Friday, December 28, 2012

Loveable Freak Reviews Sherlock (BBC): "The Blind Banker"

  Well, after the magnificent fantasticness that was the first episode of Sherlock, I was excited for the next episode, "The Blind Banker"...
Never has a gif worked so well...

 ...That excitement didn't last...

  Well, let's get on with it. An old classmate of Sherlock's calls him in to investigate a strange symbol that was spray-painted in his financial-trading job thing's building, on one of the higher levels inside. Turns out one of the traders and later another guy are killed impossibly. They both were killed within their home, when no one can get in. They also both receive the same coded message before they died. A plot involving a Chinese smuggling ring, John having a bad week, some stupidity on our heroes's part, a bizarre misunderstanding, and general boredom ensues.

  Oh, and did I mention John "collegezones" Sherlock this episode? No? Because he does.

It's worse than the friendzone, in that they don't consider you a friend (yet)... (and yes, I realize I misspelled "college", but I can't exactly fix it, now)
  Yeah, if you haven't guessed yet, I'm not a fan of this episode. I'm probably going to rant a wee bit, so expect...

 The episode was written by the Steve Thompson, the third writer on Sherlock and not one of the "creators". Needless to say, it's not his best work. He'll get better come next season. Someone on TV Tropes described this episode as feeling like Moffat and Gatiss "simply left The Blind Banker writer Stephen Thompson out of the creative loop, not discussing or showing him anything from either episode. "It's Sherlock Holmes, and it's in the modern day. You figure out the details."" And that's kind of what it feels like.

  This episode is probably the most "filler-like". There's really not much that carries over to the next episode. Only three things: a spray can that's only used for a canon nod in the beginning, John's girlfriend Sarah (who I'll discuss later) who only appears once that episode and serves little more than as a place for John to stay after a fight with Sherlock, and a brief "cameo" from Moriarty at the end.

  We also don't see much of the reoccurring characters who aren't Sherlock or John. We only get a brief appearance from Molly, and two brief, blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearances by Mrs. Hudson. Unless you count Moriarty's cameo-via-text. Everyone else is a new character. We get no Lestrade (boo!) and no Mycroft (boo, but understandable, since there's no real way to shoehorn him in, here.).

  So, let's talk about some of the new characters we meet. First there's Sherlock's old classmate Sebastian Wilkes. He's a jerk, I don't like him, moving on. Then there's DI Dimmock, the new inspector to fill in for Lestrade while he's gone. He's uninteresting, he's not Lestrade, and I don't care much about him. He's not my inspector!

  John also gets a girlfriend this episode named Sarah Sawyer. She's an alright character, too. I loved it when she automatically starts beat the guy who's attacking Sherlock during John and her's date. John has good taste in women. It is kind of a shame that she didn't get more time on the show, since she only only appears in one scene next episode, and later breaks-up with John off-screen. She was kind of wasted, actually. Though, since I love Watson with Mary Morstan (I'm hoping she appears in series/season 3), I'm not completely heartbroken.

  There's not much to say about Sherlock this episode. He's still good, but the boring badness of this episode kind of dulls it.

  As for John, this was like the universe hated him this episode. The only things that went semi-well for him was getting a girlfriend and getting a job filling in at a surgery (which I'm going to assume is the British equivalent of a regular doctor's office) (but we never hear about the job again, like almost everything else this episode... T_T). Here are the ways the episode picked on him:
  1. The self-checkout fiasco (though I admit, those can get annoying...)
  2. He's mistaken for a graffiti artist and ends up getting a court summons
  3. Falling asleep at his job (Hmm, maybe that's why we never hear about his job again...though he does end up using that to ask Sarah out, so it wasn't a total loss for him...)
  4. Sherlock inviting himself along on John's date, and said date quickly becoming a "Circus Blitz".
  5. Him and Sarah getting abducted by the smugglers. And finally...
  6. He's mistaken for Sherlock and almost has Sarah killed by the smugglers (I'll get to that later...)
  It's kind of sad, really. Funny at points, but sad...

  Sadly, there is some stupidity on the part of our heroes in the museum scene. They know Soo Lin, a character who was a former smuggler, is marked for death by the Black Lotus (the smuggling gang), and one of the only people who can help them crack the code. So what does John do when Sherlock runs off to confront the group's assassin? He runs to save Sherlock, leaving Soo Lin alone to face her doom even though Sherlock told him to stay put! *facepalm* Honestly, John, I love that you're so loyal to Sherlock, but for the love of all that's good, THINK, MAN!

A dramatic re-enactment...
  Speaking of the smugglers, The Black Lotus, they are a little infuriating, too. First, there's kind of the whole "racist" thing. Every Chinese character here is somehow involved with the smuggling ring. Soo Lin was only a former one and probably the only real "good guy" one, but as I said earlier, she gets killed. Yeah... that's not unfortunate implications right there.

  Then there's the whole "mistaking John for Sherlock" thing. That was stupid! Their logic was stupid! Okay, I can give them the "he had Sherlock's card, a check made out to Sherlock, and the circus tickets reserved in Sherlock's name" thing, that's slightly feasible. But then they use John's sarcastic comment that "I'm Sherlock Holmes, and I always work alone, because no one else can compete with my massive intellect!" from earlier in the episode as evidence. CAN THESE PEOPLE NOT UNDERSTAND BLOODY SARCASM!? Honestly! Did these people not look up who Sherlock was? At all? They knew there was a Sherlock Holmes and what he did, but come on!

  And it's revealed Moriarty helped them get into England, and that they were at least somewhat in communication with him. Did he not think to tell them "Hey, there's this guy out there: Sherlock Holmes. He's about 6'0; dark, curly hair; Glasz eyes; wears suits, a trench coat, and scarf; has cheekbones. He's clever as all get-out, you can't miss him. Try and avoid the meddler..." I mean, he told the cabbie who Sherlock was! He couldn't just give them a picture or something?

I couldn't resist parodying this comic from Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton, her comics are funny. I regret nothing.
  Was it all an elaborate scheme to Holmes? You know, I'm convinced this incident's the reason he sends photos of Sherlock to Irene Adler two episodes later.

  UGH! The more I think about this episode, the more I pick it apart! It hurts my head, make it stop!

 Okay, last minute thoughts:
  • The only scenes I really liked were the first scene with Sherlock fighting a random dude we never get much story about as John fights with the self-checkout machine, the part where Sherlock bobs around the trading office, and the whole "I remember it... I took a picture" thing.
  • The book code seems to be based on the one from The Valley of Fear. The plot itself I read is supposed to be based on "The Dancing Men". Which, I guess if you squint, I can see the similarities. But it's very loose. Like, "hanging tenaciously by a single fraying thread and one tug will completely disconnect it" loose.
  • There's no commentary on the DVD for this episode (and only this one for Season 1). Maybe the people on the show don't like talking about it, either...
  • I started thinking, "Wait a minute! What did Watson do for money before he got his own practice after marrying Mary in the canon? And after he moved back in with Holmes and sold it? Did he do med stuff from 221B like we saw him do in the Guy Ritchie movie? Ugh."
  • The sad thing is, when Elementary did an episode involving an illegal Chinese group, they at least let the good new character have a happy ending (and there's, of course, Joan played by the fabulous Lucy Liu). Yes, Elementary actually handled something slightly better than Sherlock. And in a terrible episode. You should feel ashamed, Thompson.
  Ugh. Glad I got this one over with. This is my least favorite episode in the whole series. All I have left to say is, GATISS! SAVE ME WITH THE NEXT EPISODE!

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