As part of my binge viewing exercise for this summer hiatus, I caught up on all three series of Sherlock.  My profile on Series 1 has already been posted, now it’s time for Series 2.  

Out of the three series, Series 2 offers the most variety.  It also takes some very bold directions, ending with a screamer of a cliffhanger that kept audiences in agony for about two years.  So what did I think of the three episodes that aired in this series?

A Scandal in Belgravia

My reaction in a nutshell:  This is my personal favorite episode of the nine.  “Scandal in Belgravia” went where no one else dared.  Series 1 focused on Sherlock’s head, so what happened if we actually got to see Sherlock’s heart?  An incredible, uber complex, delightfully sentimental episode that proved once and for all, Sherlock does have a sensitive side.  

What if Sherlock Holmes was smitten by a woman?  A woman equally as clever as he.  It wasn’t just the ideal chemistry between Sherlock and Irene Adler though.  The story was funny and sad and tackled so many interpersonal relationships at once.  We got to see how all the people in Sherlock’s life matter to him.  Sherlock and Mycroft have a moment by sharing an annual Christmas cigarette, thus opening up that relationship for further exploration.  There was also the breakthrough with Sherlock and Molly Hooper after he humiliated her to tears at the Christmas party.  Her kind gift melted his black heart and from this point onward she gained his respect.  I really loved Sherlock’s tirade against the CIA agent who harmed Mrs. Hudson, calling Lestrade with a laundry list of injuries, telling him the guy fell out of a window just before he threw him from his second floor flat in retribution.  When his expression went from inquisitive to outright fury on that stairwell, you knew the perpetrator was not coming out unharmed.  

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The relationships went the other way as well though. There’s Mycroft, who had John and Mrs. Hudson looking for Sherlock’s hidden stash of drugs after he left the morgue.  He knew the vulnerable state of his brother.  I was most touched by John Watson’s deep concern for Sherlock, who didn’t exactly know how to handle his friend suffering from a broken heart when he thought Irene Adler was dead (the violin playing was a very nice touch).  His duty to Sherlock cost him a girlfriend, so we know where his true heart lies (not that the hints aren’t all over the series).  

It’s the scenes between Sherlock and Irene that are the most delicious though.  He truly met his match with her – a mystery he couldn’t solve because plain and simple – she was all woman with him.  Flirtatious, teasing, sexy, clever, he didn’t know how to react to all of it.  Whoever thought of the idea to replace the telegrams of old with “sexting” is a freaking genius (yes, I’m talking to you Mr. Moffat).  Sherlock couldn’t even respond to her text messages, which John cleverly pointed out is impossible (he always has to have the last word).  It took months for Sherlock to finally crack her “code” so to speak.  By that time though he was too smitten, and he went to great lengths to assure her safety (no doubt feeling guilt about the phone).  That closing scene, with Sherlock smiling over the memories, calling her THE Woman, is a truly extraordinary moment.  It’s private and no one will ever see it, but we know.  He is a sentimental fool in love after all.  He does feel that way.   

To think, all these intricate character dynamics floating around what turns out to be an extraordinary mystery, this script is a masterpiece.   

What I didn’t like:  Nope, got nothing.  

Episode Highlight:  Okay, I have a regular one, and one for my very shallow fangirl.  Come on, what fangirl didn’t love Sherlock Holmes wearing nothing but a sheet in Buckingham Palace?  Him and John having a big laugh over the whole thing? Who didn’t squeal when Mycroft stepped on it, revealing just a tiny flash of the nakedness underneath?  It’s okay, you don’t have to admit it out loud.  We are all among friends here.  However, that wasn’t the best part of it.  It was later, in the cab, when Sherlock revealed that he had indeed nabbed an ashtray from the palace, triggering the childish, snickering mischevious boys reaction.  Just perfect.  

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I promised a real scene though, and it’s the entire meeting of Sherlock and Irene Adler in her flat.  Forget that the dialogue is some of the best in this series.  It’s fascinating to see how much Irene threw Sherlock for a loop.  Her naked form certainly shook up his mind palace to a state of utter uselessness (the ???? is brilliant).  It’s amazing how this scene packed in so many rich character moments, intrigue, mystery, action, and closed with the anti-hero foiling the supposed hero with her basic “tools.”  At least she was kind enough to return the coat, not to mention his cell phone, with the new “customized” text tone.  

Favorite Line(s):

Sherlock: Look, this is a six. There’s no point in my leaving the flat for anything less than a seven. We agreed. Now, go back. Show me the grass.
John: When did we agree that?
Sherlock: We agreed it yesterday. Stop! Closer.
John: I wasn’t even at home yesterday. I was in Dublin.
Sherlock: Well, it’s hardly my fault you weren’t listening.

Mycroft: Just once, can you two behave like grown-ups?
John: We solve crimes, I blog about it and he forgets his pants, so I wouldn’t hold out too much hope.

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Irene: Do you know the big problem with a disguise, Mr. Holmes? However hard you try, it’s always a self-portrait.
Sherlock: You think I’m a vicar with a bleeding face?
Irene: No, I think you’re damaged, delusional and believe in a higher power. In your case, it’s yourself.

Sherlock: There’s nothing you can do and nothing she will do as far as I can see.
Mycroft: I can put maximum surveillance on her.
Sherlock: Why bother? You can follow her on Twitter. I believe her user name is “TheWhipHand”.

Sherlock: Please don’t feel obliged to tell me that was remarkable or amazing. John’s expressed the same thought in every possible variant available to the English language.
Irene: I would have you right here on this desk until you begged for mercy twice.
(The two of them stare at each other for a long moment before Sherlock speaks again.)
Sherlock (with his eyes still locked on Irene’s): John, please can you check those flight schedules; see if I’m right?
John: Uh-huh. I’m on it, yeah.
(Sherlock and Irene continue to stare at each other.)
Sherlock: I’ve never begged for mercy in my life.
Irene: Twice.

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Sherlock: Where’s John?
Irene: He went out a couple of hours ago.
Sherlock: I was just talking to him.
Irene: He said you do that.

Mycroft: Is that loathing, or a salute? One of a kind; the one woman who matters.
John: He’s not like that. He doesn’t feel things that way … I don’t think.
Mycroft: My brother has the brain of a scientist or a philosopher, yet he elects to be a detective. What might we deduce about his heart?
John: I don’t know.
Mycroft: Neither do I … but initially he wanted to be a pirate.

The Hounds of Baskerville

My reaction in a nutshell:  My least favorite episode of the nine.  But using the term “least favorite” doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.  I just thought it was a little slow for a Sherlock episode, especially when there are only three episodes a season.   However, producers Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss would have been crazy not to take on the most famous of the Doyle stories, and they served the story well overall.  

What I didn’t like:  The pacing was too slow, way too much time was spent on Henry and his trauma over being pursued by the dog, the dialogue wasn’t all that interesting and I also missed the London landscape.  The show felt off in the countryside, as beautiful as it may have been.

Episode Highlight:  The scene in the lab with John, when he was trapped and thought he was being hunted by the dog.  So intense and creepy, and rather unnerving for a guy that loves excitement.  That scene was so perfectly acted by Martin Freeman and so well staged by the director and crew.
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Favorite Line(s):  

Sherlock: Your mind: it’s so placid, straightforward, barely used. Mine’s like an engine, racing out of control; a rocket tearing itself to pieces trapped on the launch pad. I need a case!
John: You’ve just solved one! By harpooning a dead pig, apparently!
Sherlock: That was this morning!

Sherlock: I saw it too.
John: What?
Sherlock: I saw it too, John.
John: Just … just a minute. You saw what?
Sherlock: A hound, out there in the Hollow. A gigantic hound.
John: Um, look, Sherlock, we have to be rational about this, okay? Now you, of all people, can’t just … Let’s just stick to what we know, yes? Stick to the facts.
Sherlock: Once you’ve ruled out the impossible, whatever remains – however improbable – must be true.
John: What does that mean?
Sherlock: Look at me. I’m afraid, John. Afraid.
John: Sherlock?
Sherlock: Always been able to keep myself distant … (he takes another drink from the glass) … divorce myself from … feelings. But look, you see …
(He holds up the glass and glares at his shaking hand.) … body’s betraying me. Interesting, yes? Emotions. (He slams the glass down onto the table.) The grit on the lens, the fly in the ointment.
JOHN: Yeah, all right, Spock, just … take it easy.

The Reichenbach Fall

My reaction in a nutshell:  HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!!  Intense, gripping, emotional, twisty, disturbing, and all the acting was at its masterful best, especially Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarity.  No wonder it caused a freak out among the masses at the end.  It all starts with a pretty great attention getter, a grieving John Watson, even though anyone with basic Sherlock Holmes knowledge knows that Reichenbach Falls is where Sherlock and Moriarity supposedly meet their deaths.  This time is plays out on a rooftop, and it’s epic. 

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Honestly, I couldn’t breathe through most of this.  The setup was slow, diabolical, and Sherlock step by step fell right into it.  I laugh over the cheeky and “in your face” nature that Moriarity breaks into the crown jewels in the Tower of London.  There’s his creepy demeanor during the trial, getting acquitted without a single word of defense.  I still shiver over Moriarity’s video in the cab and Sherlock’s horrified reaction.  My heart broke over how easily believed the notion that Sherlock was a fake, even those that have known him for a while.  I thought John’s punching of Lestrade’s supervisor after he trashed Sherlock’s name in the flat was most inspired, and it summed up the angst I was feeling by the point in the episode.  When John Watson gets violent, everybody wins.  
What can be said about the scene in Sherlock’s flat after Moriarity is released and pays him a visit.  For one, I love how they’re so civilized that Sherlock preps some tea for his arrival!  The carving on the apple, the terse back and forth between the two foes, the talk of “the final problem”, it’s all just a clever kick off for all that’s to come.  It’s life altering.  

What grabbed me the most though is how Moriarity played on the cynical nature of the media and people, and that his lie was more believable than the truth.  So many heroes have fallen because the media always wants to uncover some scandal or not believe the hype.  The setup is ideal, what if Sherlock Holmes was too good to be true?  What if he solves crimes so easily because he’s the one that commits them?  It does fit with the forewarning from the first episode that a psychopath usually ends up on the wrong side of the law one day (one that especially comes into play at the end of series 3).  Sherlock’s jerkish nature though makes it that more believable though, and his figurately “fall” happens almost as quickly as the literal one.  Even John has his doubts, although he quickly dismisses them.  

What I didn’t like:  I’ll tell you what I shouldn’t have liked.  That ending.  That should have driven me completely bat s*** crazy for two years like everyone else until the next episode.  But I was binge watching on Netflix.  All I had to do was play the next episode (yes, you can hate me now).  

Episode Highlight: No doubt, the meeting on the roof between Sherlock and Moriarity.  It’s the final climax of this rivalry between these high functioning psychopath rivals, again highlighting that the only difference between the two is one is on the side of good and one is on the side of evil.  Yet the dialogue even obliterates this fine line.  Hell, I can’t gush enough about how perfect this scene is.  All this happens with the gorgeous cinematography of central London again in the background, because she is just as important a player in this story as the two on the roof.  You do have to wonder, Sherlock’s “note” to John, were those real tears or all part of the act?  Considering Sherlock Holmes is the greatest mystery of all in this detective series, we’ll never really know for sure, but the theories I’m sure are plentiful.   All in all though, this is the only solution to “the final problem.”  

Talk about a line that we must file under “IMPORTANT FOR LATER”, it’s the following exchange.  The way the sunlight hits Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock says this, it really, really haunts.  It’s also major foreshadowing for what we see in series 3.  

Jim: Naah. You talk big. Naah. You’re ordinary. You’re ordinary – you’re on the side of the angels.
Sherlock: Oh, I may be on the side of the angels, but don’t think for one second that I am one of them.
Jim: No, you’re not.  I see. You’re not ordinary. No. You’re me.  

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Favorite Line(s):

Sherlock: “Boffin”. “Boffin Sherlock Holmes”.
John: Everybody gets one.
Sherlock: One what?
John: Tabloid nickname: ‘SuBo’; ‘Nasty Nick’. Shouldn’t worry – I’ll probably get one soon.
Sherlock: Page five, column six, first sentence.
John: (looking at the newspaper article): “Bachelor John Watson”?

John: Remember what they told you: don’t try to be clever …
Sherlock: No.
John: … and please, just keep it simple and brief.
Sherlock: God forbid the star witness at the trial should come across as intelligent.
John: ‘Intelligent’, fine; let’s give ‘smart-arse’ a wide berth.
Sherlock: I’ll just be myself.
John: Are you listening to me?!

Sherlock: If you could break any bank, what do you care about the highest bidder?
Jim: I don’t. I just like to watch them all competing. “Daddy loves me the best!” Aren’t ordinary people adorable? Well, you know: you’ve got John. I should get myself a live-in one.
Sherlock: Why are you doing all of this?
Jim: It’d be so funny.
Sherlock: You don’t want money or power – not really.  What is it all for?
Jim: I want to solve the problem – our problem; the final problem.  It’s gonna start very soon, Sherlock: the fall.  But don’t be scared. Falling’s just like flying, except there’s a more permanent destination.
(His gaze reaches the floor and he makes the sound of something thudding to the ground. Raising his head slowly, he glowers across at Sherlock, who bares his teeth slightly and then stands and buttons his jacket.)
Sherlock: Never liked riddles.
(Jim stands as well and straightens his jacket, locking his gaze onto Sherlock’s eyes.)
Jim: Learn to. Because I owe you a fall, Sherlock. I … owe … you.

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Sherlock: You’re worried they’re right about me.
John: No.
Sherlock: That’s why you’re so upset. You can’t even entertain the possibility that they might be right. You’re afraid that you’ve been taken in as well.
John: No I’m not.
Sherlock: Moriarty is playing with your mind too. (He slams his hand onto the table.) Can’t you see what’s going on?
John: No, I know you’re for real.
Sherlock: A hundred percent?
John: Well, nobody could fake being such an annoying dick all the time.

Sherlock: Okay, look up. I’m on the rooftop.
John: Oh God.
Sherlock: I … I … I can’t come down, so we’ll … we’ll just have to do it like this.
John: What’s going on?
Sherlock: An apology. It’s all true.
John: Wh-what?
Sherlock: Everything they said about me. I invented Moriarty.
John: Why are you saying this?
Sherlock: I’m a fake.
John: Sherlock …
Sherlock (his voice becoming tearful): The newspapers were right all along. I want you to tell Lestrade; I want you to tell Mrs Hudson, and Molly … in fact, tell anyone who will listen to you that I created Moriarty for my own purposes.
John: Okay, shut up, Sherlock, shut up. The first time we met … the first time we met, you knew all about my sister, right?
Sherlock: Nobody could be that clever.
John: You could.
Sherlock: I researched you. Before we met I discovered everything that I could to impress you. It’s a trick. Just a magic trick.
John: No. All right, stop it now.
(He starts to walk towards the hospital entrance.)
Sherlock: No, stay exactly where you are. Don’t move.
(John stops and backs up).
John: All right.
Sherlock: Keep your eyes fixed on me. Please, will you do this for me?
John: Do what?
Sherlock: This phone call – it’s, er … it’s my note. It’s what people do, don’t they – leave a note?
John: Leave a note when?
Sherlock: Goodbye, John.
John (shaking his head): No. Don’t.

John: No, please, there’s just one more thing, mate, one more thing: one more miracle, Sherlock, for me. Don’t … be … (his voice breaks and fills with tears) … dead. Would you do …? Just for me, just stop it. Stop this.

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Coming up next, the very different yet really wonderful series 3. 

(Again, a MASSIVE thanks for the quotes from  Her transcripts of all the Sherlock episodes are freaking amazing and a must read.  The screencaps are from

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