「大英帝国の醜聞 第二幕」 (Daiei Teikoku no Shūbun Dainimaku)
“A Scandal in the British Empire Act 2”
The way Yuukoku no Moriarty throws a bunch of disparate Doyleisms into a blender, adds a cup of anime stying and churns out something altogether new is quite interesting I have to say. To a bigger Holmes purist than me it would probably seem like excessive liberties are being taken, but I’m not enough of one to be offended. And truthfully, this is a series that’s been warped into the near-unrecognizable so many times over the decades that it’s hard to be too bothered about such things in this day and age.
For a while there, this episode lapses into the same pattern which occupied much of the first cour. That is, evil aristocrats acting cartoonishly evil and the Moriarty brothers murdering them in the name of justice (and to make a point). It’s not the series’ best side and this isn’t its best 15 minutes, but there is a point to it. Albert – acting on William’s orders of course – stages a masked ball in order to draw Irene in and get her to spill the beans about what she knows. The baron he murders in the process is really just a casual sacrifice in order for Albert to convince Irene he’s to be taken seriously.
It seems, plainly, that Irene has gotten in way over her head here. If she’s to be taken at her word she’s a social warrior of her own, and was merely hoping to blackmail the royal family in order to fund her efforts at social change. But what she learned – that the British Empire was responsible for the French revolution (a complete invention by this series as far as I’m aware) – was way bigger than she could handle. The government position is that she has to be taken out, plain and simple, bur Albert sees her as a useful tool for his own family initiatives.
I struggle with the notion that Albert would be able to freelance like this right under the nose of Mycroft, who’s said by all concerned (including Doyle) to be even more brilliant than his brother. But be that as it may he offers Irene a way out – not through his official status as the government’s dog, but as the “Lord of Crime”. The Moriartys have developed quite a legend for themselves, a notoriety to rival that of Holmes himself, and Albert has proves his seriousness to Irene. Seeing no other path forward she agrees to meet Albert and turn over the papers the next morning.
The problem is Sherlock has unpacked what’s going on here too, and he manages to get her to reveal where she’s hidden the papers in another sequence that kind of stretches credulity. The paths they take are different but William and Holmes always seem to find the answer at around the same time, which I suppose is what makes them such suitable adversaries. The big question here is whether William will have predicted that Holmes would figure this out as quickly as he has – if not, Sherlock may be about to find out just who the Lord of Crime actually is. Which, if we’re honest, he should already strongly suspect.