Sherlock: The Great Game

“Don’t make people into heroes, John. They don’t exist, and if they did I wouldn’t be one of them.”

Sherlock

And so we pay another visit to the world’s favourite detective, this time in the guise of his modernised BBC manifestation Sherlock.

SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

The Great Game is the last episode of the first series, and I know it was broadcast, oh, ages ago, but you can still get it on DVD…

Anyway. A gas explosion and an odd voicemail message draw Sherlock and Watson into a deadly game of Czech assassins and poisoned Botox, leading, of course, eventually to Moriarty, the evil mastermind whose name keeps cropping up.

Sherlock’s Moriarty, played by Andrew Scott, has got to be my favourite fictional villain, ever. Sauron the Great does not even come close. He’s funny, charismatic, and, the best part of all, we see him without even realising it. Jim from the hospital? And Sherlock doesn’t even notice him? A master-stroke.

The end of The Great Game is brilliant, too. Watson walks into the darkened swimming pool and says “Good evening” and there’s that split second where everyone thinks, “It was Watson all along…?”

Of course, it wasn’t. But that is the genius of Sherlock.

One thing that always annoys me about this episode, though, is the scene where Sherlock and Watson are walking down a corridor and all the lights turn off in sequence. Why? Why would that happen? Why? It wouldn’t. It’s just needless melodrama.

To be completely fair, it’s only about three seconds of film, though. The rest is brilliant. Clever camera work, snappy one-liners (“I am on fire!” says Sherlock at one point) and a plot line that crams five mysteries into an hour and a half without ever seeming rushed. What more could you ask for?

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