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Episode 1.3, "The Great Game"

What Did You Think Of "The Great Game?"  

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Does anyone have an explanation as to why Sherlock, after first pointing the gun at Moriarty, switches to pointing it at the explosive vest? This has a clear disadvantage, that both he and John are now threatened as well, but what is the advantage (other than heightened dramatic tension)?

 

I had been thinking that Moriarty's snipers are hidden on the balcony above the pool, so that Sherlock is threatening them as well as Moriarty. But I'm starting to doubt that, just as I doubt that any of them died with the old blind lady. Why would they put themselves in harm's way? These are obviously skilled professionals, not dim-witted stereotypical movie henchmen.

 

Upon re-watching the episode, I see that there appear to be windows in the balcony area. (At one point just after Sherlock enters, rectangles of wavering light are visible up there, perhaps reflections of vehicle headlights.) So the snipers could be on the roofs of nearby buildings, aiming down through the windows into the conveniently-lighted pool area. (I am trying to ignore the question of whether laser beams and bullets would travel through glass on identical trajectories, especially at an angle like that.)

 

If the snipers are indeed safely outside the pool building, then what is the significance of Sherlock's aiming at the explosive device? What am I missing?

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Interesting question. Unfortunately, I have no idea :D

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Me neither. The more I think about this, the more bewildered I become.

 

It now occurs to me that Sherlock and John would almost certainly die if Sherlock fired at either target -- they'd either be blown to bits or else shot by the snipers. No difference there (other than the potential damage to the pool).

 

The vest does provide a nice stationary target, whereas Moriarty is a potentially-moving target -- but physical action doesn't really seem to be his thing, so that's probably not the point either.

 

I had also been thinking that the explosives provide a somewhat larger target. But then I read somewhere that Semtex will not explode when hit by a bullet -- you have to hit the triggering device, which is an even smaller target than Moriarty's putative heart.

 

Sherlock, John, and Moriarty all seem to think that the choice makes a difference -- but what?

 

Have we all been taken in by a musical crescendo and a trio of "we all know what's really going on here" looks? It's possible. Moftiss may have thought this was merely what Alfred Hitchcock called an "icebox moment" -- everything seems perfectly logical while you're watching the show, and the inconsistencies don't hit you till you're up in the middle of the night raiding the fridge.

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Carol, the fridge thing? It's got a tropes page as Fridge Logic. There's also Fridge Brilliance, which is where you don't realize how fabulously intelligent a plot point was until later, and Fridge Horror (I am still of the opinion that "I had bad days," is Watson-code for "I was a bad doctor and let them die, thereby killing people OH MY GOD SHERLOCK I'M A MURDERER HOLD ME,"), which is when something becomes chilling only after contemplation.

It doesn't really make too much sense, but it's slightly (SLIGHTLY) justifiable inasmuch as if Sherly chooses to shoot the bomb, he chooses. He knows when it's going to happen, maybe he can shield John, maybe he can dive into the pool - whatever the case, he knows exactly when it's going down. If he decides he's just gonna shoot Moriarty in the face and be done with it, he'll be shot by the sniper, and if he decides he's not gonna shoot Moriarty UNLESS the sniper takes the shot, it's unlikely he'd find the time between hearing the gunshot and, you know, being shot to pull the trigger on his own gun. At least with the bomb there's a larger chance that he gets Moriarty in the end. The fact he's even aiming at the bomb at all pretty much signals that he's accepted that John and himself probably aren't getting out of this alive anymore, and at this point he just wants the surest way to take Moriarty with him.

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[written while Our Division was posting the above]

 

Come to think of it, John's vest may very well be a dummy.

 

Moriarty was presumably nowhere near any of the previous explosive vests, but this time he's planning to be right on the spot. He would presumably not want to endanger himself, and so may be relying on John and Sherlock assuming that the vest is real. Besides, it's fairly irrelevant to his plans, since he has the snipers.

 

If that's the case, Sherlock's choice of target makes a huge difference. If he fires at the vest, nothing happens -- then before he can react and shoot Moriarty instead, the snipers will kill him and John.

 

But I don't think that's exactly the kind of difference that either Moftiss or Sherlock had in mind.

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Carol, the fridge thing? It's got a tropes page as Fridge Logic. There's also Fridge Brilliance, which is where you don't realize how fabulously intelligent a plot point was until later, and Fridge Horror ..., which is when something becomes chilling only after contemplation.

 

It doesn't really make too much sense, but it's slightly (SLIGHTLY) justifiable inasmuch as if Sherly chooses to shoot the bomb, he chooses. .... The fact he's even aiming at the bomb at all pretty much signals that he's accepted that John and himself probably aren't getting out of this alive anymore, and at this point he just wants the surest way to take Moriarty with him.

 

Division, thanks for the "fridge" info. I had heard of Hitchcock's original terminology in, I believe, the commentary for North by Northwest, but was unfamiliar with the corollaries.

 

I believe you're right about Sherlock's reasoning -- that's how the scene always felt, and I'm happy to leave it at that. (But then I have to hope I'm wrong about the vest being a dummy. That scenario could have ended up just the opposite of "The Reichenbach Fall", with Sherlock and John both dead, and Moriarty still alive.)

 

Not that it made any difference in the end, anyhow, thanks to Irene Adler's impeccable timing with her phone call!

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'S truth, Carol. I dislike The Woman, just because she's kind of a jerk, but yeah - she's got great timing. ;)

 

Edit: I just thought of something, if we're assuming the vest is a fake. I was wondering if Sherly might be able to deduce that it was fake if it was, what with his attention to minutiae, but after he tears the vest off of John, he's visibly shaken, right? He'd be too distracted to focus properly, like he was distracted by Irene in A Scandal In Belgravia.

You could totally be right. From an in-universe POV, the vest could very well be fake.

Whoa. Trippy.

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I don't think that the vest is a dummy. I was also wondering why Sherlock decided to aim at the vest rather than Moriarty himself. But then I thought.. maybe he wants to show him that he is ready to do anything 'for the greater good' (switching to Harry Potter here, sorry :P ). I mean, he and John show Moriarty that they aren't afraid of him at all, that he can't play the 'game' as he had planned because Sherlock and John are willing to change it, even though that means that they're putting themselves into danger. And that is what surprises Moriarty. His plans have always worked out because he pulled the strings. Now, there are two individuals who understand his game and are willing to break the pattern.

 

So it's probably 'just' a power play between Moriarty and the others, establishing Moriarty and Sherlock as equals.

 

When I think about that scene I also have to think about the scene in Reichenbach Fall where Sherlock says something like 'I might be on the side of the angels but don't ever think I'm one of them'. He knows Moriarty's 'style'. Sherlock is capable of thinking as evil as Moriarty, but he will always change the plan for a better outcome, no matter what it takes.

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This is my 2nd favourite episode over all and my favourite of Mark's.

I just think it's special as the 1st cliffhanger and we really didn't know if this was going to be the end of the Moriarty arc.

The suicide bomber theme was brilliant and current.

I think the Pool scenario really consolidates the boys' friendship.

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Another person vexed by the vest....

 

I wonder why Sherlock didn't throw the vest, one removed from John, into the pool. This I would think should short out its electronics and thus allow it to not be remotely detonated.

 

Toby

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The circuits may have been "potted" (embedded in solid plastic), so they couldn't be accidentally set off by rain, spilt beverages, etc. That would protect the perps from being blown up themselves, and would also keep the victims from being blown up off schedule and ruining the effect.

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I know it's hard to remember that this is a scripted movie, I know it is for me sometimes. But anyway, maybe, as much as a "heartless machine" Sherlock is thought to be by most, like Moriarty, we know better. Maybe he wasn't thinking all to clearly when he ripped John out of the coat and vest and just wanted it off and away, it didn't matter at the time where. Then when the snipers showed up, there just wasn't time to rethink it.

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Well I think the snipers were always there, but yes, I see your point.

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Ah yes, you're right, they may have been. i really have to re-watch these episodes, it's been awhile.

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... when the snipers showed up, there just wasn't time to rethink it.

I think the snipers were always there, but yes, I see your point.

When Moriarty left (the first time), he snapped his fingers and the snipers turned off their laser scopes (or whatever they're called). When they turned their lasers back on, from John and Sherlock's point of view, they had "come back." So you could look at it either way.

 

I think I've asked this before, but where were the snipers supposed to be, anyhow? On the upstairs walkway inside the pool building? On nearby rooftops, aiming in through the upstairs windows? Or what?

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It would depend on what kind of trajectory they could find on a rooftop. The pool was roofed. If they could get a clear shot through those second story windows all well and good. If not, they would have to have been on the inside walkway.

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It would depend on what kind of trajectory they could find on a rooftop. The pool was roofed. If they could get a clear shot through those second story windows all well and good. If not, they would have to have been on the inside walkway.

 

I'll have to go and check one of these days. The pool they filmed the scenes in is in my home city of Bristol. :D

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Must be really fun being able to watch a TV show and shout "Hey! I've been there!"

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Must be really fun being able to watch a TV show and shout "Hey! I've been there!"

 

Being quite familiar with Cardiff and certain parts of London, it's quite funny when I spot parts of the former pretending to be the latter! :lol2:

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I'll have to go and check one of these days. The pool they filmed the scenes in is in my home city of Bristol.

I believe the story's pool was in London, so their idea of where the snipers were located would not necessarily match up with what's really there in Bristol -- but it would still be interesting to go there and speculate. Let us know what you find out!

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I believe the story's pool was in London, so their idea of where the snipers were located would not necessarily match up with what's really there in Bristol -- but it would still be interesting to go there and speculate. Let us know what you find out!

 

I was thinking more of getting a closer look at the internal layout of the building, and maybe seeing if there is room for snipers inside on the balcony. :)

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That location makes the most sense to me. I never noticed anyone up there, but they would presumably have been crouching behind the railing, which I believe is a short, solid wall. Firing through windows seems iffy -- even using a laser sight through glass would hardly be ideal, since the glass would refract the beam, thus throwing the aim off. So yeah, I'm thinking that logically speaking, they're inside the building.

 

Seems like it'd feel a little scary, being inside that building. I'm sure I'd find myself watching out for snipers!

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Firing through an open window seems iffy....since the glass would refract the beam...

 

I found myself thinking along those same lines but I do know they do shoot through windows often. Conan Doyle was a war veteran and at least once he has a sniper shoot through a glass window in "The Adventure of the Empty House".

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Firing through glass at roughly right angles to the surface of the pane (as John did in "Study in Pink") would probably work pretty well (though I suspect even that scene used a bit of dramatic license, considering the pinpoint accuracy required). But if the "Great Game" snipers were indeed aiming in through those upstairs windows, then they were necessarily aiming at a fairly steep downward angle, which I assume could affect the trajectory of a bullet, but even worse, would definitely refract the laser beam a certain amount, and even a small angular difference can make a significant absolute difference over that sort of distance.

 

This doesn't argue against canon, since Conan Doyle's sniper was not using a laser sight, and as far as I know could have been firing straight through the glass.

 

If Moriarty's intent had been merely to intimidate Sherlock, none of this would matter. But Moriarty is not a bluffer.

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