Moriarty the Patriot
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Moriarty the Patriot ?
We have now embarked upon the adaptation of the second manga volume of Moriarty the Patriot, which means that this episode also marks the entrance of one Sherlock Holmes onto the scene. That may well stand out as the most notable feature of the episode, but in all honesty, it's not the most exciting part. (It's significance is still major, however; it's more that the multi-episode storyline is waiting to do more with it.) Partially that's probably because Moriarty himself isn't all that impressed with Holmes, who's basically performing party tricks for a trio of ladies, correctly guessing people's professions after looking at them. Just how good at it young Sherlock is may be up for debate, though – he fails to identify Moriarty as someone up to no good and his description of how Moriarty stopped at the staircase is, as the man himself says, somewhat forced. He may be correct about Moriarty being a mathematician, but to those of us watching the show, it looks awfully like he paused not to admire the mathematical precision of the staircase, but because he heard the ladies and Holmes talking. That he then quickly throws Holmes off balance by doing the exact same thing to him – and with more specificity – may indicate that the great detective isn't quite up to snuff just yet.
In the meantime, Moriarty's got his own game to play. We do finally get an idea of what his Grand Scheme is, and while it's a little disappointing, it does fit with the time period. Moriarty has decided that the best way to abolish the class system is to turn London into a cesspit of crime, which will force action on the part of the government. Somehow this is supposed to allow the common man to rise up and drag down the aristocrats, which sounds more like French Revolution fanfiction than a legitimate plot, so hopefully we'll get more information about how this is supposed to work in future episodes. There may be some sort of flood parallel that they're trying to set up, which lines up with a few of the other elements of this episode, notably when the true evil of the week, Blitz (presumably this is a silly schoolboy nickname, like how you'll sometimes find characters named things like “Bunchie” in period novels) comments that if all of the nobility were aboard the steamship Noahtic and London flooded, they'd be like the animals on Noah's Ark, the sole survivors. Interestingly enough, this is part of the plot of the otome game Steam Prison, but that's probably a coincidence.
The idea of London becoming a terrible hive of scum and villainy in the 1880s does work with the fact that some of the most notorious crimes of the 19th century took place during that decade. While 1811's Ratcliff Highway Murders and 1860's Murder at Road Hill House were both major crimes that caught the public's attention in the 19th century, the 1880s had a series of unsolved murders within London itself, which works with the series' plan, because they remain unsolved to this day. Obviously the one most people think of is Jack the Ripper in 1888 (and if you're interested in it, I highly recommend reading The Five by Hallie Rubenhold), but it was hardly the only one. The Tottenham Court and Bedford Square murders occurred in 1884, the Thames Torso Murders began in 1887, and 1888 also saw the Whitehall Murder. Solved murders obviously existed as well – Mary Fitzpatrick was found guilty of robbery and murder in an 1882 trial, for example – but the unsolved ones live on in the popular imagination. And if we don't know who committed them, why couldn't it have been something arranged by Professor Moriarty?
In any event, it's hard to argue that Blitz deserves to go. He's not only an insufferable snob with a slim grasp on his ancient history/bible stories (Noah was a farmer, not a nobleman), but he also gets off on playing a version of the 1924 short story “The Most Dangerous Game,” hunting peasants for sport. Interestingly enough, Moriarty is willing to sacrifice a member of the lower classes in order to catch Blitz, but it's clear that he's chosen one who isn't going to be missed – the man's a thief, rapist, and murderer, and whatever your social class, that's not a good career history. The question now becomes how Holmes' presence will affect his plans. Maybe not at all, but even then he's caught the other man's attention. The game just upped its stakes, and we have to wonder if Moriarty is aware of it yet – and what he's going to do about it.
One thing's for sure – I'm not sure I'd take too many chances on a ship with some dramatic similarities to the doomed Titanic.
Moriarty the Patriot is currently streaming on Funimation.
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