Sunday, 8 August 2010

Sherlock: The Great Game or Moriarty revealed

Tonight's third and final Instalment of  the current run was as per usual, brilliant. Holmes chases after one distraction after another designed to keep him from solving the case most important to the the British Government. Based on The Bruce Partington Plans and borrowing liberally from a few other stories, the episode takes you from one squeaky bum moment to the next. It even makes you think the unthinkable. It was in a word, Effing Brilliant. ( ok  that's two words).

The introduction, finally, of Moriarty was not unexpected once you realized the three films were one story in three parts. Well played and paced, the story takes you where expected it to go, but still one found it incredibly fascinating. And just when you thought. "I got you rumbled Moffat", the story takes another layer away. It is our habit when we watch telly to chat a bit during the boring bits or when we'll learn nothing new. During 90 minutes we were continuously surprised by the twists and turns. Do not take your eyes off the screen for a second lest you miss a detail.

If one could define in a sentence the point of the story, it would be thus. Holmes and Moriarty are two sides of the same coin. Both massive intellects that find life in stimulation , intrigue and mystery. Put another way, human life and emotional attachment is worth less than the details of the game. If I had never watched these stories and only ever read the original ones, I would have come to the same conclusion. The fact that the Lord Thy God Moffat managed this without falling into the usual traps most telly producers of the modern era have, elevates the man to a club of writers we should all aspire to. In lesser efforts, the characters become two dimensional creatures whose sole purpose is to speak the lines of the author. Moffat and Gatiss, we mustn't forget Gatiss, create people, men and women who are more than mere Auton like shells with a limited shelf life. We met tonight people who would otherwise be interesting, people who if you knew them , we would want them to live. But in the telling you see just how detached both Holmes and Moriarty are from the mundane reality that Watson and Lestrade live in. Even the beautifully crafted and acted Mycroft has a certain air of elevation above the ordinary, he is first and foremost concerned with the defense of the realm, the loss of the submarine plans now updated to be rockets, over the loss of a single human life.  And yes he's right, for that one life is nothing compared to the thousands a rocket would kill. To call Holmes cold and heartless is of course incorrect.  He is just his brother a few years younger. Sometimes you need to rise above the mundane to discover the greater good. For example, the Curie's work on radioactivity eventually killed them both, but we have much to thank them for. Would they have been more concerned with a safe boring life, we would still not have pasteurized milk.

So if Moriarty is the evil yang to Holmes good Ying, is he equally noble in the pursuit of his craft? I would suppose so, and yet he does come off as bit mad. Would you have expected anything else? And yet you still believe that below the thin Vermeer of comic lunacy, there lies a real person waiting to be explored in future episodes.  I doubt we'll see the last of him nor can we say we know all there is to know about him. Thank God there will be at least 10 new stories coming soon to a telly near you.

One great line from the ep is " I'd be lost without my Blogger (Boswell)". Just one of many bits and pieces in the many layered dish that is The Great Game.  Sherlockians, Holmesians, fellow enthusiasts, a few things to look forward to when watching this highly entertaining ep.  A number of things are said that should make you run for your copies of Holmes to find the reference, there are at least 5 clear ones I counted and most assuredly more. I won't tell you what they are, and what's more if you don't get them I promise not to blow up your Gran.

In the grand tradition of The Strand, the story leaves us wanting more and anticipating greatness. The New Cumberbatch Holmes tonight did one other thing I thought would take longer, he took possession of the role as much as any person can. Or should I say , he allowed the ghost of Sherlock Holmes to posses him completely. The coming series will, if it continues to maintain the high standard of story telling, humour suspense  and believability despite the occasional mustard applied in some scenes, will be a massive success that will launch the new Holmes and Watson into the realm of Legend.

Finally, I must look at this as a stand alone story. Would I have watched this as a single film and enjoyed it? Emphatically yes. It gathered you  ever so gently and then took you hostage till the very last second of the credits.  Well done BBC for taking this story on, may you keep taking such decisions regardless of what the Condemns and certain Labour people think.  Were it not for the current set up, the English speaking telly world would be a poorer place.

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