And now, going all the way back to Series One, we have…
The Blind Banker
Summary: A former associate of Sherlock’s hires him to investigate a break-in at a posh London bank. The investigation leads him and John to a series of improbable murders, a Chinese circus, and a mysterious code.
Why it’s ranked here: For some reason, no one in the fandom talks about “The Blind Banker” much. To be sure, it doesn’t stick in my mind the way all the other episodes do. Maybe it’s because it’s not even loosely based on an Arthur Conan Doyle story, Lestrade and Mycroft don’t show up, and the other two episodes in Series One overshadow it in terms of character and plot development. But it’s not a bad episode, by any means. There’s plenty of funny banter between John and Sherlock (“You had a row with a machine?”), and the mystery is interesting. I also enjoy the story’s Eastern vibe–it makes the atmosphere feel slightly different from that of the average Sherlock episode, so that’s fun.
Of course, John and Sherlock give a shocking display of idiocy about halfway through the episode, when they’re supposedly trying to protect Soo Lin from an assassin. Sure, boys, go running off in different directions as soon as you hear gunshots, instead of guarding the one person the gunshots are aimed at. Even though you’re both armed, and she isn’t. That’s sure to work out well for everyone. And Sherlock is supposed to be a genius…
Other than that, though, both guys behave in-character for this episode. Sherlock does some clever deducting, John does some sarcastic insulting, and the former shows his growing affection for the latter by introducing him as “my friend” (a big deal for Sherlock) and saving his life at the end. Now they’ve both saved each other’s life once–and it will happen many more times over the course of the show. John’s attempt at picking up a girlfriend was entertaining, too. I rather liked Sarah. Almost wish she could have stayed.
And even though it wasn’t based on an original Sherlock Holmes story, “The Blind Banker” feels very much like something Doyle might write. The underground conspiracy, the secret code, the damsel in distress, the exotic “Oriental” elements…all very Sir Arthur. More so, perhaps, than some of the episodes that were named after his stories. I think Sherlock’s creator would mostly approve of Sherlock‘s approach to his work, and this episode is one reason why.
Oh, and it also reawakened my desire to learn a secret code. I’ll give you all a hint: my “key” will be hidden in The Lord of the Rings. Have fun figuring out which edition.