I had high hopes for season two of Sherlock, since I absolutely adored the first season and the wait was just long enough to make me want it all the more. This season, the writers tackled the stories “A scandal in Bohemia” (renamed a Scandal in Belgravia), “the Hound of the Baskervilles”, and “The Final Problem” (renamed the Reichenbach Fall). These are perhaps the most famous Holmes stories.
Belgravia tackles “the woman” as she is known. Irene Adler. For the first time, we see a Sherlock Holmes who might actually be interested in a woman. And she is more than interested in him. If anything, I think this episode improved upon the first season. I loved the pacing, the action, the wit. I loved the last 2 minutes. I loved the first ten minutes. I’ll be honest and say I thought the answer to the passcode riddle was corny. But, I can forgive any episode that provides a moment as ridiculous as this one:
I also found this episode particularly lovely in terms of the relationship between Sherlock, Watson, and Mrs. Hudson. They do care for each other and we really start to see the human side of Sherlock in this episode, even as he pushes people away who care for him. There’s plenty of Watson and Sherlock banter, and Martin Freeman is somehow even better as Watson in this season than he was in the last.
Also, I must take a moment to point out something I forgot to mention in my first review. The music! I adore the music from this show, and I’m not someone who particularly notices peripheral things like music or set design, but I notice, connect with, and appreciate all of the little things that go into making this show wonderful.
The “Hound of the Baskervilles” is, I would guess, the most famous Holmes story in the original canon. With such large expectations, and such a strange story (more ghost story than typical detective fodder), I wasn’t surprised to find myself a bit disappointed in it. There are good moments, particularly with Watson, and the awkward men on holiday together feeling of it, but overall it was my least favorite episode of the show so far. The resolution was a bit far-fetched for my liking. What I did enjoy about it thought was seeing a Sherlock that was actually fearful. It is refreshing when someone so seemingly all-knowing is confronted with something simultaneously unbelievable and terrifying. It is good to see him humbled, and I think it is necessary to prepare him and us for the next episode.
Also, I have to say…I know a lot of people love Russell Tovey, who has had roles in Being Human, Dr. Who, Little Dorrit, and loads of other British stuff, but I dislike him for whatever reason. He’s very odd looking, but then again so is Benedict Cumberbatch and I adore him. So that can’t be it. Perhaps it is that in absolutely everything he seems to play a whiny complaining incompetent. Could he ever just be happy in a role? If so, maybe I wouldn’t dislike him so severely.
Finally, we have “The Reichenbach Fall”. I’m not sure I can talk about this episode, to be honest. I might need a few months of therapy before I get over it. No, I don’t think I can discuss it in full. Needless to say, it is a beautiful and tragic and horrible and wonderful episode and truly brilliant work on the part of everyone involved. I won’t go into details, but I will say that we see relationships truly tested, and Sherlock truly tested. And he proves to be not just a great man, but also a good man. And, oh god, Watson. Martin Freeman does an amazing job and made me cry repeatedly. And that’s all I think I can say, because I’m just too emotional about the whole thing. Plus, I don’t want to give anything away.
I think that series two is actually far better than series one, and that’s pretty remarkable considering how much I loved that first season. Thank the lord they are making a 3rd series, and it shouldn’t be too long before it’s on TV. This is my favorite show on TV right now, and the best thing I’ve seen on TV for years.