If you decide to resolve that big cliffhanger of your previous series simply by a phone call, normally, you ought to be prepared for a "witless use of cliches" tag on your work. But if it's Moriarty and his ringtone is the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive, I just can't bring myself to hate it. In further compensating addition, the three of them staying alive also leads to the best one of the, as of then, four instalments of Sherlock.
Before the actual crime story commences though, Sherlock and John's status quo gets re-established: despite the fact that his writings are fairly bland, the latter's blog has made the detective duo an internet phenomenon, giving rise to droves of paparazzi pursuing them (mysteriously only doing so for as long as the plot requires it). Yet as it happens, I've always enjoyed "A Scandal in Bohemia" more than "The Adventure of the Creeping Man", so I appreciate writer Steven Moffat putting that thought to the torch. Then, after some amusing minutes of Sherlock: The Sitcom, "A Scandal in Belgravia" arrives at its crux, Irene Adler. Portrayed erotically and rememberably by Lara Pulver, a very welcome addition to the first-class cast of Sherlock, "The Woman" quickly joins in breakneck fast tete-a-tetes with Benedict Cumberbatch's ever brilliant protagonist, even causing the poker-faced consulting detective to mumble (though I surmise that her words weren't the only constituting factor in that).
The biggest plaudits here belong to Moffat, who has concocted the ingenious screenplay that lies at the heart of the episode and equips the cast with all the instances of quick-witted dialogue, while coming up with an intriguing plot and clever pieces of humour as well (the ambience of Sherlock: The Sitcom never quite melts away). Not once in the episode's 90 minutes does a scene feel artificial or incongruous and even if the adaption of Arthur Conan Doyle's works has become less serious as opposed to the first series, there is the needed suspense remaining in big scenes. The foremost aspect of "A Scandal in Belgravia" naturally comes in the shape of Sherlock Holmes: his mind at work is a delight to watch and so are his relationships with John, his housekeeper Mrs Hudson, his brother Mycroft, and the aforementioned Miss Adler.
"A Scandal in Belgravia" further impresses with artful shots of London in the winter, skilful directing and editing, and a score that's particularly lovely with "Irene's Theme". Frankly, it's Sherlock at its highly enjoyable best.
My detective scribblings:
- During the slow-motion shooting at Irene Adler's residence, weren't you also expecting Sherlock to put on a pair of black sunglasses, jump in the air, and kick one of those Americans in the face?
- Also: is Irene Adler Spiderwoman? How else would she possibly have left Sherlock's flat?
- The scene with Sherlock in his bed is immeasurably funnier if you take it as him having had one over the eight for the first time.
- Sherlock is the quintessential person to say "You must be fun at parties" to and, as seen in this episode, that statement is a 100% correct.
- New in store: Sherlock Holmes playing your favourite holiday songs on the violin! "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", "Auld Lang Syne": they're all included in this huge one-time-offer compilation!