How Enola Holmes 2's Big Message Gets Lost In Its Own Style

Warning: "Enola Holmes 2" spoilers ahead.

As much as Netflix Originals can be hit-or-miss, the company might've struck gold when they decided to adapt "Enola Holmes." A spunky, resourceful young woman, a fun mystery with lots of twists, a wholesome romantic subplot that doesn't actually end with a relationship because the teenage girl doesn't need a boyfriend to be complete — what more could you want in a feel-good movie? Sure, "Enola Holmes" might be a touch indulgent, but that's what makes it fun.

One of the most wholesome parts of the first movie might be the interactions between Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) and her mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter). Eudoria isn't around too frequently, but somehow, she's always able to lend a few words of motherly wisdom right when the going gets tough. That's why I was personally so relieved when I first heard that Bonham Carter would be returning for "Enola Holmes 2" — but unfortunately, Eudoria's advice in the sequel might just jeopardize what made "Enola Holmes" so great in the first place.

It's tough to be alone

If "Enola Holmes" advocated for the importance of being comfortable by yourself, "Enola Holmes 2" warns against being too self-reliant. In one particularly touching moment, Eudoria tells her daughter that she is proud of all of her children, but fears that she may have raised them to be too independent — and that they might have become lonely as a result. Nevertheless, when she tells Enola that she will accomplish far more by working with other people, the young detective heeds her mother's advice. As much as Eudoria may have made Enola's life more complicated through the girl's upbringing, there's no doubt that she's trying to make sure her daughter enjoys the best life possible.

Once afraid of living in her brother's shadow, Enola begins to willingly share information about her case with Sherlock (Henry Cavill), and even goes so far as to ask Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge) for help. As Millie Bobby Brown told /Film's Jenna Busch, Enola leaving her comfort zone pays off: it's only thanks to the trio's teamwork that they are able to save the day. Plus, Enola and Tewkesbury move closer to a proper relationship — Enola might not need a man, but she doesn't need to be alone, either.

The magic of Enola Holmes

While it's great to see Enola blossom into a more well-rounded character, her doing so comes at the risk of making future movies stale. Half of the series' charm comes from Enola's constant fourth-wall-shattering moments, where the young detective eagerly pulls viewers into the movie. Notably though, these moments always have a degree of separation from other characters. When Enola addresses viewers, she is almost always alone; when others are around, no one else seems to hear her comments. Each fourth-wall shattering moment carves out a little world for just us and the detective — one that's predicated upon both parties detaching from their own reality (and the people within it), instead turning their sole attention to each other.

This technique might be unconventional, but it does a great job of getting viewers invested. Something bad can't happen to Enola — she's practically our friend (especially since we met the spunky detective in fall 202o, right when everyone was dealing with lockdown-related loneliness). But the more that Enola connects with Tewkesbury and the newly friendly Sherlock, the less natural it feels for her to ignore them in favor of the audience.

Togetherness is an awkward fit

By the time that "Enola Holmes 2" nears its end, Enola still makes the odd fourth-wall shattering comment or tosses the camera a Jim Halpert-style glance. But that once-close intimacy is missing — or rather, it's been replaced by Enola and Tewksbury's budding relationship (or even the Holmes siblings' bond). It's not exactly encouraging that although Millie Bobby Brown told Variety at least one fourth-wall breaking moment was filmed for almost every scene, few of these powerful moments actually appear in the later parts of the film.

As we've previously mentioned in our review, "Enola Holmes 2" is still a great movie. The ending is undoubtedly a fun ride, but the fact that viewers are suddenly distanced from the action almost makes it feel as though you are simply watching yet another movie, rather than actively being called into the excitement. As the "Enola Holmes" team signals that they'd love to continue working on the series, I only hope that future installments carefully consider how to balance Enola's newfound camaraderie with a greater sense of viewer participation.

"Enola Holmes 2" is currently streaming on Netflix.