SHERLOCK (BBC) “The Blind Banker” Review

Sherlock bbc

Occasionally, bigger isn’t always better. This is the case with SHERLOCK‘s second episode, The Blind Banker, which does in 90 minutes what could have been done well inside of 60. In fact, it would probably be better to ignore the last thirty minutes and just imagine your own ending for this episode.

The mystery this week involved ancient chinese numbers spray painted as a warning to future murder victims. When Sherlock and Watson start investigating, things don’t go as smoothy as planned. The third victim falls on their watch, leading Sherlock to flirt his way into the morgue, while Watson goes on a date. Yes, flirting and dating. I was surprised, too.

Things went fairly smoothly during the first half, if you ignore the throwaway character of Andy (whose sole purpose was to pine and tell everyone about Soo Lin’s love for her teapots, apparently). The problem is having a mystery that isn’t actually a mystery at all. Every time a new clue was discovered, Sherlock knew the answer or we, the audience, were given the answer. It was clear who the attacker was when he saw the photograph of Soo Lin Yao with her brother in her flat. The mysterious Shan was obviously the woman following Watson and Holmes and taking photographs. (Why didn’t either of them think anything of this? They both looked directly at her! She didn’t really look like a casual tourist.)

I’ll admit that the ‘one book everyone has’ puzzle completely stumped me. Sherlock was so adamant that everyone would have this book that I decided it HAD to be the Bible. Okay, not everyone has it, but it’s the biggest selling book in the world. I still think it’s more likely that someone would just bust out a King James Version than a London A-Z. (I haven’t actually seen a tourist using an A-Z Street Atlas in a few years. Fold out tourist maps and GPS handhelds, sure, but no A-Z. Maybe I’m just being particular. Or tourists in London like to go old school.)

And then came the last half an hour. Oh, writers, you mean well, I know you do. Casting directors, I’m sure you tried your hardest. But honestly now, who was supposed to take Shan’s ‘No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die’ shtick seriously? And surely we were supposed to worry about Sarah’s fate, not some crazy woman’s ‘extreme enunciation’ (that’ll probably be a reality TV show soon).

An over reaching plot meant some forced character building tonight, aside from the cute acting from Sherlock, who can mimic social cues perfectly – even if he’s not too good at understanding/giving a damn about them. (I’d rate him a C for the flirting and an A for the ‘can I use your balcony?’ Sweetie, if I had a balcony, you could use it all you wanted.) Sarah was a nice, if somewhat generic, ‘spunky’ character. Presumably she’ll be back next week, surprising Watson who was certain she would want nothing more to do with him. (Random thought: was her chair fixed to the ground or weighted? If not, why didn’t she or Sherlock just tip it over?)

And then there’s the ending. And Moriarty. But I’ll be honest, by that point I really couldn’t have cared less.

In closing: a decent enough episode. A bit long, too much fat that could (and should) have been trimmed, and a tad dull, but watchable nonetheless. If episode 3 ‘The Great Game’ can blend together the character building of episode 1 and the plot of episode 2, it should be a nice piece of light Sunday night viewing.

Let’s just hope there’s an actual mystery involved for us to ponder: Sherlock needs to be a little more Holmes, a little less Columbo.