Sherlock “A Scandal in Belgravia” Review

The second series of Sherlock kicks off with a take on ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, the case which introduced us to Irene Adler, one of the few people to have ever outwitted Sherlock Holmes in the original stories, and, as we soon find out, in this television series too.

I’m not entirely sure what we just watched, but I think it may be a masterpiece. It’s rare that a mystery can have so many disparate elements actually work in some fashion, never mind come together at the end into a coherent whole. Up until the last ten minutes I was getting ready to complain about how the first twenty minutes had no bearing whatsoever on the actual Adler case — and then suddenly it worked.

I’m sure I’ll find something to complain about by tomorrow (well, aside from the bit below). Until then I’m happy to enjoy my favourite part of ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’ – the relationships; Sherlock showing his softer and protective sides with Molly and Mrs Hudson, Watson trying to convince everyone that his friendship with Holmes isn’t that close (and losing his latest girlfriend in the process), Sherlock and Irene’s twisted romance. It was all very interesting to watch, especially since this episode took the character of Irene further than the original short story did.

While in the story Watson was sure Sherlock didn’t love Irene in the conventional sense, I’m not convinced the same is true in Sherlock. I hope he doesn’t — Sherlock is more fun when he’s cold and detached — but it would be okay if he did. The end of the episode was quite sweet, after all.

I only have two problems with this episode. The first is that I still cannot stand Moriarty. The childishness takes the threat right out of him, even with explosives and guns involved. And really now, he blew a raspberry. I’d find Watson more frightening than Moriarty any day. The second problem I have is with Irene traipsing around naked; not because I’m a massive prude (I was hoping Sherlock would lose his sheet entirely), but because Sherlock should surely have been able to get some sort of reading off a well-kept woman working as a dominatrix with half a pound of makeup and Louboutins on, not to mention her choice of residence and the company she keeps. As adorable as his confusion was, it was also ridiculous.

All in all, a great episode that builds on the best bits of series 1. The transitions and cuts were flawless, the incorporation of text messages and blog posts was fantastic, and Sherlock in the deerstalker hat was a great shout out to his styling in previous incarnations of the character. Next week brings us Sherlock‘s take on perhaps the most well-known short story, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’. I cannot wait!

What did you think of ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Marshmallow

    I loved the first series and I was looking forward to this episode a lot but I actually stopped watching halfway through because I got bored.  It seemed like they were trying to cram in as many hilarious lines and situations as possible to the point where it overshadowed the actual plot.  Perhaps Steven Moffat had forgotten this wasn’t an episode of Dr Who?

    The scene introducing Irene Adler put me off her completely.  Firstly I agree with it being ridiculous that Sherlock couldn’t read anything off her.  In the original Sherlock admires her for her ingenuity and thus they have something in common there which he doesn’t have with other people.  In this I got the impression he admired her because she disarmed a man and then pistol-whipped him which I felt was out of character for Sherlock. 

  • Why on earth was in 1 1/2 hours long, clearly at least 45 minutes to much. I did have the series link switched on my Sky box but have now cancelled the recording , life’s too short!


    I’d never seen this series before- always loved Sherlock Holmes, but it doesn’t work set in our century- the original time period is best and nobody can top Jeremy Brett. I found the new Watson wooden and although the new  Holmes is clever he lacks the mesmerising personality that Brett portrayed.
    I was dismayed to see yet another objectification of women on TV- the Adler woman is so sexually obsessed she came across as ludicrous and was very irritaing and unlikeable. I was hoping the Arabs had really done away with her. Even the women who came to the party and the woman in the lab were bimbos, going on about sex and flirting. It was more sexist than the nineteeth century women in the Jeremy Brett series- there were one or two femme fatales in that but mostly women kept their clothes on and had something more to them than being sexual playthings.

  • Pirx

    I’m assuming the last scene was in Irene’s imagination. Please tell me I’m right? And while I’m asking impossible questions: why was nobody interested in the dead girl in the morgue (murdered to order by/for Irene?) and how did the authorities think they could get away with a plane crash with no real victims for the press to chase up and write about? There were many other ‘stupidities’ in the plot too, as I’m sure everyone noticed, far too many for one comment. A triumph of style over substance?

  • Budokhan

    It was truly magnificent!  The writing and production were as flawless as the acting.  I thought the music built with each scene wonderfully.  I did wonder about the reading of Miss Adler but I let it go and enjoyed the show.

  • ZB

    I believe that in those few initial moments he was caught off guard and that’s why he couldn’t read her, but… in the end we know that he actually read her because the safe password was her measurments.

  • Oofah32

    Poor Irene; originally she was the only person to outwit Holmes. In this travesty, she is becomes a damsel in distress. The last scene was too ridiculous. Holmes is now some kind of superhero? She is not worthy of Holmes’ admiration in this adaptation.