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Episode 1.2, "The Blind Banker"

What Did You Think Of "THe Blind Banker?"  

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    • 10/10 Excellent.
      1
    • 9/10 Not Quite The Best, But Not Far Off.
      9
    • 8/10 Certainly Worth Watching Again.
      27
    • 7/10 Slightly Above The Norm.
      9
    • 6/10 Average.
      10
    • 5/10 Slightly Sub-Par.
      10
    • 4/10 Decidedly Below Average.
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    • 3/10 Pretty Poor.
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    • 2/10 Bad.
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    • 1/10 Terrible.
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In my humble opinion, The Blind Banker is just as good as the other episodes. It has weaknesses, of course, but they don't bother me because they are mostly the same kind of weaknesses you find in the CD stories and so to me they are rather lovable.

 

Some things I like about this episode:

- Sherlock is at his absolute sociopath best

- the dialogue between Sherlock and John is hilarious

- and so is the scene where Sherlock is being nearly murdered inside Soo Lin Yao's flat while John shouts at him through the mail slot

- we get the first glimpses at Sherlock being afraid (when he sees the cipher in Baker St) and of the great heart beneath the great brain (when he unties Sarah and tries to soothe her - that little moment is almost like Holmes in the books)

- Soo Lin Yao is beautiful

- John introducing Sherlock to a neat little alternative to photographic memory called the camera

- Sherlock's grin when he tells van Coon's secretary what her hairpin is worth

- "You know, a date. When two people who like each other go out and have fun". "That's what I was suggesting!" "No, you weren't. At least I hope not."

 

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In my humble opinion, The Blind Banker is just as good as the other episodes. It has weaknesses, of course, but they don't bother me because they are mostly the same kind of weaknesses you find in the CD stories and so to me they are rather lovable.

 

Good heavens, so that's what all those plot holes are doing in this episode -- making it true to canon!  You honestly do have a good point there, so perhaps I shall not judge "The Blind Banker" quite so harshly in the future.

 

I agree that the episode has many wonderful moments.  I am very fond of Sarah, for example, and wish she'd lasted beyond Series 1 (though I fully expect Mary Morstan to be an excellent "substitute").

 

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Yeah, bad writers should hire me to defend them, shouldn't they? I could be "consulting critic" or something. Although the guy who wrote this is also the author of Reichenbach, so I guess he knows what he's doing.

 

"The Blind Banker" is really the episode that comes closest to Conan Doyle's world so far, though. There's even a melodramatic backstory set in a foreign country. Thank goodness they did not make us watch long flash backs of Soo Lin and her brother...

 

I don't notice plot holes much, I guess. I tend to focus on the characters. As long as the acting is good and the story makes sense on some higher level and nobody has been written totally out of character, I'm happy.

 

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I have the impression that Moffat, Gatiss, and Thompson all get together to lay out the three basic stories, then each of them takes one to flesh out.  So any major plot holes can presumably be laid at all three pairs of feet jointly.

 

Good heavens, you're absolutely right about the lack of interminable flashbacks!  I was already grateful that they decided to omit any form of the Utah section when they adapted A Study in Scarlet (and it was a conscious decision, mentioned in the "Study in Pink" commentary), but considering how much "The Blind Banker" has in common with The Sign of the Four, I should expand my gratitude to cover this episode as well.

 

I don't generally notice plot holes, myself.  When I'm watching something that I expect to enjoy, I tend to just passively let the whole thing flow over me -- so I had watched the first three Sherlock episodes many, many times without noticing any problems at all.  Then two things happened:

 

1.  I watched the second three episodes, and found it impossible to refrain from becoming more analytical.  I mean, that's what "The Reichenbach Fall" is for, isn't it?

 

2.  I read a very funny parody called "The Partially Sighted Postman" and had to admit that it was bang on.

 

I still enjoy watching the episode, though I do tend to yell at the tv fairly often.  But that's OK, I yell at the Conan Doyle stories too.

 

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Yelling at Conan Doyle is very appropriate. I mostly yell with laughter.

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Sleepless nights are really great for intensive film consumption. They have allowed me to take a closer look at The Blind Banker and try to understand what other people mean when they talk of plot holes and characters behaving less intelligently than they should in this episode. I really tried, but I am afraid I didn't get very far (maybe it's Sherlock - he could read out loud from the phone book and I would think "this is so brilliant").

 

The oftener I watch this, the better I like it, actually.

 

The only bad decision by a major character I did notice was John leaving Soo Lin Yao on her own at the museum to go help Sherlock of all people. I mean, really. On the one hand you have a defenseless young woman whose own brother has come to the place expressly to murder her and on the other a guy who knocks out sword-wielding assassins in his free time and is not even the main target of the present enemy. Maybe John did some thinking after Sherlock came out of the girl's flat all croaky and hoarse only to recover minutes later at the museum and had come to the conclusion that there might be another explanation than a cold for that phenomenon - like being strangled by a Chinese acrobat - and therefore felt uneasy about letting Sherlock face the guy on his own again. But even so, I think Sherlock had a much better chance of surviving that encounter than Soo Lin.

 

But aside from that the episode makes as much sense as a Doyle adaptation can to me. Sherlock does state the obvious a few times, but then he thinks the people around him are idiots who don't get anything if left to their own devices.

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To me, the biggest idiocy is that the Black Lotus knows the jade pin was stolen by either Van Coon or Lukis, meaning that one of them is now the only person in the world who knows where the pin is.  So do they torture them both till the thief confesses?  Heck no!  They kill 'em both.  Now nobody knows where it is!

 

maybe it's Sherlock - he could read out loud from the phone book and I would think "this is so brilliant"

 

Right!  And then John recapitulates the previous fifteen minutes of the plot in his "aha! now I understand" voice, and it all makes perfect sense -- until you think about it.

 

In my opinion, the real brilliance of "The Blind Banker" is the fancy footwork.  ;)

 

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To me, the biggest idiocy is that the Black Lotus knows the jade pin was stolen by either Van Coon or Lukis, meaning that one of them is now the only person in the world who knows where the pin is.  So do they torture them both till the thief confesses?  Heck no!  They kill 'em both.  Now nobody knows where it is!

 

I never thought about that, but you are absolutely right. Even if the thief had sold the pin right away and didn't know where it went from the first buyer, they'd have had more to go on than before.

 

Why didn't they at least write a line for Sherlock that points this out? Did the writer himself not realize his plot had that flaw? Well, maybe not. I never did until you kindly pointed it out. I just took the villains for granted and enjoyed the freaky scary atmosphere they brought with them.

 

Of course we don't know what happened before the victims were killed. Maybe the killer did try to get some information out of them first. Also, isn't it supposed to be a while ago that the pin came to England? Perhaps Shan thought that by the time she got there, the pin would certainly have gone through several hands and because she did not have much time in the country, she decided it would be faster to put pressure on a good detective to find it's present location than to follow a long train of black market deals herself. Or Moriarty decided that for her.

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Or maybe Moriarty (who was behind it all the time) knew that Sherlock would investigate the murders and lead them to the pin. And that's why they rather decided to kill them than to try to get some information first.

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Why didn't they at least write a line for Sherlock that points this out?

 

Yeah, my thoughts exactly.  But then Sherlock isn't all that swift in this episode, either.  He points out that The Book has to be one that Van Coon and Lukis both owned -- but then he makes no use of that fact to narrow down the search, he just starts grabbing books from the crates.

 

Of course we don't know what happened before the victims were killed. Maybe the killer did try to get some information out of them first.

 

Maybe.  It does appear that Van Coon was killed because he tried to shoot the intruder.  A new question just occurred to me -- if the Black Lotus was actually wanting to kidnap the two, why wait till they'd locked themselves in their apartments?  Why not grab them on the street, as they did (quite successfully) with John?  The only answer I can think of offhand is simply that Moftiss wanted a killer to come in through the skylight like in The Sign of the Four (to which this episode bears a certain resemblance).

 

Perhaps Shan decided it would be faster to put pressure on a good detective to find it's present location than to follow a long train of black market deals herself. Or Moriarty decided that for her.

 

Shan tells Moriarty that she had not anticipated having to deal with Sherlock.  So I think your second suggestion is probably the correct one.  More to the point, Shan could be seen as merely another of Moriarty's dupes, with Moriarty's actual motive having nothing whatsoever to do with the jade pin or the Black Lotus.  Perhaps he just wanted to test Sherlock, see how worthy an opponent he actually was.

 

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Why didn't they at least write a line for Sherlock that points this out?

 

Yeah, my thoughts exactly.  But then Sherlock isn't all that swift in this episode, either.  He points out that The Book has to be one that Van Coon and Lukis both owned -- but then he makes no use of that fact to narrow down the search, he just starts grabbing books from the crates.

 

I don't think Sherlock would be good at tasks that require diligence rather than brilliance. He expects John to do that kind of thing while he impatiently flips through the material, expecting to have a brainwave any minute. I love the scene with the books, where poor John is trying to establish some system to deal with the sheer mass of them and Sherlock keeps messing things up and piling more stuff on his desk.

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Sherlock's attempt at jogging John's memory in this episode (from Aithine's screen caps)...
 
sherlock-102-12396.jpg
 
... reminds me both thematically and visually of Spock's "Vulcan mind meld" technique (show here from "Spectre of the Gun"):
 
Mind_Meld_Spectre_of_the_Gun_zps77689e43
 

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Oh! Thanks for the explanation, Carol.

 

I really like that scene with the vanished graffiti. It's so funny. Especially since, when watching it the first time, I was yelling at the screen "oh, for god's sake, why didn't he just take a picture with his phone?" - and then it turns out he did.

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I'm still trying to figure out why the Black Lotus was apparently following John around with several cans of quick-drying black spray paint!  :huh:

 

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Or could it have been near an entrance to their underground, and seeing him noticing they had time to get some after he left?

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Sherlock's attempt at jogging John's memory in this episode (from Aithine's screen caps)...

 

sherlock-102-12396.jpg

 

... reminds me both thematically and visually of Spock's "Vulcan mind meld" technique (show here from "Spectre of the Gun"):

 

Mind_Meld_Spectre_of_the_Gun_zps77689e43

 

I also found it funny that Sherlock kept spinning John around as he was questioning him!

 

I'm rating it 8/10 - worth watching again.

 

Thanks everyone.  I've really enjoyed reading this thread.  I'm relatively new here.  I re-watched TBB so I could read through this thread and then vote in the poll (as I did with SiP) and I'm going to do the same with the rest.

 

I've probably said it elsewhere, but I really like it here!

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By the way, someone else asked this earlier in the thread -- is there a way we can see the results as in the SiP poll?

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Oh, there it is!

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Thanks everyone.  I've really enjoyed reading this thread.  I'm relatively new here.  I re-watched TBB so I could read through this thread and then vote in the poll (as I did with SiP) and I'm going to do the same with the rest.

 

I've probably said it elsewhere, but I really like it here!

 

Wow, if people actually read what one writes here, I'll have to be more careful about thinking first before hacking the words into the keyboard... :)

 

I like it here, too. Glad you do.

 

I really love that scene in The Blind Banker which reminded Carol of the "Vulcan mind meld". One of my favorite "Sherlock" moments, certainly, especially the "I took a picture" bit. And John's uncomfortable "what the hell are you doing" face.

 

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I appreciate your analysis of things, Toby.  You have a way of making me look at things maybe a little differently.  Like this episode.  Before I read the thread, I would have rated it lower than I did after reading it.  Yes, it has its shortcomings, but there's plenty of great stuff too.  Really plenty.

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Oh, thank you. Yes, it is very interesting to get other people's views on things one has liked for quite a while in silence. For example, I never noticed that there are problems with the logic of this episode's plot. I just took it for granted and was totally surprised to read here that a lot of people considered it rather weak compared to the rest of the series.

 

(And this has nothing to do with The Blind Banker, but certain complaints about how Irene was portrayed led me to rethink my entire concept of feminism. Also, I never would have understood what's really supposed to have happened in The Hounds of Baskerville if somebody here hadn't pointed it out.)

 

I just hope that, once the new series airs, nobody will go and dig out all the crackpot theories for The Fall and various other riddles of that episode I've come up with. Although it might be a good exercise in not taking one's self too seriously.

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... I never noticed that there are problems with the logic of this episode's plot. I just took it for granted and was totally surprised to read here that a lot of people considered it rather weak compared to the rest of the series.

 

I just hope that, once the new series airs, nobody will go and dig out all the crackpot theories for The Fall and various other riddles of that episode I've come up with.

 

Like you, despite having watched this episode numerous times, I had never noticed the plot holes till I read a parody and realized it was right on target.  I still enjoy a lot of the scenes, just have to kinda ignore the plot.  ;)

 

After TEH airs, all of our Reichenbach theories will make for very quaint reading!  :D

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You know, for some reason, I'm just not that interested in the theories.  Maybe it's because I don't want to know until I know, you know?  ;)

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You know, for some reason, I'm just not that interested in the theories.  Maybe it's because I don't want to know until I know, you know?  ;)

 

A very wise and healthy attitude... But didn't you speculate at all on what had happened after you saw The Reichenbach Fall?

 

I think I can't help wondering. Not just about The Fall, but about nearly everything I see on this show. It seems to invite the viewer to "join the game" (and reach a new level of admiration for Sherlock when it turns out exactly how difficult good deduction is).

 

It's a bit dangerous, though, to think too hard about some things. There's the risk of getting too attached to a pet idea (and too averse to specific other possibilities). I know it will take all of Sherlock's mesmerizing powers to reconcile me to the actual solution as well as other plot and character developments ahead.

 

Oh no, I've taken a thread off topic again!

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