Both the Needle and the Knife
Episode 4 of The Irregulars begins with an ominous attack as blood splashes across the ground. This deranged butcher rambles on about skin, taking the face right from their victim.
Night turns to day and Leo and the others arrive at the graveyard to pay their respects to Bea and Jessie’s Mother, Alice. Watson seems to be the key to what happened to her, as the kids head out to investigate. Before they do though, Leo lavishes praise on Bea as this love triangle continues to bubble over.
The bells starts tolling though, prompting Leo to leave. Bea is not happy, believing he’s running away as she eventually shuts the door in his face.
Meanwhile, Jessie continues to experience nightmares, rocking up in front of Louisiana with that bizarre Linen Man again. Apparently he too is an Ipsissimus and wants Jessie’s help. However, before she can hear what he has to say, she pulls away and bolts upright back in London.
In the morning, the kids head to Baker Street for their next assignment. They’re obvious wary of Watson as he tells them about the face-remover. David Oliver is the man responsible for this but there’s a problem. Essentially, the murderer was found murdered ten days before the murder actually took place. This basically means that whoever this person is, they seem to be shifting faces to stay in the shadows.
A man named Lestrade is in charge of this investigation and he’s requested Jessie to show and help. Bea however, is not doing anything until she gets some answers. Bea charges upstairs and pushes open Sherlock’s door. Only, the bedroom is completely empty. Watson follows though and warns them to stay away; if they go near Sherlock he’ll crush them all, forcing the kids out.
Spike, Billy and Jessie arrive to see Lestrade. He is not happy with this arrangement, but because of Jessie’s dark powers he’s begrudgingly forced to keep her around.
As Jessie walks away, she brushes past the arm of a random bystander and sees inside their memories. Something doesn’t quite add up here though as the memories distort to show three men taking a young girl upstairs.
This girl, Clara, is actually pregnant and it seems like she’s the one who’s switching faces in order to exact revenge. Just to back this theory up, Clara also has ties to the taxidermy shop too.
So, it’s on to the taxidermy shop next where the kids go hunting for Clara. They don’t find the girl but they do happen to find the heads of various victims, including the man outside Jessie brushed past. Mr Dixon, the man living there, claims not to know what’s happening but Lestrade remains on his guard.
Jessie eventually does find Clara though when she heads down to the basement again. Only, she isn’t able to question her before the girl skips away undetected. When she does, Lestrade believes Jessie let her leave on purpose because she too is a monster.
Sitting alone outside, Spike offers up some encouraging words to Jessie, claiming she’s always been special. This is just enough for her to rise up and piece together the clues. Clara is not just going to exact revenge, she’s also going to take a family for her own as well, taking back what she’s lost thanks to contracting syphilis.
Lestrade heads off alone while Clara, taking John’s face and identity, sits with the landlord, Taylor. She accuses him of being the culprit and threatens to come at him with a knife.
While the team work, Bea goes on her own hunt for Sherlock Holmes. Specifically, this brings her to Mrs Hudson where she enquires about Baker Street. This breadcrumb trail does eventually bring her to the Limehouse, where Bea finds Watson lurking about asking questions. She calls him out for being with the police before she herself is forced to run.
Bea learns a valuable lesson about trust that evening as her search brings her straight to a letter written by Dr Watson himself. On the back of this failed game, she’s forced to give up this line of work and never set foot in the house again.
At the same time, Leo is forced to attend the palace party that night. He starts growing closer to one of the girls there called Eleanor. She gives him drugs to take and requests he take her somewhere more private while he’s under the influence. Eventually he decides to turn away from her, rejecting the girl’s advances. He’s made his mind up and wants Bea. In order to fulfill that wish though, he’s going to need to leave the palace.
With everything coming unraveled for Clara, Jessie eventually finds herself face to face with the girl herself. Clara removes her face and tells her she hates herself, bemoaning how she’s a freak. Jessie is obviously aware of how she’s feeling and convinces Clara to let her see how she obtained her powers. It turns out she made a deal with that strange plague doctor from before.
On the back of this, Jessie lets Clara go. As she rushes out into the forest, Jessie contemplates what she’s just seen, believing that whatever this is it’s linked to the Rip. As she starts to understand what’s happening, Bea heads to the graveyard and finds Sherlock Holmes himself, lying on the floor.
The Episode Review
The Irregulars bows out with a much-improved episode this time around, one that actually allows for a slight shift in dynamic with the group. Seeing more of Leo is a nice touch, especially when we see his plight and turning away from palace affairs. Sure, it may be a little cliched but it’s at least something when it comes to fleshing these people out.
Meanwhile, Bea is sidelined while she hunts for Sherlock Holmes, allowing Jessie to take the limelight of this episode. This changed focus works well too, especially given the case involving Clara is very similar to what she herself is going through. This allows for a more personal connection to bleed through.
It’s not perfect, and a lot of what’s happening here is being waved away as magic without much explanation beyond that. However, there’s undeniably some intriguing ideas and the growing threat of this plague doctor, along with the Rip and distorted Sherlock Holmes lore, actually works quite well as a sort of alt-reality.
Despite some on-the-nose dialogue, there’s definitely enough here to stick with for the time being.