(THIS POST CONTAINS SHERLOCK SERIES 2 SPOILERS!!!)
Very rarely does something that's been hyped up too much live up to its expectations. Needless to say, the first episode of Sherlock series 2 had a lot of things against it from the start.
Here's my recap.
Episode 201, Scandal in Belgravia :
- So, the conclusion to that cliffhanger from series 1. It actually turns out I got one of my guesses right! No, not the one where The Doctor flies in on the TARDIS and lands on Moriarty.
- The first part of the episode post-cliffhanger-sadly-not-solved-by-tardis is mostly John and Sherlock interviewing clients (which all seem kind of random but do fit better after you've seen the whole episode) and short sequences of different cases. But at least it means a lot of Lestrade on screen, officially the hottest of the Sherlock men and, consequently, the whole world.
- John's blog - which is updated here as well as on the show - is becoming recognized in this episode and Sherlock is Not Amused. And leaves in a huff when John suggest that nobody reads Sherlock's website because they have to wade through 214 different types of tobacco ash.
- And then if you go to Sherlock's website there is now an equally huffy post called "Analysis of Tobacco Ash: DELETED!!" at the top. And when you go to the forum it now reads: "You all seem to be far more interested in John's blog. Not one of you have read my analysis of tobacco ash so I've taken it down. SH."
- And, yes, there's the paparazzi scene but I thought it was silly and am busy ignoring it a long with Mrs Hudson's 221B-christmas party with Lestrade there for no reason I can deduce except that the writers have been inspired by a few too many fanfics where Lestrade often comes around to Baker Street just to hang out and drink beer in front of the fireplace.
- Ah. Benedict Cumberbatch half naked. Otherwise known as fanservice.
- Finally! We get to see Sherlock's bedroom! Actually, we get to see quite a lot of domesticated Sherlock/John in this episode. A cartoon of milk next to the skull, John blogging while Sherlock works on his experiments, having tea together in the morning, John helping Sherlock into bed after he has been drugged by an injection of unknown substance into the arm - again! And so on.
John: "You just keep talking to me while I'm away?"
Sherlock: "I don't know, how often are you away?"
- And then, after half the episode has gone by, finally there's a bit of "a bit not good". The reason I got into the show at all was because of the character of Sherlock and his genius but antisocal personality disorder which makes the show more interesting than most other shows, and so far this episode has concentrated more on the playful asexuality thing and funny banters than on the darker side of Sherlock's character. Being horrible to Molly and describing a man as having the right sleeve of an internet porn addict and tiny IQ doesn't count. But finally, between Mycroft and Sherlock in the morgue, we get another of those little glimpses of what makes Sherlock actually interesting compared to other crime shows.
Sherlock (to Mycroft): “They all care so much. Do you ever wonder if there’s something wrong with us?”
- Though Mycroft apparently has rules for "danger nights" where he makes John look around the flat for drugs and then not leave Sherlock alone all night. So, not completely uncaring.
- And then there's of course the other a-bit-not-good-scene where a man is stupid enough to attack Mrs Hudson and Sherlock turns into the sociopath we all know and love again.
- John (to Mrs Hudson): "Has he ever had any kind of girlfriend, boyfriend, a relationship, ever?" John is so worried about Sherlock and he just wants him to stop being so sad and spending his evenings composing sad music and not talk except to correct the people on TV. Aww. No wonder Mycroft lets John be in charge of Danger Nights.
The ending. Meh. I would have liked Irene to turn out to be just as physically uninterested in Sherlock as he is in her and let it be a match of two great minds instead, but even though she is gay I guess they wanted an excuse to do that silly scene where she - and we - are supposed to think that Sherlock's is going to give her a Cinderella's kiss and ride into the sunset with her and I'm getting my fairytales mixed up here but you know what I mean.
I did like that this episode was all about asexuality and sexuality. Sure, there were some cases and some royal scandal coverup but mostly it was about sex and while I hated that the woman character of course uses sex as A Weapon (*snooze, yawn*), I adored the fact that the episode kept focusing on the theme from series 1 which is that show's crime-solving male hero isn't sexually interested, in anything, because it means less of the usual boring TV chauvinist antics where the male lead is led around by his penis and because it lets the show keep exploring what a relationship - a romantic relationship, even - really is when you take any sexual interest out of the equation.
John: "For the record - if anyone out there still cares - I'm not actually gay."
Irene: "Well, I am. And look at us both."
(John and Irene Adler on their feelings for Sherlock)
But no, the episode didn't live up to my expectations. Not ones as high as these.
Lastly, I just want to add: Fourteen Christmases have I been in London. Not once have there been a thick, white, fluffy layer of snow dusting the ground in zone one. Come on, BBC!