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Episode 1.3, "The Great Game"

What Did You Think Of "The Great Game?"  

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A Thread for the discussion of episode 3 "The Great Game."

 

Please rate the episode using the poll, and discuss the episode below:

 

A bored Sherlock Holmes suddenly has two cases to keep himself occupied. His brother Mycroft approaches him to investigate the death of a civil servant, Alan West, whose body was found in the train yards. More importantly West had a USB stick containing the detailed plans for the Bruce-Tarkington missile defense system and it cannot be found.

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My favorite of the first three episodes. The opener was superb; "The Blind Banker" was adequate, but rather ordinary after the home run of "A Study in Pink"--and then along came this one.

It gets to the point that I really can't even organize a discussion of the episode: it sort devolves into just an endless OMGOMGOMG. Hardly analytical. ;)

But....The exchange between Mycroft and Sherlock: "Don't make me order you." "I'd like to see you try." What it says about the brothers' relationship, what it says about each brother--and what it promises for future development. And Andrew Scott's Moriarity: more performance perfection....Insane, hilariously and inappropriately funny, chilling, menacing. And--possibly the best cliffhanger ever (and the best solution ever, but that's another series).

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:D I have to admit I love this episode. The way Sherlock puts Watson up to look after the Bruce-Partington plans (nice refernece to the original stories there) while he plays along with the game, the way Watson doesn't notice what Sherlock is doing, is absolutely great.

 

Plus it makes me insanely happy that the pool scene was filmed in Bristol South Swimming Pool. It looked like Bristol South when I first watched it, but I thought it probably was some other Victorian-style pool somewhere else in the country, but Sherlockology confirm it is Bristol South :D

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The draw, for me, to Moffat/Gatiss work is the depth and the layering....And a small example of that is Holmes's showing up at the train tracks, while Watson is supposedly investigating on his own--and remarking that he wouldn't actually ignore the case "just to spite my brother."

I am really looking forward to more unfolding of the Holmess brothers' relationship and backstory....

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The draw, for me, to Moffat/Gatiss work is the depth and the layering....And a small example of that is Holmes's showing up at the train tracks, while Watson is supposedly investigating on his own--and remarking that he wouldn't actually ignore the case "just to spite my brother."

I am really looking forward to more unfolding of the Holmess brothers' relationship and backstory....

 

I agree, the way things slot together, with small details early in the episodes that are easily overlooked at the time proving to be vital to the storyline later on. It shows an enourmous attention to detail.

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There's so much going on within episodes, and then details connect with other episodes--it's like reading the stories: Doyle rewarded re-reading, as Moffat/Gatiss now reward re-watching.

The actors are up to it, too: they don't go over the top of stealing scenes from each other, but no one's standing around like a room-filling stick, either. The episodes have to be re-watched, because there's no way to be able to watch everyone all at the same time--and the actors reward anyone who focuses on their characters. In "The Great Game," how about the minor exchange between Holmes and Lestrade, with Holmes' quip about "good samaritan?"/"bad samaritan?": the lines are funny, but Cumberbatch's inflections and facial expressions punch it home--with the aid of Graves' reactions.

Basically, no one wastes a moment in these shows; to me, it's about the best TV I've ever seen.

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I love this episode! There is so much going on, and in any other show trying to have multiple plots rolling around at the same time would be a disaster. But Sherlock manages to flow them together very nicely. It's hard to believe this is 90 minutes, because it goes by in a flash.

 

After TBB, it was great finally having all of the characters play a role again. I certainly missed seeing Lestrade and Mycroft. And there are great moments: a bored Sherlock shooting the wall and the reference to him not knowing about the solar system. :P We really see the characters finally developed and almost as a team now.

 

That scene with Moriarty at the pool. Chilling. I was shocked to see John come out wearing the coat, and then seeing Sherlock doubt for just a second that John might be Moriarty. And then that cliffhanger. I was I guess... fortunate that I came to this show rather late and didn't have to wait the full 18 months of speculation to see how they escaped! :P

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And there are great moments: a bored Sherlock shooting the wall and the reference to him not knowing about the solar system. :P We really see the characters finally developed and almost as a team now.

 

I love the way he dismisses the solar system as unimportant! Only to Sherlock could the cosmos be trivial! :lol4:

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ANDREW SCOTT

That is all.

 

 

Well, it isn't, but let's face it, HE MADE THIS EPISODE.

It was just a stunning interpretation of Moriarty. I'm just pleased that someone actually decided to play/write him so crazy. It definitely worked, and the fact that he was so unhinged actually made him more of a villain than the usual calculating professor that is normally portrayed.

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9/10 for me. Had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and gave a flurry of amazing cases which made the episode feel like an entire series in one sitting.

 

Thoroughly enjoyed it and the cliff hanger ending was to die for.

 

-m0r

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This episode was excellent. Running two interlinked plots could have been messy but wasn't. The references to the ACD canon were brilliantly handled including his lack of any knowledge about the solar system to him alleviating his boredom by shooting at the wall- even the VR in the original is transformed into the smiley face. The Bruce Partington Plans also refer to the canon and are woven carefully throughout the episode, even the brother-in-law is the murder as in the original. The final scene also refers back to the original Final Problem.

 

The acting is fantastic throughout as mentioned in a previous post, no-one is surplus to requirements, everyone pulls their weight. The tension that builds as Sherlock solves each puzzle is palpable. The development of characters is carefully drawn through details and reactions e.g. John cannot really believe that Sherlock cares so little about the people or that he can play for time to try and get ahead in 'The Game'. Sherlock is equally puzzled and slightly cross about John's compassion for other people. Lestrade is brilliantly portrayed by Rupert Graves, as always just a little bit behind the pace but so anxious for things to work out; he is shown to have real compassion in his work e.g. 'it's a kid!' with a groan of disbelief. We also see more of poor Molly and her new boyfriend Jim from IT 'gay' and Sherlock's mishandling of the situation and John's reprimand "No" That wasn't kind!

 

The denouement in the pool is wonderful, from the momentary thought that John may be the baddie'Well this is a turn up isn't it Sherlock' to the appearance, finally, of Moriarty with his oscillating head and volatile moods. The cliffhanger at the end is nail biting.

 

This episode is something of a tour-de-force.

:)

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GOOD SHOW, M011Y!!

 

I agree entirely. I also like how the previous episode didn't contain all of that suspense, therefore making it more exciting when we see The Great Game.

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I agree with all of you!

 

It took me a while to choose between this episode and "Study in Pink" as my Season-1 favorite. What finally tipped the balance in favor of SiP was that it's is not only an exciting mystery, it also sets the stage for the entire series (and does it well).

 

There are so many sub-plots in "The Great Game" that I keep asking my husband, "Which episode was it where ... ?" And they're all interesting!

 

One of my favorite little bits is when John is excited at having figured out that (he believes) the poison was on the cat's claws, but Sherlock is so focused on his own deductions that he dismisses John's theory instantaneously -- and John gives him such a look!

 

Something puzzles me, though -- if Sherlock is so ignorant of astronomy that he doesn't even know that the earth orbits around the sun, how the heck does he happen to be aware of the Van Buren Supernova?

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how the heck does he happen to be aware of the Van Buren Supernova

He read up on the Solar System? There is the supernova reference in the planetarium scene with the Golem, maybe that jogged his memory.

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One of my favorite episodes. All the little referances to the canon stories were awesome. And the pool scene, just briliant, not to mention Andrew Scott's amazing portrayal of Moriarty!

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That pool scene was so tense when we first watched it. Brilliantly done.

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Not the second time though. LOL

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Cmon, did you not also think at the pool scene for a second that John was Moriarty? I thought "this can't be true" and "wow, brilliant, did they really make THAT spin to the story?" at the same time...

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... did you not also think at the pool scene for a second that John was Moriarty? ....

 

That idea certainly did seem to cross Sherlock's mind!

 

I have no idea whether The Lone Ranger is a part of pop culture where all of you folks live, but here in the US, he and "his faithful Indian companion, Tonto" are the quintessential kiddie-Western good guys. There's a joke where the two of them are defending themselves against a band of hostile Apaches, until they run out of bullets. The Lone Ranger turns to his companion, and says, "Well, Tonto, it looks like we are done for." And Tonto says, "What you mean 'we', paleface?"

 

One reason that's a joke is that Tonto wouldn't do that. He just wouldn't.

 

I wish I could remember my exact reaction the first time I saw John enter that door -- but I'm virtually certain that it was not "oh, he's really Moriarty." Sherlock's John Watson is of course far less of a stereotype than Tonto, but he is every bit as steadfastly loyal. Even on my very first viewing of the first season, I believe I already knew that John just wouldn't do that.

 

I could also cite canon -- John as Moriarty wouldn't be simply "not canon," it would be anti-canon -- but there wasn't time for anyone to think of that before John opened his coat to reveal the explosives.

 

But back to Sherlock's reaction: Does Sherlock doubt John for a moment because his life and livelihood depend on considering all possibilities (whereas I'm sometimes too trusting)? Is Sherlock simply clever enough to think of that twist (and I'm not)? Or is just it that he's dealing with "real life" (whereas I'm dealing with drama, which has somewhat different rules)?

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I think what got me with that scene wasn't *me* thinking 'Watson is Moriarty' but imagining how Sherlock must have felt to think it, even if it's only for a moment - I was almost yelling at the screen 'of course he isn't, you berk, use your so-called brain!'

 

It is still my favourite S1 ep

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I think what got me with that scene wasn't *me* thinking 'Watson is Moriarty' but imagining how Sherlock must have felt to think it, even if it's only for a moment - I was almost yelling at the screen 'of course he isn't, you berk, use your so-called brain!'

 

That is an excellent point, aely, and while pondering your post it occurred to me that this sort of thing plays a major role in making Sherlock such a great series.

 

Even the "good guys" are human -- John resents Sherlock's insensitivity, Sherlock momentarily distrusts John, Greg Lestrade has doubts about Sherlock. These touchingly human characters draw us into the drama in a way that stereotypes never could (despite the latest in fast action and loud noises). So our favorite episodes are often the very ones that "get" us.

 

Done to excess, this would turn Sherlock into a soap opera, but (as in other things) the series manages to maintain a delicate balance.

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And that is why Gatiss and Moffat are evil gods of the best sort

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And that is why Gatiss and Moffat are evil gods of the best sort

 

Amen to that! :)

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.

 

That scene with Moriarty at the pool. Chilling. I was shocked to see John come out wearing the coat, and then seeing Sherlock doubt for just a second that John might be Moriarty.

Yes, the first time I saw this I thought for a second John had something to do with it. He had been so sweet that I was actually sad! But we all know Watson could never be a traitor.

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... I love this episode. The way Sherlock puts Watson up to look after the Bruce-Partington plans (nice reference to the original stories there) while he plays along with the game, the way Watson doesn't notice what Sherlock is doing, is absolutely great.

 

I'm not sure that I follow you (and not entirely certain that I know what I mean, either).

 

If you're referring, for example, to the scene where John assures Mycroft, "He's investigating away" -- my impression is that John is fully aware that he's merely acting as a decoy, and painfully aware that Mycroft is aware of that, and that Sherlock is aware that Mycroft will be aware, etc. But they're all playing the game, going through the motions, so Sherlock can focus on Moriarty's game, as you said. But of course that's just my impression, and you may have been talking about something else, anyway.

 

What I'm still trying to analyze is John's tone of voice in that scene. Again, my impression is that he knows that he's lying (and I think he also sounds a bit embarrassed). But why does the lie show in his voice? Is he simply not bothering to sound convincing, since his mission is such a farce? Is it because he is, as Henry Knight says in "Hounds," "a pretty straightforward bloke," and therefore inherently a lousy liar? Right now, I'm leaning toward mostly "not bothering," with a touch of "straightforward" (John is certainly not a glib person), but am interested in hearing other thoughts.

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