Week 3 of the feels trip/rewatch. This one, of course, took a great deal of emotional preparation.
The Great Game
This episode begins with a very bored Sherlock at 221b Baker Street. (VERY bored. The walls of the flat will never be the same.) This changes in an instant, however, when an explosion occurs on the street below. Off to an exciting start, aren’t we?
Big brother himself, Mycroft, tries to get Sherlock to take a case–a murder relating to the theft of a flashdrive containing missile plans–but Sherlock refuses for no other reason really than to spite his brother, of course. Sibling warfare never ends, apparently.
Sherlock and John are soon summoned to Scotland Yard, where Lestrade reveals a package found in the rubble of the explosion–a package addressed to Sherlock. Inside it is a pink cell phone, a nod at the events in “A Study in Pink.” A message on the phone leads Sherlock to the basement of 221, where they find a pair of shoes, clearly left there recently. (So much apparent randomness in such a short amount of time, even to a rewatcher…)
Then things get even more mysterious (and creepy) when Sherlock receives a call. The voice of the caller is a woman who sounds terrified, only she is reading someone else’s words. She reads that Sherlock has 12 hours to solve this “puzzle,” otherwise she will be killed by the detonation of the explosives she is strapped in. Sherlock studies their current clue, the shoes, and while doing so at the hospital lab, is introduced to Molly’s new boyfriend Jim. (Yep, our first real introduction to Moriarty…time to freak out.) In true character, Sherlock rains on Molly’s parade and deduces that Jim is gay. Harsh, but he doesn’t seem to get it…
Sherlock realizes that the shoes belonged to a young boy who was, years ago, found dead in a swimming pool. (A masterful deduction that you need to watch a million times just to keep up…) Based on chemical traces found on the shoes, Sherlock concludes that this boy was murdered, or specifically, poisoned. This solves the “puzzle” and the captive woman is saved.
A second message is soon received on the phone, showing an image of a car, and another phone call is received from a second captive. With the help of Lestrade, the pictured vehicle is tracked down, blood stains and all. A few deductions (and failed improvised discussions) later, and Sherlock has determined that this was a faked death, allowing a troubled individual to escape his current financial problems. Case closed…?
It’s not long before another phone call and message is received, this time indicating the “clue” to be a popular makeup/beauty TV host who was recently found dead. (Again, random, but surprisingly clever. Don’t you just love the mastermind behind all this?) Sherlock and John act as press to gain information from the TV host’s brother, and end up reaching the conclusion (ie. more Sherlock deductions!) that she was murdered by her housekeeper via her botox injections. Another puzzle solved, only this time, the captive is killed, after she starts to describe her kidnapper.
Sherlock receives a fourth message, this time without a phone call. It is an image of a view of the River Thames, where a body is soon located. It’s the body of a museum security guard, who Sherlock believes to have been killed by an assassin known as Golem. This assassination was due to the security guard realizing a new painting at the museum was a fake; a professor at the museum also knows that, having talked to the guard previously, and is also killed by Golum before Sherlock and John can save her.
While at the museum, after their fight with Golem, Sherlock and John examine the painting in question. The fourth phone call is received, and the captive speaker this time only gives Sherlock 10 seconds to reveal the aspect of the painting that is fake. (One of many mandatory “hold your breath for extensive amounts of time” scenes in this episode.) He concludes, just in time, that the astronomical events depicted in the painting are, in fact, from the wrong time period. The museum curator eventually concurs with this, and unwillingly shares that she was working with Moriarty to hide the fact.
Another day, another murder prevented. It’s kind of understandable that John and Sherlock are basically adrenaline junkies.
Sherlock and John decide to investigate the case Mycroft approached them with earlier, and they determine that the murdered man–an MI6 clerk–was killed by his own to-be brother-in-law. This brother-in-law said he stole the flashdrive from him, and accidentally killed him after getting into a fight about it. Sherlock retrieves the flashdrive from him, and decides to bait Moriarty with it.
He arranges to meet Moriarty at “the pool”–the location of the poisoned boy’s death, years ago–and instead, is met by John, who is wearing an explosive vest and is targeted by a sniper. (Now that escalated quickly. Time for another intense session of breath-holding.)
And finally, the mastermind shows his face (and speaks with his true voice, which is a beautiful one…) Jim Moriarty. Jim, Molly’s boyfriend. He reveals himself to be what Sherlock calls a “consulting criminal;” a sort of alter-ego, yet eerily similar figure, to Sherlock. It’s a fascinating exchange between these two minds, and Moriarty eventually leaves, taunting Sherlock that he’ll never be found. Sherlock removes the explosive vest from John (Johnlock shippers rejoice) and the two find themselves both targeted by snipers in a matter of seconds, Moriarty re-entering the room. (Little drama queen.)
And of course, because this is a Moffat show, this is the perfect place to end the episode/season: Sherlock pointing a gun at the explosive vest, ready to fire.
I’m okay, I’m okay… just kidding, I need to curl up somewhere and absorb this emotional trauma, then watch the next episode again. Something like this:
Thanks for joining me again on this feels trip. Check back soon for the next adventure.