Sherlock: Season 1, Episode 3

The Great Game (7 Nov. 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 9.1/10 from 11,680 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 24 critic

Mycroft needs Sherlock's help, but a remorseless criminal mastermind puts Sherlock on a distracting crime-solving spree via a series of hostage human bombs through which he speaks.



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Title: The Great Game (07 Nov 2010)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Needham ...
Kemal Sylvester ...
Andrew West
Crying Woman
Lauren Crace ...
Nicholas Gadd ...
Scared Man
Caroline Trowbridge ...


Mycroft wants his brother Sherlock to investigate the murder of civil servant Andrew West and theft of the Bruce-Partington missile plans. Sherlock, however, prefers to assist Lestrade following a massive bomb blast. The sadistic bomber abducts a string of hostages, who will be released after Sherlock has solved a series of puzzles, including a twenty year old murder, an insurance scam and the alleged forgery of a long lost painting. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-14 | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

7 November 2010 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The plot of this episode was inspired by the Holmes short story, "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans." See more »


In the beginning of the episode, the time that passes between Dr Watson leaving his and Sherlock's apartment and the explosion across 221b Baker Street, is less than a minute. However, Dr Watson only hears about the incident the next morning. He couldn't have gotten so far away from Baker Street in so short a time that he didn't hear the explosion when it happened. See more »


[first lines]
Sherlock Holmes: Just... tell me what happened from the beginning.
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References The Pearl of Death (1944) See more »


The Planets: Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
Composed by Gustav Holst
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User Reviews

Season 1: Roundly entertaining and well made police procedural which makes for perfect Sunday night viewing
22 August 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Much has been made of this updating of Holmes to a modern age and I think that a lot of praise for this has been a little bit based around the fact that the show has generally done well and didn't fall on its face. I'll not join it in this gush of praise over the modernisation though because frankly the show is not hugely different from a lot of other crime shows at the moment. What we have in Sherlock is a brilliant detective who has a "difficult" character but is put up with because he can solve weekly crimes like nobody else. If that sound familiar it is not a million miles away from the main characters in Psych, Monk, The Mentalist, Lie to Me, House and many other shows in the "quirky but brilliant investigator" genre at the moment. I don't say this to belittle the show but rather just to observe that Sherlock is another show in a very crowded genre.

It is this crowded genre that means it deserves praise though, because it does standout and it is enjoyable whereas several shows in the genre do seem to be going through the motions without any reason to watch them over their cousins. Sherlock is of course given a boost by who the character is but it could also have been a millstone around its neck. To its credit the very first episode makes the update easy. Instant messaging and access to information on the internet is brought into it but never to such a point where it is forced into the viewer's face. More importantly, the level below this superficial update focuses on the deductive powers of the detective, the crimes and the relationship with Watson. All of these things are well done and are the reason why the three episodes are enjoyable. It is also telling that the second episode (The Blind Banker) didn't have as good dialogue between Sherlock and Watson and wasn't as enjoyable as a result.

The Doctor Who effect on the tone is present but not to the point where it makes it silly or just loud for the sake of being loud (which that show often can be). Instead it seems to make it energetic and accessible but without making it into a 5pm tea-time family romp. It does have a bit of darkness to it and in particular the first episode does very well to build tension (although the "pill" confrontation isn't as good as I had hoped) but it needs to do it more often. The reveal of Moriarty is OK but not great; his character is probably the most obvious bit of Dr Who in here since he is in the mould of the new flamboyant Master. He didn't quite convince opposite Sherlock but it will be down to the writers in the second series to use this character well to produce some great mental battles. Certainly Cumberbatch is up to the task and I found him very good in the title role, just the right amount of superiority without being annoying or remote while also conveying the intellect side well. He works well with Freeman, who is also very good despite essentially doing the same sort of character he did in The Office and since. With these two working well as they do the show is already done but the supporting cast are generally strong as well.

Generally Sherlock produced perfect Sunday night viewing. It is an engaging show without taking itself too seriously; it is fast paced with humour without being silly or overly loud and it has elements of the New Who in terms of accessibility without taking too many of the negative aspects of that show with it. I found it very easy to enjoy and am one of many looking forward to the second season when it inevitably comes.

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