Irene continues to be in hot-water in this episode of Moriarty the Patriot. However, the episode focuses more on Albert Moriarty as he makes contact with Irene rather than on Irene herself. It is a definite change in tone from the more amusing return episode we had last week where a lot of the screen time was eaten with shenanigans between Irene and Sherlock. Here, Albert is coldly business like as he plays the next move in the long game he and his brothers have been working toward. The only question left is whether Sherlock will manage to throw a spanner in the works before they achieve their goal.
The masquerade ball as a meeting place was a little bit much but served its purpose. However, in the tradition of Moriarty the Patriot, the writers used this setting as a chance to once again portray the aristocratic class as inhuman. Whether it was the over-the-top rancour expressed by the victim of the week or the callous disregard the others had when he died later in the piece, I can’t help but feel I’d be more impressed by the Moriarty clan if those they were seeking to bring down felt more like people and not so much like caricatures.
Moriarty continues to struggle with characterisation of the classes.
The younger two Moriarty brothers had very little to do in this episode but Albert most definitely carried it. His negotiations with Irene were well delivered and the matter-of-fact way he cut off her other potential escape routes before throwing her the life-line he wanted her to take all worked pretty perfectly. Perhaps a little too perfectly given Irene had previously been shown to be fairly adept at getting herself out of trouble but maybe it was just a sign she really was at the end of her rope.
Sherlock and Watson’s screen time is minimal in this episode, only claiming the scene after Irene return from the party, and honestly the episode is better for it. In the single scene, Sherlock manages a brilliant piece of manipulation (who blows up a room just to trick someone), finally getting the upper-hand over Irene, and it works beautifully with the rest of the episode, without becoming a Sherlock show.
It would be great if the rest of the series manages to find that balance between Moriarty and his brothers and Sherlock’s investigations because when it veers too much into Sherlock’s story it makes it too easy to unfavourably compare Moriarty the Patriot to so many other Sherlock stories. When focused on Moriarty, it really feels like its own thing.
However, the story of Irene and the stolen papers still isn’t resolved at the end of this episode meaning that this mystery is running into a third episode (making it the longest individual story so far in the series). It makes me really curious as to whether this season is going to return to a more episodic approach or if we are now going to bring everything together in this show-down between the Lord of Crime and the great Consulting Detective. Time will tell, but I do know I’m very interested in where this is all going so glad I’m sticking with Moriarty the Patriot.
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