The game is afoot – but a new Holmes is playing.
Netflix’s Enola Holmes introduces Millie Bobby Brown as Sherlock’s younger sister. When her mother disappears one day, Enola sets off on a quest to find her. But she quickly finds herself caught up in another mystery – a deadly one.
Note: this review contains some spoilers for Enola Holmes. I’m not truly giving away the answers to the mysteries here, but I do talk around them a bit. Jump down to the spoiler-free Bottom Line if you’re worried!
Enola Holmes is, in a word, fun.
Even when it isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, it’s amusing and enjoyable. The regular 4th wall breaks where Enola talks to the audience easily rope us into her story. The flashback sequences to show her learning various skills (ranging from useful to bizarre to determinedly un-ladylike) grow the character and keep us intrigued. What other skills is Enola hiding?
Enola’s determination to be something more than what respectable society demands of her helps keep the heart of the story feeling relevant today, even while the setting places it over a hundred years ago. Enola wants to prove herself and forge her own path in life. Even if we can’t relate to her detective skills, we can relate to that.
And even if you’re not a Sherlock Holmes fan, it’s fun to see Enola echo her brother’s skills, take advantage of his reputation, and ultimately outwit him. A sort of underdog story meets classic sibling rivalry, if you will.
Basically, when it comes to Enola Holmes, just hit “play” and enjoy the ride.
While overall Enola Holmes is a fun ride, the ending does feel a bit lackluster. The political subplot runs a bit thin, and the resolution to the two big mysteries doesn’t quite feel satisfying enough.
Though Enola sets off on a quest to find her mother, the “main” mystery quickly becomes finding out who’s trying to kill her new friend Tewksbury (and why). The “who” reveal seems suitably dramatic, but the “why” gets a little shaky. (It seems like the whole “attempted murder” thing could have been avoided completely if the person just allowed Tewksbury to run away like he wanted? Tewksbury didn’t want to be involved in [spoiler] so they could have just let him go, right?)
The resolution to the emotional arc between Enola and her missing mother is similarly mixed. Even though Enola comes to understand what motivated her mother to leave, the reasoning behind her method of doing so is shaky at best.
It wasn’t a bad ending, per say, just a little anticlimactic. Enola Holmes doesn’t do the standard “Sherlock” thing where the audience is left with a bunch of dangling, apparently nonsensical clues that the detective impressively ties together for us at the end. That probably makes the story easier to follow for younger viewers. However, it also deprives Enola of getting the chance to really “wow” us at the end.
Enola Holmes: The Bottom Line
While there are more compelling and complex mysteries out there, Enola Holmes offers a fun journey from beginning to end. Overall it’s enjoyable and worth a casual watch.
Enola Holmes hits Netflix September 23.