‘Enola Holmes 2’: mystery, history and a Hint of romance


Enola Holmes 2 | Netflix Newsroom

Daniel Li

Returning to the screen with another mystery to solve, “Enola Holmes 2” was released on Nov.  4 as a sequel to its predecessor.

Based on Nancy Springer’s young adult mystery series, Netflix brought Enola Holmes to life as she manages her own detective agency in Victorian England with the money she was awarded for solving her first case, The Case of the Missing Marquess.

With creative liberty, the writers blended the source material with events of historical importance, enhancing the contrasting themes of both films: independence and unity.

Exploring the bounds of autonomy through the lens of a female character in a patriarchy during the aftermath of Britain’s Industrial Revolution, the film highlights the importance of political action, feminism and protests throughout history to spark change.

Millie Bobby Brown, Louis Partridge and Henry Cavill all reprised their roles as Enola Holmes, Lord Tewkesbury and Sherlock Holmes respectively, while Henry Bradbeer returned as director.

Continuing from where the first movie left off, Enola becomes a detective in her own right and opens up an agency in London.  Enola encounters an orphaned worker at a match factory, Bessie, and is hired to solve Bessie’s case surrounding her adopted sister, who did not return home one day.

Little did Enola know this case runs deeper into history.

On July 5, 1888, a strike broke out that changed the course of workers’ rights in British history.  The Bryant & May matchmaking factory hired women and girls to work in unsafe conditions where they  were exposed to white phosphorus, a toxic substance that is usually found in pesticides and fireworks.

Workers who were exposed to this toxin developed abscesses in their mouths that disfigured their jaws, which is known as phossy jaw. Alongside this, workers would have their wages docked frequently and work long days. Tired of this, 1,400 girls walked out of the factory on a strike.

Political action and protests for women’s and workers’ rights directly reflect the contrasting themes of independence and unity. The workers are seen by big businesses as individual pieces in their ploys to maximize their profit by whatever means necessary; however, when those “pieces” unite, they are considerably harder to manipulate.

Much like Enola, she gains freedom and lives on her own terms. After stumbling onto her second case, she is determined to solve it on her own with no one’s help, not even from her older brother and acclaimed detective Sherlock Holmes. Through multiple stumbles and instances where she receives help, Enola opens up to the possibility of working together with people in her life.

One of those people she collaborates with isSherlock. Together, their minds work to untangle the web created by the villain, Moriarty or Mira Troy. This moment of unity between siblings is a significant moment for Enola where she stands equal to her brother and is no longer in his shadow.

Working together with Sherlock and helping him with his own case proves to her that she is not just an ordinary person, but rather someone extraordinary.

Lord Tewksbury also joins the crew as he develops a relationship with Enola after she uncovers an assassination plot against him in the first movie.

Filling in the seat his father left behind in the House of Lords, he is seen as a radical as he throws his full support behind the reform bill which expands voting rights. This horticulturist was also working with Sarah Chapman, a real worker of the match factory, and William Lyon, the heir to the factory and its enterprises, to expose its wrongdoings and exploitation of women and girls.

He partly embodies the political action portion of the film as he carries the energy of the activism outside into the House of Lords where legislation can bring certain needs to fruition.

As Enola’s love interest, his calm demeanor juxtaposes her spontaneous actions as they collaborate to solve problems, creating scenes of humor likely to draw laughter from the audience. Their chemistry works astonishingly as he respects her independence while also working to help her from behind the scenes.

With daring fights and a prison break, “Enola Holmes 2” does not hesitate to keep you on the edge of your seat for two hours.