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Needless to say, do not read this if you have any intention of watching A Scandal In Belgravia, but have not yet got around to doing so. Some things are better left unspoiled.
It begins where we left off, Sherlock and Watson in a swimming pool, facing off against Jim Moriarty. Our two heroes are decorated in red spots from laser targeted sniper rifles, and Jim, having made his point, leaves..
…only to come back moments later to have a gun pointed at him by Sherlock. They are all going to die. Then he gets a phone call. His ringtone is “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. Someone’s got something Jim wants, but he doesn’t seem too grateful to hear it. They all agree to postpone blowing each other up until a more convenient time. Hometime for Holmes.
Meanwhile, Irene Adler hangs up the phone and goes back to whipping a member of the Royal Family.
John’s a bit of a blogger, and he’s writing up all of their cases as a kind of shop window to their detecting business. Naturally Sherlock disapproves, but it seems to be something of a hit, and the press are soon on their trail.
Then a shocked man arrives, collapsing on the floor and telling a tale of a dead man and a backfiring car in the countryside. Watson is sent to investigate while Sherlock sits in a sheet. He’s still in his sheet when some men with dog hair on their suits take him to Buckingham Palace. It turns out Mycroft has recommended Sherlock to the Royal Family, who need some help in dealing with a delicate matter. Irene Adler, dominatrix by royal appointment, has some incriminating photographs, so our intrepid pair set off to get them back, stopping on the way for a brief punch-up.
It’s a man thing.
Arriving at Irene’s apartment, the ruse by which they gain entry is entirely undone by their host’s decision to meet Sherlock dressed in a very revealing outfit, made entirely of fresh air. They discuss the case of the backfiring car, while John sets a magazine on fire in the hall outside the room, only to be held at gunpoint by some scary men for his trouble.
Inside, Sherlock is showing off, and discovers the safe in which the photos are kept. The men burst in and threaten to shoot Watson, so he opens the safe, and with the war cry “Vatican cameos!”, triggers the gun inside. Holmes and Watson and Adler are safe, the bad men in suits, not so much.
Sherlock pinches the phone in which the photos are stored, so Irene injects him and he passes out. Then she takes the phone, solves the backfiring car mystery and gives Sherlock his coat back. Is it the end now?
No! Mycroft pops round for breakfast, insults Mrs Hudson, and demands that Sherlock leave Irene Adler alone. Irene doesn’t seem to have got the memo, cos she’s sexy-texting Sherlock. And after humiliating poor Molly, one of Irene’s texts reveals that she’s decided to give Sherlock her phone after all. And the reason for this is her premature death. She’s in the morgue (as are John’s love life and Molly’s hopes of snaring Sherlock).
So now the only job of work for Sherlock is moodily figuring out the passcode on Irene’s phone, and composing a mournful ditty while John goes off to see Mycroft. Oh wait, it’s not Mycroft. It’s Irene. She’s not dead! She’s gay! John’s not gay! Sherlock followed John! He’s gone home in a huff! Oh. Em. GEEE!
Back at Holmes’ home, there’s been a break-in, and Mrs Hudson has been taken hostage. She’s been beaten, which means gentleman Holmes has to exact bloody revenge, to the face. So now there’s a tied-up CIA agent in the flat. Oh sorry, did I say in the flat? He fell out. Possibly more than once.
So that’s it then? All finished?
NO! Holmes is X-raying the phone when Molly gives him another potential guess at the passcode. No such luck. But Sherlock has a visitor in his bed: Irene. He tries to trick her into revealing the passcode, but she outwits him and John reveals his middle name is Hamish. It made sense at the time.
Then Sherlock solves the riddle of the airplane tickets, which only seems to bring down the wrath of Jim (remember Jim?) upon Mycroft. Poor Mycroft. Naughty Irene.
Still, it gives Irene a chance to flirt with Sherlock, and Sherlock a chance to take her pulse. Then he’s off to the airport, in the full and certain knowledge that he has to board a plane with a bomb on it, a bomb that the government will allow to go off rather than risk revealing that they have spies in delicate places. Except there’s no bomb, just a jumbo jet full of corpses. And Mycroft. And Irene. Time for a showdown.
Irene has a list of demands, and all the cards. Except there’s still one last chance to solve the passcode riddle, and it’s time for Sherlock to step up to the plate. which he does in fine style. It’s the end!
Except, hang on, it isn’t. Irene has been captured by terrorists and beheaded. No, really she has. Totally beheaded and everything. She’s way dead, shuffled off this mortal coil and joined the choir invisibule etc etc.
OR IS SHE..? (No.)
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic