As we reach past the halfway mark, “Chapter Five: Students of the Unhallowed Arts” brings a chapter of context. It discusses the story of Sherlock Holmes and Alice and the resounding impact their relationship had.
This recap of Netflix’s The Irregulars season 1, episode 5, “Chapter Five: Students of the Unhallowed Arts”, contains spoilers.
After a brief introduction to Sherlock Holmes in the last chapter, episode 5 opens with an idea of what he’s like in this world.
Episode 5 opens up with Patricia Coleman Jones facing a group of people who look like they want to hurt her. John Watson asks her to follow him, and he brings her to safety. Alice touches one of the people and tells Watson that they need to get to Sherlock.
The scene then flits to a West End performance; a singer dedicates it to the performers who have been hurt recently. As she sings, the audience seems absorbed by her. The singer asks Sherlock Holmes to join her on the stage and asks him to take his life. Sherlock Holmes pretends to go along with it, and John Watson and Alice turn up. The audience applauds and admires Sherlock Holmes’ stagemanship. The scene then flits to the present, with Bea carrying a drunk Sherlock and getting him on a bed.
Bea cares for Sherlock and wants information
In true Bea fashion, she kicks into action once she has an objective — the lead character is powerful even when sharing the screen with Sherlock.
Sherlock Holmes is thankful for Bea’s help, but she doesn’t care; she wants information — that’s it. She isn’t impressed by his intellect.
Bea tries again with Sherlock; he tells her that he was the youngest consultant at Scotland Yard, and that’s when he bumped into John Watson — a darkness came to London, and they needed help. A flashback shows Sherlock Holmes and John Watson needing help as they are dealing with special crimes. And that’s where Alice comes into it — it’s apparent she’s gifted.
Experiences of the workhouse
Throughout the series, there’s been an emotional tie between the characters and the workhouse. Episode 5 brings us a snippet to one of those experiences. While Billy is attempting to chat up some women, he notices an eery event in an alleyway. Spike checks on him, and he claims to be okay. When they sit down for a drink, Billy explains he bumped into Vic Collins from the workhouse — he explains that the man used to beat him unconscious. Billy follows Vic Collins in the streets. Spike finds him and tells him not to do anything. Billy gets emotional and tells Spike that the experiences he described didn’t happen to him but was inflicted on Bea.
Sherlock Holmes and Alice loved each other
The last episode hinted at a romance; The Irregulars season 1, episode 5 confirms Bea’s instincts.
The flashbacks continue; Sherlock Holmes, Alice and John Watson became a force to be reckoned with, all attempting to get matching tattoos and calling themselves “The Irregulars”. Sherlock takes a liking for Alice, but they have a strange conversation — she wants to know if Sherlock gets bored by explaining how brilliant he is and calls him arrogant; she doesn’t believe these events are linear and logical. Sherlock questions what he has to lose, and Alice gets intensely close to him, and they kiss — John Watson finds them in each other’s arms. Sherlock Holmes tells Bea that Alice used to have nightmares.
Jessie digs deeper into her nightmares
There’s a stronger link now between Alice’s experiences and Jessie’s, so there’s more context. As for nightmares, Jessie is venturing down the dark tunnels with purpose in episode 5 in order to get closer to the truth regarding the Rip. She’s mobbed by corpses. She ends up sleepwalking and wakes up. Bea comforts her and tells her that the nightmares she’s having are like her mother’s.
Their last case
Sherlock Holmes explains how Alice’s nightmares got worse due to the Rip opening. She hated going to sleep. Cases got worse. Alice believed their last case was linked to John Watson. There was tension amongst them. “The Irregulars” met men that had lost their limbs — it was called “The Case of the Collector”. Sherlock Holmes looked into Snowdonia Hawkweed from Northern Wales — he reckons “The Case of the Collector” brought it into London for their crimes. Sherlock didn’t believe he could be wrong and was confused when it didn’t lead to an answer.
Bea wants more answers from Sherlock Holmes, but he wants more drugs to help take the edge off, but she tells him to sober up.
Alice tells Sherlock that family is more important
As we’ve realised so far, Bea ain’t stupid, so she brings drugs as a bargaining chip. She agrees that with more information, she’ll give him drugs — she feeds off his addiction. Flashbacks show Sherlock staying by Alice’s side; she went through painful labour, and they had a baby…Jessie. At this point, Jessie walks in on the story and wants to know what her mother saw in her nightmares. Sherlock explains that she saw “Executioners and triangles from the 17th century”. Alice asked Sherlock if they could leave London, but he didn’t want to — he wanted to save the world. Alice was dismayed that it’s about “The Myth of Sherlock Holmes”. She reminds him that he has a family now.
Alice and the Rip
And then episode 5 explains what really happened to Alice, in tragic consequences; it brings a realisation to Bea and Jessie, who had to endure a difficult life.
Sherlock told John Watson that he’s leaving for Suffolk with Alice, but John Watson doesn’t want him to leave and says he may have an answer to the Rip. The conversation of “triangles” leads to Tyburn Gallows; it was in the shape of a triangle so they could hang more people on its beams. John Watson wants Alice for the mission, and Sherlock Holmes had no choice but to use her. Alice tells Sherlock that he doesn’t need to prove how brilliant he is as they headed towards the Rip.
Alice touched the Rip, and it took her, surged with energy. Sherlock explains that he tried to save her, but then she was gone, and so was the Rip. In the present, Bea is disgusted at Sherlock for making her and Jessie believe Alice drowned while they endured life in the workhouse. Sherlock wonders how John Watson was graced with insight suddenly and knew where the Rip was. Bea then reveals the opium is actually sugar before leaving Sherlock in his room. Bea absolutely fooled him.
Billy learns his parents are not special
Billy confronts Vic Collins; the man tells him that his parents aren’t who he thinks they are. Vic continues, telling Billy that his mother was a prostitute and that he wasn’t the first of her kids that they took in. Vic remembers his name and tells him to leave his house.
Bea agrees with Sherlock Holmes on one thing while talking to Jessie about it; that there’s something not right with John Watson. Recent experiences have allowed Bea and Jessie to get closer to each other. Bea gives Sherlock a cup of tea again, and he admits that he loved her mother. Sherlock explains that his last decade has been a living hell, but he’d do another 100 years with Alice.
Bea visits an injured Leopold and asks him to take his top off so she can see his body. She sees the bruises and then kisses him. She asks him not to hide his body anymore. Leopold agrees to “no more hiding”.
As we reach past the halfway mark, The Irregulars season 1, episode 5 brings a chapter of context. It discusses the story of Sherlock Holmes and Alice and the resounding impact their relationship had. This is a useful chapter and helps spur on the rest of the story.