Sherlock – The Great Game

Riiiiight. You know how I suggested that the first episode of this 21st century take on Sherlock Holmes was not only better than I had anticipated but actually very good indeed, and that the second one was pretty bloody good too? Well, both of those, good as they were fade into relative insignificance compared to this final episode. This one was written by Mr Steven Moffat Sir’s[1] co-creator, Mark Gatiss. Like Mr Moffat, Mark has been responsible for some rather good episodes of Doctor Who – including one of my personal favourites The Idiot’s Lantern, and has also done a bit of acting in the series, most notably as Professor Lazarus. He also does a bit of acting here, as Sherlock’s governmental brother Mycroft…

Anyway, this episode contains more references to the original stories than the previous two combined. An apparent side-plot is based remarkably closely on The Bruce-Partington Plans, Sherlock utters the immortal line

I’d be lost without my blogger

which I suppose is the contemporary equivalent of a Boswell, and there’s some extreme nastiness involving five pips.

And at the centre of it all is Moriarty. I’ll stay away from spoilers, but it’s fairly obvious who is going to turn out to be the villain of the piece, so long as you’ve read the original stories[2], but suffice it to say that the confrontation between Sherlock and Moriarty is, while not particularly similar to the scene in The Final Problem, quite delightful. In a twisted kind of way.

It all ends in a nicely inconclusive way, leaving it wide open for more episodes and more confrontations between Holmes and his arch-enemy, which apparently people can still have, so there, Doctor Watson.

Apparently, this regrettably short series has been much more successful than the BBC anticipated. Most reviews I’ve seen have been positive, and audiences have been high, too. According to a report in the Guardian yesterday, the BBC people will be having a meeting with Mr Moffat and Mr Gatiss next week to discuss making more episodes. And according to that report, the format of future episodes will be the decision of the creators rather than of the BBC management. They made a 60 minute pilot before the BBC decided they preferred to have longer episodes, so perhaps we’ll get a run of more, but shorter episodes. I’d be happy with that. Or with more 90 minute episodes. Or more of any bloody length at all, come to think of it. Quite seriously, I demand more Sherlock, and I demand it as quickly as it can be created. Next week will be fine.

[1] Sorry, I feel it necessary to refer to him in those terms
[2] And if you haven’t, read them now.[3] You can get free ebooks of them, so there’s no excuse.
[3] Well, you can finish reading this post first. But after that, you need to start with A Study in Scarlet.