This article contains spoilers for Enola Holmes 2.
Enola Holmes 2 appears to have combined two of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most memorable characters, Professor Moriarty and Irene Adler. There’s a sense in which Sherlock Holmes should be considered the world’s first superhero, and Professor Moriarty the first mirror-image supervillain. Given that’s the case, it’s no surprise that Enola Holmes 2 – which follows on from the first film in modernizing the Sherlock Holmes franchise so effectively – has chosen to reinvent Moriarty for 2022. Its version of Moriarty is gender-swapped, with Miss Mira Troy feeling almost like a mirror image of the Holmes siblings’ mother, Eudoria; this Moriarty has turned to a life of crime after growing bitter and frustrated because women are denied opportunities and recognition in Victorian London.
This raises the interesting possibility that Enola Holmes 2 combines the characters of Moriarty and another Conan Doyle character, Irene Adler. It’s important to remember that the Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was generally dismissive of women, in large part because his creator envisioned him as a creature of cold logic. “Holmes is as inhuman as Babbage’s calculating machine,” Conan Doyle wrote to Joseph Bell, “and just as likely to fall in love.” Sherlock noted Irene Adler as the only woman he admired, however, given she proved herself his intellectual equal. “To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman,” Conan Doyle’s Watson records in “A Scandal In Bohemia.” “I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex.“
Enola Holmes’ Moriarty Would Leave An Even Greater Impression Than Irene Adler
Any version of Moriarty must, by nature, be at least the equal to Sherlock Holmes. Moriarty is, after all, the yin to Holmes’ yang, the darkness to his light. It is, therefore, necessary for this new Moriarty – or Miss Mira Troy, to use her real name – to be a woman who leaves Holmes deeply impressed. The fact a woman came so close to besting him would surely leave Holmes taken aback, forcing him to confront his prejudices. It’s just another way Henry Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes is becoming so different to Conan Doyle’s original character.
Sherlock Holmes Stories Could Set Up A Darker Future For Moriarty
The Enola Holmes films are exploring a side of Sherlock Holmes seldom seen in adaptations; his emotional life and his wider relationships. Enola Holmes 2 focuses in on the relationship between Sherlock and his younger sister Enola, who teaches him that he does not need to be so alone – and then sends Dr. Watson to Sherlock’s door in a mid-credits scene. It will be interesting to see whether Sherlock continues to thaw as the franchise continues.
This could potentially set up a much darker future for Cavill’s Sherlock and this new version of Moriarty. “A Scandal In Bohemia” may have insisted Holmes had no romantic feelings for Irene Adler in Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, but readers have long refused to believe this; various adaptations have toyed with the idea of an awkward romance with Adler, including the BBC’s Sherlock. It would be fascinating to see this Moriarty/Irene Adler character return after Enola Holmes 2, perhaps even morphing into a twisted love interest for the Great Detective.
Enola Holmes 2 is streaming now on Netflix.
Next: Where Was Enola Holmes 2 Filmed? Filming Locations Explained