingham Palace.
R O T
7. rogerothornhill
This isn't showing in the States yet, is it? Any word on when? Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America?
dreamysusan
8. John R. Ellis
It's supposed to appear on PBS Masterpiece Mystery sometime in the spring of 2012.
dreamysusan
9. TB
I agree with Jaws. It seems to me like it makes sense for Adlers character to choose that occupation, simply because she doesn't care. Just as she appeared completely naked before Sherlock when they first met. It was practical for her to do that, so she did. I also felt like what she did was completely for her own sake, and not just to be a sexy character.
Emily Asher-Perrin
10. EmilyAP
@Jaws - All interesting points about Adler. I'm not sure I agree completely that she's supposed to be a "high-functioning sociopath" the way Sherlock himself claims to be - we're not actually given any indication that she is, after all. Just because she does things that might potentially hurt people, doesn't mean she has little or no empathy/sympathy.

My issue with the dominatrix choice is we're not given enough information about the character for it to seem like an intently thought out decision. It's all very surface-y, and you have to figure a lot of things about the character yourself to make it work. Which I'm normally all for, but when your dealing with material that could be construed as sexist, you should probably try a little harder.

@Lexie C - The ring is actually on Mycroft's right hand, though I completely understand the confusion (I had it too) because it's on the viewer's left when you look at him. :)
Ryan Britt
11. ryancbritt
@2 krad and @3 digrifter

About the question mark thing: Yes. I think you're right, the point there was to show because of nudity Adler was unable to be read by Holmes. Which is dumb, lazy writing in my humble opinion. :-) BECAUSE the real Sherlock (both prose version and this version) would be able to deduce things about her based not just by what was there, but also by what wasn't there. Indeed, by the end of the scene, he does in fact assert a few points about her actions in terms of trying to shock people.

Sherlock being thrown off by nudity made him cartoony because being a virgin or whatever is not the same as being a prude. It's also cartoony because in cartoons characters eyes pop out of their sockets or strange objects circle their head when they see the "lady version" of them. This barely works when Tom (the cat) puts on mouse-drag to lure Jerry (the mouse) into some kind of trap. The text on the screen stuff worked for me in the previous episodes, but in this case, it didn't. After all, I was able to deduce a few things about Adler from first glimpses we're show. Such as: stock character, too much eye-makeup, unrealistic porn-like sidekick, says, "I know what he liked" to the point of absurdity. etc.

In my head Sherlock Holmes would have seen these thing too, but alas he was stuck in this particular cliché construction and couldn't get out. So, yes, they accomplished exactly what they wanted to with this scene, which was mostly bad. As I said in the review, this kind of thing didn't RUIN the episode for me, but it was very, very annoying.
dreamysusan
12. JCHicks
In the U.S., it'll air on Masterpiece Mystery starting Jan. 15. More here:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/schedule/index.html
Dave Bell
13. DaveBell
The original Irene Adler was an American-born opera singer, and the story is set in March 1888. So she can be said to be a bit lower on the class scale, not socially acceptable as the wife of a King, but hardly disreputable. Making her a sex-worker is a big change. (A few months later, Nellie Melba first appeared at Covent Garden.)

One of the threads I see in this version is that Adler fakes her death, which needs a body. Where did she get it? People are wondering if it was right to have her apparently as a puppet of Moriarty, but maybe that was why she needed to do a deal with him. If so, Moriarty and Mycroft are both in the business of providing corpses and faking deaths.

Remember, Holmes is able to work out Adler's measurements. He doesn't see anything to deduce anything from, but he does see things. He is not the sexual innocent. He is also able to identify the supposed body of Irene Adler. What does that suggest?

I don't like the hidden plot with the jumbo jet full of corpses. I'm not sure I like the ending, but it suggests that Holmes is definitely not on the same side as his brother. Is he more pleased that he saved Adler, or that he has duped his brother?
Ryan Britt
14. ryancbritt
@JChicks
I can't figure out if that's a re-run of the first series or not. If it is the new episodes, then they've moved it up! Thanks for the link either way.
dreamysusan
15. SKM
@JChicks

Those dates are reruns of Series One.
dreamysusan
16. JCHIcks
@SKM. Thanks. They really should make it more clear on their schedule. I mean it says, "Sherlock Holmes stalks again" - the again implying this isn't the first series.
Ryan Britt
17. ryancbritt
@16 So confusing! I was worried about that too.
dreamysusan
18. SKM
I agree. I only figured it out by hitting "check local listings" to get the episode names. They should have made it clear on the main page.
Tudza White
19. tudzax1
I'm not sure Sherlock could have set off a bomb made with plastic explosives. Research shows a bullet wouldn't work.

I'm puzzled about how that body in the morgue would have fooled Holmes given that he has seen all of Adler.
Risha Jorgensen
20. RishaBree
I've been getting a little irritated with all of the complaints about making Irene a dominatrix. There's plenty to object to about the character (though I still liked her very much), but it's actually a fairly decent translation. Both of them are highly skilled professions that are/were disreputable ones except perhaps at the highest level - highly correlated to but not necessarily a sex worker. Between that and calling her an "adventuress", ACD's audience would have known that it was being implied that she was a courtesan (though the king could have been annoyed enough at her to be casting false aspersions about it).
Brit Mandelo
22. BritMandelo
I would add that both Irene and Sherlock are performing for their audiences - but they perform differently. Sherlock's choice is abrasive cruelty, Irene's is confrontational sensuality. They're both damned effective for what they're trying to do, respectively, and they're both aware of that.
Ursula L
23. Ursula
I don't think that the theory that Sherlock could draw no conclusions about Irene due to her nudity works. Irene's outfit may not have included clothes, but her appearance was as carefully thought out as any more conventional outfit, and the way in which she was presenting herself was full of meaning.

Just consider the contrast between Irene's nudity and Sherlock's.

Irene planned her nudity. Sherlock's was unplanned - he was at home and working wrapped in a sheet, and refused to dress out of stubbornness.

Irene took the time to plan her appearance - hair, makeup, manicure, etc. Irene had the time to plan her appearance. Every hair in place. Nails perfectly done, polish dry. Room warm enough that she can walk around naked and be physically comfortable. Floor carefully cleaned so that she can walk barefoot without concern for stepping on a bit of gravel tracked in by someone on their shoes. (Imagine how stepping on a sharp speck of gravel would have ruined the effect!) Sherlock's nakedness was an afterthought - a sheet for warmth at home, the nakedness spontaneously used as a power-play when confronted by people determined to remove him from his home.

Irene is completely self-conscious in her nakedness. Every move is planned. She switches between positions with deliberate effect, switiching between exposure and artful modesty of covering herself by the way in which she sits, a tease as careful as any fan-dancer. Sherlock is equally self-conscious in his nudity, in a different way, refusing to dress but clinging stubbornly to his sheet, using his nakedness for psychological effect.

***

My take on what is happening is that Moffat is slipping into his "Women are Mysterious in their Sexuality" mode, like Amy Pond with her costumes, or River with her spoilers, or Madge being the archetypical Mother and Wife, or Liz X with her mask.

But you can't write a compelling story and maintain that sort of stereotype. So Irene gets a coat, and Sherlock starts to read her despite the appearance of nudity - her safe combination is displayed in her nakedness, as he recognizes her measurements by sight.
dreamysusan
24. euphbass
I found the ending somewhat confusing, but I didn't think he actually rescued her. I thought it was more like the earlier scenes where they mix reality with memory / supposition (e.g. Holmes and Adler going over the hiker's death and the car that backfired). So I thought the ending was more her imagining Holmes being there and what he would do / say, particularly since she'd just sent him a message. Thus, she did actually die, and he wasn't there.
dreamysusan
25. a1ay
For Adler (in both Bohemia and Belgravia), the "compromising positions" are merely tools in an effort to obtain power over others for her own advantage

No no no. Irene Adler, in the original book, is not a blackmailer. That's a key point. Holmes hates blackmailers. In "Charles Augustus Milverton" he covers up the murder of a blackmailer by one of his victims, because he reckons justice has been done. If Adler were a blackmailer, Holmes would think she was the lowest form of life possible.

The original Adler - Conan Doyle's Adler - isn't blackmailing the Prince; she's threatening to expose their affair because she's angry with him for treating her badly, and she wants (or at least the Prince fears she wants) to get her own back by busting up his impending marriage.
dreamysusan
26. Neil W
I don't think that the theory that Sherlock could draw no conclusions
about Irene due to her nudity works. Irene's outfit may not have
included clothes, but her appearance was as carefully thought out as any more conventional outfit, and the way in which she was presenting herself was full of meaning.

I think there's more to it than that. Holmes goes in, arrogantly assuming that he can outthink Adler on the fly. She enters, naked, and obviously aware of who he is, and what he's trying to do. So Holmes deduces...

1. She's naked so most of the clues from clothes etc. are absent;
2. She was expecting him so any clues he can see are deliberate; and
3. Damn this woman is smart... and she's pretty goodlooking as well!

So I read the question marks as him circling through this train of thought and coming back to knowing nothing more than when she entered the room, while his thoughts are clouded by how interesting he finds her.
Ursula L
27. Ursula
2. She was expecting him so any clues he can see are deliberate;

The fact that she was expecting him is telling.

It takes quite a bit of time and effort to pull off the perfect impression she created. Sherlock was making things up as he went along. The effect she was able to create should immediately tell Sherlock not only that she knew he was going to be showing up, but that she might have known even before he knew.

Even though Irene was loading her appearence with deliberate clues, it didn't take away other, useful information.

1. Irene knew Sherlock would be visiting, on that day, in that place, at that time.

2. She knew with a lot of notice, perhaps even before Sherlock was brought in on the case.

3. She had an impression that she was trying to create - a series of messages that may or may not be true, but are deliberate and useful either way.

4. She knew about Sherlock, at least by reputation, and was reacting, not necessarily to him, but to the newly created public image he has, thanks to John's blog.

A "nothing" response is very un-Sherlock, and not warrented by the situation, because there is useful information in Irene's appearence, even at first glance.
CE Petit
28. Jaws
25 (a1ay): That's why I used the language that I did. The Bohemia (text) Adler was not using the tool of blackmail, but of sex-related shame, to obtain power -- and what is "get her own back by busting up his impending marriage" if not an exertion of power? Then, too, the Belgravia (television) Adler explicitly disavows what we'd ordinarily see as blackmail -- she keeps calling it "insurance," and denies that she wants favors or money.

I think the comparison to the notorious Coventry Air Raid Myth, and how the government(s) intend to use it with the airliner, is quite parallel. But that's a longer disquisition that is not really on point... even though Watson hints at it.
dreamysusan
29. DizzyDevil
I read an interview with the creators of Sherlock (it may even be referenced in the first series) stating that the modern Sherlock is an ex-smoker.
Ursula L
30. Ursula
I read an interview with the creators of Sherlock (it may even be referenced in the first series) stating that the modern Sherlock is an ex-smoker.

At one point in the first season, we see Sherlock with a row of nicotine patches on his arm - he refers to the situation as a "three patch problem."
Ian Gazzotti
31. Atrus
I must admit that I always feel like I've seen a different show when reading this kind of reviews. I've watched this yesterday with my boyfriend and we were both mesmerized by this Irene Adler, by her strenght and how she was often one step ahead of Sherlock. I think her role as dominatrix , rather that being degrading, was instead very revealing about her character: one that uses all her assets -including, yes, sexyness- in order to be in control of her game.

I also don't see her working with Moriarty as a particular lack of agency, since it's been shown that he is basically involved in every criminal activity of some importance that's going around London. They're (literally) partners in crime, where she has something that is of use to him and they both need a third party (Sherlock) to crack the code.
If anything, the one lacking agency is the Rachel McAdams version, who works for Moriarty basically out of blackmail and coercion.
dreamysusan
32. SKM
I agree with Atrus's interpretation @31. I couldn't have said it better.

However, I am very disappointed that no review of this episode that I've read has used the title "No Sheet, Sherlock". Total missed opportunity there.
dreamysusan
33. Suburbanbanshee
"Naked Is the Best Disguise" was the title of a famous (and famously stupid) Sherlockian book. Come on, people, get with the program.

On the bright side, I don't watch this show anymore, so I don't have to deal with another typical 2000's pornevilization of La Belle Irene, much less all the rest of the Beeb stupidity.
dreamysusan
34. Cheyenne T
Who was the young female royal family member that was being blackmailed?
dreamysusan
35. Mark Tiberius
It is remarkable that all of you are so hung up on nudity that no one mentioned its purpose; not once.
Adler is playing Holmes but at the same time, like Moriarty, feeding him clues.
She is nude for one reason: her measurements are the code for the safe! There was no other method of giving this clue to Sherlock Holmes other than appearing in the nude. N'est-ce pas?
dreamysusan
36. Star
"A "nothing" response is very un-Sherlock, and not warrented by the
situation, because there is useful information in Irene's appearence,
even at first glance."

It's important to note that Irene was expecting Sherlock and therefore prepared for the meeting with that in mind.

It is not that he could not deduce anything, but rather that he had no way of telling whether his deductions about Irene were correct or whether they were simply what she wanted him to think. She was wearing a disguise by competely exposing herself to the point where Sherlock didn't know what to believe about her.
dreamysusan
37. Welp
We're dealing with, as Sherlock calls himself in the first series, high-functioning sociopaths; of the potential/actual viewpoint characters, only John Watson is not one. Why is it somehow treason against feminism to accept that Irene Adler also fits that description... or that the particular manifestations of her high functioning sociopathy might lead to particularly sexually charged behavior?

@5. Okay, no.

First of all, a 'high-functioning sociopath' is not actually a thing. 'High-functioning' tends to be used of people on the autism spectrum and basically means the extent to which they can play themselves off as neurotypical. Using a phrase that is blatantly wrong in context with an admonishment to 'do your research!' either indicates hilarious ignorance on the part of the writers or Sherlock intentionally mocking Anderson (I think it was him he was talking to, not sure).

Second of all, Sherlock is not actually a sociopath and that is pretty explicit and obvious in the show. He probably wishes he were, but he is not. That's part of his character conflict. If you doubt it, the show's writer-creators have confirmed that he is not. You know, in addition to his not fitting the criteria.

Irene Adler isn't a sociopath, either, and there's never any reason to suspect that she might be.

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