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Sherlock - The Blind Banker

episode 1.2

UK 2010
produced by
Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss (executive), Steven Moffat (executive), Beryl Vertue (executive), Rebecca Eaton (executive), Bethan Jones (executive) for Hartswood Films, Masterpiece Theatre, BBC (BBC Wales)
directed by Euros Lyn
starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Zoe Telford, Gemma Chan, Una Stubbs, Loo Brealey, Al Weaver, Bertie Carvel, Daniel Percival, Paul Chequer, Howard Coggins, Janice Acquah, Jack Bence, John MacMillan, Olivia Poulet, Jacqui Chan, Sarah Lam, Gillian Elisa, Stefan Pejic, Philip Benjamin
screenplay by Steve Thompson, based on characters by Arthur Conan Doyle, series developed by Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, music by David Arnold, Michael Price

TV-series
Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Someone unknown leaves a message encoded in ancient Chinese numbers meant for a banker in a supposedly unpenetrable bank, so this guy has to see it. Later the banker shoots himself, locked into his own apartment. Simple case, it seems, but Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) figures it's not that simple, that the banker's suicide was a homicide. Later another man, a reporter, is found shot dead in his apartment in a position that suggests another suicide, but Holmes and Watson (Martin Freeman) soon find that he has received an encoded message as well. The things the two men had in common was they both travelled to China frequently, and visited a certain Chinese antique job each time they returned from China.

Holmes' investigations soon take him to Soo Lin (Gemma Chan), a girl who is somehow involved with all of this, and who fills Holmes in on the background of the whole affair: The whole thing is about smuggling antiques for an operation run by the Chinese Tong, and one of the Tong's hired smugglers has stolen a priceless jade hairpin from what he was supposed to smuggle, but the Tong don't know who did it, so they try to kill them all off. As for the encoded messages: they refer to passages from a certain book, and make the case plain simple should anyone care to decypher them.

Soo Lin has to die soon after spilling the beans, but she has provided Holmes with enough information to track down the Tong to a Chinese circus that just happens to visit town, but to prove his point, he has Watson and his new girlfriend Sarah (Zoe Telford) kindnapped by the Tong to then appear as knight in shining armour ...

Of course, everything ends happily.

 

Bluntly speaking, The Blind Banker is not all that great a murder mystery: The plot is incredibly far-fetched and often lacks credibility, is a bit too convoluted to really sustain tension, and sometimes plain simply makes no sense. On top of that, the directorial effort is so annoyingly wannabe-hip it's sometimes even embarrassing.

That said though, this episode isn't a trainwreck, neither: Martin Freeman is possibly the best Watson ever, he and Benedict Cumberbatch start to develop a real chemistry here, bringing Holmes into the 21st century dopes succeed for the most part without major embarrassments, and at least the whole thing is well-paced.

So yeah, you really might get a kick out of this one, provided you don't take it too seriously on a narrative level and don't look for directorial brilliance.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD