Sherlock – The Blind Banker (S01E02) – Episode review

The Blind Banker: A mysterious cypher is being scrawled on walls around London, and the first person to see it dies within hours of reading it. Can Sherlock and Watson solve the case?

That’s the episode synopsis for tonight’s Sherlock. Quite a meandering episode really, I have to admit that my mind went wandering a couple of times during the 90 minute mystery.

Sherlock and Watson are called in by an old university friend of Sherlock’s to investigate a random piece of vandalism it the office. He’s a banker, in both the literal and the cockney rhyming slang sense of the word.

The duo are shown some bizarre yellow spray painting on a portrait in a side office. It’s clear that the symbol means something, but Sherlock can’t work out what. However, with a couple of deductive leaps, he’s breaking into another banker’s house and discovering the man’s corpse. And while the much more slow-witted DI Dimmock (after establishing DI Lestrade last week, isn’t it a bit soon to be throwing another detective at us?) decides that it’s a clear case of suicide, Holmes swiftly proves that it was murder: the man was left-handed, but was shot in the right side of the head.

As Sherlock and Watson delve deeper into the case, another dead body is discovered which confirms that there’s a murder. Except there’s still no assistance from the police.

And so, the detective flatmates are on their own for most of the episode, eventually establishing that the two dead men were smugglers for a Chinese gang and that they were killed because something owed to the gang had been stolen. Along the way, they pick up a love interest for Watson, who ends up on a date. Sherlock plays gooseberry and the now-trio get themselves in a spot of bother.

Watson and the girl are captured by the gang and – due to several crafty points laid down throughout the episode – the Chinese think Watson is Sherlock. He has his debit card, and a cheque made out to Holmes and was heard by one of them shouting “I’m Sherlock Holmes…I work alone.”

Sadly, The Blind Banker lacked the punchy dialogue of the first episode and the mystery this week was slightly lacklustre. After brilliantly proving what a genius Sherlock was in A Study Of Pink, even Holmes didn’t have quite the level of snappy retorts this week.

I was baffled when Watson discovered graffiti on a wall by the railway, which disappeared by the time he summoned Holmes to see it. Yes, someone painted over the graffiti. In about ten minutes. If they get bored with the smuggling, they’lll make a killing as decorators. The thing is, Holmes and Watson were clearly being followed. If the Chinese are ruthless enough to kill people, then why erase the evidence? Why not just kill the pair?

And what’s with all the strangling of Holmes when they clearly had access to guns? Sorry, but it all seemed terribly patchy for my liking. I’m not discounting the fact that a second viewing may be more revealing, but I found this episode hard to connect with.

Still, there was some enjoyment to be had playing “Spot the Doctor Who locations that are being used in Sherlock”. This week, Cardiff’s Temple Of Peace, which featured in the recent Silurian storyline in series 5 (and previously in the Eccleston episode The End Of The World). And if I’m not mistaken, was that the library from [[Silence In The Library (Doctor Who episode)|Silence In The Library]]/Forest Of The Dead (Doctor Who episode)|Forest Of The Dead]]?

Did anyone else find this episode a bit of a damp squid (reference to the IT Crowd finale intended).

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  1. Rosie-Lee

    I must be getting easy to please in my old age then, because I loved it and found it an enjoyable romp.

    With the inclusion of the tongs, it reminded me of the old b/w Sherlock Holmes films, complete with absolute mysteries which you are not really supposed to get until the end.

    I look forward to seeing how it pans out with Moriarty next week.  Who knows, he might even be the new Inspector Dimmock.

  2. FirstOfTenth

    I have to agree, first episode was the better one, though you can hardly talk of “dialogues”, it was more of Holmes’s monologues (which were some kind of overwhelming since English isn’t my first language).

    I’m glad Martin Freeman is allowed to give Dr. Watson a smarter touch than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave him originally.

    Two questions: Why didn’t Holmes play the violin? He warned Watson he’d do this when he’s thinking.

    Second question: Can someone please explain why the second episode was called The Blind Banker? I only saw a dead one… Might be the lack of language– what did I miss??

    And it definitely was the location from Silence in the Library, trust me on this πŸ™‚

  3. deplorable

    It was called the “blind banker” because the first thing they were looking at was the famous chairman of the bank, in the painting, who had a yellow line through his eyes. Blind Banker.

    compared to last weeks, this was a disappointing episode. He [moffat] really has to decide an hour (which is his usual writing) or two hours. An hour and a half doesn’t work, it just feels rushed near the end with basic mistakes looming all over the place.

    Flimsy plot. Basic writing cliches and issues regarding human emotion. A failure by all accounts. Not an enjoyable romp as last weeks. Hopefully they can do something better that suits the actors… a decent storyline would also help.

    1. FirstOfTenth

      Thx, deplorable. Wouldn’t have thought of that in a million years. Should’ve been called “blinded” then, shouldn’t it? And a painting… really. What would it “see” anyway? I mean… it’s “Sherlock” and NOT Dr. Who, innit?

      1. Gerard McGarry

        If they keep filming it in old Doctor Who locations, it’s going to be distracting for a portion of the audience. I may even start to call it Sherlock Who.

        Having said that, maybe they could send Sherlock back and if he can work out how The Doctor escaped from the Pandorica?

        1. FirstOfTenth

          I’m wondering ’bout that since weeks, but no one ever listened. He’d got trapped in there and I can’t see any way how he could have send himself back to 102 AD to give the auton (Rory) his sonic to free him.

          But maybe there’s something I’ve missed ’bout the vortex manipulator. Or it happened again and I’ve just outed myself as a complete idiot.

          Damned. Note to myself: Must take more time on learning English. (burn notice…)

  4. steelcitylambrit

    I get where you’re coming from Gerard but at the end of the day I was on the edge of my seat most of the way through it so it totally worked for me!

    Looking back at the reviews from you and other users I can see the holes, but overall I think it was still far and away one of the best things on TV yesterday.

  5. FirstOfTenth

    I don’t know if you were just being kind or if it’s true πŸ™‚ All I know is that in my opinion English is the most beautiful language in the world, not only in writings. It just sounds great to me (very smooth and fluent, somehow– whilst German sounds more harsh and hard, you can compare it very much to the Scottish accent).

    Though I may be far away from perfection – at least we can communicate here and I’ve even survived three weeks in Boston, NYC and Washington DC, recently πŸ˜‰

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