Sherlock in Retrospect: The Blind Banker
By David Selby.
Following the hugely successful (and origin-faithful) opener, The Blind Banker had a lot to live up to. And did it? Short answer: no. Whilst entertaining, the second episode of the run felt more like a sixty-minute story which milked a redundantly additional thirty minutes to comply with the series’ format. With that said, Thompson stated in the past that the premise of the narrative came from Conan Doyle’s Adventure of the Dancing Men, a novella which failed to capture my attention on the same level as A Study in Scarlet.
There were some interesting elements to the story nonetheless. John’s romance with Sarah was reminiscent to Conan Doyle’s take on the character as a romantic, and Sherlock’s persistent interference during their date – and, hence, his complete unawareness of sexual privacy – was, as well as humorous, beneficial to the development of the lead characters. Sherlock, the gooseberry; John, the protagonist.
The Blind Banker, however, seems to spend a long time ‘edging’ around its own plotline. There is too much ‘padding’, which is sadly telling of the fact that Thompson’s only English qualification was a GCSE. He’s evidently a talented writer and displays this on several occasions, but here it is evident that he is still finding his feet, and likewise getting to know the characters (as they get to know each other).
The best moment of the episode, perhaps, is when Soo Lin is murdered by her own brother. Not only is it shockingly twisted – murdering one’s own sibling – but it also feels authentic; the viewer is able to sense the ‘broken’ family bond, and it makes for a powerfully moving scene.
The resolution is amusing, and easily wraps up what first seemed to be an overly-complicated plot. Overall, the episode is relatively successful in setting up intrigue despite a lot of dragging, and the simplicity of the resolution is almost tragically ironic.
Sherlock’s deduction is again ingenious on the writer’s half; the ‘left-handed man’ idea reminding me of something I’d be likely to read in a Conan Doyle classic. On top of that, the uses of ‘dark’ circus, and the mystery of the final scene, are some of the aspects of the episode that make it memorable – but overall it’s not an episode I’d re-watch in a hurry. Although, on a positive note, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable ninety minutes, even if it doesn’t quite live up to the extraordinary heights set by the opener.