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Athough she wasn't a man like her predecessors, Irene was real professor when it comes to perfect the art of being a nemesis.

An intuitive player who liked the game, Irene knew how to exploit human nature as easily as she knew how to mislead her boyfriend. By all means, she should've won: she had the resources, the opportunity, she had Sherlock right where she wanted...

Thing is, she was better with Holmes. She was sharper, more focussed and, as problematic as he was, she wanted to solve him as badly as she wanted to win.

Perhaps in time they both will.

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She isn't trying to solve a problem with Holmes, she is trying to solve a problem within herself: how does falling in love change how you think about the world. If you are raised to believe in a very narcissistic or self-centered version of the world, being a criminal mastermind is a very logical outcome. People can't be trusted, so you dominate them. People are self-centered sociopaths (like yourself) so you are cruel with them. And if you win, are successful, it is because you are better/smarter/prettier...whatever delusional marker of importance you want to place on said achievement.

However, what happens if you fight against someone better than you? What happens if you fight against something greater than you? The ruthless talent and cunning intelligence Moriarity possesses can make one feel like a God, albeit a God in a cage. And Gods do not love because they have no equal...until they are confronted with one. Despite all of their combined intelligence, what Moriarity and Sherlock have fundamentally in common is the self-referential, self-reinforcing delusion that they were singular, that they were the only one of their kind. Call it the Boy raised by Wolves Syndrome: no one around you reflects who you are so your identity develops in a warped reflection of who you think you are. In both of their cases, they retreated into their intelligence in order to gain a sense of superiority over those who were tormenting them, misunderstanding them. And yet, their instinct to emphasize their intelligence, their talent and superiority are the exact same traits, developed in isolation, that would be the most compelling towards the other. Not only that, their instinct to act in polar opposite of each other (while denying their fundamental connection) is akin to meeting a stranger on the train who somehow mimics all of your movements and idiosyncracies to a point where your singular identity is called into question.

Of course, that is what normal people call falling in love. Person A loves surfers, Person B loves to surf...many happy coincidences later, they accept they are in love and the story continues. But how would two identities, forged, independently, under the notion of singularity, understand and/or accept such a connection when they found it? Their attraction, their connection, their vulnerability to the loss of that connection, their need to both risk and avoid it, would feel like nothing else they've ever encountered. Each step towards it would feel like a trap: yet even as their learned instinct to break away would grow, they could not pass up a chance to rekindle, remember that connection. Sherlock breaking down and ending up in the hospital because of Moriarity (at least the thought of it) gave Moriarity pause. She knew visiting Sherlock in the hospital was putting her in some sort of danger (emotional more than anything else) yet the potential of visiting her connection was too strong for her to pass up. Likewise, the first letter from Moriarity to Sherlock had a similar effect: the fear of being trapped, tricked, hurt, betrayed by his connection is overriden by his need to bask in it. Love is the ultimate opiate.

And as with most cases of true love, it is almost as much about what isn't being said as what is. Sherlock hides her letters in his beehive, a place teeming with life, connection, purpose and a strong identity marker for him. Furthermore, it acts as a sort of protection: bees keep away anyone from discovering what might be hidden there, the secret queen of his hive. For Moriarity, her feelings are more abstract: pictures of NY (the Brooklyn Bridge) Joan, metaphors of connection dancing at the edges of her awareness. A woman, in prison, painting a picture of a woman, connected to a man she had been intimate with, That is no accident. Her instinct to paint herself closer to Sherlock (he first saw her painting, commented on her talent) mirrors the identify metaphor ritual Sherlock performs with her letters. She used to simply copy masterpieces, now she makes her own, delves into her own feelings in order to understand herself. The hilarious thing is, she sees Joan and yet doesn't see her at all.
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I love Andrew Scott's Moriarty in Sherlock. So creepy.
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Staff
Moriarty in Sherlock! OMG he is SO amazing in that show!
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