Forget Benedict Cumberbatch, 2021 is bringing a fresh Sherlock Holmes story to life with Netflix's The Irregulars. Unlike the BBC's beloved Sherlock, this new supernatural drama ditches the detective — for the most part — instead focusing on the Irregulars, a group of teens who live on the streets of Victorian London. Their mission, should they choose to accept it (they do), is to help Dr. Watson (Royce Pierreson) investigate paranormal activity. In other words, The Irregulars is the supernatural period teen drama you've been waiting for.
The Irregulars is loosely based on Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes books, which did feature a group of homeless kids who helped Sherlock in his investigation, known as the Baker Street Irregulars. (In BBC's Sherlock, he just called them his "homeless network.") But besides Sherlock (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) and Dr. Watson, most of the main character are new. This allowed creator Tom Bidwell to add in women to the group, including their young leader Bea (Thaddea Graham). "We set out with that intention, why can't they go into what is predominantly a man's world and kick a bit of ass?" Bidwell told Entertainment Weekly. And kick ass they sure do.
Episode 1: "Chapter One: An Unkindness In London"
Meet The Irregulars
When we first meet the Irregulars, they’re not working for Sherlock and Watson yet. They’re street kids who live underground near Sherlock’s office at 221b Baker Street. There’s Jessie (Darci Shaw), who appears to have some kind of connection to the supernatural, and Bea, her older sister and the ringleader of the group. She’s got one mission, and one mission only: to keep her sister and their friends/roommates Billy (Jojo Macari) and Spike (McKell David) safe. Billy, meanwhile, is a little reckless — he tries to compete in an underground fighting ring to earn some much-needed rent money — and Spike is a resourceful fibber who can talk himself out of any sticky situation.
The first episode opens with Jessie walking through dark tunnels, a thick fog surrounding her, and lights move around her, leading her to a pile of black skeletons. A dark figure emerges from the pile, wearing black leather and a freaky plague doctor mask. Before he can hurt her, she wakes up. It was just a nightmare, or that’s what they’re telling themselves. Bea is clearly worried, but Jessie is more than happy to pretend everything is normal the next morning. It’s Bea’s 17th birthday, and she wants to celebrate.
Meanwhile, across town, and seemingly in a different world entirely, Leopold (Harrison Osterfield) is celebrating his birthday alone. He’s a royal, though his exact title is unclear, and he longs to venture outside the palace walls. It’s the one thing he wants for his birthday, he tells his footman, Daimler (Edward Hogg). He gets his wish, only his excursion into London is to be experienced from the safety of a fancy carriage. He’s a hemophiliac and not allowed out on the streets, no matter what.
That night, Jessie walks into the street, as if in a trance, seeing the dark figure — which she calls “The Dark Thing” — on the sidewalk. She’s so consumed by it, she doesn’t notice she’s stopped in the middle of the road, and narrowly escapes being trampled by Leopold’s carriage. Bea saves her, but Daimler is furious and exits the carriage threatening to beat Jessie. Bea confronts him, and Daimler is driven back into the carriage. And just like that, Leopold is in love.
Now that the group of teens has been introduced, it's time to get to the truly juicy stuff: the mystery of the week (or the hour).
The Big Bad
Later that night, Dr. Watson corners Bea and makes her an offer: help him and his “business partner” investigate the disappearances of four newborns. The most recent abduction is a curious case, he says, as the child was taken from its locked room in the middle of the night, with only its older sister, Susan Shipley, as a witness; a feather on the floor the only clue. Desperate to get money to help her sister, Bea accepts the offer, and the very next day enrolls Billy and Spike to help. They’re quick to find Susan, but just as she’s telling them what happened, a whole group of ravens attack. Bea, Billy, and Spike emerge unscathed, but Susan is dead, her eyes gouged out.
The next day, Bea gets more information from Watson and refocuses her investigation on the missing babies with the help of Leo. (Leopold has managed to run away from the palace to visit London as a commoner and joins up with Bea as "Leo," lying to her about his class and occupation.) Together, they determine that all the missing babies were born on the same day, which leads them to Arthur, a man whose child was stillborn on that very same day and who they believe has the ability to control the birds. He's been using the ravens to kidnap the children, just as he used them to silence Susan. Arthur seems to be the man from Jessie's dreams — he wears a similar mask and black getup — and the crew almost catches him in the street, but he disappears with the help of his birds.
As Billy, Bea, and Leo go track Arthur down, Spike takes Jessie home, where Jessie has another nightmare. She's being chocked by Arthur when suddenly she is transported to a swamp in Louisiana. A man dressed in all white, credited as the Linen Man (Clarke Peters), meets her there. He tells her he's not a killer, and was able to pull her from her dream. He tells her that she has powers, and that she must find out for him how Arthur gained the magical ability to control the birds. “What you thought was madness is power," he tells her before sending her home to wake up.
Jamie and Spike rush to meet up with Billy, Bea, and Leo at the aviary where Arthur has been hiding all the newborns, but the confrontation has already begun. Driven by grief, Arthur is convinced that one of these babies must be his, and he calls on all the birds of London to come to him and hurt the Irregulars. Before it can go too far, Jamie touches him, entering his mind and forcing him to face the fact that his child is dead. When she asks him where he got his powers, he reveals that he doesn't know. He asked his dead wife for help finding their child one night using an Ouija board, and the power just flowed through him from the board.
With the big bad appeased and the babies recovered, the crew leaves with a job well done. But Bea senses something greater is going on. She confronts Watson, interrupting what appears to be a fight between the doctor and Sherlock himself (we don't see the detective yet), and asks him what he knows about her sister. Watson tells her that her sister is special, an angel among demons. But that's all he'll say.
A few other games are afoot:
There's a love triangle brewing between Billy, Bea, and Leo. Billy and Bea share a few close moments — he even calls her "Bumble" — and Billy definitely seems jealous when Leo enters the picture.
Whatever's going on with Jessie seems to have also happened to her mother, Alice Cook. In the episode, Bea goes to visit her grave and tells a nun that she's worried for Jessie, noting that her mother also had nightmares.
Ep. 2: “Chapter Two: The Ghosts of 221B”
Despite having sworn off working with Watson, Bea finds herself on the receiving end of an offer she can't refuse when the detective bails her out of jail. (Money’s tight, and she was caught stealing a necklace from a street vendor.) In return for his generosity, he wants Bea to look into a new mystery: “Children’s teeth are being stolen.”
Two children have woken up with all their teeth torn out, and he needs Bea and her friends to find out why. The crew reluctantly agrees, though Spike is hesitant to go investigate with them, and so is given another task: to break into 221b Baker Street and find out everything he can about Watson and his “business partner.”
Meanwhile, Leo, who manages to leave the palace with a little help from his sister, joins them, but Bea isn’t happy to see him. Leo left them suddenly in the middle of their confrontation with Arthur, and she is not impressed. So, she sticks him with Billy to interview the children and pairs off with Jessie to investigate the area in search for a mysterious white ghost lady spotted at both crime scenes.
The Tooth Fairy
Along the course of their investigation, Jessie sees a little boy identical to one of the victims — only he has all his teeth — wandering around. She’s drawn to him and follows him to an abandoned building, as one does. A sign on the ground reads “David Gates Dentistry, Painless Tooth Extraction, End Your Suffering.” There, she finds a woman (Sheila Atim) burying something in the garden. When she asks about the strange things happening in the neighborhood, the woman invites her in, only to turn around and knock her out using a kind of magical anesthesia breath. (Because she’s a dentist — get it?) Jessie wakes up tied to a chair, with the mysterious woman getting ready to rip her teeth out. Luckily, Bea gets there just in time, saves Jessie, and they tie the woman to the chair for questioning. After they’ve secured her, Bea investigates and finds an Ouija board in the back room — the same kind of Ouija board that Arthur used to get his powers to control the birds in episode 1. It’s also exactly like the one Spike finds in Sherlock’s apartment at 221b Baker street. More on that later.
The woman, aka the Tooth Fairy, isn’t talking, so Jessie decides to use her powers to enter her mind, but the woman’s magic is powerful. Jessie gets a glimpse of the woman’s memories, sees that her father died by suicide, prompting her to use an Ouija board to connect to him and ask for help. The Ouija board gave her powers, just like Arthur, but still there’s no identifiable source, and before Jessie can ask what her plan is, the Tooth Fairy thrusts into Jessie’s mind instead, and we get a glimpse of what it was like for her and Bea as little orphan girls in the workhouse. Shaken, Jessie leaves Bea to watch the Tooth Fairy and goes to fetch Billy and Leo.
The boys, meanwhile, have had some luck talking to the victims, but not much. The little girl whose teeth were stolen doesn’t say anything, but her mother tells them that she lost her last baby tooth, so the woman who stole her teeth stole her entire adult set. She’ll have to wear dentures for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, they have less luck with the boy. His father refuses to let them talk to him because of Billy’s obvious low status. Billy, quick to anger, nearly challenges him to a fight, but backs off when the father declares that he’s an army vet and personal bodyguard to the Duke of Winchester.
When Jessie brings them to the abandoned Dentist’s office, they see something growing in the garden. A set of teeth are growing into a skeleton in the ground. A few feet away a fully formed body emerges from the ground, identical to the little girl whose teeth were stolen. The Tooth Fairy is using teeth to create clones, but why? Together, Bea, Jessie, Leo, and Billy realize that she’s going after the man she blames for the death of her father: The Duke of Winchester, who just so happens to be hosting a variety show at the little girl’s place of work. With the two children, the Tooth Fairy has created two potential assassins who will be able to get close to the Duke without raising suspicion. Billy heads to the variety show to try to stop them, while the rest of the team stays back in an attempt to convince the Tooth Fairy not to go through with her plan.
Billy succeeds in stopping the cloned children from hurting the Duke, but it’s not enough. The Tooth Fairy had another skeleton growing in the garden, remember? This one not of a child, but of an adult — the Duke’s own wife. The clone manages to stab the Duke once in the shoulder, but Billy is able to stop her from doing any more damage. Unfortunately, his attempts to save the Duke put him in the Tooth Fairy’s way, and she turns on him with the clone. He’s not strong enough to defeat her, and at the Dentist’s office, it’s clear to Bea, Jessie, and Leo that they have to stop the woman before she kills their friend. So, Bea does the only thing she can do: she kills her. The clones immediately die, the Duke and Billy are saved. But Bea has just crossed a line she can never go back from, and despite Leo and Jessie’s assurances that she had no other choice, it’s clearly going to haunt her.
The Golden Dawn
Back home later that night, Spike tells the crew what he found at 221b Baker street: a letter addressed to John Watson from the Golden Dawn, and an Ouija board. And Jessie has another dream about the dark plague doctor in the tunnels (meaning it wasn’t Arthur at all, but another dark presence). Once again, before the dark figure can hurt her, she’s transported to Louisiana by the Linen Man. He puts a magic mark on her that he says will allow her to leave her nightmares on her own, and tells her that he fears there has been a Rip between the spirit world and the world of the living. The more people who commune with the dead and get powers from the other side, he warns, the bigger the Rip will become, until their world ceases to exist.
Watson has already proven himself unwilling to tell the crew what’s really going on, so, after hearing about Jessie’s dream, Bea decides to go on her own investigation. She heads straight for the Golden Dawn, which appears to be a kind of secret society. There, she’s led into the office of a man who recognizes her immediately and introduces himself as Mycroft Holmes (Jonjo O’Neill), or, as the fans know him, Sherlock’s brother.
As for the other mysteries surrounding Bea and the Irregulars, it’s revealed in this episode that Bea and Jessie’s mom died when they were young after she “went crazy” and walked straight into a river during one of her sleepwalking episodes. Clearly, there’s more to this than a case of mental illness.
The love triangle between Bea, Billy, and Leo continues. Billy and Leo bonded slightly during the investigation, and Leo even revealed to Billy that he is easily injured — his knee was inflamed and he collapsed while with him. Leo begged Billy not to tell anyone of his health problems, and Billy agreed. It looked like the two had maybe called a truce, until the end of the episode when Leo continued to make his intentions towards Bea clear, telling Billy that she “deserved more” than the life she’s living now. It’s obvious that Billy is starting to see that Leo is lying about his past. They all know that Leo is well off, not a street kid like them, but Bea and Jessie don’t question him otherwise. Billy, however, is getting more suspicious that Leo might not just be upper class, but the upper class.
Ep. 3 “Chapter Three: Ipsissimus”
Picking up right where we left off with Mycroft and Bea, episode 3 begins with a new proposition. Mycroft wants Bea and her crew to help him investigate the murder of Richard Wynn, formerly the leader of his London chapter of the Golden Dawn, an organization dedicated to the paranormal. Richard was found dead, his body staged to resemble the Magician Tarot card, only upside down, and Mycroft believes that the guilty party is someone else in their Golden Dawn chapter who wanted the leadership position for himself.
The group’s top tier, the Inner Circle, is meeting this weekend at the Holmes estate, and he invites Bea, Jessie, and the others over to investigate. Bea and Jessie will pretend to be Mycroft’s nieces, while Leo, Billy, and Spike will be hired hands. He tells Bea that, should they take the job, he’ll pay her double Watson’s usual fee and tell her anything she wants to know about the mysterious doctor. She agrees.
At the Holmes estate, Bea and Jessie are introduced to the five suspects, all members of the Golden Dawn — Alan Crawley, RP Breakwater, Dion Cross, Gustav Felkin, and Patricia Coleman Jones. They spy on the group as they vote to elect a new leader and perform a very creepy ritual involving Mycroft naked wearing an animal skull on his head meant to symbolize the devil. (Yes, they all seem like potential murderers.) Gustav Felkin is elected the new leader, but Bea and Jessie aren’t convinced he’s the killer, and later that night, they’re proven right when Patricia finds Gustav’s body in the drawing room.
Gustav, like Richard, has been staged to look like a tarot card, this time the Eight of Swords, which, according to Leo and his infinite knowledge, means “captivity and imprisonment.” Convinced that whatever’s happening is not supernatural, and fully freaked out by the murder they all just witnessed, Bea makes an executive decision and the crew decides to quit the job. The only problem is, they can’t leave the estate. They walk away from the house, only for it to materialize in front of them. The dead body’s staging has cast a spell of captivity, preventing anyone from leaving the grounds. Whoever is responsible for the murders isn’t finished.
Back at the estate, Bea and Jessie reveal to the other guests that they are investigators, and set a new plan of attack. Bea and Billy will interrogate the suspects while Jessie and Spike speak with Alan, an apparent tarot specialist, to see if they can learn anything about the cards. As for Leo, he’s got a special mission of his own. Earlier in the day, Spike managed to sweet talk the cook, Mrs. Brown, into telling him about Sherlock’s den in the attic, where she last saw him. She says that he entered his den, seemingly drunk or haunted (or both), and hid something in there. She doesn’t know what, but, before Gustav’s body was found, the boys find a lockbox in Sherlock’s den. Now that they’re all stuck in the house, it’s Leo’s job to figure out the riddle on the box and open it. Working with Bea, they find the answer and open the box to find Sherlock’s Grimoire. (A grimoire is a book of spells and magical tidbits, a kind of supernatural diary.)
Jessie the Ipsissimus
The murderer’s plan becomes clearer when Jessie reaches for Alan’s cards and accidentally touches him, connecting into his mind, and seeing that he stole his deck from his dying uncle. The premonition is shocking, and causes him and Dion to dub her an “Ipsissimus.” According to them, Jessie is a “true psychic” with untold powers. Jessie runs away before they can bombard her with any more information — or psychic demands — and when Bea finds out, she realizes that this entire thing has been a set up, not for the Inner Circle, but for Jessie.
Looking for Jessie, Bea, Leo, Billy, and Spike find Dion and R.P. dead in their room, set up like the Lovers card to cast a spell of infatuation. At first, they think Mycroft is responsible, but then they realize that it’s actually Patricia. It turns out, she’s been bribing Mrs. Brown for information on the Holmes family, found out about Jessie’s existence through her and plotted this entire thing. Now, she has Jessie under her spell and plans to force Jessie to willingly kill herself and pass her powers onto her. With some help from Alan and Mycroft, the Irregulars are able to save Jessie, and Patricia ends up getting hit by her own magical lightning, resulting in her death. RIP.
Later, as the Irregulars are getting ready to leave, Mycroft pays Bea in full and gives her a warning about Watson. He tells the group that he is actually working for the government, investigating these paranormal groups. He recruited Sherlock to help him, only to see his brother become more and more obsessed with the supernatural, leading him down a dark path. He believes there was a Rip before, 15 years ago, and Sherlock, somehow, became warped by it. He blames Watson for leading Sherlock down this path, and hints that it’s the doctor himself who might be behind the new Rip between the worlds.
Before getting into the last scene, we have to rewind a little bit. During their investigation, Billy and Leo continued to butt heads, with Leo finally confronting Billy and challenging him to tell Bea that he loves her. When Billy and Bea are alone, waiting to interrogate the suspects, he almost does, telling her how much he likes her smile and that he wants their lives to have more happiness, but he’s eventually thrown off when she says they’re like family. Later that night, he walks in on Bea and Leo trying to open the lockbox and sees them laughing together. All he wants is for Bea to be happy. So, after the investigation is over, he leaves Bea and Leo alone in their underground home, telling her that he’s going to see a girl he likes. He’s essentially taking himself out of the equation. And he’s definitely going to live to regret it.
After Billy leaves, Bea decides to take her sister’s advice and test the waters with Leo. He’s reading the Grimoire on his makeshift bed of blankets, and when he invites her to sit with him, she does. Together under the covers, Leo tells Bea that the Grimoire hasn’t revealed much, but there is a new lead. A mysterious “A” pops up throughout the book as someone who helped guide Sherlock into the world of the supernatural, and it’s only when they turn the last page together that they discover that “A” was Alice Cook, Bea and Jessie’s mom.
Ep. 4: “Chapter Four: Both the Needle and the Knife”
Eager to find out more about their mother’s relationship with Sherlock and Watson, Bea and Jessie decide that they aren’t going to confront Watson just yet. Instead, the next time Watson requires their presence at 221b Baker Street to offer them another case, Bea demands to meet Sherlock in person. Watson refuses, so Bea does what anyone would do: she runs through the apartment and into Sherlock’s room to find him. Sherlock isn’t there, much to Watson’s surprise, and the girls leave with only a case and a threat from Watson: if she goes after Sherlock, he’ll crush her and all her friends.
The Big Bad
Jessie’s special abilities have been specifically requested by the London police to help solve a peculiar case: the police saw a man cut another man’s face off. The only problem? The man they saw commit the crime died weeks earlier, also with his face cut off. Inspector Lestrade (Aidan McArdle) has reluctantly accepted Jessie’s help. Though, when Jessie, Spike, and Billy show up at the crime scene the next morning, he makes it clear that he doesn’t trust her or anything supernatural. He’s convinced they’re all demons, and he tells her as much. He isn’t even moved when Jessie bumps into a man in the crowd and has a vision.
In her vision, a young teenager sits alone at a pub, where three men join her. They ply her with drinks, and rent a room from the barkeep. The last thing Jessie sees is the girl going up to the room with the men, scared and alone. When she snaps out of it, the man Jessie bumped into is gone, but she realizes that he’s not a man at all, but the girl from her vision. She’s killing the men who assaulted her and stealing their faces. After speaking to the barkeep, Lestrade, Jessie, Spike, and Billy trace the girl to a taxidermist down the street. He tells them that the girl is an orphan and was his apprentice for a time — hence how she learned how to slice up faces. There, Jessie runs into the girl in her room, while the others are speaking with the taxidermist, and tries to talk to her, but the girl runs off.
Lestrade is furious, convinced Jessie let the girl get away on purpose and that they’ll never find her. In her room, they found the three faces of the men who abused her, and Lestrade is convinced she’s run off for good. Jessie, however, doesn’t agree. She thinks back to her vision, and sees a bit more of the girl’s story. It turns out, the men who assaulted her gave her syphilis that has made it impossible for her to ever have her own children. Her greatest desire had been to have a family of her own, and now she never would. She’s not planning on running, she’s planning on using her abilities to steal someone’s life — and, more importantly their family. Jessie knows where the girl is going next: to the barkeep who facilitated her assault. She’s going to kill him, take his face and assume his identity, which includes being a husband and father to two children.
Unfortunately for the barkeep, they don’t make it in time to save him. The girl, now walking around as the barkeep, goes home and spends the evening with the family she’s always wanted. Her happiness is brief, however, as Lestrade chases her down. The next time we see the inspector, he’s running outside, telling Jessie, Billy, and Spike that the girl ran away into the woods. Spike and Billy run ahead, while Jessie stays back with Lestrade. Surprise, surprise: it’s not Lestrade at all, but the girl. She killed the inspector when he came looking for her. Jessie is able to steal her gun before the girl can do her any harm, but Jessie doesn’t want to hurt her. She understands why the girl did what she did. And after the girl promises she won’t kill again, Jessie says she’d be willing to let her go, but first, she’ll need a favor.
In an earlier dream encounter with The Linen Man, he had asked Jessie to dig deeper into the next powerful person’s mind. So, she asks the girl if she can see how she got her powers. The girl agrees, and Jessie sees her praying one night, asking for the power to get revenge on the men that hurt her. We see magic flood through her, but this time it’s not coming from an Ouija board. In the corner of the room stands the black, shadowy figure from Jessie’s nightmares, The Dark Thing.
True to her word, Jessie lets the girl go before Spike and Billy can find them, and she lies to them and claims the girl overpowered her and escaped.
The Linen Man
That night, Jessie returns to visit the Linen Man in her dreams and reports back to him about the Dark Thing giving these people powers. In return, he reveals that he’s not actually in Louisiana, he’s on a boat traveling across the Atlantic, on his way to London. He says he’s coming to help her so she won’t be alone anymore. Jessie is grateful, but should she be? Earlier in the episode, during their first encounter, the Linen Man drove home the idea that even those closest to her would start thinking she’s weird or calling her a freak because of her abilities. He said it as if he was commiserating with her, but he could also be driving a wedge between her and her friends. For as much as the Linen Man has helped Jessie, it would be foolish to trust him.
Leo Comes Out
In non-supernatural events, Leo finally makes a move with Bea, kissing her in the morning before the entire investigation has begun. Unfortunately, he leaves soon after, and though he assures Bea he’ll be back that night, she’s clearly disappointed by his disappearing act. He makes his way home to the palace, where he is informed that he has already missed his scheduled weekly breakfast with his mother. However, Daimler informs him that he will be allowed to attend his sister, Louise’s (Nell Hudson) birthday party later that evening. Technically, at 17, he’s too young to be out in society, but Daimler knows that he’s getting antsy. He wants Leo to have fun at the palace in the hopes that it will keep him from running away again.
Daimler’s plan works, for a little while, mostly due to Eleanor (Imogen Waterhouse), a flirt who whisks him away at the party. She wants to show him some fun, and he relents, even taking a pill she offers him. But, when they kiss, Leo realizes that he’d rather be with Bea — though he’s already missed their 10 p.m. rendez-vous — and leaves.
Apparently, the only way for Leo to leave the palace is to jump off the balcony. And despite Daimler’s warnings that he’s going to kill himself, Leo goes anyways, falling to the ground with a very disturbing crunch. He survives, and makes it back to the Irregulars’ apartment, but when Spike, Billy, and Jessie find him there, he’s clearly unwell. Those ailments might have just caught up with him.
The Search For Sherlock
Finally, while Jessie, Billy, and Spike helped Lestrade, Bea decided to use her time looking for Sherlock. After her confrontation with Watson, she went to Mrs. Hudson (Denise Black), who just so happens to be landlord to both the Irregulars and Sherlock and Watson. Mrs. Hudson wants Bea not to go looking for Sherlock, saying, “he’s a drug addict and a bum.” But, she does confirm that he and Alice Cook (Eileen O’Higgins) used to hang out together, and she sends Bea the Phoenix, a drug den, to look for Sherlock.
Bea doesn’t find Sherlock at the Phoenix, but she does run into Watson, who is also looking for the detective. Watson warns her again to steer clear from Sherlock, but when a man tells her to try another hotel where Sherlock might be getting high, she goes. Too bad, it’s a trap set up by Watson. At the hotel all she finds is a letter telling her that she will never work for Watson again.
Defeated, on her way home, Bea again runs into Mrs. Hudson. And when she asks again about Sherlock and her mother she realizes something: Sherlock and Alice weren’t just friends, they were together. On a hunch, she goes to visit her mother’s grave and finds a passed out Sherlock clinging to Alice Cook’s headstone.
Ep. 5: “Chapter Five: Students of the Unallowed Arts”
Episode 5 of The Irregulars switches up the formula. There is no case of the week, no supernatural murderer to be found. Instead, Bea and Jessie finally learn about what happened to their mother, and her past with Sherlock and Watson.
After finding a drunk Sherlock at her mother’s grave, Bea takes him back to the local pub and rents a room from Mrs. Hudson where he can sleep it off. But after a few hours of rest, she’s back, and she demands answers. And, somewhat surprisingly, Sherlock is ready to open up.
Alice, Sherlock, & Watson
He recounts how, 15 years ago, he first met Alice Cook while working on a case that required her supernatural “gift.” He and Watson, then already working together as private detectives, recruited Alice, then a single mother to Bea. Together, the three of them solved special cases and were quite successful. They even got matching tattoos, symbols on their feet that meant “The Irregulars” — though Watson chickened out last minute.
But then the darkness, the first Rip, that had inspired Watson and Sherlock to seek out Alice in the first place worsened. Alice’s nightmares became more pronounced and violent, so much so that Sherlock would tie her to the bed at night to keep her from wandering away. Meanwhile, their supernatural cases became more and more stressful. Knowing that they had to close the Rip, the three of them performed rituals and dabbled in magic to try to find its location, but nothing worked. As things started to get more and more intense, Alice became convinced that her nightmares would lead her to the Rip.
Alice’s dreams, Sherlock reveals, were of 17th century executioners in the woods, voices whispering “triangle” in the dead of night, and three people hanging from the tree branches. But before they could figure it out, they caught another case: The Case of the Collector. This one involved limbs that went missing overnight. One man’s left arm was taken, another man’s right, and the wounds had healed miraculously, almost as if the limbs had never existed at all. The trio didn’t find anything at the crime scenes, but Anna did pick up a vial of some kind of potion on the floor of their hospital room — their only lead.
The case of the Collector was, unfortunately, never solved. Sherlock determined that a key ingredient in the potion was a very rare plant, Snowdonia Hawkweed, that only grows in one very specific spot, but when Watson takes the potion to an herbalist, he returns saying that it wasn’t Snowdonia Hawkweed, but instead just a common plant. As he recounts the story, Sherlock notes that he still doubts he was wrong, but he accepted it at the time because he was overworked and stressed, not just by the case but by his impending fatherhood. Sherlock is Jessie’s father, and he was, in fact, engaged to Anna.
After Jessie was born, Alice’s dreams worsened, and she woke up one night convinced that if they stayed in London, something terrible would happen. She managed to convince Sherlock to leave the city and abandon the Rip. Another Ipsissimus could close it, she said. Sherlock reluctantly agreed, but just as he was packing up his things, Watson had a revelation.
The Rip, Watson deduced, must be located somewhere where the barrier between the living and the dead is the thinnest — somewhere where there has been a lot of death. That, coupled with the executioners in Alice’s dreams, point to the gallows. There was only one gallows built in the shape of the triangle, and that, the duo determined, was the location of the Rip.
Together, Alice, Watson, and Sherlock went to the gallows and found the RIP, seemingly believing that some incantations could close it. But Alice knew what would happen. Before she goes to find the Rip, she told Sherlock that Jessie and Bea are both his responsibility. And when she reached for the RiP, it sucked her in and closed with her in it.
Bea and Jessie can fill in what happened next. Consumed by grief, Sherlock gave Bea and Jessie up to the workhouse, where they lived in poverty and Bea was beaten. And Watson only reached out again when another Rip had opened, and he required Jessie’s help.
Sherlock tries to apologize, but neither Bea nor Jessie are particularly interested in making amends just yet. However, they do listen when Sherlock warns them about Watson. He has always been suspicious about how Watson deduced the location of the Rip.
Watson’s sudden stroke of brilliance isn’t the only suspect thing revealed in this episode. The flashbacks make it very clear that Watson has been in love with Sherlock for years, and he was jealous of his relationship with Alice. Then there’s the case of the potion ingredient, which Sherlock still doubts he got wrong. Perhaps he didn’t, and Watson was hiding the truth from him. The question is why.
Meanwhile, in between storytime with Sherlock, Jessie, like her mom before her, has realized that her dreams hold the location of the Rip. She knows that it’s in a tunnel somewhere, but she can’t quite piece it together, so she decides to go further into her nightmare than she’s gone before. In her dream, she walks through the tunnels again, her feet sinking into what looks like wet earth. Suddenly, a zombie like figure reaches out and grabs her, pulling her to the ground. Before she can break free, others emerge, all whispering, “Circle.” She wakes up in the middle of the street.
Assuming that, like Alice, Jessie’s dreams are giving her hints to the location of the Rip, these are the clues we have so far: a plague doctor, a circle, tunnels, and skeletons.
While Bea and Jessie are busy learning about their mother, Billy also grapples with his past after he bumps into Vic, the man who ran the workhouse when he, Bea, and Jessie were there. He’s clearly shaken up, and he recounts to Spike how Vic would beat him, saying that one time he was beaten so badly he was in the hospital for weeks. Spike can tell that Billy’s anger is overflowing and tries to convince him not to do anything stupid. But, later that night, Billy follows Vic home, intent on getting his revenge. Spike tries to stop him, but Billy loses it, revealing that, it wasn’t actually him that Vic put in the hospital, it was Bea. He was too small to protect her then, but can fight back now. He makes it into Vic’s house, but the man confronts him and stops him. He tells Billy that everything he thought he knew about his parents was a lie. HIs father didn’t die in a war, and his mother did not die in childbirth. That was a story the nurses made up to save him from the painful truth: his mother abandoned him. Billy is shaken, both by seeing his childhood abuser and learning about his parentage, and he leaves without harming a hair on Vic’s head.
Leo & Bea
After showing up at the cellar injured, Leo has been hiding his injuries from Bea. He has a bruised shoulder and some wounds to his torso. And though he refuses to tell her where he got them, he assures her that he’ll never leave again. Bea is skeptical, but after Sherlock tells her that he doesn’t regret meeting Alice, even for all the pain that has followed, she decides to take a risk. She goes to Leo, forces him to show her his injuries, and decides that she won’t hide from him if he doesn’t hide from her, and they hook up.
Ep. 6: “Chapter Six: Hieracium Snowdoniense”
After learning her mother’s past with Sherlock and Watson, Bea has decided that, at least for now, tailing Watson is their best move. Bea and Leo follow him to the hospital, where they find out that the Collector is back and stealing more body parts — a right ear, a left eye; one victim has a hole in his torso.
Ath the Cellar, Bea, Leo, Billy, Spike, and Jessie debate what to do about the case. They don’t know how to find out more information about the Rip, and Bea is convinced that this case could be the key. Spike suggests Jessie go back under and try to face her fears, but she refuses. She’s so shaken by the suggestion, she decides not to help with the case. Instead, she heads over to 221b Baker Street to speak with her father.
The Case Of The Collector Part 2
Bea, Leo, Billy, and Spike pick up the Case of the Collector where Sherlock and Watson had left it 15 years ago. Their first stop: herbalist Edith Dubois. But when they get to her home, they find it’s already been broken into. Watson beat them to it. In the wreckage of the ransacked house, they find Edith’s diary, which reveals that she is the Collector. After her husband was stricken by a disease that was essentially causing his body to die bit by bit, she was desperate to find a way to prolong his life. In her diary, she wrote that she was going to put her husband in a kind of medical coma and take him somewhere safe. Given the rarity of the Snowdonia Hawkweed, the main ingredients in the potion she used on her victims, Leo deduces that she must be at the botanical gardens.
They find Edith at the botanical gardens, tending to her husband’s frankenstein body. She’s using the Snowdonia Hawkweed to fuse all the various body parts together. Bea approaches and offers her a deal: she’ll let Edith carry on with her plans, but only if she tells her everything she knows about John Watson. And, what do you know, Edith just so happens to have Watson tied up in the back room.
Edith gives her husband his final new body part and injects him with a potion to wake him up, but it doesn’t work. Thus far, Edith has avoided killing anyone, only taking non-vital organs and body parts from her victims. But it looks like she might have to rethink her strategy, and she’s already got a grown man tied up in her lab. Billy, Leo, and Spike want to try to stop her, but Bea stops them and tells Edith her offer still stands. They’ll leave if Edith tells them her story, and so she does.
The First Rip
Years ago, when her husband first got sick, Edith was looking for ways to heal him beyond science. Her search led her to the Golden Dawn, which then sent her to Sherlock, but he would never meet her. Instead, she was intercepted by Watson, and when she told him that she thought she might have a way to connect with the other side, he was immediately intrigued. He met with her alone later, and she showed him the relic she had purchased. The mysterious relic is hidden in a metal box, and whatever it was glowed blue when Watson opened the box. He took the relic, promising to test its authenticity and give her a call when he knew more, but he never did.
Instead, Watson used the relic to open the Rip, which created a weak spot between the world, giving some people powers. Fifteen years ago, as Edith desperately tried to communicate with the other side using an Ouija board, she gained the power to understand plants on a molecular level, giving her the knowledge she needed to create a serum that would allow her to steal body parts without killing people and put them together again for her husband. After they were put on the case, Watson confronted her, but she threatened to tell Sherlock that he was the one who had opened the Rip if he sold her out. That’s why he lied and told Sherlock he was wrong about the potion.
In the present, Watson admits that he opened the Rip back then, but he swears that he isn’t responsible for the Rip today. But it doesn’t matter. Edith goes back on her deal and takes out a poison she’ll use to kill them all. Before she can use it, her husband awakens, and he’s not happy. He has been kept in limbo for 15 years, and he’s mad at his wife for taking away the peace of death. He begins to strangle her, and Bea, Billy, Leo, and Spike help until Watson as Edith is murdered. But the husband doesn’t want to kill them, instead he tells them to run away and drinks the poison himself.
Everything Falls Apart
While Bea, Billy, Spike, and Leo are chasing after the Collector, Jessie goes to Sherlock and asks him for help. She doesn’t want to go back into her nightmares, so she’s hoping he can help her determine where the Rip is, just based on the clues she already knows. After listening to her describe her nightmares — the tunnels, the dead bodies, the whispers of “circle” — Sherlock deduces that they’re looking for the Library, which was built over a plague pit and features a round room. They head over right away, but it’s not the place, and Sherlock is devastated at his defeat.
He refuses to carry on with the search and abandons Jessie to get high, so she goes back to the cellar to talk to the Linen Man in her mind. He tells her that her friends just don’t understand her anymore. They think she’s a freak and they want to use her powers, but she pushes back, insisting that Bea would never force her to do something she’s not comfortable with. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true.
After solving the case of the Collector, and without any leads as to how to find the source of the Rip, Bea goes home to speak to Jessie, but finds Daimler instead. He’s been searching the streets of London for Leo, and was even able to track him down earlier in the episode. Leo got away, threatening to tell his mother that Daimler lost him in the first place, so Daimler has opted for another plan: sabotage. He tells Bea the truth, that Leo is actually the prince of England. Betrayed, Bea confronts Leo and tells him she never wants to see him again, and so he leaves.
Reeling from her breakup, Bea lashes out at Jessie, telling her that maybe she was being cowardly in refusing to go back into her nightmares, causing Jessie to run off. Meanwhile, the city has started to fall apart. People are turning violent because of the Rip, and Vic, the man from the workhouse, confronts Billy randomly in the street and attacks him. Billy kills him in self defense, and is promptly arrested.
In the midst of all this chaos, Jessie heads towards the docks to greet the Linen Man, but when she reaches the boat, she sees that the shore is littered with dead bodies. The Linen Man gestures over to her and immediately asks her where the Rip is. When she tells him she hasn’t gone back into her nightmares to see, he’s disappointed. She thought he’d understand, but really, he’s just been preying on her fear of being abandoned by her friends. He wanted her to find the location of the Rip for him — and not so he could close it, either. Before Jessie can defend herself, the Linen Man grabs her arm, erases her butterfly mark, and touches her forehead, forcing her back into the tunnels of her nightmares with no way out.
Ep. 7 “Chapter Seven: The Ecstasy of Death”
Reeling from her confrontations with Leo and Jessie, Bea goes to Watson for answers. She gets him to admit that he opened the Rip unintentionally because he wanted to impress Sherlock by making contact with the other side. Why? Because Watson loves him. Before they can really get into it, Sherlock bursts in carrying an unconscious Jessie. He says he found her unconscious at the docks after her encounter with the Linen Man.
The Hunt For The Linen Man
Jessie is unconscious, but alive, clearly trapped in sleep, so when Scotland Yard requests Sherlock and Watson’s presence, Bea goes with them in the hopes of finding the Linen Man. When they reach Scotland Yard, it’s clear that the Linen Man has already been there. A few dead bodies lie in the lobby, and an officer tells them that the Linen Man ransacked their archives for cases related to Sherlock and Watson. Sherlock is off his game, and he can’t figure out why the Linen Man would be looking at old cases, but Bea deduces that he must be looking for a monster (aka a person who got powers from the Rip), one whose mind he can enter to figure out the Rip’s location. There’s only one person he’d go to: Arthur, the man from the first episode who could control birds.
Bea, Sherlock, and Watson head down to the prison and come up with a plan. They’ll give Arthur a syringe full of something to knock out the Linen Man after he gets inside Arthur’s head. Arthur agrees to go along with the plan, so all they have to do is stake out the jail and wait for the Linen Man to arrive.
Some time after nightfall, prison guards start jumping to their deaths, clearly under the influence of the Linen Man. They watch as the Linen Man goes into Arthur’s cell and looks into his mind to find the source of the Rip. When he does, he turns to leave, but he can tell Arthur is hiding something — the syringe Bea gave him. Scuffles are heard from the cell, and Sherlock, Watson, and Bea spring into action, but by the time they arrive at Arthur’s cell, the Linen Man has already influenced him. He attacks them, and in the struggle, the officers use the syringe on Arthur. Meanwhile, the Linen Man is lying in Arthur’s cell, playing dead. As soon as Bea approaches him, he touches her, sends her into a catatonic state, and makes a run for it.
Luckily Sherlock and Watson have a Plan B. They set the Linen Man up so that he purposely runs into a trap. He’s trapped behind a gate, with Sherlock on the other side pointing a gun at him. But the Linen Man has a trick up his sleeve. He approaches Sherlock and starts talking. It’s unclear what, exactly, the Linen Man tells him, but whatever it is makes Sherlock open the gate and let him out. He follows the Linen Man out of the prison and into the night, leaving a distraught Bea and Watson behind.
Back at 221b Baker Street, Bea is still affected by the Linen Man’s touch. She hears her mother’s voice calling her, and enters into a memory of the last time she saw her mother, as Alice left her with Sister Anna at the church. It’s clear, then, that Alice knew she would not survive the night, and it’s agony for Bea to relive.
Meanwhile, at the Palace
Having returned home after being exposed as a literal prince, Leo is unhappy to say the least. But, he’s forced to engage in his royal duties, which currently include eating a meal with his distant cousin, Helena. It’s obviously a set up, one that Helena immediately takes charge of. She can tell Leo is already in love with someone else, and so is she. But, she knows her duty, and she is determined to make this work. Leo swears he’ll never marry her, but she is undeterred and tells him to make sure he knows how to pleasure a woman before they are married.
What Leo doesn’t know is that Spike is on his way to talk some sense into him. After visiting Billy in jail, Spike makes one last attempt at saving his friend group and attempts to sneak into the palace. He’s caught, of course, but saved by Louise, who invites him in and keeps him entertained until Leo arrives. He convinces Leo that he belongs with them, and the two manage to sneak away.
They show up at 221b Baker Street with a freshly freed Billy in tow. Billy had fully accepted that he would be hanged for killing Vic, but Leo was able to pull some royal strings and get him released. Now all they need is for Jessie to wake up and they’ll be ready to fight the Linen Man.
Jessie’s Last Nightmare
This whole time, Jessie has been trapped in her nightmares, fighting the Linen Man in her head. He shows her the future — decades of war and death — and tries to convince her that men are the real monsters and they need to be controlled. He wants to use the power of the Rip so that he can create order. He even has a role for Jessie, telling her he’ll have her marry his son so they can continue the line of Ipsissimi and rule over the world of men.
Jessie tries to fight back, but the Linen Man is using her own fears to trap her. He manipulates her using her greatest fear: that she’s unlovable, a freak, and she’ll always be alone.
Outside of her sleep state, a reunited Spike, Billy, Leo, and Bea all grab onto Jessie’s hand, begging her to wake up. She can hear them even in her nightmare, and she’s able not only to wake herself up, but to see clearly for the first time where she is in her nightmare tunnels: the Aldgate train station on the Inner Circle Line, where a crew of workers stumbled upon a plague pit years ago.
She wakes up and tells them all where to go, but the Linen Man and Sherlock are already there, standing in front of the Rip.
Ep. 8 “Chapter Eight: The Ecstasy of Life”
It’s all going down. The Linen Man and Sherlock approach the Rip in the tunnels, while Bea, Leo, Billy, Spike, Jessie, and Watson gear up with weapons from Sherlock’s personal stash. As the Rip widens, the chaos in the streets of London grows. People are becoming violent, possessed, and those who aren’t in the streets trying to kill people are running in fear. It’s time for the final showdown.
A Family Reunion
The team makes it to the tunnels unharmed, but while they navigate the dark twists and turns, the Linen Man has already started absorbing the power of the Rip, all while Sherlock watches. He hasn’t been brainwashed, as Bea had suspected, but he has made some kind of deal with the Linen Man, so he doesn’t try to stop him. In fact, when Bea is attacked by another memory of her past and screams out, accidentally announcing their presence in the tunnels, Sherlock tells the Linen Man that they’re not alone, immediately putting everyone — including his own daughter — at risk.
After taking a good amount of power from the Rip, the Linen Man leaves Sherlock to deal with the others. He manages to touch Spike, Billy, and Leo, infecting them with hallucinations of some of their greatest fears. Billy is beaten by Vic, Leo starts bleeding out from imaginary injuries, and Spike seems in agony, watching someone dying. Meanwhile, Bea is still kept up in her memories of when her mother died, and Watson can barely keep her together. So, Jessie goes after the Linen Man.
In their final confrontation, the Linen Man grabs a hold of Jessie, but she’s stronger this time. She’s able to take them inside his head this time. He’s trained himself not to feel fear, so she won’t have any luck scaring him with something from his own mind, but what about all those minds he’s touched? Jessie floods him with the memories and fears of all of his victims at once, overflowing him with fear, causing him to lose his balance and fall at least 12 feet in the tunnels. Immediately after he hits the ground, the hallucinations stop.
Their victory against the Linen Man is short lived, however, as the opening of the Rip has caused the tunnels to become unstable, and they collapse around them. Debris falls from above, crashing down on the group. Billy’s leg is crushed under rocks and the tunnel has completely caved in, separating the boys from Bea, Watson, and Jessie. Bea sends them home to the cellar. There’s no time for the boys to even try to dig their way through, and Billy can’t walk on his own.
As the boys brave the streets of London once more, Bea, Jessie, and Watson head to the Rip, but not before the Linen Man can ominously threaten Jessie with his dying breath. He says she’ll have to die to close the Rip, and taunts her, telling her he saw who opened it — hasn’t she guessed by now?
When they arrive at the Rip, Sherlock is there, waiting for something to come through the Rip. And then, Alice breaks through. She survived for 15 years in limbo to open the Rip and return to her girls. She tells Jessie that once the Rip is fully open, she can stay there with them forever, and the chaos will revert back to a new normal. Bea is quick to accept her mother’s word, but Jessie and Watson are more skeptical. Letting the Rip open completely would merge the world of the living with the world of the dead. It’s unnatural, and Watson and Jessie know nothing good can come of it.
Despite wanting to reunite with her mother, Jessie decides that she can’t let the Rip open. She moves to close it, but Bea stops her and begs her not to. Instead, Jessie takes Bea back into her memories, but this time instead of seeing only the grief and the heartache, Bea sees the love she shared with Jessie, Leo, Spike, and Billy. Bea is convinced that only reuniting with her mother can make her life better and worth living, but Jessie shows her that isn’t true. When they emerge from Bea’s memories, she lets Jessie move to close the Rip. Alice looks to Sherlock for support, but he agrees with Jessie. He finally understands that being a father is about doing what’s best for his kids, even if that means letting the love of his life go.
As Jessie moves to close the Rip, things are getting pretty dier at the cellar. Spike, Leo, and a very injured Billy have managed to make it home, and they’ve given shelter to a few people, including Sister Anna. But, as soon as Anna starts praying for help, an evil force overtakes her, and she turns on them. She kills the other survivors and turns on Spike, Billy, and Leo.
Back at the tunnels, the Rip is slowly closing, and Alice is sucked back in. It’s almost closed completely when Sherlock reaches in. Slowly, both Sherlock and Jessie start getting sucked into the Rip. Bea grabs her sister as Watson grabs Sherlock, but they’re both slipping. And, in the end, Watson must do what he didn’t have the strength to do 15 years ago: he must let go of Sherlock. Sherlock is sucked into the Rip, and Watson and Bea manage to pull Jessie back before it closes. And they’re just in time, as Anna had almost killed Leo in the cellar when the influence of the Rip disappeared. They survived.
Fish & Chips
Later, after the boys have had their injuries tended to, the whole group gathers at Alice’s grave to pay their respects to her and Sherlock. The teens head home for a night of celebratory fish and chips. Bea invites Watson, but he says he has dinner plans and leaves alone.
Mid celebration, Leo takes Bea outside and breaks the news: he’s leaving. He promised his mother that he’d go to Europe tomorrow to see Augusta. He loves Bea, but he has to go, he says, because it was the only way he could get Billy out of jail. He’s afraid that if he doesn’t follow through, Billy will end up back in jail. Bea is heartbroken, but she lets him go, and she promises not to tell Billy about Leo’s deal. But it’s not all bad news for the sisters in the love department. Back in the cellar, Spike admits to Jessie that when the Linen Man touched him, he saw her getting hurt or dying. That was his worst fear.
221b Baker Street
Instead of going back to the cellar after her goodbye with Leo, Bea brings over her fish and chips to 221b Baker Street, where Watson appears to have planned to spend the evening staring wistfully at Sherlock’s abandoned desk. Reluctantly, he sits down with Bea and the two share their fish and chips, teasing each other, and steadily not discussing those they’ve lost. Towards the end of their meal, though, Bea breaks down when she asks Sherlock how she can stop loving someone when it hurts too much. He responds that you don’t ever stop, and Bea starts crying. The outpouring of human emotion is not something Watson is equipped to deal with, and he almost leaves the room before thinking better of it.
Watson turns and places a hand on Bea’s shoulder. “Everybody leaves me,” she cries, to which Watson responds, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.”
Where We Stand
Season 1 of The Irregulars ends with the Rip successfully closed, suggesting there might not be any more supernatural crimes to be solved — at least not with the same frequency. And, with Leo off to Europe, it’s possible the Irregulars won’t ever be fully back together again. Of course, Watson is in need of a detective partner, and Bea is pretty clever. Meanwhile, just because the Rip is closed doesn’t mean Jessie’s supernatural abilities are gone. And if she’s still an Ipsissimus, then you can bet there are more supernatural creatures out there.
The series has yet to be picked up for a Season 2, buf it it does get the official order, then there will be no shortage of mysteries to solve, cases to crack, and, hopefully, a bit more fun to be had.