Andrew Scott turns in a good performance as a weak, neurotic Moriarty, easily outwitted by Holmes.
I don’t mind having Sherlock Holmes rewritten for the present day. I do mind the complete restructuring of major characters. In A SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA, it was Irene Adler. In the latest episode it is Moriarty.
Kitty Riley (Katherine Parkinson) confronts Sherlock Holmes in the men's room.
REICHENBACH FALL, is the latest episode of SHERLOCK to air in the US, and it is an updating of THE FINAL PROBLEM. In it, Steven Moffatt attempts to depict Holmes’ confrontation with Moriarty in modern terms, and in the process completely changes the character of Holmes’ greatest adversary.
In Conan Doyle’s world, Moriarty was a genius the equal of Holmes who had a philosophical difference as to what should be done with intellect. The by-product of Sherlock Holmes’ problem solving was the capture of criminals and/or the preservation of national security. Moriarty solved problems to acquire personal power and wealth. Holmes was detached and ruthless, but sought no personal aggrandizement.
Holmes is supposed to be obsessed with outwitting Moriarty, not the other way round. Moriarty only tries to eliminate Holmes because he knows there is an excellent chance that Holmes will thwart his plans. Moriarty is supposed to be rational, if misguided. This new version of the master criminal seems weak, and a bit insane. That Holmes could out-think him so readily is clear evidence of that.
The chief redeeming feature of the episode is the excellent performance of Katherine Parkinson as Kitty Riley, the infinitely corruptible reporter, which character is a personification of Moriarty’s motive to use his powers for personal gain. With people like that around, why not?
Irene Adler (Laura Pulver) confronts Holmes nude (most of Holmes' deductions about people come from observations about their clothing).
Gayle Hunnicutt as Irene Adler with a disguised Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) in 1984.
The latest episode of SHERLOCK to air in the US was A SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA. I have a small complaint about it.
As written by Conan Doyle, Irene Adler in A Scandal In Bohemia was the only person to ever outwit Sherlock Holmes. As rewritten by Stephen Moffat (Dr. Who, Coupling), Ms. Adler not only fails to outwit Sherlock, but is actually rescued by Mr. Holmes. In Moffat’s vision, Adler is more like Vash in STTNG, an adventurer who survives both by her wits and the assistance of the men she can charm or trick into helping her.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson in SHERLOCK
I am surprised by this. SHERLOCK has been, up until this episode, an excellent updating of Holmes and Watson. Benedict Cumberbatch (what an extremely British name) is the best Holmes since Jeremy Brett. There are interesting touches in even this episode, as when a deerstalker cap becomes Holmes’ trademark accidentally as he attempts to hide from the paparazzi.
Irene Adler is a very important character in the Holmes universe. She was the only woman for Holmes, because she had demonstrated that she was his intellectual equal. One fictional biography went so far as to suggest that, after Holmes faked his death at Reichenbach Falls, he and Adler had a son who grew up to become the detective Nero Wolfe. She should not be reduced to an opportune infatuation, nor should she be portrayed as being less than self-sufficient.
NOTE: It’s a good thing that Ellen Fox retweeted a PBS notice that this episode was scheduled to air. Otherwise I would certainly have missed it.