Well, sad to say it isn't as good as the first episode. It just lacked some of the spark. That's not to say it was bad, because there were still a lot of strong points in the show. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman remain pitch perfect in their respective roles as Sherlock Holmes and Watson. They make the most of their scenes and the character material they are given to work with.
Similarly Euros Lynn (perhaps the best of Russel T. Davies Doctor Who directors) has picked up on many of the visual cues from the first episode and delivered something that while not identical was stylistically similar.
The problems with this episode all lie squarely in Stephen Thompson's script. While he does seem to have a firm grasp on the characters and his plot was certainly full of puzzles, it failed to compel in the way that a Study in Pink did. To make matters worse, some elements seemed outright cliched. Really, Chinese smugglers and a Chinese circus troop? And there seemed to be a few places where the logic just didn't add up at all.
On top of that we have the frankly baffling decision to omit almost all of the secondary characters established in the first episode and in their place have one almost characterless detective. Perhaps that was a budgetary decision or based on the availability of actors, but it definitely hurt the show.
But for all my negativity, in truth I still enjoyed The Blind Banker because the relationship between Holmes and Watson (still clearly in its early stages here) is so compelling. Throwing in a romantic interest for Watson was a nice touch too although I'm not clear if the intent is for her to be a recurring character.
As far as the series story-arc is concerned I'm going to hold my tongue until I've seen the final episode. I have a fairly strong opinion on it and how it has been handled so far, but it would be unfair to judge without seeing the end.
Bottom line then is that The Blind Banker is a fun, but not great episode of Sherlock. I'm hoping that Mark Gatiss' episode next week will step things up again.
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