Sherlock — The Blind Banker (S1E2)
It looks to me that every episode of Sherlock is going to be incredibly complicated. It is a neat idea to keep us just as in the dark about Sherlock’s processes as Watson is. However, during this episode there was a decent amount of time where I was genuinely confused about what was going on. Don’t get me wrong, I love that the show isn’t as straightforward as the average boring cop drama, but it seems to me that it is excessively convoluted. There were many pieces of the story that could have been much simpler than they were and still have had the same effect. Maybe I’m just not used to watching movie-length episodes of television and it will take some adjusting. Having said that, I think I’ll skip recapping the case for this episode.
In my review of A Study In Pink I criticized Sherlock for not being able to read social cues. Turns out I was wrong, I just overestimated his kindness. He knew that Molly was asking him out, he just ignored her because he’s, well, a jerk. In this episode he used this knowledge to his advantage, which helped prove his case to Dimmock. He also understands what makes people tick and pushes those buttons. Sebastian immediately assumes that Sherlock was analyzing him (which he was), but he tells him that he found everything out by talking to Seb’s assistant, just to frustrate him.
Near the start of the episode there is an amazing contrast between John and Sherlock’s life struggles. While Watson is trying to purchase groceries at an automated machine, Holmes is fighting a masked man with a sword in his apartment. Watson seems much more agitated in his terrible situation than Sherlock is. When Watson complains about his day and accuses his friend of being lazy, rather than prove him wrong, Sherlock hides the sword. I’m not sure if this is to belittle Watson’s importance or because he just doesn’t want to tell the tale. It’s hard to tell when it comes to Sherlock Holmes.
It astounds me how much John will do for Sherlock without explanation. Just like Sherlock, he wants to sate his curiosity more than just about anything else, which allows him to ignore the terrible treatment that he receives. Every time Sherlock breaks into a building to investigate, he leaves Watson in the dust, when all he has to do is buzz him in. This is an attribute of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, so I find it to be a very neat touch. But what is really insane is that Watson was arrested for graffiti that Sherlock’s friend Raz plastered up, and Watson didn’t do anything about it (whining doesn’t count).
You have to love Sherlock’s arrogance; when talking to Dimmock, Sherlock says, “This investigation would move a lot quicker if you were to take my word as gospel.” Though it’s more or less true, no one should have high enough self-esteem to say this. I can’t be too mad at him, though, because he was so astute. When told that Van Coon’s death had to be a suicide he responded with, “[Suicide is] one explanation of some of the facts. You’ve got a solution that you like, but you’re choosing to ignore anything you see that doesn’t comply with that.” Pure genius.
Besides the incredibly contrived plot, it was a pretty good episode. It is quite rare to have such well-formed characters and an intriguing series arc after just two episodes.