The season 2 premiere, “A Scandal in Belgravia,” is widely considered to be one of the series’ finest episodes. Not only did it feature one of the show’s best mysteries and most cunning adversaries, it also took the time to develop the main character – an element that was praised by many critics.
Sherlock is famous for appearing to be void of emotion, choosing to use his energies on forming deductions as opposed to making connections with people. So it was a nice change-of-pace to see the detective become enamored with Irene Adler, a criminal who had earned herself a notorious reputation. From the moment they met, Sherlock was never sure what to think of “The Woman,” and responds by doing everything short of romantically pursuing her. One sequence that stands out is when Sherlock deduces a Ministry of Defense Code quicker than usual, in an attempt to impress Irene.
But it’s another great scene from this episode that officially makes our list. When Sherlock believes Ms. Adler to be dead, he copes by playing melancholy songs on his violin. While nobody ever outright says that Sherlock had feelings for Irene, it’s clear that there was something there. As the camera pulls away slowly from Holmes, the viewers can’t help but sympathize with the character that is portrayed not as the world’s most famous detective, but a lonely man in mourning. Seeing this humanistic side of Sherlock gave him a new layer and showed that he was capable of caring about people.
Sherlock’s Jump – “The Reichenbach Fall”
The running theme of season two is Sherlock uncovering his human side. Through his interactions with the more “normal” John, the detective is able to see the world in a new light and while he may never be able to completely act “human,” we do get several teases that he’s more than a cold, calculating “high-functioning sociopath” that solves crimes.
In his second confrontation with the nefarious Moriarty, Sherlock’s reputation has been ruined. Thanks to some libelous journalism and planted evidence, the world now views Sherlock as a monster instead of a famous hero. The final part of Moriarty’s plan is for a shamed Sherlock to commit suicide and after raking his brain for a way out, Holmes learns there’s no escape. He either jumps or the people he cares the most about die.
Despite spitefully telling John that he “doesn’t have friends” in the previous episode, Sherlock realizes what impact his inaction would have not only on John, but also the loveable Mrs. Hudson and Detective Inspector Lestrade, his – yes, friend – in the police department. Casting his ego aside, Sherlock admits defeat and (seemingly) jumps to his death in order to save those closest to him. This self-sacrifice is the ultimate way of showing how important the lives of his companions were to Sherlock and displays how far he would be willing to go for their sake.
In a show that’s packed with edge-of-your-seat crime solving and touching character moments, there are many more than just these five moments that make Sherlock a blast to watch. Here are some honorable mentions that barely missed the cut:
- Sherlock first shows off his deduction abilities by learning everything about John just by looking at him – “A Study in Pink”
- Sherlock admits he is afraid, then defensively makes deductions about a random customer in a restaurant – “The Hounds of Baskerville”
- John investigates the heroin den on his own – “His Last Vow”
- Sherlock’s best man speech – “The Sign of Three” (pictured above)
Of course, our list is not meant to be all-inclusive, so be sure to list some of your favorite moments in the comments section below.
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Sherlock season three will be available on Blu-ray February 11, 2014.