Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My Review of Sherlock's 1x02: "The Blind Banker"

Written by Steve Thompson
Directed by Euros Lyn

Watson (to Sherlock): “I thought bankers were supposed to be heartless bastards.”

Following the success of the first episode, is it expected that the second one would have some problems compared to it? I guess so. This episode isn’t particularly bad but it’s definitely something of a letdown from the previous one I suppose. Maybe because of the lack of other characters in it or the plot not being that strong.

Even though I mentioned in my review for the first story that I felt the likes of Lestrade, Anderson and Sally Donovan were underdeveloped, I missed not seeing them here. Mainly because I want to see them developed as much as Holmes and Watson and also because the guest detective of the episode – Dimmock wasn’t all that interesting to be perfectly honest.

As for the story itself – I don’t want to pull the racial stereotyping card because I’m not someone who gets annoyed by villains being foreign characters but this episode felt a little on the pastiche side of things with the big bad this week, compared to the charismatic villain we got last week.

The victims of the episode – Eddie Van Coon and Lukis didn’t really engage me all that much either. The story of them smuggling goods in from Asia into the UK and them being killed as the result of the Black Lotus somehow felt lacking to me. Granted there were some interesting moments with the unfortunate Soo Lin Yao though.

Gemma Chan is a pretty charming actress and if she’s not appearing during the final days of the 10th Doctor or being cast in a movie with Danny Dyer (who’d want that?), then she makes a decent guest appearance in this episode. Soo Lin might have died halfway through the episode but at least she felt like a proper character as well as a plot device.

We saw her niche at the museum with tea pots, fighting off the advances of her co-worker Andy and then we got her unfortunate back story (both her and her brother were forced to smuggle things into the country) as she tried to hide away from the Black Lotus. Even though they didn’t mean to, both Sherlock and Watson inadvertently got her killed by tracking her down. However at least she was smart enough to try and make some headway in cracking the cipher code of this episode, which was literally everywhere during the 90 minutes of this week.

Funnily enough though, Sherlock might be the brains of the bunch but I noticed that both Soo Lin and Watson’s fellow doctor/date for the circus, Sarah actually seemed to have made more headway with the code that Sherlock did at first. I kind of liked that actually, even if Sherlock is supposed to be the brains of the bunch.

As for Watson getting kidnapped by the Asian baddies along with Sarah in the episode, it added some much needed tension in an episode that lagged in places. I’m not going to be too harsh on the series because it’s still finding its feet and right now, it’s certainly better than anything else but I wish that Moriarty would make his move already as well. This episode while having a decent enough plot with smuggling and Asian gangs and asserting the dynamics between Holmes and Watson just wasn’t as good as last week.

- Who was the guy that was duelling with Sherlock at the beginning of the episode? Is that something we’ll find out next week or never at all?
- Moriarty seemed to have been involved with this week’s killers as well. I wasn’t surprised when he had that woman killed at the end though.
- Watson sensibly has gotten a job as a doctor given that Sherlock doesn’t exactly pay him. This episode also seemed to lift stuff from the books, The Adventures Of The Dancing Man, The Sign Of The Four, The Valley Of Fear and The Five Orange Pips.
- In positive news, it’s also looking likely that this series will get a second run given the ratings success it’s had so far. Well deserved.

As I’ve said above, I didn’t enjoy “The Blind Banker” as much as I did the previous episode but the episode wasn’t lacking completely. It’s nice to see Watson dating and also to see someone from Sherlock’s past (banker Sebastian), even if it wasn’t the most interesting person going. I just hope that the next episode is more impacting than this one was and that we get some Sherlock/Moriarty scenes.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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