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TV Review: Sherlock – “A Scandal In Belgravia”

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When we last saw Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the Conan Doyle detective Sherlock Holmes, he was stuck with Watson in a tense standoff with the extremely camp Jim Moriarty in a darkened swimming pool. After a year and a half of waiting, the fans can be forgiven for hoping for a great resolution to the cliffhanger.

What Moffat did next was, in my humble opinion, a masterstroke. He expertly defused the tension by using humour but still leaving the situation on an ominous note. The moment I heard “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee-Gees, I knew that I was going to enjoy this episode.

The first episode of the 2012 series focuses on one of the most famous of Sherlock’s cases, “A Scandal In Bohemia” (hence the title). It was referenced in the 2010 series, but the reference was so forced that it felt clunky and out of place. And of course, easily the most famous thing about that particular case is the introduction of Irene Adler, also known as The Woman.

Played in “A Scandal In Belgravia” by Lara Pulver, she will have made men up and down the country realise exactly why they want to Pulverise her in a sexual sense. She’s up to more of her mischief here, as she has been reimagined as a dominatrix providing a right royal scolding to young, female members of the royal family. Naturally this lands the monarchy in trouble when it’s been revealed that Adler took photographs of them together. Sherlock is employed to retrieve them and thus the story kicks off. 

Although the whole episode was good, the highlights have to be the resolution to Sherlock and Irene’s stories, because of how unexpected it was, and the whole Buckingham Palace scene, in which Sherlock is wearing nothing but a bedsheet.  

The episode was exceptionally well written with a tightness that I’d started to doubt that Moffat even possessed anymore after his recent run of Doctor Who episodes. Plot devices that you thought you’d seen the last of came back with a vengeance (the most memorable of these has to be Sherlock’s message tone) and frankly, only has a rival in the 5th season of Doctor Who in the way that it all ties together. 

At the moment, the episode is still on the iPlayer so if you’ve not caught it yet then it is definitely worth doing so. If you’ve never watched Sherlock before, however, I would say that it’s vital that you watch the first series (which isn’t too hard to find). All in all, a cracking season premiere and it’s made sure that I can’t wait for “The Hounds of Baskerville!”

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About Scott Varnham

  • What is the Iplayer and where can I find it? I want to see this and can’t figure how I missed it. Thanks!

  • Matthew S

    “Played in “A Scandal In Belgravia” by Lara Pulver, she will have made men up and down the country realise exactly why they want to Pulverise her in a sexual sense.”

    People have been fired for lesser crimes against style than this one.

  • Julian

    This episode was SO great… I’m just stunned, I don’t think I can expect any better than this… It was just perfect. I loved the scene where Sherlock finds out about the cell phone password somewhat through Irene’s feelings. So wonderful!