Category Archives: Sherlock

Sherlock — The Blind Banker (S1E2)

(My review of the last episode of Sherlock, A Study in Pink)

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.

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Sherlock — A Study in Pink (S1E1 Series Premiere)

I’m rather ashamed that it took me this long to watch Sherlock. So I’ll make up for it by watching both of the first two series this week. I hope that the rest of you are smarter than me and have already subscribed to the BBC’s fantastic adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, so I will skip the recap of the case.

Dr. John Watson was an army doctor in Afghanistan before he took a bullet that put him out of commission. Sherlock Holmes is the same hyper-observant, narcissistic man that he was portrayed as by Doyle and every other adaptation, but in Sherlock he doesn’t seem to be able to understand human emotion or social cues; when Molly tried to ask him out on a date he completely misunderstood. Sherlock calls himself a “consulting detective,” the only one of his kind, he consults on cases when the cops are out of their league. A sergeant, Sally, says that the only reason he consults is because he loves the thrill of the interesting cases; she wouldn’t be surprised if he became a killer himself when he lost interest in the cases.

Holmes and Watson are introduced by their mutual friend (or acquaintance in Sherlock’s case) Mike. Within the first thirty seconds of meeting, Sherlock knows just about everything there is to know about Watson. When Sherlock explains to Watson how he figured everything out, Watson responds “Extraordinary, quite extraordinary.” Sherlock responds calmly, “That’s not what people normally say.” Watson, “What do people normally say?” And with a smile, Sherlock responds “Piss off.” I think that this exchange explains beautifully the characters that Sherlock and Watson are and how close they will become.

The way that Sherlock deduces everything is quite amazing, this was no surprise. But what did come as a surprise is how the show displays his intellect. Text rolls across the screen as Sherlock notices any little thing (like the victim being left handed or pieces of her clothing be wet or dry), which helps the viewer understand what goes on in his strange mind. Along the lines of showing a little extra, as Sherlock and Watson were chasing the cab they showed a map of both routes that were being taken. I thought that this was completely unnecessary, but a very nice addition.

Once the cabbie dragged Sherlock with him to the place that he was planning on assisting his suicide, the story really got interesting. The two geniuses each have an opportunity to live another day, but Sherlock has to understand what is going on within the cabbie’s brain if he wants to live. You know that it’s a good start to a show if during the pilot they already have their audience on the edge of their seats, and I definitely was. Right as it appears that Sherlock is going to take one of the pills, though, Watson shoots the cab driver. With barely any time left before his death, the cabbie blurts out that Moriarty was the one who put him up to it. This didn’t come as any surprise.

I was, however, incredibly surprised that Moriarty wasn’t the man that approached Watson previously. Turns out that was Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. I have a sneaking suspicion that they might be the same person, though… I’m probably wrong, but something about Mycroft seems so evil.

I have to say, Sherlock has lived up to all of my expectations. Bravo, Steven Moffet, Mark Gatiss, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Martin Freeman, I am definitely going to be watching the rest of the series!

(My review of the next episode of Sherlock, The Blind Banker)

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