「ホワイトチャペルの亡霊 第二幕」 (Howaito Chaperu no Bōrei Dainimaku)
“The Phantom of Whitechapel Act 2”
As I noted in thwe LiA Season Check-in post, my otherwise healthy affection for Yuukoku no Moriarty is dulled by two factors – a tendency towards overt silliness and Moriarty himself. Mind you, those two things often go hand in hand, and such was the case this week. Unsurprising then that this was my least favorite episode of the second cour so far. It featured William at his most arrogant and infallible and a whole lot of stuff and nonsense. And again almost no Sherlock, which is another issue all to itself.
It says something that Lestrade deciding – for some reason – to put on a Jack the Ripper puppet show for Holmes is nowhere near the silliest thing in the episode. Most of the ep is taken up with Williams’s plan (which of course goes off flawlessly, as all his plans do) to expose the real Jack the Ripper. He concludes (correctly, as all his conclusions are) that the murders are an act of insurgency intended to stoke a war between the Vigilance Squad and the Yard, for the purposes of leading to an uprising. And for reasons, he can’t have that.
Now it may strike one that whoever is behind this seems to have similar goals to William’s – it certainly struck them, when the two groups met. But William being the colossal hypocrite that he is can’t accept the killing of innocents in the pursuit of an otherwise noble goal. Killing is fine, you understand – it’s just limited to whoever William decides it’s morally acceptable (even imperative) to kill. The key to his plan is to use old man Renfield to undercut the schemers by uniting the cops and vigilantes against a common enemy. That being Renfield himself of course, in the guise of Jack the Ripper as imagined by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Along the way we get a hilariously ludicrous chase scene featuring the pensioner Renfield leading an army of pursuers a merry chase, with the help of Moran and an air rifle designed by the weapons merchant Von Herder (a character straight out of Doyle). As absurd as this is it is sort of fun, especially when the rozzers pull a Gatling gun out of nowhere and start blowing apart the building Renfield is hiding behind. The way Moran and Bonde finally take out that gun is the cherry on top of the silly sundae.
There’s another Doyle character here, one Charles Augustus Milverton (we know his name because he tells it to the camera for no reason), who turns out to be the brains behind this competing insurgency movement. As best I can tell this is merely a case of re-using a canon name, since Milverton (who’s been ikemen-ized, like all the others) in the original was a general lowlife blackmailer who had no interest in politics or noble causes. As for Holmes, he doesn’t rise to Moriarty’s bait and opts for the convenient lie about what happened versus the inconvenient truth, but his involvement in events is still tangential at best.
For me, as Moriarty the Patriot has gotten bigger plot-wise it’s gotten less engaging. A few things really need to happen, starting with Moriarty making a fucking mistake once in a while. Holmes need to be involved as more than window dressing, and the spy movie theatrics dialed down several notches. I don’t know if any of that will actually happen ( I suppose Holmes inevitably will at least be a factor, if not a true antagonist for William), but until it does, for me the Moriarty experience is always going to be a mixed bag.