Jun. 6th, 2012

Irene Adler

Jun. 6th, 2012 08:06 pm
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Not super happy with the treatment this character has received lately. First, she's killed off in the second Sherlock Holmes movie (though, I'd put money on her showing up again the the next movie...somehow) mostly as the tired, old "kill the woman to make the male hero angry" laziance. (La•zi•ance /ley-zee-uhns/ n (2012) something made with little thought or effort. Feel free to use it.) Next, she's reduced to needing a man both to supply her schemes and to save her life in the updated Sherlock series.

Irene Adler is supposed to be the equal of Sherlock Holmes. Hell, she beat him the one time she appeared in the original stories, so she's probably actually his superior. So, I was sad to see, in A Scandal in Belgravia, that she apparently isn't Holmes' superior or even equal. In the last few minutes of the episode it's revealed that most, maybe all, of her schemes were supplied by Moriarty, her weak, female emotions were her undoing, and she needed Sherlock to save her life. This isn't the brilliant woman from Doyle's story.

Despite this, I actually do forgive the Sherlock writers, mostly. The story was good, and the modern Irene's faults seem to come mostly from the writers writing themselves into a corner than any intended sexism on their parts.

Season one ended on an impossible cliffhanger. Something extraordinary had to happen to save Sherlock and John. Really, who else from the classic stories had enough impact to be used for this? No one, really, but Irene Adler. This, sadly, linked Moriarty with Adler in the episode, and that link had to be incorporated into the story. This necessitated Adler and Moriarty working together. The only other option, though awesome, would be the rather impractical idea of having, in one episode, Adler outwit both Sherlock and Moriarty and live to tell about it. As bad-ass as that would have been, I don't see how it could have fit in the story (though, they could have written a completely different story, granted).

So, given that Moriarty and Adler were forced by the cliffhanger resolution to worked together in the episode, it could be no other way that some of Adler's plans came in part from Moriarty. The very setup of the episode made it near impossible for Irene to do everything on her own. Sadly, this also sort of made it so she couldn't win either. By the necessity of her being mixed up with Moriarty, her victory would also have been Moriarty's victory. Four episodes in and Sherlock is beaten by two foes in one go? A bit much. Would have been ballsy of the writers, I admit though.

So, she loses. And that's where the writers lost me. Yes, it was dramatic. But, this is the brilliant Irene Adler isn't it? Why is it that as soon as she's beaten she's suddenly unable to do anything? Within a few months, she's captured by terrorists and, if Sherlock hadn't been following and keeping an eye out for the now helpless Miss Adler, just about loses her head.

What would have been so much more satisfying is to have everything happen just as it did until John, talking to Sherlock, just can't keep the lie going and tells Sherlock Irene has been killed. When John leaves Irene could text Sherlock one more time to let him, and only him, know she's alive. She, being the brilliant Irene Adler, had pulled the wool over everyone's eyes, fooled Mycroft (who claimed that not even Sherlock Holmes could have fooled him into thinking Irene was killed) and faked her own death. We could then see her walking down the street somewhere, maybe with some landmark behind her to let us know she's in some other part of the world, with a smile on her face knowing she's fooled everyone and gotten away with it. That certainly would have been more satisfying than having her reduced to complete uselessness and in need of Sherlock to come and save her helpless self.

Ah well. Unlike the American movies, Irene Adler is still alive, at least, in the Sherlock world. Maybe the writers can redeem themselves a bit and have her return and actually match wits, her own wits, with Sherlock and win this time around.

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