The Woman/Heroine

Episode Report Card
Monty Ashley: A | 22 USERS: A+
The Vulgarities of the Modern Era
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

The last episode ended with Watson and Holmes searching a big white house to discover Irene Adler, who's supposed to be dead. Holmes had a very short breakdown, but he's mostly recovered by the time this episode starts, one second later. Holmes runs to Irene and grabs her. She seems thrown by this. She claws at his face, but he embraces her anyway. Then she hugs him back. I guess I'd say that they have a complicated relationship.

And now we get to see how that relationship begins! The caption on the screen takes us to "London, a little over two years ago." We're in the season finale, so it's time to get some backstory on the season arc. You can't quibble with the construction of this story.

In London, Sherlock Holmes enters the home of one Irene Adler, who's played by Natalie Dormer with an American accent and a smirk. As soon as Holmes enters, he finds himself engaged in banter over the difference between a consulting detective and a private investigator. As she introduces herself, she praises the symmetry of Holmes's face. He's here to consult with her on a matter of forgeries of classic paintings. She says that the pictures he sent her aren't original Turner sketches. She knows this because they have a medium orange and an ochre, which, in 1839 required turmeric, which was confiscated by the British army at the time. So they're fakes. Holmes looks around at the paintings in Irene's flat and asks if she does original work. She says she's just a restorer because what could she add to such great work? He doesn't answer right away.

Holmes apologizes for lingering, then asks why there's an original Breughel on the wall when she was supposed to return it. He explains that she was supposed to restore a painting that was damaged by shelling, and she wouldn't have recreated the gouges on an imitation she painted for herself. So clearly she kept the original and sent a forgery to the museum. She says that the museum director wanted to file down the paint (I guess that's some kind of restorer sin), so she preserved the painting by keeping it safe. Holmes guesses that some of the other paintings in the room are also preserved. He offers to guess which ones are real, and if he's right, he gets a date with her out on the town. Plus, he's not going to turn her in because, "I appreciate your efforts to keep the vulgarities of the modern era at bay." He assures her they'd enjoy each other's company. She observes that he's not boring. Then she accepts his challenge -- but she wonders why, given the way he's looking at her, they'd need to leave the room to enjoy each other's company. Holmes likes the sound of that, so she takes his arm and he looks at the first painting.

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