Moriarty the Patriot’s Past May Bring About His Undoing

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 18 of Moriarty the Patriot, "The Merchant of London," now streaming on Funimation.

The Moriarty the Patriot anime didn't spend much time dwelling on its title character's origin but enough set-up was provided, early on, for viewers to understand how and why the infamous Sherlock Holmes villain has been reshaped into an antihero for this spinoff. Episode 18, "The Merchant of London," returns to William and Louis' pasts before they wormed their way into the Moriarty family, but the goal isn't to further flesh the orphans out; rather, the flashback serves to illustrate an incoming villain's investigation into the Lord of Crime.

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Moriarty the Patriot Episode 18
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In the present day, said villain, Charles Augustus Milverton -- introduced at the end of Episode 16 -- is digging into William's past after spotting him fleeing the Jack the Ripper revolutionaries' base of operations. He correctly suspects that William is the Lord of Crime, but he needs something to leverage his claims. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective series, Milverton was a blackhearted blackmailer whom Sherlock absolutely detested, even going so far as to refuse to look into his death after he was murdered by one of his blackmail victims. Milverton is so far coming across in a similarly slimy manner in Moriarty the Patriot, making him easy to love to hate as an adversary for both William and Sherlock.

Moriarty the Patriot Episode 18

The evidence Milverton unearths in Episode 18 might be the only public record of William and Louis's lives before they became Moriartys. It's a newspaper article documenting an extraordinary court case: upon discovering that a nobleman called Mr. Baxter was unable to make good on his promise of building a new orphanage with borrowed money, or paying back what was owed, the brothers, who were mere children at the time, decided to entrap the man -- whom they suspected of lying about his financial affairs. William lent him £600 (a huge sum back then) to go through with the building deal, and when Baxter later claimed he was too destitute to repay it, the boys took him to court.

Baxter insisted to the judge that not only did he not have a penny to his name, but neither his home nor business were his (or profitable), making them ineligible for sale to pay off his debts. Even when William insisted on enacting the gruesome Merchant of Venice-inspired clause he'd secretly included in the contract -- literally taking "a pound of flesh" if the contract was unfulfilled -- Baxter's lawyer claimed the exact measurements stated couldn't be achieved, on account of the spilled blood. But, calculating as ever, William pulled his trump card, pointing out that when the "poor" nobleman ordered his regular steak dinner at a restaurant, he'd never make such a specification himself -- why should this contract be any different?

Moriarty the Patriot Milverton

On pain of legally having his throat slit, Baxter relented and agreed to give William all of the assets he'd pretended not to have, which the boy donated towards the construction of the orphanage. As few children would have been able to have that much money, successfully win a legal battle and recite all 40 of Shakespeare's works (as William claimed he could), Milverton puts two and two together and identifies the prodigious, charitable child as the Moriartys' middle-son. As such, he also deduces that the sudden acquisition of two blonde boys right after a fire consumed the Moriarty home is very suspicious, further identifying the Lord of Crime's first major crime: murdering the family (save for Albert) and adopting the name, and estate, for themselves.

Though he couldn't have known it at the time, and still doesn't now, drawing the attention of the media as a child has now endangered William Moriarty's criminal empire in the present, providing the breadcrumbs a devious mind like Milverton needs to uncover his darkest secrets. While there's not really enough evidence yet to incarnate William, Louis and Albert, it's certainly enough to undermine their credibility. The question now is, when and how will Milverton make his move?

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