Channel: BBC One
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman
Sherlock’s back and this time we have his three greatest cases to get through. First, Holmes must trade barbs with the enigmatic, Irene Adler, in ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’. Then we tackle the greatest and most popular Holmes mystery out there ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’. And finally, the confrontation we have been leading up to for so long, where both Sherlock and Watson find themselves in a deadly game of wits against criminal mastermind Moriarty, in ‘The Reichenbach Fall’.
This season hits the ground running. Everything we loved about the first season is back and better than ever. The performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman evolve as every episode grows, the actors getting some more emotional and character driven moments to work with. The direction style that was so rapid and clever last time is still here, making every set piece ever so remarkable. Taking the season to another level are the stories, which will leave everyone guessing and only Sherlock emerges in the know, making everyone once again marvel at the brilliance of the detective. It helps that Moffat knows how to write a story, dropping the right amount of clues and feeding us crucial parts of exposition without us even realising it. Moffat is the true magician here, marvelling us at every twist and turn.
There is something very epic about Sherlock. Despite only being two seasons in, it already feels like an event. Maybe it is to do with the limited amount of episodes out there, or the fact that the length makes it feel more like cinema than television, but we always enter the next episode of Sherlock with bated breath. We know from experience that we are in for a rollercoaster ride and we are rarely disappointed. ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’ is nothing like the Sherlock episodes we are used to and shakes things up a bit. While I think Irene Adler did steal the spotlight from Holmes a little too much, I enjoyed the chemistry between the characters. I also enjoyed how the show is slowly evolving into the Sherlock we are used to with the addition of the famous hat. Sherlock slowly becomes a celebrity (a plot point that becomes crucial in the finale). It is a remarkable experience to watch this character we all know and love grow and become more three-dimensional in front of our very eyes.
I have a small confession to make. I hate – really detest – this show’s version of Moriarty. Everyone I know praises him as though he is one the elements that elevates the show, but everything about Andrew Scott’s performance is infuriating. He jumps around the screen like a deranged lunatic, going from an eerie calm to a childish psychopath. Also, he says everything in this sing song tone that really grates on me. I can understand some people liking this character, and perhaps I would have liked it more if it wasn’t meant to the greatest Sherlock Holmes nemesis out there. He is meant to be quiet and calculating, definitely not a showsman, like Moriarty is here, a desperate attempt to become a memorable villain. Jared Harris nailed the character in Guy Ritchie’s movie and Scott’s depiction of the character just seems terrible in comparison. I am not necessarily calling Andrew Scott a bad actor, as I haven’t seen him in anything else and this version of Moriarty seems to be let down by a case of over-directing, rather than bad acting. As I said, if this was an original villain, I might have liked the character. Personally, Moriarty worked best, when he was kept hidden in the shadows and while I appreciate that the whole of the first season wanted to end with the reveal, I felt that it should have been kept under wraps a few seasons longer. The worst thing about this season is that the whole three episodes lead up to this villain I do not care for in the slightest, which put the entire affair on a massive dampener for me.
And then there was the cop-out ending to really ruin everything. The set-up was good, the tension was there. Even Moriarty’s annoying presence wasn’t getting in the way of the shocking conclusion that Moffat had planned for us. Of course, anyone familiar with the books, or even Guy Ritchie’s movies, would have been aware of where this was going, but it was still thrilling to see the wheels in motion. And then it was ruined by a cliff-hanger. The true meaning behind the abrupt ending was obvious. The writers hadn’t actually thought up how to end the story yet. It was disappointed and for those that weren’t dissuaded by Moriarty, this would have ruined the season for them. I think Season Two will go down as the worst of all of the seasons of Sherlock, but I do not entirely think this is a fair statement. As I said at the start of my review, the positive points are all still there. The leads are tremendous, the direction is sharp and the writing is mostly witty and exciting. It just ends on a bad note. Everything up till that point was near perfect television.
Final Verdict: Underachieving villains and dodgy cliff-hangers aside, Sherlock still delivers, although it is a shame it used up its three best stories already.