Review – BBC’s Sherlock Series 2
I watched the first series of BBC’s Sherlock late last year and missed the second series when it aired on PBS early in 2012. I was disappointed because I absolutely loved the first three episodes and thought they were brilliant. The cliffhanger ending was a fair level of insane, with Moriarty, Holmes, and Watson all set to be blown to smithereens in the pool room. I honestly did not know how things were going to play out. It is a testament to Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s handling of the show and the characters that the resolution of that cliffhanger in the first part of this series, while somewhat anti-climactic, feeds into the greater good of the show in a way that makes the audience realize that things will never work out quite the way they seem. This is a series of misdirections and nearly every scene works towards that end.
The first episode, “A Scandal in Belgravia” introduces us to Irene Adler, reenvisioned here as a professional dominatrix privy to governmental secrets and somehow tied to James Moriarty. The second episode, “The Hound of Baskerville” almost feels like filler when tied to the overall scheme of Holmes’ game with Moriarty but in other ways is a much needed sidetrack to show a part of Holmes that is talked about but never shown in detail. The third episode, “The Reichenbach Fall” is a stunning climax built from the ground floor of the series and executed to perfection. For those who haven’t seen or heard about the ending of that particular episode, let’s just say it is so well put together that if it didn’t leave so many open doors and lingering questions it would very well have been a great place for the show to stop on the whole.
While the writing of the shows is the backbone of what makes it so great. The interplay between Holmes and Watson wouldn’t work if it weren’t cast so amazingly well. Benedict Cumberbatch, he of the most British name of all time, and Martin Freeman, who I believe to be the most effective Watson of all time, bounce off of each other so well that you sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. This is the story of a partnership as much as it is about any mystery and the development these two go through together is played with great relish by Cumberbatch and Freeman. It never feels like acting, no matter how outside of normal humanity Cumberbatch’s Sherlock may come off. These are two real people who rely on each other because one is missing something the other provides and this sort of writing in the hands of lesser thespians would be a disaster.
Series two of this show takes what was so great about the first three episodes and keeps going deeper. Most people seem to label Sherlock as a mini-series that we are getting in short bursts and that makes sense. There is something organic about this story in a way that most shows can’t seem to accomplish. A lot of TV drama could learn from this show as well as Luther, which seems to work in a similar fashion.
Basically, it’s going to be agony waiting for Series three to hit sometime next year. I’ll just try not to think about it.