|Benedict Cumberbatch and Lara Pulver as Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler|
This episode is a modern update of A Scandal in Bohemia. While the series itself is contemporary take on the classic stories, the character of Irene Adler has been given the extreme makeover. And I mean "extreme" in every sense of the word.
Irene Adler has morphed from an adventuress into a dominatrix who is bisexual as well. She is the one to rescue Sherlock and Watson from their precarious situation at the end of the first season.
Soon, Sherlock and Watson take on a royal blackmail case which involves Irene. The episode rambles on with Sherlock and Irene playing a game of cat and mouse, taking turns to outwit each other. The climactic scene features Sherlock deciphering the key to unlock Irene’s smartphone. Moriarty makes a brief appearance and Andrew Scott repeats his “I am a spoilt brat” routine. This version of Moriarty is more like a spoilt teenager rather than a criminal mastermind, let alone a genius on the level of Sherlock Holmes.
Times have indeed changed. Is it for the better? In my opinion, the answer depends on whether one has:
· Read the canon and cares about these discrepancies.
· Read the canon and does not give a hoot as to whether the adaptation follows the canon or not.
· Never read the canon. In other words, has no clue about the original stories and is content to have some good time with the television.
|Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson|
For people who fall into the third category, BBC Sherlock is a godsend. The cast is talented. Cumberbatch has a dynamic screen presence and a very nice British accent. Freeman continues his cute and lovable everyman routine from the first season. The series has lot of visual panache going for it (especially the visualization of Sherlock's observations being the standout).
Combined with the tech-savvy nature of the production (blogging, texting, video conferencing and what not), it comes as no surprise that the series has found a worldwide fan base among the young and the impressionable.
The character of Irene Adler is not the only one to get a modern update. The great Mycroft Holmes himself is not immune to the dictates of a “modern” adaptation. Mycroft is still employed by the British Government; it is his relationship with his younger brother that bears the brunt. Mycroft and Sherlock have a very antagonistic relationship in this series.
|The Holmes brothers|
In the Canon, Sherlock and Mycroft share a mutually respectful relationship towards each other. They do not gush around each other, but they do have a lot of respect and goodwill for each other. The Granada series, the Russian series and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows captured the essence of this relationship nicely.
The Granada series in particular knocks this one out of the park and I recommend the episode “The Greek Interpreter”. The scene in the Diogenes Club, where Watson meets Mycroft for the first time is pitch-perfect and Charles Gray is just amazing as Mycroft in this episode as well as in the series.
As usual, the episode has references to some of the original stories: The Greek Interpreter (The Geek Interpreter), The Speckled Band (The Speckled Blonde) and The Adventure of the Illustrious Client.
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