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Sherlock, Series Two (2011)



Purists of Doyle's works were once all up in a tizzy about this BBC produced show that took the iconic character of Sherlock and plopped him on the streets of 21st century London. Little did anyone know – purist or not, just what a grand success this Masterpiece Theatre series was going to be.

Following in the aftermath of a face-off with his arch nemesis – one that happened to involve guns and a bomb – Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) is bored. He is so bored that he paces and plays his violin for hours on end but every single case that is brought his way is turned down even if his friend and flat mate, John Watson (Martin Freeman) sees potential in it. Then Mycroft (Mark Gatiss) – Sherlock’s staid, elder brother who is prominent in the British government, summons him. Ordered to the royal palace, it would seem that a member of the royal family has gotten themselves in a bind. There are compromising photos of the nameless young woman with another woman known as “The Woman.” This woman makes her living as a dominatrix. Seeing her photo and her website intrigues Sherlock enough to change his mind about the case he had just refused to take only moments before.

The alluring Irene Adler (Lara Pulver) knows of the by-now famous detective Sherlock Holmes. Thanks to Dr. Watson’s popular blog, the woman has heard of Sherlock’s escapades and photos were simply a means to catch the selective private detective’s attentions. Irene has other things in mind for Sherlock Holmes. Irrespective of the promise he made that the photos would be in his brother’s hands by the afternoon, Sherlock is beaten by the equally clever Irene. This sets up a game of battling wits that sets Sherlock on a case to prove he isn’t about to lose his first case.

 
Honestly, I do not think I have ever seen a show that is as intellectual as this. Sherlock takes murder mysteries to a new level – one that I am afraid is unmatched. Leading up to my seeing this, there was a great many reviewers, passionate writers and bloggers who wrote about the first episode. It was said to be terribly degrading and prone to such offensive content that it was hardly worth salvaging – naturally I played into that because it sounded just awful and I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to watch the first episode, “A Scandal in Belgravia.” Growing up in a conservative home, no matter that I am an adult now I still take issue with profane, needless material, so it is still a “concern” if films portray blatant profanity or immoralities. Right after I bought the set (quite uncharacteristically, it took me a long time before I hit the “pre-order” button), I had made up my mind that I’d either watch the entire episode or not at all – something that was conflicting considering the first series ended up on such an awful situation in which our beloved hero was in terrible danger. (Obviously, the fact that there was a second series suggested everything was cool in Sherlock’s world.) The point of this rambling is that I chose to watch the episode and right or wrong, good or bad, I am going to be honest and say that it may be my favorite episode of the three.

Written by British scripter Steven Moffat, I have been told as a writer, the man is pure genius. Known for his work on another popular British serial, he is no stranger to television. This series has got a great things going for it – not only is it insanely witty but I love that the supporting characters are not forgotten. Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) is still in these as is the cute coroner, Molly (the girl is totally crushing on Sherlock – and I detest him for being so darn mean to her! Fortunately, he makes it up to her in episode 3 but even then we won’t see the results until season three). Watson and Sherlock are still fabulous together which is a credit to the actors who portray them (seriously Benedict is just terrific) – gosh but Watson has patience to live with Sherlock! It is great to know that he isn’t about to sit back and always take Sherlock’s “abuse,” instead he knows when to walk away and it is also not fair to assume Sherlock is uncaring because he is, we just have to look a bit harder to get the “true” story of who Sherlock is. The end result is so worth that search though.

Uncharacteristically, I had read nothing about the ending of these so the end took me by surprise (in a good way!) but I also “knew” that it wasn’t all it seemed because it was after all, Sherlock Holmes. The final episode was just brilliant. I loved that we experienced such a wide range of emotions – happiness, laughter, sorrow, danger, and edge-of-your-seat-suspense – and yet none of it felt misplaced. That is good writing. The final episode, “The Reichenbach Fall” may be the cleverest of the three but the first is the funniest while the one sandwiched in-between seemed the most lethargic – though still unfairly witty. The last twenty minutes of ‘Reichenbach’ are intense but intriguing and dramatic, and it was difficult to see Watson’s reaction to it all. Behind-the-scenes, I love the filming – how it seems to give us a picture inside Sherlock’s uncanny mind and every scene seems to set the mood for every emotion. Writer’s pay tribute to the iconic Sherlock snapping photos of his signature hat on this one and in dressing him in a long overcoat but the thing that I love most in seeing him in our modern world is watching him send off text messages! Gotta’ love that. Everything about the show is just fabulous! I could go on forever about how well and “prefect” everything is during these three hour-and-a-half films but I do have to stop somewhere. Just know that the script, acting and characters, filmmaking and stories are phenomenal and if you are not already among the masses who watch this… give it a try!

Let’s talk: What did you like about season two? What didn’t you like – which season was better? Which episode was your favorite, and why? Comment below.

(Parental Review: E1 has a nude Irene meeting Sherlock with a full shot of her back side before she sits down using her hands to carefully cover everything. There is some conversation about this and we see Watson and Sherlock’s shocked expressions. She is seen in a suggestive outfit entering a room housing a “client.” She once uses her whip to get Sherlock to be “submissive” and there is some suggestive dialogue between them [she remarks that she could have him “twice” and Sherlock is made fun of for his naive sexual experience]. Remarks are made about Watson and Sherlock being gay much to Watson’s mortification – once Watson stumbles upon a car in which two people are having sex [the car is rocking]. There is some violence with guns fired; two men commit suicide [there is blood] and another takes a dive off a skyscraper. One man is murdered by what a boy perceives to be a terrifying creature [there are flashbacks].There is some profanity [bas*tard] and abuse of God’s name. This is rated TV14.) 
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Rissi
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24 comments:

  1. Give me a high five, girl! ;)

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  2. Eeeeh. I'm not sure about this Sherlock series. There's something about Benedict that just... I don't know, I don't really like him.

    Good review, though! :) I should have my snow white review up tomorrow or wednesday

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  3. love, love, love the BBC modern Sherlock!

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  4. Ruth - you got it! :-)

    *high five*

    Rachel - really? This series is just awesome! A lot of Sherlock purists were really skeptical but it won most of them over. Me on the other hand well, I was curious from the beginning! This is what "real" humor looks like. :-)

    Most everyone thinks Benedict is good-looking but I just love him as Sherlock - he is spot-on brilliant plus he is fabulous in anything he stars in.

    AWESOME! I am dying to know what you thought of it, girl!!!

    Natalie - well said. :-)

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  5. I loved this series. "Reichenbech" was probably my favorite; I loved Belgravia, BUT I really felt ilke the mature content was much too heavy. It was a beautiful, brilliant episode, but it was laced with sexuality and such, which really put me off. I have to agree though-- it brought out a whole new side of Sherlock!

    "Riechenbech" just brought everything in the series together to one focused, intricate point, while still being true to the book and characters. I. Loved. It.

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  6. You and me both, AnnaKate. (YES!!) I just loved that final episode - it took me by surprise (I'd not read about the cliff-hanger) and that was awesome.

    See... honestly, "Belgravia" wasn't as horrible as I anticipated - not saying it was good either. I am sure some of the British slang went over my head but what I did "get" wasn't nearly as bad as I expected so I am glad I watched it - sadly, I will likely pick up on a lot of things I missed the second time. :-/ It was darn clever though!

    Most of the people I know who read the books say this is how Sherlock should be seen and I am glad to know that - and am glad that you feel like this modern adaptation is true to the books. That is fabulous!

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  7. I loved the first episode too!!!! The content is disturbing, but the plot, in my opinion, makes up for that...

    On the other hand, I was totally disappointed with their "Hound of Baskerville"... Didn't care for it at all...

    And then the third episode... I thought the end of the first season was intense... This one was even more so!!!! I TOTALLY can't wait for the third season... ;)

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  8. Episode one seemed really clever and I loved that. The plot more than made up for anything 'bad' in my opinion. :-) I really liked 'Hound' but it was probably my least fave - it was still insanely clever though.

    OH. MY. GOSH! I know what you mean about E3... wow was it intense but sooooo good. Loved it.

    I read somewhere that S3 was coming next summer but then someone told me that it would be 2 years before it was back, so I am not sure which is accurate! LOL! Either way, it cannot come soon enough!

    Lovely that you stopped in, Tory. :-)

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  9. I'd have minded the 1st episode much less if they hadn't degraded Irene in that way and made Sherlock entirely too human. The sexual innuendo was enough to make me uncomfortable which is a real shame because the rest of the episode without her in it it made of awesomeness! I love the interaction with John and Sherlock, just the little digs at each other and how John always hears hit me when Sherlock speaks to him but it's usually in subtext! :-)

    Hound was my favorite but then I'm very much drawn to that type of psychological manipulation in films so it makes sense that I would love it.

    I'm glad you finally got a chance to watch the new season! Ooh, reminds me, I need to buy it!

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  10. In the first season, I liked 'A Study in Pink' as it set up the characters nicely. The rest of the season was OK.

    In the second season, I liked the 'The Hounds of Baskerville' most.

    These 2 episodes were more in the Doylean mold.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the second season was too melodramatic and emotionally overwrought. Just my 2 cents though :)

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  11. Carissa - I totally "get" the outrage at E1, I do, but... honestly I didn't mind it like I thought I would. In fact it was quite clever and wound up being second only to the finale which was BRILLIANT.(Who'd have thought a show like this could have such a cool show-down!? LOL!)

    I love Watson and Sherlock's little digs at each other - they are just HILARIOUS! Love that about these two crime fighters - they bicker and disagree but at the end of the day, they'd die for each other.

    Funny, 'Hound' was my least favorite but it was still excellent. :-)

    Me, too! I hope you get the DVD's soon - now I've seen S2, I really need to go back to the beginning and do a re-watch! Really glad you stopped by!

    Buddy2Blogger - really? I thought S1, E1 was the slowest of them all... It seemed too confusing in the beginning to be really good but then it did get better and by then, I loved it!

    I can see were someone might find these a bit... over-dramatic but I think this is one of the cleverest series on TV right now. They are mysterious but this is honestly what "good" humor is - and I love that alone.

    So glad you stopped by to share your opinion! I enjoy discussing what everyone else thought. :-)

    Anyone else who wants to share their '2 cents' is most welcome: Type away

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  12. >> Unfortunately, the rest of the second season was too melodramatic and emotionally overwrought.

    If you're going by the canon, yes. The "real" Holmes is about as emotional as a doorknob. Much as I enjoy "Sherlock," the longer it goes on, the less like the original it tends to be, which is a bit of a shame -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was far more brilliant than Moffat, however talented, will ever be.

    "Hound" was my favorite. But I think appreciation of that kind of hinges on how familiar you are with the original material; only when you know the "real" story does Gatis' genius bleed through.

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  13. "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was far more brilliant than Moffat, however talented, will ever be." - That line made my day :)

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  14. Charity:

    "The 'real' Holmes is about as emotional as a doorknob"

    I like that Sherlock is "emotional" in certain situations - it makes him seem more human and yet he is still... Sherlock. (Gosh but he makes me mad with Molly sometimes! And then the one time he was going to be nice to her, writers cut! The very nerve of them!)

    Thanks for stopping in again, Buddy2Blogger.

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  15. buddy2blogger: well? it's true! Who is smarter, the guy who flies the plane or the one who invents it? ;)

    Rissi - I like that the only time Holmes is emotional in the books is when Watson is almost killed. He has this great moment where he says, "If you had shot Watson, you would not have left this house alive!" <3

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  16. That is a great strategy. I like that Holmes is willing to stand up for his friends even when we think he isn't much of a friend - he actually is! He was willing to die for them! That is telling.

    Love that quote!

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  17. Just watched the last episode again. So sad! The bit that really drove the ending home for me was when the camera focused on the blood mixed in with the rain on the sidewalk. I almost cried. But of course he's still alive. :)

    I think episode 3 is my favorite, even being as sad as it is. I just didn't like Irene Adler. I find her incredibly annoying.

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  18. It is... but then things turn right in the world again. :-) Unfortunately for Watson, they are still horrible! Feel so sorry for him - after all, Sherlock is his best friend.

    Me, too. I definitely think I liked E3 best of all. Irene didn't annoy me but what did surprise me, was that the episode didn't offend me like I expected of it.

    CANNOT WAIT FOR S3!!

    (Think the all-caps give away my enthusiasm!? LOL!)

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  19. Glad to hear you enjoyed the series Rissi! I've heard people complain about the first episode but I thought it was clever and enjoyable. My favourite was the third episode just because of all of the emotions and the stakes involved xD

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  20. No one was happier than I, Li considering I went into this way skeptical.

    I absolutely loved the first episode. Could it have been done differently? Sure! But it was phenomenal - and as you say, clever.

    Right there with you: The final episode was unforgettable. I will definitely need to re-visit all of S1 and 2 prior to S3 which will hopefully (*fingers crossed*) be around next summer.

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  21. I just read your review fully because I am planning on seeing series 2 soon and wondered what you thought. You said Watson stumbles upon two people in a car and I wondered which episode that was?

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    Replies
    1. Will be replying to your question soon, Kara... it's just too late today. Ran out of time! :)

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    2. The scene you question is in episode 2. We never see inside the car, just see John's reaction and hear voices. Hope that helps. :)

      This series is SO clever, hope you're enjoying. :)

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