“Enola Holmes 2” is here, continuing the story set about in the 2020 Netflix film, but if you’re looking for a recap of the first film before you dive into the sequel, we’ve got you covered.
Starring Millie Bobby Brown in the titular role of Enola, the story follows Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister as she tries to shine outside the shadow of her well sought after detective brother. Adapted from Nancy Springer’s book series and directed by Harry Bradbeer, the “Enola Holmes” films also include Henry Cavill as Sherlock, Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria, Susan Wokoma as Edith and — in the first film — Sam Claflin as Mycroft.
Here’s what you need to remember from “Enola Holmes” before watching “Enola Holmes 2”:
A Brief Introduction
We meet Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) as she bikes through a meadow in England, and she immediately breaks the fourth wall, plunging viewers into her life’s story. Enola was born in 1884 to Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter). She remarks on her ‘strange’ name, adding for context that her mother loves word games, only to realize that her name spelled backwards reads “alone.” Eudoria constantly encouraged Enola that she would do well on her own, even though the two developed a tight bond as mother and daughter. With the help of a grand collaged sequence that continues throughout the film, Enola explains that her father died when she was young. She doesn’t remember much of him, and both of her older brothers left home soon after his death. She doesn’t have too many memories of her brothers either, but she has plenty with her mother, who didn’t teach her ordinary lessons like “stringing seashells or practicing embroidery.” Reading, science, sports, exercise (physical and mental) like archery and games of chess as well as sparring, were imparted to Enola through her mother, who encouraged her to be anything she wanted to be. Enola’s mother did have her own secrets, as Enola recalls interrupting one of her mother’s meetings — violating the privacy that her mother sought.
Enola’s Mother Disappears
On the July morning of her sixteenth birthday (a week ago), Enola woke up to find that her mother Eudoria had left Ferndell Hall, their home, at some point in the night. Eudoria did not return, and all she left Enola were small (seemingly meaningless) gifts. Enola is biking to the train station to collect her brothers Mycroft (Sam Claflin) and Sherlock (Henry Cavill), who have been summoned home to both arrange the estate and search for their mother as well as look after Enola. Enola’s sweeping introduction of her genius brother, detective, scholar, chemist, virtuoso violinist, expert marksman, swordsman, fighter pugilist and brilliant deductive ctive thinker Sherlock Holmes rivals that of her oldest brother Mycroft, who was left in charge of the family and house after the death of their father. Mycroft throws a fit at the state of Ferndell Hall since he has not returned in some time. Sherlock, on the other hand, takes in every detail calmly, searching for clues as to where Eudoria could have disappeared to. He comes to the conclusion that there was no foul play involved, since Eudoria did not plan to replace her used up drawing pencils. Mycroft debates their mother’s sanity, but Sherlock argues she had her full wits about her to leave behind a subtle trail to her whereabouts. Mycroft agrees as he lists all the ways Eudoria swindled him for money by making up accounts for a bathroom, water closet and constantly rising salaries of the footmen, housemaids, kitchen maids, gardeners, under gardners and for Enola a music teacher, a dance instructor and a governess. Eudoria made Enola read every book in Ferndell Hall’s library all of her own accord.
The Brothers Take Charge
As the oldest child, Mycroft is responsible for Enola, so she is his ward. Mycroft works for the government, but he attacks his brother and accuses him of having no interest in the family. Mycroft wants to find Enola a boarding school, which he accomplishes with the help of his old friend Miss Harrison (Fiona Shaw), and he also wants to find their mother. He leaves the mystery to Sherlock. The brothers argue about Enola’s personality and what is best for her, Sherlock trying to fight Mycroft on his strict approach.
Enola herself also fights back, begging her brothers to let her stay at Ferndell, but Mycroft thinks she must learn manners, etiquette and how to attract a husband, which Enola does not intend on doing. She tries to beg Sherlock to take her as his ward, but he apologizes and refuses. It is decided that Mycroft will bring Enola to Miss Harrison’s school himself. Sherlock later finds Enola sitting and sketching in a tree, where she draws a hilarious caricature of Myrcoft. Sherlock shares his memories of Enola with her — recalling Dash, the pinecone wrapped in wool on a leash that she dragged around. She asks him why he didn’t visit, to which he says he leads a busy life. Enola tells him she kept every newspaper clipping of all of his cases, but it took their mother’s disappearance to bring Sherlock home. Sherlock warns Enola that being emotional is understandable but unnecessary, and he then encourages her to look for waht’s there, not what she wants to see.
The Game Is Afoot
First Enola discovers a backwards cipher message from her mother, telling her to look in her chrysanthemums, and she uses a little book behind to identify the flowers. It is not the live bouquet in the vase, though, that Eudoria means, but the ones she painted. Hidden behind a framed painting, Enola finds money and a note that says “Our future is up to us.” Enola runs away from Ferndell Hall in Sherlock’s childhood clothes to take a train not at her local station. As she boards the train, she overhears a family looking for their son, who also seems to have taken the vehicle to vanish. She happens to sit in the car where he is hiding in a suitcase. Somewhat ungracefully, the Viscount Tewkesbury the Marquess of Basilwether (Louis Partridge) sneezes and tumbles down off the rack in his attempt to get out of the bag. He reveals he is in hiding and has bribed a porter to get her on board. A man in a brown bowler hat has boarded the train in search of Tewkesbury, whom Enola warns. He leaves the carriage as Enola asked, but 37 seconds later Tewkesbury rushes back to Enola asking for help, but she tries her best not to get entangled in his mess. She cannot refuse her urge to help him thougt, so she rescues him from bowler hat man, who almost gets him killed, and they tumble down a hillside in a daring jump escape from the train.
Sherlock easily reads through his sister’s tracks, both with her bicycle and the trail she left unravelling her mother’s clues. Tewkesbury makes the connection that they are related. As they walk through the countryside after their adrenaline-filled escape, Tewkesbury proves quite useful in knowing the local flora and fauna to eat, so he and Enola team up to survive in the wilderness, with Enola making their fire. They bond over their dead fathers as well as other topics of conversation. Tewkesbury reveals that a previous near-death experience brought his life flashing before his eyes. He was about to take his seat in the House of Lords, and his politics are more open-minded, or under the ideology of “Reform.” His family was set on him joining the army and going overseas like his uncle, so he ran away out of fear that he would hate every future moment of his life. Tewkesbury offers to stick together on their way to London, and Enola agrees but only until London, where they will part ways. She also gives the viscount a haircut to disguise him. He confesses that he won’t forget her when they part, and you can tell this is young love.
Enola’s Adventures in London
Enola realizes she is not prepared for the outside world, but she manages to buy nice ladies’ clothes to disguise herself from her brothers, who expect her to run around like an underdressed urchin. The shopkeeper mistakes her for a boy since she still wears Sherlock’s clothes, but Enola soon convinces her otherwise with her fat wad of bills. She also finds lodging thanks to the woman from whom she purchases clothes — a whalebone corset, a symbol of oppression to those who wear it, and a beautiful red dress. Her chest bust enhancer and the hip regulators provide places to conceal her mother’s fortune (for she ‘chooses’ to wear the corset). She also pins a braid hair extension to her head, and the shopkeeper stares openmouthed at her miraculous transformation.
Meanwhile, her brothers converse over the missing Marquess of Basilwether, whom Mycroft despises as a liberal. It is revealed that his absence is crucial to determining a vote in the House of Lords. Sherlock says he has been offered the case of the Marquess case, but he refused. He also sees that two boys jumped off the London Express in “The Pall Mall Gazette.”
Once she secures lodging, Enola scrambles a cipher to put in the newspaper so that her mother will know Enola is looking for her. She decides to word the message: “Thank you my chrysanthemum. Are you blooming? Send Iris, please.” According to her little flower guide, Iris means message. She leaves it in the personal advertisements column of “The Pall Mall Gazette,” which her mother always read, “The Magazine of Modern Womanhood,” and the “Journal of Dress Reform.”
Enola also memorized one of her mother’s only regular correspondences: Edith Grayston (Susan Wokoma), whom she visits to ask about her mother — Eudroia Vernet Holmes. Edith taught Enola fighting combat techniques when she was younger, except she could never get the corkscrew down. Enola shares that “a useless boy” has helped her get to London, but that she left him. Edith knows what Eudoria is up to, but she cannot say. Enola remembers that Edith was in the meeting she once interrupted when her mother was secretly plotting something. All she remembers is “Ellie Houseman.”
Edith tells Enola to be tough and live the life if she wants to stay in London, in addition to doing it to look for herself and not her mother. Enola sees the marking of a red dragon on a box in Edith’s study, which flashes her back to the memory of interrupting her mother. She then remembers two other scrambled word phrases in addition to “Ellie Houseman”: “The Bankmen Met” and “Entangle Herb.” She deciphers “The Bankmen Met” as “The Embankment,” which she read about in one of Ferndell Hall’s books. “Entangle Herb” is “Bethnal Green,” which is another place on the map of London. Her mother and her team of women were deciding between these three locations for their plan. “Ellie Houseman” turns out to be Limehouse Lane, and Enola tracks the Dragon Fireworks clue down to an empty wearhouse where she discovers chemicals, gunpowder and a nefarious-smelling plan put together by her mother. . Purple ribbon leads her to the right location, because she remembers all of the women in the room wearing a scrap. It looks as if she plans to plant bombs that will spread copies of a poster advertising for getting womens’ suffrage.
Bowler Hat Man Finds Enola
Viscount Tewkesbury’s brown bowler hat man tracks Enola down in attempt to find the Marquess. She tries to lie and bluff her way through the exchange, but the man holds her underwater for continuously longer periods of time until she seems to have drowned. But not to worry, she faked her limp posture and headbutted the man to escape. While hiding from the man, Enola recounts the routine of a typical educational day with her mother. Her fight with bowler hat man mimics the challenges she faced from her mother. The fight moves inside the abandoned warehouse, and Enola almost suffers a stab to her stomach, but her whalebone corset protects her. She then takes advantage of the explosive materials left behind by her mother to distract the man and make her final escape.
Enola flashes back to a memory where she saved a sheep from falling off a cliff. Her mother advised her to “let nature take it’s course,” but Enola cannot ignore the fact that she has the strength to save Tewkesbury from bowler hat man. She heads to his home mansion in widow’s garb, because people want to avoid conversations about death. She disguises herself as May Beatrice Posy, and she when gets in the house, she offers to search for Tewkesbury, but when the family refuses her help, she adds a layer to her lie that she is an assistant to Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Lestrade of Scotland Yard (x), another detective competing for the case of the Marquess, claims she can’t possibly know Sherlock Holmes because he is a close friend. Enola challenges him to answering three questions each about her to see which one of them knows him best. Lady Tewkesbury dismisses the both of them from the manor. Lestrade asks Enola what Sherlock’s favorite tobacco (Black Shag), composer (Paganini) and case (the one before) are. She asks Lestrade what Sherlock’s favorite dessert (plum pie), meal of the day (breakfast) and board game (chess).
Lestrade realizes she does, in fact, know Sherlock. Then she runs to a gardener and offers to pay him five pounds to swap clothes. She asked the young man where Tewkesbury would go since he was always outside, and he points her toward the woods.
Sherlock pays Edith a visit, close on Enola’s tail. Edith reports on Enola’s safety to Sherlock. He questions the “mischief” Edith and Eudoria are up to, but she tells him he will never understand, because (as a man), he doesn’t understand his advantage in the world and how it would be if he did not have power. She then carries on to admire his family, which he summarizes as a “lost child, a puffed up misanthrope, a revolutionary and yourself — no wife, no friends, just a strange occupation obsessed with footprints and coal dust.” She hints that the reform bill is just the beginning of the change in the world. She then calls Sherlock an ostrich, but she admires how he is at least paying attention to Enola.
It turns out Mycroft hired Lestrade to look for Enola, and they sit down at the barbershop, where Lestrade fills Mycroft in on the details. Mycroft promises a hefty reward for Lestrade’s bringing Enola to him.
Back to Enola, she finds the fallen tree branch that Tewkesbury tells her about, but she discovers that what seemed a natural occurrence was in fact, planned. She climbs up to his treehouse to trace clues he left behind, but The Dowager (Frances de la Tour), his grandmother, finds her in the woods and summons her down for a conversation about politics, the future and trees. The Dowager seems more traditionalist, thinking Enola must be a more open thinker like her grandson and his father before him. Before the grandmother scares Enola out of her admiration for Tewkesbury, who has left behind just enough clues for Enola to find where he went, she finds blue pressed flowers in a book about London, marking the section about Covent Garden.
When she finds Viscount Tewkesbury the Marquess of Basilwether selling flowers there, she tells him she missed him and that he is still in grave danger. She takes him back to her lodgings, where they almost kiss. Enola tells Tewkesbury that she thinks the same person who wants him dead killed his father. Lestrade finds her there since the lady she got the tip from in turn gave him a tip after her poster advertised that she was missing. She tells Tewkesbury to leave — saying “if he catches you, you’re in danger, but if he catches me it is a life I simply do not want.” So she sacrifices herself for him. Ah true love. Tewkesbury escapes, and Lestrade returns Enola to Mycroft, who puts her in Miss Harrison’s Finishing School for Girls, taking the money her mother left for her. Sherlock visits her, commenting on the weird rules of the school. He also brings her back her pet pinecone Dash, and he gives her more hints about solving mysteries. He also figures out that she has gotten involved with Tewkesbury, who tracks her down to the school. Together, they trick Miss Harrison, who was friends with Eudoria in school, by convincing her a private package arrived for her from Mycroft.
Before they bust out, Enola gets another lead on why someone wants Tewkesbury dead through one of the newspapers Sherlock leaves for her. She makes one last detour in Miss Harrison’s automobile — to Tewkesbury’s house, once she figures out who wants to kill Tewkesbury. She thinks that his uncle is the culprit, since Tewkesbury would vote for the Reform Bill, but if he died, his uncle would inherit his estate and stop that from happening. When they return to the mansion, nobody is home, and bowler hat man is there. After a hazardous brawl with bowler hat man, who shoots at them and fights Enola and almost chokes Tewkesbury to death, Enola successfully performs the corkscrew and takes him down. Then The Dowager appears, picks up the gun and shoots Tewkesbury in the chest (thankfully he wears a bulletproof chest shield of armor.
Sherlock reaches the correct conclusion, explaining The Dowager’s motive. The uncle would have voted more conservatively. It wasn’t the uncle who killed Tewkesbury’s father either because he was overseas serving in the war. So The Dowager is responsible for the dad’s death. Enola visits Tewkesbury before he takes his seat in the House of Lords, and he offers her to stay with them, but she refuses. He kisses her hand, and she sets off.
The Finding of Eudoria
Sherlock leaves a numbered cipher in the newspaper for Enola to try and smoke her out of hiding, but she catches his trick because he tells her to meet her at the Royal Academy. He signs the message as Mother instead of Chrysanthemum, and the Royal Academy shuns women. She leaves Dash on a statue by the school to assure Sherlock that she got his message. She also swaps clothes with a paperboy to lie in hiding. Mycroft purchases a paper from her without realizing it is her.
When she returns to the lodgings to which she moved, her mother is waiting for her. She tries to warm up to Enola, who snaps at her because she is mad at her for leaving. Eudoria says she left for Enola, because she doesn’t want her to grow up in a world pre-Reform Bill. Enola had her own hand in changing her future, though. Eudoria says she cannot stay long, and they embrace for a long time before she returns to hiding.
Enola owns her ending. She realizes that being alone doesn’t have to mean loneliness. Spurred on from her mother’s visit, she pursues her own path, purpose and future. “My life is my own,” she tells viewers at the end of the film. “And the future is up to us.”