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The Irregulars Chapter Four: Both the Needle and the Knife

episode 1.4

UK 2021
produced by
Rebecca Hodgson, Michael Ray, Greg Brenman (executive), Jude Liknaitzky (executive), Tom Bidwell (executive) for Drama Republic/Netflix
directed by Joss Agnew
starring McKell David, Thaddea Graham, Jojo Macari, Harrison Osterfield, Darci Shaw, Royce Pierreson, Eleanor Worthington-Cox, Aidan McArdle, Anthony Barclay, Adam Shaw, Craig Conway, Simon Ludders, Henry Miller, Denise Black, Imogen Waterhouse, Clarke Peters, Maureen Hibbert, Edward Hogg, Nell Hudson, Melanie McHugh, Anthony Taylor, Gareth Bennett-Ryan, Ian Whyte, Henry Lloyd-Hughes
written and created by Tom Bidwell, based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Paul Haslinger

TV series
The Irregulars, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Henry Lloyd-Hughes)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

This episode basically falls into 3 stories: One has Leopold (Harrison Osterfield), the rich boy mingling with the Irregulars, return to his family castle for a big ball, where ravishing Eleanor (Imogen Waterhouse) is more than a little interested in him and even gives him party drugs to make him easy prey. But he notices she's not for him and he loves Bea (Thaddea Graham), so he makes a daring escape from the party.

Story two has Bea trying to track down Sherlock Holmes (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), whom she not only blames for all those people getting random superpowers, but also for the death of her mother. But despite searching all of the opium dens in the area, instead of finding Holmes, she only crosses paths with Dr. Watson (Royce Pierreson), who is so irritated by Bea trying to find Holmes that he ends his business association with the Irregulars. Ultimately though, Bea does find Holmes, at the grave of her mother.

The main story has Jessie (Darci Shaw), Spike (McKell David) and Billy (Jojo Macari) trying to trace down a killer who removes his victims' faces together with Inspector Lestrade (Aidan McArdle). Now Jessie, the empath, soon finds out that the killer isn't a man at all but a seemingly helpless girl, Clara (Eleanor Worthington-Cox), who has the superpower to put someone else's (severed) face onto hers and become that person. She also finds out that Clara has recently been filled up by three men (Anthony Barclay, Craig Conway, Adam Shaw) - her later victims - at a local pub and then taken into the backroom and gangraped. The three men also gave her syphilis, so with her newly acquired powers she has set out to kill them. However, she also makes the pub's landlord (Simon Ludders) responsible for her condition, so Lestrade, Jessie, Spike and Billy race to his rescue, but arrive there too late, and to escape, Clara even kills Lestrade and assumes his identity. Jessie finds out, but she's so compelled by Clara's sad story that she lets her escape ...

 

Despite falling into three very separate stories, this episode feels surprisingly homogenous and after a not so great start, the series seems to find its footing, also thanks to moving the over-arcing mystery along rather than just dropping hints. What's still irritating is that despite great sets and costumes, the characters just don't feel Victorian London at all, the dialogue feels out of place, and what's worse doesn't at all mirror the class struggle central to the story. But at least the tension is building and makes hungry for more.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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