Moriarty the Patriot Finds a New Ally in… ‘James Bonde’?

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 14 of Moriarty the Patriot, "A Scandal in the British Empire, Part 3," now streaming on Funimation.

Moriarty the Patriot's second cour opening arc concludes in riotous fashion in Episode 14. Not in any literal sense, but rather, in the silly but thoroughly enjoyable bending of Victorian history we've become accustomed to from the Sherlock Holmes spinoff. Despite only starring in a single Conan Doyle mystery originally, Irene Adler -- the actress/courtesan sitting on explosive secrets -- looks like she'll now be a mainstay in the anime, ending "A Scandal in the British Empire, Part 3" as a fully-fledged member of the 'Lord of Crime''s gang. The nature of how the case is wrapped up means she also has to take on an entirely new identity to do so, and her choice of cover name is... interesting, to say the least.

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Episode 13 ended with both William Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes' groups discovering that the titular scandal contained in Irene's pilfered documents reveal the covert part the British establishment played in the French Revolution. On the run from Sherlock's older brother Mycroft, the Director of MI6, Irene turned to Sherlock and then James Moriarty, William's older, adopted brother, posing as the Lord of Crime, who guaranteed her safety as a fugitive in exchange for revealing the documents' secret. Irene agreed to his terms but lied to Sherlock that she'd struck a deal with the British government -- a lie the great detective didn't swallow.

Though Sherlock tracks Irene's movements in Episode 14 to confirm her connection with his criminal rival (still James posing as William), he's not party to the fresh deal that Irene and Moriarty's group brokers with Mycroft at the British Museum's library. In exchange for their silence, the Moriarty brothers -- plus Fred and Moran -- give the documents back to Mycroft, who appears to allow Irene to keep her life so long as she disappears for good. Sherlock is told "that woman" (a direct quote of the affectionate way he refers to her in the novels) was found drowned in the Thames. Whether he believes it or not is another matter.

In actual fact, Irene Adler does die, but in name only: a flashback reveals she accepts an invitation to become part of the Moriarty family, cuts her hair, and, thinking of the new "bonds" she's made, changes her -- now his -- name to "James Bonde." (The 'e' has been added to Funimation's English subs to probably avoid copyright infringement in the US. In Japan, where Fleming's creation has recently passed into the public domain, the Moriarty character is simply known as "James Bond.")

It goes without saying this is a tongue-in-cheek reference to another staple of British crime fiction, Ian Fleming's eponymous spy, 007. Though wildly out of step with the era Moriarty the Patriot takes place in, it doesn't really matter. The series is already so out of step with the actual canon it's drawing from, why not borrow some inspiration from a completely different one? This new male persona is also a delightful, gender-bending twist for a character who has already been established as a master of disguise. And with Bonde's similarly established -- and reciprocated affection for Sherlock -- it'll only add to the steadily brewing homoerotic tension between the hero detective and his rivals.

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