Steven Moffat has revealed that he was so intrigued by the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler in the Sherlock episode “A Scandal In Belgravia” that he found himself writing an extra scene relatively recently (and long after the episode aired) to have taken place just after Holmes rescues Adler from a beheading in Karachi.
Speaking at the Sherlocked convention in London earlier this year (as expertly transcribed by Sherlockology this week), he explained that the true ending of “A Scandal in Belgravia” was a little less clear-cut than it may have first appeared.
The story was based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s “A Scandal in Bohemia” in which Holmes is asked to retrieve an incriminating photograph from an actress called Irene Adler, but his keen mind is bested by her sharp wit, and she escapes, taking the picture with her. Some fans felt that the BBC version had reversed this, so that Sherlock was the victor, getting the photo back from a locked phone and even ending up acting as hero and savior for a woman who had become more of a damsel in distress.
As this seemed a little gung-ho for our detective, some fans even speculated that this was just an idle fantasy on Sherlock’s part, a distracting visit to his fabled Mind Palace.
However, Steven Moffat says otherwise: “The scene does not take place in Sherlock’s Mind Palace, nor could it. He’s been told a lie about where Irene Adler is, so he wouldn’t have fantasied saving her from a terrorist cell, he had no reason to have to. No, he really does go and save her.
“He really does that, because if you remember earlier on in the story, Irene says, ‘I make my way in the world, and my trick is I get people to be exactly where I want them, when I want them there. That’s my super power. That’s what I do.’ Sherlock a few scenes later says, ‘I’m the one guy you can’t put a collar on’ and at the very end… yep, he turns up dressed as an Arabian Knight and hacks up some terrorists, and Irene’s sitting there going, ‘Oh yes! Talk to me momma!'”
He also had some ideas about the immediate aftermath:
“I actually wrote a scene about what happened afterwards, because I got so curious about it. I had Sherlock turning around after he had hacked up all the terrorists, still very cross, and sort of saying, ‘I hope you don’t think that this means I am in any way interested in you?’ And Irene’s already got a gun on him—as she picks up a gun from the floor—and says, ‘No, but I am going to need male costume to get out of here.’
“And so Sherlock is left naked and Irene runs off dressed as him. That’s what I think would happen next.”
He then issued the final word for anyone convinced that the ending painted Sherlock as more of a muscular movie hero than the thrillingly cerebral sociopath we all know and love:
“Some people say he won; he lost, because he admitted he cared. Having hacked up terrorists with bodies all over the floor, him covered in blood, and he’s trying to retain his dignity, saying, ‘I was passing and it was a night I thought I’d hack up some terrorists… Oh, you’re here, I didn’t know. I don’t even like you… oh, don’t pull a gun on me…’ [Irene voice] ‘Strip!’, [Sherlock voice] ‘Oh, it’s not fair. I saved your life!’
“And something like that happens between Irene and Sherlock every 6 months and THAT is their idea of a night of passion.”
Well it beats sending flowers, I suppose.
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