Monday, August 09, 2010

My Review of Sherlock's 1x03: "The Great Game"

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Paul McGuigan

Moriarty: “Do you know what happens if you don't leave me alone, Sherlock? To you?”
Sherlock: “Oh let me guess, I get killed."
Moriarty: “Kill you? No. Don't be obvious, I mean I'm going to kill you anyway...some day. I don't want to rush it though. I'm saving it up for something special. No, no, no, no, if you don't stop prying...I'll burn you. I'll burn the heart out of you.”

Well, it’s about bloody time, isn’t it? Three episodes in and Moriarty finally made his on screen debut and it really couldn’t have happened a moment too soon as far as I’m concerned. The teasing in the first two stories was fun but it was time for a pay-off and this one certainly did that in spades.

For a while now, I assumed that we would get a fairly big name for the role of Sherlock’s greatest enemy but the casting of Irish actor Andrew Scott as Moriarty was an interesting choice. Apart from Lennon Naked, he’s someone whose work I am unfamiliar with and his take on the classic villain is easily compared to a certain someone else – John Simm.

Yes, Andrew Scott seemed to mirror with Moriarty what John Simm did with the Master by making the devious genius as lethally dangerous and over the top camp as humanly possible and like Simm, it’s certainly a performance that’s rather divisive amongst fandom.

Personally I like the take on Moriarty myself. Andrew Scott is a perfect match for Benedict Cumberbatch and the two of them play off well against each other. \I also liked the fact that Moriarty went a little gay at the start by posing as a closeted boyfriend for Molly. It certainly played on Sherlock’s belief that the best way of disguise was hiding in plain sight.

Even though the pool confrontation was arguably short in some ways, it was the biggest moment of tension there. Two enemies finally meeting up, comparing notes, threatening to kill the other while making the usual attempts to second the other one as well. It’s moments like this that almost made me forget about Watson being the fifth and final unlucky person to be strapped with a bomb.

Though to be honest, I never once thought that Watson would die. Sherlock did manage to get the bomb off him in time before Moriarty decided to change his tack and attempt to kill the crime solving duo. As cliff hangers went, that one was utterly brilliant and frustrating in equal measures. There’s no way that this show can end like this and given the overnight ratings, the BBC really do have incentive to bring it back.

For a 90 minute episode, this one had a far more evolving pace than the first two stories. Moriarty’s spate of strapping bombs on people while Sherlock and Watson had to right wrongs was skilful story telling and surprisingly, I was grateful for the BBC not showing us the sight of a blind grandmother being blown to pieces in the process.

There were a lot of little moments in this story aside from the Sherlock/Moriarty confrontation that really sold it to me. I loved Mycroft trying to influence Watson into getting his brother to take an interest in one case, I liked the insight into Sherlock’s attitude towards the solar system and even the stuff with the Golem was far better handled in comparison to the Black Lotus plot in last week’s episode and more importantly, there were more appearances from Lestrade and Sally, who were better in this one than “A Study In Pink”.

- Watson’s blog is generating popularity, much to Sherlock’s chagrin. Sally listing things for Watson to do instead of hanging out with Sherlock was amusing as well.
- Peter Davison was the voice on the planet documentary that Professor Cairns was listening to before she was killed.
- Did we actually get that awful man Jeremy Kyle in this episode? That man should have less airtime, not more.
- The homoerotic subtext between Sherlock and Moriarty was quite out there to be honest. I can imagine fans having a shit fit if Moriarty in this version did turn out to be gay.

Mark Gatiss, you are a genius. Not only did you appear in “The Great Game” but you wrote and kept the tension up for the whole 90 minutes. The life and death moments, intriguing puzzles and the Sherlock//Watson/Moriarty moments made this the best out of the three episodes we’ve got. Please BBC, make another series.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

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