Sherlock: Series 1, episode 3 – The Great Game

Thus the series comes to an end – three episodes is clearly not enough, but at the same time, I’m not sure I’d want thirteen or so of them either.

Suddenly, all that talk about Watson’s blog and Sherlock’s website is actually impacting on the story. It starts to make sense why they actually exist. I was worried that it might be a bit too inclusive, though. I like the additional information but you shouldn’t have to read them to get it. They were careful, and I think they erred on the side of caution in this case, but it’s a fine line.

Once again, it was the characterisations that sung out in this episode. The story itself was complicated, but not in an endless way, like the second episode was. Each mystery seemed to get faster and faster and there was so much detail that it was clear you weren’t exactly to be frowned upon if you didn’t follow it all. Each of those puzzles could have lasted Sherlock a good half hour of episode, but was summed up in ten minutes or so. The bigger picture was what was important.

So with the complex story playing itself out, we were left to enjoy all the peripheral stuff. I’m really enjoying the lab girl and her strange crush on Sherlock. Mrs Hudson gets even more cooler – I particularly like the way she just hushed up mid-sentence when they all disappeared into the basement flat. She lets them do what they want without question and continues to look after them without fail.

I’m not really a fan of the brother. He seems to be getting in the way more than anything and if he is as smart as Sherlock, why couldn’t he figure out his nuclear weapon problem by himself? Also, what did the boy at the swimming pool have to do with anything? Were the shoes really kept for 20 years just to bug Sherlock with? I wasn’t quite sure on that score. But again, that’s the complicated story, that also seemed to involve a giant grotesque man and a planetarium. Not so much what I was concentrating on.

There were a couple of things that bugged me though. They were using clear Mac sound effects – which firstly I’m not sure are accurate for the iPhone, and secondly made me think that I was getting email all the time. Oh no, it’s not me, it’s just someone being wired up to a bomb. Phew.

Also, the moment when Sherlock asked that car salesman for change to use the cigarette machine. Yes, it was cute when Watson offered him money afterwards, but surely he must have cottoned on to his ways a little bit by now. It was out of character, therefore it must have had a meaning that would become obvious later. I do approve, though, of Watson being mad at Sherlock and still unable to stop himself being impressed and uttering “Fantastic” at the deductions.

Finally, we saw a famous Sherlock disguise. It wasn’t that great, just a security guard at the museum, but good on the team for sneaking that in.

Then it was time. The cliffhanger. Moriarty. Jim. One and the same person. At first, he looked like nothing. Just a little chap in a nice suit. He reminded me of someone I used to know, actually. But then he started to talk and it was clear he was not to be messed with. Just the right amount of crazy to order bombs strapped to people, and just the right amount of clever to be a match for Sherlock.

There’s no way that this can be the end of Sherlock, and I have a suspicion there is no way it is the end of Moriarty either. I have a sneaky feeling another set of episodes will begin with our heroes having breakfast and laughing about how they got out of that little scrape.

Whatever allows them to continue, though, is fine by me.

5 thoughts on “Sherlock: Series 1, episode 3 – The Great Game

  1. Moriarty was crazier than I thought. I didn’t expect it to be him though, at first I thought Moffat was gonna go down crazy lane and make Watson Moriarty but that was me grapsing too much too quickly.

    The use of the whole blogging stuff was brilliantly done too I reckon. I love how the updates ‘exist’ so to speak. Just an excellent bit of extra effort. But yes, this was the most wonderful way to end the 3 parter. I was gripped the entire episode and a huge improvement over Episode 2 story-wise.

  2. Mycroft has always been a bit of a pain logic wise. He is, in the books, considered Sherlock’s smarter but lazier brother. However as Katherine and I both said the point of Mycroft (and Moriarty) is that they must be used very very sparingly. Mycroft only appears three times in all of the books, but he’s appeared twice in three episodes.

  3. Alex:

    You may have Mycroft and Morarity mixed up. I remember Morarity in “The Final Problem”, as a flashback in “The Empty House”, and in “The Valley of Fear”.

    Mycroft I remember in the “Greek Interpreter” and the “Bruce-Partington Plans”…

    I would not say that Mycroft is not lazy but rather he is extremely fat, and might suffer a heart attack if he was as physically active as Sherlock can be in pursuit of clues.

  4. I think you have it the wrong way around Jordan… Sorry…

    Professor Moriarty’s first appearance and his ultimate end occurred in Doyle’s story “The Final Problem”… Moriarty plays a direct role in only one other of Doyle’s Holmes stories: The Valley of Fear… Holmes mentions Moriarty reminiscently in five other stories: “The Empty House” (the immediate sequel to “The Final Problem”), “The Norwood Builder,” “The Missing Three-Quarter,” “The Illustrious Client,”, and “His Last Bow.” More obliquely, a 1908 mystery by Doyle, The Lost Special, features a criminal genius who could be Moriarty and a detective who could be Holmes, although neither is mentioned by name.


    Mycroft has appeared or been mentioned in four stories by Doyle: “The Greek Interpreter”, “The Final Problem”, “The Empty House” and “The Bruce-Partington Plans”.

    As far as I can remember he isn’t in “The Empty House” making my 3.

    Mycroft is kinda lazy too from “The Greek Interpreter”…

    he has no ambition and no energy. He will not even go out of his way to verify his own solutions, and would rather be considered wrong than take the trouble to prove himself right. Again and again I have taken a problem to him, and have received an explanation which has afterwards proved to be the correct one. And yet he was absolutely incapable of working out the practical points…

  5. I did like the very explicit way they painted Moriarty as the polar opposite of Sherlock – very similar men with very similar talents but totally opposed views. I think the swimming pool murder served a few purposes: it emphasises that Moriarty has been murderous since childhood, it ties him to Sherlock because it was his first ‘investigation’ (just as it was Moriarty’s first crime), and there is a cute (and I think deliberate) echo of ‘The Final Problem’ insofar that the Holmes/Moriarty confrontation takes place next to water.

    (By the way, the iPhone sound effects were correct -I guess they’re the same across all Apple products.)

    If you’re interested, I have penned a review of the season just finished over at my blog – I would welcome your thoughts and comments on what has been a very promising debut!

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