Sherlock – The Blind Banker: Dork Review

Sherlock episode two - The Blind BankerAfter the first episode of Sherlock, audience reaction was hysterical. Twitter had an orgasm and reviewers spilled so much praise onto their keyboards that they exploded in a shower of plastic. (Seriously, I’ve only just picked the S key out of my hair.)

So perhaps it was inevitable that when the second instalment aired, it would seem a bit of a let-down. Certainly, the absence of Steven Moffat’s name from the writing credits made me ready myself for a degree of disappointment.

Still, the feeling of deflation when the credits came was heavier than expected. The first episode had a certain something, and this one… just didn’t.

Not a complex plot

It’s an awful phrase that has infiltrated the internet reviewing lexicon, but I did find myself thinking “filler episode” whilst watching this. Sub-plots barely advanced and many major-seeming characters from last week were entirely absent.

I accept that some episodes are less important than others, but in a series of only three episodes, it’s more damning to write off one of them as inconsequential. Of course, not advancing the arc plots doesn’t make it rubbish by default, but the actual mystery was rather un-engaging too.

I found myself more interested in Watson’s dating attempts, which says good things about Martin Freeman’s endearing acting but worse things about the rest of it. Slowness was also a problem, there didn’t seem enough plot to fill a ninety minute slot.

Got a bad feeling about this

But more than the story itself, the feel of the show wasn’t as interesting as last week. It often felt like a generic BBC crime drama, with only the Holmes/Watson banter as a reminder of the source material. Cumberbatch and Freeman were still great, but some of the quirkier touches like Mycroft Holmes were noticeably absent.

And Holmes didn’t seem like enough of a genius. Maybe I’m over-expecting of the poor chap, but many of his brilliant realisations this week felt like nothing Dalziel and Pascoe couldn’t have come up with, once they’d had their liquid breakfast. He also developed a penchant for hand-to-hand combat, which came rather out of nowhere.

As I say, expectations were perhaps unreasonably high after a brilliant premiere. Hopefully next week Mycroft and Moriarty will be gloriously brought to the forefront and I will write some glowing praise. But for now, I must admit, that was competent but lacked the brilliance of the first one.

What did you think?
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Nick Bryan

Nick learned to read and write at an early age. This has developed into an unhealthy need to either write stories or consume them for later dissection. He reviews film and TV on Dork Adore and The Digital Fix, lives in London and enjoys a nice white beer.

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  1. says

    I possibly wasn't paying as much attention as last week, thanks to some complicated knitting, but I wasn't so into it as last week. Not least because I get so tired of the “you buy lucky cat! Only TEN DOLLAR!” Chinese stereotype.

    That said, it's still a hell of a lot more fun than most things on TV currently.

    • says

      Yeah, I forgot to complain about the Chinese stereotyping. They may as well have called it “The Yellow Peril”. Kept hoping for a subversive or enlightening moment to redeem it, but there wasn't much.

  2. says

    I still enjoyed it – and there was one moment (I've forgotten which) that jolted me in terror out of my seat. But I agree, it did seem a bit generic, not very Sherlock. Must try harder (B+). Is Freeman's date meant to be future wife Mary (is it??)

    • says

      There was a moment I liked actually, when Watson was tied to a chair and the villain explained why she thought he was Holmes. I thought that was quite clever.

  3. helen_brown says

    My bloke thought 2 was an improvement on 1, but all right-thinking people know that's ridiculous.

    I've got worryingly high expectations that 3 will be IMMENSE to make up for it.

  4. says

    I agree – first episode was enthralling! (I even nursed a serious 24 hour crush on Martin Freeman until Wikipedia told me that he was married.) Second episode? Not so much. Good to know that my judgement on such matters is keenly supported by the thinking people.

    • says

      He's married? How terribly sad. I love him and his lovely lego haircut. I really don't get the Benedict Cumberbatch thing though. That strange attractiveness Moffatt seems to give Matt Smith as Doctor Who hasn't been passed on to Sherlock.

      • says

        What, what, what? Matt Smith as Dr Who is the best piece of casting I have ever seen! My god, that man is wonderful. I have never seen an episode of Dr Who without Matt Smith as Dr Who – I can't imagine him any other way. If the writing has something to do with the magic of this programme (of course it does!) then Steven Moffatt is the probably the best thing to happen to the BBC.

        Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock) lacks a certain sense of empathy that both Smith & Freeman seem to have – in character, of course. That said, is Sherlock Holmes meant to inspire a thousand passions in the modern woman? Probably not, but I can't wait for the next episode.


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