REVIEW: ‘Moriarty the Patriot,’ Episode 18 — “The Merchant of London”

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Moriarty the Patriot Episode 18

While Moriarty the Patriot Episode 18‘s take on Shakespeare may be a bit absurd, it is still fun to see a young William outsmarting everyone again. Production I.G.’s anime is based on the manga of the same name by Ryosuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi. The manga is published in English by VIZ Media. The story follows the famous nemesis/rival of Sherlock Holmes, Moriarty, but instead imagines The Lord of Crime as an underground Robin Hood, out to overthrow Britain’s oppressive society with the help of his allies.

Another recognizable name from the Conan-Doyle stories has surfaced: Charles Augustus Milverton. After catching a glimpse of William, he sets out to bring him down. Not much is revealed about him just yet, but with his bold declaration of William being his “enemy” it is likely he may be a major antagonist for the back half of the second cour. His digging into William prompts a flashback episode. Based on earlier critiques, I was hoping to maybe learn some more context to William’s relationship with his other allies, but unfortunately this story feels a lot more like a one-off.

William and Louis discover that a nobleman has conned the orphanage’s headmistress out of funds, and now she is unable to purchase food for the children. The brothers’ digging leads them to Lord Baxter, a nobleman who likes to live large, but then claims bankruptcy whenever someone comes to collect on a loan. One of the strongest editing/directorial choices made this episode is the initial conversation between the boys and Baxter. The camera deftly pans over Baxter’s estate, lamps, artwork, chaise lounge and more as he explains his “financial situation” to the boys. It isn’t anything revolutionary, but it is a nice touch instead of just having the camera cut between two characters having a conversation.

Regrettably, Lord Baxter is also a core problem of this episode. A fair amount of my critique of the first cour stemmed from making antagonists cartoonishly villainous, as it undercut the seriousness of some of the societal themes in the show. When the show is clearly having fun with itself it is less egregious. That is relatively the case here, as audiences will enjoy young William so much it is slightly easier to forgive the absurdity of his claims in court. Or that he was allowed in court to begin with. The absurdity and evil smirks Baxter gives just make the episode predictable, and consequently, forgettable. The resolution is ridiculous and quite a reach, even for the show. Yes, Moriarty is supposed to be levels above everyone, but the reasoning this time feels a bit too farfetched.

Moriarty the Patriot Episode 18 is a nice return for young William, but the plot is painfully forgettable. The show falls into its weakness of making cartoonish antagonists. Even William’s “brilliant” deductions here feel like a stretch. It would have benefitted from revealing more about the characters’ actual pasts instead of a one-off case.

Moriarty the Patriot is streaming now on Funimation.

 

Moriarty the Patriot Episode 18 — "The Merchant of London"
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

Moriarty the Patriot Episode 18 is a nice return for young William, but the plot is painfully forgettable. The show falls into its weakness of making cartoonish antagonists. Even William’s “brilliant” deductions here feel like a stretch. It would have benefitted from revealing more about the characters’ actual pasts instead of a one-off case.