Monday, 9 August 2010

Why... if it isn’t Mister ‘Olmes!

Sherlock Episode 2: The Blind Banker
Airdate: August 1st 2010. UK. BBC1

Here we go again then. Episode 2 of Sherlock was another enjoyable dose of quite frantically paced Holmesian storytelling. It didn’t really stop to catch its breath in terms of sheer "speed of delivery" and normally, for this kind of show that’s not a bad thing... this time however... I think I’d have liked to have slowed things down a little and seen Holmes doing a little more “showing off” as to the amazing deductive reasoning which pretty much defines his character. Yes, I know we established it all last week but this was only episode 2 and since I enjoyed those sequences so much the first time around I was hoping there’d be more of the same in this one.

Even so... minor grumble aside, this was another cracking, entertaining episode. The chemistry between Holmes and Watson still sparkles and they’ve now got the very welcome, added friction of a potential romantic entanglement for Watson in the form of Sarah... who’s really cute, so you can’t help but like her too. Would like to have seen more of her and Watson but the episode was really hoofing it and burning rubber to the finish line. No matter... I’m sure they’ll be more of her in the third episode and hopefully any future seasons (looks hopefully in the general direction of the BBC drama department).

Missed the displaced Inspector Lestrade a little but, frankly, if Lestrade is not played by Dennis Hoey who shouts out “Well, if it isn’t Mister ‘Olmes!” on sight then I’m never going to miss him as much as I ought to. Hoey was the “king” of Lestrades... just as Nigel Bruce was the ultimate Watson!

The music seemed to me to be more integrated with the title music this week. Less Victoriana drum machines (which I loved by the way) and a little more like the theme which plays over the credits... which I didn’t initially like at first but I’m warming to it more now I’m picking up on it in a dramatic context.

I’ve also started to notice the weird blurry filters which they’ve put on all the “london cityscape” establishing shots... I’m sure they probably did that in the first episode too, I just didn’t pick up on it. Not quite sure what their reasoning behind that one is... but looking at it purely on an atmospheric level I do kinda like it, even if I can’t explain why. It’s as though blurring the people and foreground moving elements out from the shot gives it a certain “time passing” quality... or “time has passed”. Hmm... I’ll keep my eye on that and see if I can figure out why they’re doing that one.

My one big grumble for this week was the scene where Holmes goes it alone in an apartment and then realises the killer must still be there... well, duh! Call yourself a detective... that much was obvious. We then had a very tedious sequence where Holmes approaches a screen where he thinks the villain is hiding (presumably the audience is supposed to be dumb enough to somehow think this too) only to be “surprised” with the tired old modern equivalent of the good ol’ “Val Lewton bus” shot. But it rarely works well when you know it’s coming. Least suspenseful moment in a TV show for a while, I believe.

My only other complaint is that they’re tying it all into Moriarty again... who really wasn’t all that predominate in the original stories. I understand that they want to give the modern audience a nod to a continuing story arc... but did they have to pick on Moriarty again? One of the most overused characters in modern revisitations to the Holmes canon. They seem to be treating him as some kind of Dr. Mabuse figure in this one.

But who cares? The rest of it was great fun and am now looking forward to the concluding episode greatly... even if it does have Moriarty in it!

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