The Spring 2021 Preview Guide
Moriarty the Patriot Part 2
by The Anime News Network Editorial Team,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Moriarty the Patriot (TV 2) ?
What is this?
Sherlock's on the case as his world begins to crossover with the Moriarity Brothers and their underworld machinizations. Both groups find themselves entangled with Irene Adler, a courtesan with high-ranking clientele. Her latest actions threaten the British Crown as we see Sherlock's brother Mycroft hiring Albert Moriarity with retrieving classified information and silencing Adler permanently. Meanwhile, Irene hatches a plan to endear herself to Sherlock in the hopes of preventing her assassination.
How was the first episode?
After a comfortable winter retirement in the countryside, everyone's favorite Victorian anti-hero/serial killer has returned to the grimy streets of London to wage class war on the aristocracy. And personally I couldn't be happier to have this show back. I have an abiding affection for mysteries in general and crime dramas in specific, but despite the sheer number of those that are made across the media landscape each year, Moriarty was something special right from the start. Reimagining the greatest criminal mastermind in Sherlock Holmes's collective mythos into a figure of vengeance, and managing to find new angles to take on some of the most iconic stories in the Sherlock canon is no mean feat, and the first season accomplished this with grace and confidence.
The same can thankfully be said of this season premiere which, while lacking the gothic melodrama that made the first episode so engaging, promises to continue the show's streak of new and engaging interpretations of these familiar characters. The most prominent candidate is also the star of this presumed 2-parter: Irene Adler. While only appearing in a single one of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock stories, she's one of the most well-remembered as one of the few characters to ever unconditionally pull a win over the genius detective, and Moriarty's version lives up to that reputation.
Adler in this premiere comes off as a fantastic foil to this version of Sherlock, while hinting at some very interesting thematic parallels to the Moriarty brothers. More than anything she's just really fun – devious and intelligent in a way that keeps both characters and viewers second-guessing everything she says, but with glimmers of a hidden humanity that keep her endearing even as she tricks Sherlock and Watson into burning down her home to make them indebted to her. It's the kind of characterization sadly lacking in a lot of other modern interpretations of Adler, and makes me very excited at the prospect of her being a recurring character this season.
For now though, Moriarty is as confident and classy as ever, and I see no reason to think it won't continue into this new season.
Things get twisty in our routine to London's underbelly. I could complain at the lack of appearance by my
class hero Napoleon of Crime husband Moriarity, there was enough moving pieces here to keep me otherwise engaged. Consider this episode the setup for an inevitable game of chess that involves every important family in the series, including the royals. The fun of it is not knowing exactly how wise anyone is to the other's game.
First we have the introduction of Mycroft, the smarter Holmes brother who works for the Crown. He's obviously aware of Sherlock's shortcomings with women and warns him as much. However, it's not his brother he turns to when he needs help retrieving documents pilfered by the connected courtesan; it's Albert Moriarity. How much does Mycroft know about Albert? Did his investigation into his military background also clue him in at all about William? Does he know that he has effectively hired William and using Albert just gives him an out? Furthermore, why would William be interested in assassinating Irene Adler anyway? It doesn't seem in line with ethos.
Sherlock in turn seems to being played like a fiddle by Irene. It's only by the end of the episode that he seems keen to the idea that his Bavarian King client might all be a ruse. Irene certainly knows that the Crown is after her, but does she know of Mycroft and thus chose Sherlock or did she align with him because of his own reputation? Somehow Sherlock comes out of this whole affair looking like the least capable character.
That's the pull of Moriarity and why I'm happy to have it back for regular viewing each week. Moriarity's overall plan is what kept me hooked last season but sleuthing with the larger cast looks to be fun as well.
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