As I’ve said before, I don’t have any great love for Steven Moffat’s modernisation of Sherlock Holmes, and didn’t bother watching the first series past its opening episode… but the second series kicked off last night, and the promise of seeing Moffat’s take on ‘Irene Adler’, the only woman to ever beat the great detective at his own game, proved irresistible.
Since I hadn’t seen the previous series finale, or its cliff-hanger ending, the cold-open was a little confusing for me… but I still feel qualified to say that ‘Jim Moriarty’ is one of the worst villains I’ve ever seen. I mean, I assume that his ludicrous mannerisms are part of some brilliant ploy to throw his enemies off-balance… but, c’mon, the guy was acting like the sort of campy pantomime character you’d expect to see in a Spy Kids movie, not a prestige BBC drama series! Oy.
Having had a quick skim over “A Scandal in Bohemia”, the original story on which this episode was (very) loosely based, I can’t find a single reference to Adler being a bisexual dominatrix-for-hire or brazenly entering a room buck-naked to break the ice with ‘Holmes’, before happily chatting to him and Watson, without a stitch of clothing on! I’m sure there are some who would argue that this was a bold demonstration of just how empowered and fearless she is… but at the end of the day, a man wrote that scene, and a woman (Lara Pulver, in fact) had to act it out. Is that empowerment? She was supposed to be an “adventuress”, not an escort, dammit!
The original story ends with Adler unequivocally outwitting and humbling our hero… to quote from the text: “And that was how the best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman’s wit. He used to make merry over the cleverness of women, but I have not heard him do it of late.” Whereas this version chauvinistically reverses that victory, awarding Holmes the win when the supposedly strong and independent woman lets her girly emotions get the better of her, and asserting that she still needed a white knight to come to her rescue in the end. GAH!!! I don’t care how much everyone else loves this show… as far as I’m concerned it’s just a steaming pile of regressive, misogynistic dreck.