A darkness has come to London on Netflix’s new British crime drama and Sherlock Holmes spinoff The Irregulars.
With a ting of supernatural sprinkled into every case, the series embraces a darker, gorier, and bloodier tone than any previous iteration of the Holmes catalog. Heed my warning when I say the show isn’t for those for the faint of heart… or stomach.
But once you get past that, the series, set in Victorian London, draws you in with a mystery that even Sherlock himself struggles to crack.
There are plenty of scary action scenes that will scare the bejesus out of you, but they aren’t there for the sake of cheap thrills. Every moment is meticulously included in the story to propel the plot forward, develop the characters, and lead to some pretty unexpected twists.
The Baker Street Irregulars step into danger to save London from eternal doom, all while trying to figure out whether or not Dr. Watson – who uses their poverty to force them to work for him – is a good or bad guy.
Let’s break down some of the biggest reveals and most jaw-dropping moments of the first season:
Jessie’s an Ipsissimus
In The Irregulars Season 1 Episode 3, as the Baker Street Irregulars spend the night at a “murder house” at the behest of Mycroft Holmes to figure out who killed the Inner Circle’s magus (leader), they learn that Jessie, who has been having nightmares that initially made her think she was going crazy like her mother, Alice, is an Ipsissimus. An Ipsissimus is what’s described as a powerful and true psychic, one who can change the destiny of the world. In the episode, Patricia attempts to steal Jessie’s powers with a spell of infatuation but is unsuccessful thanks to Jessie’s committed friends.
Jessie has the ability to penetrate the minds of the villains and monsters they are investigating. During her dreams, where she’s terrorized by a Bird Man later revealed to be Plague doctors, she gets pulled into a safe space in Louisiana by a God-like man who not only gives her advice about her powers but informs her that a Rip has opened up in London that’s allowing supernatural evils to manifest and take hold.
Bea Kills the evil Tooth Fairy
This didn’t seem to have as big of an impact on Bea as you’d think killing (even someone possessed by demons) should have. However, it was a justified kill because if she hadn’t done it, the Tooth Fairy would’ve killed Billy. In order to save him, Bea had no other option. While it didn’t affect her moving forward, it was a clear indication of their grim new reality.
The Louisana man describes the Rip as the catalyst for the manifestations and deep disturbances. The Rip essentially has opened the door to the other side, and if the spirit world takes hold, London (and the rest of the world) would cease to exist.
The Baker Street Irregulars make it their mission to find the Rip and close it before it fully engulfs London in chaos and destruction, which gets worse and worse as the Rip grows and expands. By The Irregulars Season 1 Episode 8, monsters have taken over the streets of London and no one is safe, not even the nuns at the church. Why does it always have to be the nuns?!
Sherlock Holmes Is an Addict
While the Sherlock Holmes you know may occasionally use addictive drugs to stimulate case-solving, The Irregulars’ Holmes has an addiction that has spiraled out of control and taken hold of his life.
The horrors of his past, the mistakes he’s made, the darkness he’s seen, and the loss he’s endured have all contributed to his self-destruction. He’s defeated and lost, so he finds purpose in his addiction.
Love Triangle Between Billy, Leo, and Bea
No show is complete without a love triangle. Very early on in the series, it’s clear that Billy is into Bea. They’ve been friends since they were young and in the workhouse together, but he’s never made his feelings known. He becomes jealous when Bea develops an interest in newcomer Leo, which leads to plenty of tension between the two men both vying for Bea’s heart. Eventually, Leo wins the battle, and while it pains Billy to see Bea with another man, he doesn’t seem to bring up his suppressed feelings again… for now.
Leo’s Secret Identity and Disease
Leo is Prince of England (think old-school Prince William), but he doesn’t reveal that to the Baker Street Crew upon meeting them. Leo feigns poverty because, for most of his life, he has been trapped in the palace due to his life-threatening disease. Leo suffers from hemophilia, a medical condition that allows for easy blood clotting causing the sufferer to bleed severely from the slightest injury. He may have the life, but he has no life.
When he meets Bea and her friends, he finally feels as though he fits in somewhere. He enjoys the adventures and quickly puts his book smarts to use by becoming the “brains” of the operation. But he continues to keep his identity a secret because he fears that if they knew the truth, they’d resent him and think differently of him.
Bea Finds Out Who Leo Really Is
Of course, Bea eventually finds out about Leo’s identity. It was inevitable. Leo is betrayed by his closest confidant, his palace aide, Daimier, who becomes desperate when his attempts to lure Leo back to the palace before his mother realizes that he’s missing are unsuccessful.
When Leo stands his ground and refuses to return, Daimier confronts Bea and tells her the truth knowing that she’ll turn her back on the prince. Bea already has a hard time trusting people because of her past experiences, so she doesn’t take well to Leo’s lying.
However, after Billy gets arrested for murder, Spike reaches out to Leo for help. In the final episode, Leo informs Bea that he must leave on a trip to Europe with a potential bride Helena as it’s his duty as Prince of England to marry. When Bea tells him he doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do, he admits that he promised his mother in exchange for the palace’s help in freeing Billy. He sacrificed his ultimate love to help their mutual friend, and that not only redeems Leo in Bea’s eyes, but it also tells you everything you need to know about the kind of person Leo is.
With Leo out of the picture, will Billy and Bea pursue their feelings for each other if season 2 becomes a reality?
Billy Finds Out the Truth About His Parents
Billy, like most everyone on Baker Street, is haunted by his past, particularly his time spent in the workhouses. He confronts his past when he spots Vic, the master at the workhouse. Vic was responsible for beating up a young Bea, and Billy wants revenge as he feels guilty that he wasn’t able to do anything to help her when they were younger.
He breaks into Vic’s house, who remembers Billy and is more than happy to continue kicking him while he’s down by informing him that everything he’s ever believed about his parents was a lie. His father didn’t die in the war — they never knew who his father was because his mother was a prostitute.
When Billy runs into Vic a second time on the street, the altercation turns violent when Billy is provoked into throwing a punch that accidentally kills him. Poor Billy doesn’t know his own strength. In those days, the law doesn’t err on Billy’s side, so instead of the punch being considered self-defense, Billy is thrown into jail for murder.
As previously mentioned, Leo helps so that Billy is able to freely walk to gloomy streets of London again.
Holmes’ Connection to Alice
Initially, the Baker Street crew doesn’t trust Dr. Watson one bit. And for good reason – he leverages their poverty against them to make them work his cases. He’s not upfront about anything, including the fact that he knew Bea and Jessie’s mother, Alice.
Bea pursues the truth about her mother, who she knows was gifted like Jessie, and eventually pieces it all together: Alice and Sherlock were in love. She successfully finds him passed out on her mother’s grave and forces him to sober up as she presses for answers. Eventually, it’s revealed that he’s Jessie’s biological father, but once Alice died, he couldn’t find it in himself to take care of the girls, which is why they ended up in workhouses.
Watson opened the first RIP
In a twisted case, the Baker Street gang pursues a woman named Edith who is stealing body parts from the infirmary to revive her late husband, Sammy. In her desperate attempt to bring him back to life, she’s basically creating a monster. While paying her a visit, they find Dr. Watson tied up in a room and learn that she came to him for help 15 years ago and showed him a relic that she thought could save her husband.
Watson took the relic to “exam it” and promised to return it, but he never did. Instead, he tried to use it to connect to the other side to impress Holmes, which is when he accidentally opened the first Rip. He never told Holmes the truth, but when they finally went to close the Rip, Alice was sucked in. Instead of saving her, Watson saved Holmes because he’s always loved him.
The Linen Man Is Bad News
Whenever Jessie has the nightmares that take her to catacombs where she sees dead people and Plague doctors, she gets pulled out to a nice and serene place in Louisana by a man who is referred to as The Linen Man. Throughout her journey, he provides her with advice on how to control being an Ipssissimus and explains how the Rip works. At one point, he reveals that he’s on a ship making his way to London to help her.
Of course, if you’re an avid TV watcher, you’re likely skeptical of any stranger who offers to help without getting anything in return.
Upon his arrival in London, the Linen Man reveals that Jessie isn’t strong enough to do what needs to be done and admits that he’s not trying to close the rip, he wants to harness his powers and become godlike.
Moral of the story: never trust anyone who can get into your mind and use your fears against you.
Who Is Behind the Second Rip?
After confronting the Linen Man and killing him, Jessie realizes that deep down she’s always known who opened the second Rip: her mother, Alice. This explains why Sherlock left with the Linen Man and helped him find the location of the Rip.
It’s a heartfelt reunion once Alice emerges from the Rip, but it’s short-lived as Jessie realizes that Alice can’t stay in their world. When Bea and Sherlock object, Jessie helps Bea remember that they had some pretty good times together. If they let their mother stay, London will be overrun by monsters and cease to exist as it’ll simply turn into a kind of purgatory.
Bea eventually sees the light and agrees with Jessie that Alice has to go back.
Sherlock’s Ultimate Sacrifice
As Jessie began to close the rip, Alice was sucked back into the other side. Sherlock, who was less of a man without Alice, decided to jump in after her. Watson grabbed him to keep him from getting sucked in, but as the Rip began pulling in Jessie, Bea begged Watson to do the right thing. Despite his love for Sherlock, he let him go and helped save Jessie.
A Breakdown of The Mysteries
“An Unkindness” – Ravens are kidnapping babies because a man used a spirit board to try to bring back his late child, who passed away with his wife after giving birth.
“The Ghosts of 221B”– In this retelling of the tooth fairy, you don’t want to lose your baby teeth. Children’s teeth are getting pulled out by an evil Tooth Fairy who wants revenge on the Duke of Winchester as she blames him for her father’s suicide.
“Ipsissimus” – We meet Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s brother, a member of the Golden Dawn. When the magus of the cult-like underground society is murdered, he asks the Beaker Street kids to investigate. When they arrive at the “murder house,” they learn that Patricia is using dark magic to keep them all trapped in order to get her hands on Jessie and steal her psychic abilities and eventually, channel the power of the Rip. This is the last we see of Mycroft, which is a bummer because he could’ve contributed a lot more to the storyline.
“Both the Needle and the Knife” – This episode may be one of the more disturbing ones as the opening scene finds a man removing a face. Jessie is asked to assist Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade in the case, and though he benefits from her abilities, he’s not a fan of the supernatural and deems her an abomination. Jessie’s powers lead them to a woman named Clara, who was taken advantage of by the men that she’s now killing. After one of the men gives her syphilis, thus taking away her ability to have kids, she gets revenge by eventually stealing the pub owner’s face and making his family her own. Jessie confronts her and when Clara promises to never kill again, she lets her go.
“Students of the Unhallowed Arts” – We finally meet Sherlock, or, well, a shell of what used to be Sherlock. The episode serves as an informational one that allows the rest of the season to unfold. Sherlock tells Bea how the original Irregulars — Alice, Sherlock, and Watson — came to be, how their story unfolded, and how it ended tragically. Sherlock also admits that he couldn’t crack the Case of the Collector, a person who was stealing body parts.
“Hieracium Snowdoniense” – Nope, not a spell but a plant that the plant lady was using to steal limbs to resuscitate her barely-alive husband. The monstrosity she created 15-years later blames her for preventing him from finding peace, so he immediately kills her and then himself. The Baker Street kids also learn all about Watson’s involvement in the first Rip as Jessie learns the truth about the Linen Man.
“The Ecstacy of Death” – Chaos has taken over London as the Rip continues to widen. The Linen Man reveals more of his plans to Jessie including marrying her off to his son to create more Ipssissimus’. The Baker Street crew, along with Sherlock and Watson plan to trap the Linen Man to get the location of the Rip, but he manages to convince Sherlock to free him and join him.
“The Ecstacy of Life” – The conclusion of season 1 brings back and kills Alice in one fell swoop. It also marks the end of Sherlock, which is kind of a bummer. Both Watson and Bea suffer the loss of a loved one, which finally gives them common ground. While the darkness that took hold of London is gone, moving on is going to be the hardest part.
While it’s unclear if The Irregulars will see a second season, or what that second season would entail, there’s definitely a marketplace for mystery gore set in the 19th century.
What did you think of the series?
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