…BBC’s Sherlock! I’ve finally seen Series 2 and must endure the agony that is the wait for Series 3. *painful squirm* So here’s my take on Series 2:
Be Advised: There are mild spoilers in this post. Read at your own risk.
It was just as good as the first. I’m not going to say better because it didn’t wow me any more than the first did, but the show is consistently superb. Kind of hard to top superb. The changes in Sherlock’s character are very well done: he doesn’t lose his brusqueness, but he does indeed soften. In the first series, at the end of “The Great Game” he shows concern for John that interrupts his usually calm demeanor–in my mind, he actually seems a bit frantic. His actions in assisting the police and not criminals show that he has a sense of morality, and his attitude towards John and Irene shows that he does value caring about people, contradicting his disavowals of love and compassion in “The Great Game” and “A Scandal in Belgravia.” For example, though he throws Irene’s affection for him in her face and says it is stupid and useless, he later comes to her rescue. He even learns to care for people in smaller things: at the Christmas party Sherlock is first cruel to Molly, but immediately apologizes afterward, which he never does.
I think that’s probably the biggest change in the show. And I have to say I like it. It shows that he really is human and isn’t as much like Mycroft “The Iceman” Holmes as people might think he is.
The one thing I did NOT like about the new episodes occurs in the first one, “A Scandal in Belgravia,” and it concerns Irene Adler’s character. I think they rather ravaged it. The original Irene Adler was a strong, intelligent, obviously feminine woman who outwitted Sherlock Holmes without being a bisexual dominatrix. In “A Scandal in Bohemia” she really did outwit him: he never did get the pictures back for the king. But in “A Scandal in Belgravia,” she fails to outwit him and get away (though she comes very close). In the story, the emphasis was on her intelligence; in the episode, the attention to her sexuality and sexual exploits detracts from her intelligence. Not only this, but the television show (and even the 2009 and 2010 silver screen movies with Robert Downey, Jr. and Rachel McAdams) makes Irene a villain, instead of just a woman who had an affair. However, even though I don’t like what he did with Irene’s character I don’t agree with the people who say Steven Moffat is a misogynist: after all, the focus of this show–the title character–is a man, not a woman, and a man who doesn’t really care much about women to boot. Some people say “Sherlock” doesn’t have strong female characters: but to be honest, there just aren’t that many women in the show, which is OK. Although I would say that Molly is a strong character. Maybe she allows herself to lose her head over Sherlock, and she may not be the most gregarious or even self-confident woman out there, but she’s a good, selfless person. She even becomes strong enough to express herself to Sherlock–she knows that he doesn’t feel the same way about her as she does about him, but that doesn’t stop her from being a good person and helping him. And I think she’s one of the only other people in the show besides John that recognizes that Sherlock is still a human being. I’d take Molly Hooper over Irene Adler any day.
I know the show is generally different from Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories anyway, but I think that Moffat’s Adler was an extremely radical departure from Doyle’s. Sherlock and John are similar enough to the original Holmes and Watson, but the only similarity the lesbian dominatrix has to her origin is the ability to give Holmes a run for his money. And in general, I just think her character was badly done.
Overall, though, I am very much enjoying the show, and am happy with the gradual blossoming of Sherlock’s humanity. As Lestrade said in “A Study in Pink,”
“Sherlock Holmes is a great man, and I think one day—if we’re very, very lucky—he might even be a good one.”