‘Sherlock – The Blind Banker’.

Although not exactly how I would imagine Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal and appearance of him is almost spot on.

Is he about to kill me..?

The second episode in this now confirmed first series, called ‘The Blind Banker’ was still rather good, though the story line was a little far-flung for my liking. On research, it seems there was a different writer from the first to the second episode – so this is the most likely explanation.

First of all, ‘The Blind Banker’ is missing Lestrade. Fair enough, not all Holmes stories have Lestrade in it, but why take him out so soon? Having said that, it could be a pattern of things to come, but I was more impressed with modern-day Lestrade than with this episode’s replacement, who rejects Holmes’ input until he solves the mystery. He was a little irritating as his character was somewhat exaggerated, but not to worry – he wasn’t in it much.

There's a lot of teapots involved

Now to the murders. We start with a break-in at a fancy bank whose workers would be described as working “in the city”. Mr bank manager is a bit of a tosser – but a comical one – and he offers Sherlock a “five-figure sum” to find out who spray-painted what looks like meaningless squiggles on a painting in the building. After a little investigation, Holmes obviously works out who these symbols are intended for (despite the bank having hundreds – maybe even thousands – of employees), and they pay this chap a visit. Except he’s already dead. The same thing happens to a journalist the next day, the same symbols being found. On the surface of it, it looks completely ridiculous and obviously there aren’t enough clues for Watson or the audience to work anything out at present. After some more investigation, Holmes and Watson find themselves in China Town, and, after finding similar symbols on items in a shop, they start to piece together the puzzle. They have discovered a smuggling ring called the Black Lotus, who leave origami black flowers on their dead victims. The banker and the journalist were clearly part of this ring – but why were they killed? What had they done wrong? Stolen a valuable item? Yes!

So after some more research, more good lines, and more patronising tones from Holmes, the code from the symbols is cracked, and the climax of the episode ensues. While Holmes has been detecting, Watson has been getting a new job and a potential new bird, who he goes on a ‘date’ with – except it’s not really a date as Sherlock thinks it’s perfectly fine if he joins them too. They go to see a display of Chinese circus acts, but the reason for the artists to be in England is

much more sinister, as we soon discover. Inevitably, Sherlock disregards all social conventions and takes on one of the circus members, which ends in Watson and his lady friend joining in, and the latter two being tied up and held at arrow-point, by the head of the Black Lotus society. After a few heart-rendering moments, Holmes saves both Watson and girl, kills the two henchmen, but the head of Black Lotus escapes. In the finally scene, she is seen talking on the internet with someone who is dubbed “M” – presumably to make us think it’s either Moriarty or Mycroft – but then is shot in the head. A satisfying end!

You can tell it’s a different writer than the first – this plot line is a little fanciful and I found it slightly disappointing in that a “crime syndicate” and a band of smugglers is not only a bit of a cliché, it’s also a bit of a cop-out. Think of a real plot! That aside, it was still a very enjoyable watch, and the attention to detail in the episodes is quite excellent really. I like the way it caters for an intelligent audience whilst helping you through the detection process, and it is pleasantly updated. It’s a modernised Holmes, but still with his personality – Holmes for the 21st century. He has “three patch problems” instead of three injections of cocaine. And of course he would use the Internet, mobile phones and GPS.

Next time I’m going to watch this when it’s actually on.


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