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Episode 1.3, "The Great Game"

What Did You Think Of "The Great Game?"  

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    • 10/10 Excellent
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    • 7/10 Slightly Above The Norm.
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No, he is not a bluffer. But he also learned that Sherlock will not back down, even if it means his own death and John was no slouch here either, seeing what Sherlock was intending and giving him that small nod of consent. Which probably gave Moriarty some consolation knowing that given the heavy enough incentive, Sherlock would jump. He just didn't count on Sherlock being able to stay a step or two ahead of him mentally, silly man. But Moriarty was a man of his word as well, jump and the assassinations were off. As you said, he does not bluff.

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... he also learned that Sherlock will not back down, even if it means his own death ....

Hmm, good point. I've been assuming (without even thinking about it, really) that in the pool scene, Moriarty was looking for an excuse to back down because he didn't want to die. But dying in an explosion could have made Sherlock and John into martyr-type heroes while doing nothing to enhance Moriarty's reputation. As you say, he saw that Sherlock could be made to kill himself publicly, given the proper motivation, and that definitely appealed to him -- even if he himself ended up dying in the process.

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We've been watching this episode, and once again I am bewildered by the rather gratuitous use of scale doubles when Sherlock and John are fighting The Golem.  I mean, John Lebar, the actor playing The Golem, is a very impressive 7'3" tall -- over a foot taller than Benedict Cumberbatch -- so why didn't they just stick with the two actors?  With the even more extreme height differential, it always seems to me that Sherlock has inexplicably become a hobbit (and Ariane DeVere's transcript says the same about John, "The Golem roars, releasing Sherlock as he claws at the hobbit on his back").

Also, I'm missing an apparent reference (quoted here from Ariane DeVere's transcript):

SHERLOCK: The missile defence plans haven’t left the country, otherwise Mycroft’s people would have heard about it. Despite what people think, we do still have a Secret Service.
JOHN: Yeah, I know. I’ve met them.
 
Can someone tell me what "meeting" is John referring to?

 

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SHERLOCK: The missile defence plans haven’t left the country, otherwise Mycroft’s people would have heard about it. Despite what people think, we do still have a Secret Service.

JOHN: Yeah, I know. I’ve met them.

 

Can someone tell me what "meeting" is John referring to?

 

Remember in ASIP when Sherlock tells John re: Mycroft, "He is the British government when he's not too busy being the British Secret Service...."  I thought he meant Mycroft and Anthea. And any other Mycroft-helpers, like drivers and such.

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That possibility had occurred to me, but I'm not really happy with it.  Wondering whether it might be a dangling reference to a scene that got cut?  Or simply a reference to something that has slipped my mind?

 

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In "A Study in Pink" John did get followed around Brixston Road by a black government car carrying three people.  The driver, the man that got out of the car and opened the door for John and Anthea, of course. I suppose these might count as Mycroft's "secret service"?

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Sorry, this is out of context now, but I have to rave about this episode and especially the pool scene. This is where I realized just how amazing those 3 actors are at their job. The situation is so over the top and classic crime show material, but the way it's played feels totally real. I love it when Sherlock's hand starts to shake, all the suppressed emotion that breaks through after Moriarty leaves and how Sherlock has real trouble expressing it because he's just not used to doing so.

 

It is such a defining moment. In the first episode Mycroft told John it was "time to choose a side". That could be the theme of the whole first series and it doesn't really apply to John, who has a side and sticks to it firmly, but to Sherlock. We see him choosing his side right there at the pool when he points the gun or rather when he looks at John for consent before he risks both their lives. It marks the transition from the "highly functioning sociopath" to the heroic figure we (or at least I) usually think of when we hear the name Sherlock Holmes. Because he does become a hero, albeit a strange and reluctant one.

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In the first episode Mycroft told John it was "time to choose a side". That could be the theme of the whole first series and it doesn't really apply to John, who has a side and sticks to it firmly, but to Sherlock. We see him choosing his side right there at the pool when he points the gun or rather when he looks at John for consent before he risks both their lives. It marks the transition from the "highly functioning sociopath" to the heroic figure we (or at least I) usually think of when we hear the name Sherlock Holmes. Because he does become a hero, albeit a strange and reluctant one.

 

I agree, at least in the dramatic context.  That "blow us all up" moment is Series 1's heroic counterpart to Series 2's fall.  (And even though the latter was a fake, I'm certain Sherlock knew full well that one little miscalculation could make it all too real.)

 

In a more realistic sense, though, had it not been for Irene's strategically-timed phone call, Sherlock and John weren't gonna leave that pool alive in any case.  Their only choice was between "let Moriarty's hired guns kill just the two of us" and "let's blow up all three of us (and perhaps the snipers as well)."  That was really something of a no-brainer.  Hmm, nope, wait a minute.  There was also "shoot Moriarty and the snipers will immediately shoot us" -- which would at least have avoided damage to the pool.

 

Please forgive me if I've posted this before, but the pool scene reminds me of Spock's death scene in Wrath of Khan.  I make allowance for him to babble about "the good of the many versus the good of the few or the one," because his brain had just been fried.  But in reality, Spock was going to die, no matter what.  His only choice was between "die with the rest of the crew when the ship blows up" and "expose myself to a lethal dose of radiation while saving the rest of the crew (and the ship)."  Again, a no-brainer.

 

As you might guess, I am seriously annoyed by false dichotomies.  :D

 

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I've got it. By Jove, I've got it. No, not the British accent (alas...) or the solution to the Reichenbach Fall, but the meaning of the title "The Great Game". I'm probably the last person to notice, but nonetheless pleased.

 

In The Reichenbach Fall, when John asks "what kind of a kidnapper leaves clues?", Sherlock says "one who thinks it's all a game." Well, towards the end of the first series, Sherlock himself was very much of that opinion: "The game is on". It was all just a game of wits and people's lives were merely stakes in it. When Moriarty first appears on the scene, Sherlock is thrilled. He enjoys himself during most of the episode, while John, Lestrade and the viewers feel increasingly threatened by this raving terrorist (to say nothing of his hostages). To Sherlock, there is finally somebody on the horizon who is like him and he acts smitten, almost.

 

However, when Moriarty confronts Sherlock with a threatened life face to face, and this the life of his best friend, the penny drops. This is not funny and Moriarty is not a kindred spirit - at least he'd better not be.

 

Moriarty makes it clear that he wants to continue to play for a while. He was not going to kill anybody yet (well, John, maybe, but not Sherlock and certainly not himself at this point). So pointing the gun is actually not a no-brainer at all. The alternative to blowing everybody up was not being shot by Moriarty's sniper but to continue playing, to accept Moriarty's rules. When Sherlock points the gun, it's his way of telling Moriarty the great game is over. From now on, it's a serious battle.

 

God, I love this episode. Sherlock is wonderful in it and I even admire his cold, detached view of things, his contempt for heroism and useless compassion. As much as I like to see him evolve, I also sort of miss the "old Sherlock" and my favorite quote will always be:

 

"This hospital is full of people dying, doctor, why don't you go and cry by their bedsides, see what good it does them?"

 

 

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I've got it. By Jove, I've got it. No, not the British accent (alas...) or the solution to the Reichenbach Fall, but the meaning of the title "The Great Game". I'm probably the last person to notice, but nonetheless pleased.

 

In The Reichenbach Fall, when John asks "what kind of a kidnapper leaves clues?", Sherlock says "one who thinks it's all a game." Well, towards the end of the first series, Sherlock himself was very much of that opinion: "The game is on". It was all just a game of wits and people's lives were merely stakes in it. When Moriarty first appears on the scene, Sherlock is thrilled. He enjoys himself during most of the episode, while John, Lestrade and the viewers feel increasingly threatened by this raving terrorist (to say nothing of his hostages). To Sherlock, there is finally somebody on the horizon who is like him and he acts smitten, almost.

 

However, when Moriarty confronts Sherlock with a threatened life face to face, and this the life of his best friend, the penny drops. This is not funny and Moriarty is not a kindred spirit - at least he'd better not be.

 

Moriarty makes it clear that he wants to continue to play for a while. He was not going to kill anybody yet (well, John, maybe, but not Sherlock and certainly not himself at this point). So pointing the gun is actually not a no-brainer at all. The alternative to blowing everybody up was not being shot by Moriarty's sniper but to continue playing, to accept Moriarty's rules. When Sherlock points the gun, it's his way of telling Moriarty the great game is over. From now on, it's a serious battle.

 

God, I love this episode. Sherlock is wonderful in it and I even admire his cold, detached view of things, his contempt for heroism and useless compassion. As much as I like to see him evolve, I also sort of miss the "old Sherlock" and my favorite quote will always be:

 

"This hospital is full of people dying, doctor, why don't you go and cry by their bedsides, see what good it does them?"

If I understand what you're saying, you see the title referring to the bigger picture surrounding Sherlock and Moriarty rather than the events of this episode?

 

That makes sense.  I hadn't really thought of that before.  I like it.  Actually, it can refer to both things, can't it?

 

On another subject, T.o.b.y, that other Toby posted on page 2 of this thread.  That Toby only has 3 posts, and 2 of them are on page 2 of this thread.  I don't know where the other one is.  I'll probably keep calling you Toby elsewhere.

 

About this episode - on re-viewing it, I'm rating it a 10, and I'm not sure I won't be changing my "favorite series 1 episode" from Study in Pink.  There's more to it than I remember, and I've seen it many times.  I think I would find even more the more I see it.  Wow!

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That's the beauty of all of them. The more you view them the more you pick out and begin to really understand how the whole fit together. It really is genius. It pulls the viewer in deeper and deeper, if one is at all interested in becoming analytical about it all. While not everyone is, it does give depth to the discussions.

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I thought I was losing it after reading some of these reviews of The Great Game.  Not the thoughts of the episode itself, but the mentions of what a suspenseful cliffhanger it is.  For the life of me, I had no idea what so ever what everyone was talking about. I went over every last moment of the episode. What cliffhanger was I not seeing?  If it warranted all the praise, it must have really been something.  Finally, unable to figure it out, I watched it again. 

 

For the record;  I'm watching all these through Netflix. I access it through a high-speed connection via my Blu-ray.  Comfortable sofa, wireless Sennheisers, dark room, late at night, no distractions, and I'm at a 60" movie presentation of Sherlock.  Love it.  Perfect. I'm actually there.  ;-)  However, through Netflix it's not a cliffhanger.  The episode runs to the completion of the story.  When the titles are finished running, the menu pops back up and cues to the start of the second season.  When I press enter to start A Scandal In Belgravia, the first thing on the screen is Irene checking her phone.  Weird thing number two;  When I watched it again through my iPad Netflix app, it's run as the cliffhanger version.  Strange. 

 

None of that is any concern to me though.  Truthfully, I'm not really a fan of cliffhangers.  I get their purpose, but I'm a guaranteed fan.  I don't need to be baited back.  Plus, I'm glad to have the tension of the story resolved before I immerse myself in the next mystery.  I get to start with a clear head.

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I'm not really a fan of cliffhangers.  I get their purpose, but I'm a guaranteed fan.  I don't need to be baited back.  Plus, I'm glad to have the tension of the story resolved before I immerse myself in the next mystery. 

 

Hear hear! I feel the same way! But so far, luckily, the cliffhangers in "Sherlock" have been pretty benign, I think. Even the end of His Last Vow wasn't nearly as harrowing as they made it sound in advance.

 

Do give yourself some time after The Reichenbach Fall though. At least a week, I'd suggest. Let your brain run wild with theories (and look up some of those that were posted by other people), because that will make watching The Empty Hearse so much more fun for you!

 

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I agree with both of you, and I'm very glad that Sherlock has never had what I would call a true cliffhanger -- i.e., where Pauline is hanging from the cliff, about to plunge to her death.  I like Sherlock's type of cliffhanger far better -- a puzzle to chew on over the hiatus:  Why did that happen?  How did it happen?  What's coming next?

 

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Watched it again, on regular Netflix, and this time it was a cliffhanger like it was on the app. The way everyone has seen it and the way it aired originally. Weird. Belgravia later tonight, for the second time, then I'm back on track with the unwatched episodes.

 

*edited for a weird auto-correct(iPad).

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Loved the scene were Jims phone ring in the pool scene :D

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Loved the scene were Jims phone ring in the pool scene :D

Wait a minute, that doesn't happen until Scandal in Belgravia, right?

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I thought it was this one? Aw oh well still funny lol 

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I've been watching the Olympics quite a lot, and there are a lot of athletes from Belarus competing, especially in the aerials.  I don't remember ever hearing of Belarus before The Great Game.  I'll never hear Belarus again without thinking of Sherlock.  And I can't help but think "they hang people there!"

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/>

Loved the scene were Jims phone ring in the pool scene :D

Wait a minute, that doesn't happen until Scandal in Belgravia, right? 
  Your right lol sorry bout that

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I've been watching the Olympics quite a lot, and there are a lot of athletes from Belarus competing, especially in the aerials.  I don't remember ever hearing of Belarus before The Great Game.  I'll never hear Belarus again without thinking of Sherlock.  And I can't help but think "they hang people there!"

 

According to Wikipedia, Belarus became part of the Russian Empire almost as soon as it was formed in 1795, and was later a Soviet Republic.  It declared independence in 1990.  An old name for it was "White Russia," which sounds a bit familiar to me.  (Wikipedia does not mention hanging.)

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According to a website called Death Penalty Worldwide, the death penalty of Belarus is by firing squad or more correctly, execution. A bullet to the head once the convicted is told to kneel.

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According to a website called Death Penalty Worldwide, the death penalty of Belarus is by firing squad or more correctly, execution. A bullet to the head once the convicted is told to kneel.

Huh.  The commentary says the reason they chose Belarus is because they had hanging as the death penalty.   Could it have changed since a couple years ago?

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Okay, I'm at a loss then.

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