The Irregulars is less a Sherlock Holmes adaptation than it is a show that happens to be Sherlock-adjacent. There are episodic mysteries in the short-story style of author Arthur Conan Doyle. But they're not about the powers of deduction; they're about the powers of the supernatural. Although the series bases itself on the real-life obsession with death, the afterlife, and the Victorian-era occult, it also adds a fantasy twist. In short, the wall between this world and the next is collapsing due to something called The Rip. But what is The Rip in The Irregulars, and who opened it? Perhaps the most Holmesian reveal is that it's the least likely suspect.
Warning: Spoilers for The Irregulars Season 1 follow. When Dr. Watson first hires the band of teens led by Bea, it's unclear what his mission is. He says he's working for Sherlock Holmes, the world's most famous detective. But Bea hasn't seen Holmes, and Watson tries to ensure sure it stays that way. Moreover, Watson is sending these kids after super-powered villains. Men like Arthur the Bird Man and women like the Tooth Fairy are too powerful for regular adults to take on. But somehow, he knows Bea and her friends, specifically her sister Jessie, have the power to take them down.
It turns out, Watson knows Jessie is an Ipsissimus, a psychic capable of tracing these powers back to their source, known as "The Rip." But what he might not know is that the Linen Man in her dreams is also pushing her to find The Rip and discover who opened it.
By the time Jessie and her friends put together the original story of The Rip, which opened once before, several suspects have presented themselves. The Linen Man, for instance, is on his way to London and is hiding things from Jessie. Watson also knows too much about The Rip. Moreover, when Bea finally gets Holmes for questioning, she and Jessie discover he and Watson had help closing The Rip the first time. It was their mother, Alice.
So, did Watson open The Rip the first time and send Alice through so he could have Holmes to himself? Did Holmes open The Rip again, in a foolish move because he believed himself invincible? (It would explain his all-consuming guilt over Alice's sacrifice.) But it's not until The Linen Man arrives in London and goes to seize The Rip's power for himself that the truth comes out.
No one on this side of the world opened The Rip. It was Alice who opened it, trying to get home after getting sucked into it the first time.
On the one hand, it's a heartbreaking discovery. Alice loved her girls and Sherlock so much she tore the world in two to get back to them. But there's no undoing the past. For the universe to survive, The Rip must be closed, with Alice on the other side of it. Even Bea doesn't want to believe it, but Jessie is firm. And in her heart, Bea knows her sister is right — and so does Alice.
As Jessie steps forward to close The Rip again, Alice disappears and Sherlock throws himself after her. He'd rather abandon both Jessie and Bea, who Alice told him to take care of, than be without the love of his life.
When The Rip closes, both Bea and Watson are devastated, feeling abandoned by those they loved. But Jessie is stronger for her choice and knows they will go on. After all, they have each other.
Hopefully, that will be enough for Season 2 to explore. Season 1 of The Irregulars is streaming on Netflix now.