16 Times Sherlock Drove Us All Crazy

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Lara Pulver as Irene Adler in “A Scandal in Belgravia”. (Photo: BBC)

When Sherlock Outsmarted Irene Adler

It’s sad but true: There aren’t a lot of women in Sherlock. This isn’t entirely the show’s fault. There aren’t a lot of women in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle canon, either. To its credit, Sherlock did create a new and original female character (Molly Hooper) as part of its main cast. But Molly’s role is a fairly small one, overall. And the addition of her character doesn’t absolve the show of its other sins regarding the way it treats women.

One of the most glaring is probably the change that Steven Moffat made to the classic story of Holmes’ nemesis Irene Adler. Adler is rather famous in Holmes world, and not just because she is a major character who happens to be female. She is exceptional in her own right. She’s also the only character in the canon who actually *beats* Holmes, intellectually speaking. Not so much in this particular television adaptation.

Here, Irene turns out to largely be a pawn of the villainous Moriarty. And Sherlock not only figures out Irene’s secrets himself, he does so because he’s able to deduce that she’s got a thing for him. It’s revealed that in every instance where it seems as though the two are growing closer, Sherlock was just tracking Irene’s pulse and pupil dilation. Yes, she ends up comprised by love or whatever emotion you choose to call it, and that’s how he was ultimately able to best her.  As if that weren’t insulting enough, in “A Scandal in Belgravia’s” final moments, Sherlock shows up just in time to rescue Irene from some nameless terrorists who are about to behead her. So much for girl power this time, I guess.

Number of eyerolls: 7