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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After a rather lackluster pilot episode, the series picks up considerably with this episode. Sir James Damery asks Holmes to help in freeing a young woman from the clutches of a cad and suspected murderer, the Austrian Baron Groner. In spite of family and friends warning her about the notorious Baron, she is stubbornly adamant that she will marry him. Sir James will not tell Holmes who is illustrious client is but even so Holmes accepts the case. Of course, by episode's end, he has figured out who the client is. The episode closely follows the original story with the exception of one scene. In that scene the Baron verbally and physically abuses the clinging and overly needy Violet. While the scene highlights how mean and cruel the Baron is, it also shows Violet to be a really stupid woman rather than just a love smitten foolish woman taken in by a charming and devious man. Both the story and episode assert that the Baron is using post hypnotic suggestion on Violet. Holmes uses an underworld character named Shinwell Johnson to dig up dirt on the Baron and Johnson introduces Holmes to Kitty Winter, one of the Baron's discarded mistresses. Kitty tells Holmes that the Baron keeps a diary detailing all his conquests (when Watson later refers to it as a "love" diary, Holmes says it's a "lust" diary). Holmes has Watson pretend to be an expert on Chinese porcelain (the collecting of which is a passion of the Baron's) in order to gain access to the diary. The ending of the story is quite shocking but also rather satisfying. The episodes has many good scenes in it and one of the best was the one between Holmes and the Baron; their verbal sparring was very striking. Also interesting were the scenes at the night club where Johnson hung out, including a nice bit where the entertainer sang a number of music hall songs. A strong, entertaining episode with good acting all around especially that by Peter Wyngarde as the Baron.
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