Season 1 Episode 2

The Blind Banker

Aired Unknown Aug 01, 2010 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
493 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sherlock and Watson work on deciphering deadly symbols that are covering the walls around London, killing everyone who sees them within hours, before any further victim succumbs to the mysterious Black Lotus.

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  • Maybe would have been better off receiving a second attempt at filming it, just as the pilot had been.

    Though maintaining an engaging rapport between its two protagonists and an imaginative filmmaking style, Sherlock sees a severe step back in quality in "The Blind Banker", a generic whodunit follow-up to the phenomenal pilot. There aren't any exciting villains or really interesting supporting characters, as both Mycroft and Lestrade have gone AWOL, and the feature-length second episode has a pace and thrill problem in general.

    Curiously, it takes quite some time for that to become clear, as "The Blind Banker" commences with a lot of witty moments and the type of brilliant dead-pan situation analysing I've already grown to adore about Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes. However, after some thirty minutes, screenwriter Stephen Thompson appears to have run out of supplies and in exchange opts for only re-writing the source material and including an awful lot of detective story clichs. Neither would I have been surprised nor disappointed by that at the time Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had been writing his Sherlock Holmes novels, these sorts of storytelling techniques hadn't been counting as clichs and this series is still an adaption of his works after all hadn't the crime-solving part consumed such a vast portion of the episode, incorporating the development of John and Sherlock's relationship and the introduction of Sarah a bit sloppily just along the way.

    For the crime story and its outcome itself, well, it's surely not on the qualitative upper end of all Sherlock Holmes stories and it will hardly be remembered for its clever or even genuinely threatening antagonists. And as if to secure that this episode is inferior to the whole rest of the bunch by an English-Channel-sized margin with all means available, there's also a colossal bouquet of plot holes to indulge in, along with some general oversimplifying, . Sherlock and John ambling through the not particularly tiny city of London and encountering important hints for unravelling the murders as frequently as bookstalls. Then there's the ever-present prowess of Sherlock Holmes that does go beyond the boundaries of believability a handful of times in "The Blind Banker", but I guess that's something you've got to accept with such a series and its other instalments don't very much exclude it either.

    "The Blind Banker" surely is a fun time to watch and benefits from passionate acting, excellent dialogue, and the basic idea behind Sherlock that is of course kept on with. However, whether it's viewed with a critical eye or not, this episode is simply subpar to all of the series's others and maybe would have been better off receiving a second attempt at filming it, just as the pilot had been.

    My detective scribblings:

    - Sherlock ex machina. I was really hoping not having to use that terrible pun when reviewing this series, but here I am, thanks to Stephen Thompson's lack of imagination.

    - Smart reference to the source material with Sherlock just randomly fighting a robed figure in the beginning of the episode.

    - Since he is right about the epitome of a socially awkward fellow, it's only been a matter of time until the series included Sherlock Holmes simpering and, well, here it is!

    - What is with Sherlock's soft-focused establishing shots? It does provide them with a more distinctive touch, but I don't see it as a highly necessary thing to do. Otherwise, there are loads of good-looking shots in this episode.

    - WHAT? Sherlock Holmes is using Internet Explorer?

    - And I also do wonder what sorts of news websites he is visiting if they are listing things such as "Canine rollercoaster enthusiast" under their top news.

    - General Shan creeping from the other side of the street really was a well-done suspension building move "The Blind Banker" would have needed more of.

    - As if series creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss had listened to my criticisms about their pilot (and not minding the facts that I uttered these three years after this episode had already premiered), Sherlock's unneeded thought bubbles have been taken out for the biggest part. However, this has now led to him soliloquising here and there, which I don't really prefer over the on-screen writing.moreless
  • Easily the weakest episode of the bunch... but still good

    This episode was initially very intriguing, but at times the story would drag. The best part was Sherlock, John and Sarah's three person date fiasco, but this episode clearly suffered from trying to be too ethnic. Stereotypes aside, it also suffered from a surprisingly obvious number of plot holes, including:

    -Soo Lin trying to distance herself from a the smuggling ring, but she somehow lives two doors down from their trading spot.

    -John Watson leaves behind a targeted civilian to chase after Sherlock, going against the natural instinct of any man trained in the army and then stands around helplessly after losing sight of the murderer, instead of returning to aid her.

    -Upon discovering one of their items had been stolen, the smugglers chose to kill both people involved, instead of bothering to ask either of them where the item was.

    -Sherlock somehow manages to not notice for days that Soo Lin has begun to translate symbols on his paper, despite the fact that he was carrying the thing around with him and looked at it since then.

    -While overhearing Sherlock and John plan to see and rescue Soo Lin, her love interest, who has been searching for her for days, does not offer to help or go with them.

    Despite many clever lines, enjoyable scenes and the chemistry between Sherlock and John, the plot of this episode and the villains involved were on par with Rush Hour.moreless
  • Not as great as other installments but still an engaging Holmes mystery....

    .... The next chapter in the BBC "Sherlock" series, "The Blind Banker" sees Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on the trail of a killer who leaves only the bodies of his victims and strange cipher codes behind. Perhaps a step or two behind the fast-paced precedent set by the first episode, "A Study In Pink," "The Blind Banker" is a very entertaining hour and a half. Perhaps one reason "The Blind Banker" is not quite up to the same level as "A Study In Pink" is because it is not as faithful to any particular Arthur Conan Doyle story. While "A Study In Pink" was a fairly-faithful (with clever twists and modern updating) adaptation of Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes mystery, "A Study In Scarlet," "The Blind Banker" seems to borrow loosely from "The Valley of Fear" and "The Dancing Men" to create a largely original story. Original or not, director Euros Lyn creates a tense screen thriller and Cumberbatch and Freeman are in top form as Holmes and Watson, respectively. Despite not being one of the finest installments of the "Sherlock" series, "The Blind Banker" is undoubtedly a high-quality and engaging episode.moreless
  • 1x02 - The Blind Banker

    While I really liked how John and Sherlock are working together, I couldn't help but cringe at the story line. But once I ignored it, there was pretty hilarious.
  • What happened?

    This version of Sherlock seems to have gone downhill, fast.

    In the first episode you could hardly tell that it lasted 90 minutes, the writing was fast paced and exciting so the time flew by. This was not the case for the second episode.

    In this instalment the story started off rather bland and the pacing really dragged. It's a huge shame as well, because they could have done something really exciting with this episode.

    The first episode opened questions about Moriaty and Sherlock's brother Mycroft, but it was hardly touched on in this episode. Only in the last 5 minutes did we get a teaser that one of them is involved.

    Considering that this is the only a three-part show there could have been more on that. And that would have been way more exciting. We can assume this will be touched on in the final episode, but why should we assume? We could speculate more, and be excited more, if we had been teased this whole episode about what's to come. This episode would have been fine if it was part of a longer series, but it's not.

    Saying that though I've given the episode a 7.5 because it's still a lot better than most other stuff on TV at the moment.moreless
Paul Chequer

Paul Chequer

DI Dimmock

Guest Star

Zoe Telford

Zoe Telford


Guest Star

Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan

Soo Lin Yao

Guest Star

Una Stubbs

Una Stubbs

Mrs Hudson

Recurring Role

Loo Brealey

Loo Brealey

Molly Hooper

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Dan Brown's novel The Lost Symbol can repeatedly be seen briefly during this episode. Its plot revolves mainly around symbols and codes, thus sharing a theme with this episode.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Sherlock: The world's run on codes and ciphers, John. From the million-pound security system at the bank to the PIN machine you took exception to. Cryptography inhabits our every waking moment.

    • Sherlock: You took your time.
      Watson: Yeah, I didn't do the shopping.
      Sherlock: What? Why not?
      Watson: Because I had a row in the shop with a chip and pin machine.
      Sherlock: You had a row with a machine?
      Watson: Sort of. It sat there and I shouted abuse.

    • Watson: Is that my computer?
      Sherlock: Of course.
      Watson: What?
      Sherlock: Mine was in the bedroom.
      Watson: What, and you couldn't be bothered to get up? It's password protected.
      Sherlock: In a manner of speaking. Took me less than a minute to guess yours. Not exactly Fort Knox.

    • Sherlock: I said could you pass me a pen?
      Watson: What, when?
      Sherlock: About an hour ago.
      Watson: Didn't notice I'd gone out then?

    • Watson: Where are we headed?
      Sherlock: I need to ask some advice.
      Watson: What? Sorry?
      Sherlock: You heard me perfectly; I'm not saying it again.
      Watson: (amused) You need advice.

    • Dimmock: Your friend...
      Watson: Listen, whatever you say, I'm behind you 100%
      Dimmock: He's an arrogant sod.
      Watson: Well, that was mild. People say a lot worse than that.

    • Sherlock: I'd stick with the pasta. Don't want to be doing roast pork, not if you're slicing up cadavers.
      Molly: What are you having?
      Sherlock: Don't eat when I'm working. Digesting slows me down.

    • Dimmock: Anything else I can do? To assist you, I mean.
      Sherlock: Some silence right now would be marvelous.

    • Sherlock: I need some air. We're going out tonight.
      Watson: Actually, I've got a date.
      Sherlock: What?
      Watson: It's where two people who like each other go out and have fun.
      Sherlock: That's what I was suggesting.
      Watson: No, it wasn't. At least I hope not.

    • Sherlock: I need your help.
      Watson: I do have a couple of other things on my mind this evening.
      Sherlock: Like what?
      Watson: You are kidding.
      Sherlock: What's so important?
      Watson: Sherlock, I'm right in the middle of a date. You want me to chase some killer while I...
      Sherlock: What?
      Watson: While I'm trying to get off with Sarah. (Sarah overhears) Hey... ready?

    • Shan: A book is like a magic garden carried in your pocket.

    • Watson: I'm not Sherlock Holmes!
      Shan: I don't believe you.
      Sherlock: You should, you know. Sherlock Holmes is nothing at all like him. How would you describe me, John? Resourceful? Dynamic? Enigmatic?
      Watson: Late?

    • Sherlock: We'll just slip off. No need to mention us in your report.
      Dimmock: Mr. Holmes...
      Sherlock: I have high hopes for you, Inspector, a glittering career.
      Dimmock: If I go where you point me.
      Sherlock: Exactly.

  • NOTES (2)

    • According to Stephen Moffat, this episode was allegedly inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Dancing Men," published in the December 1903 issue of the Strand magazine and later collected in The Return of Sherlock Holmes. However, that story features a substitution cipher. The code featured here is a numeric code, which is found in Doyle's novel The Valley of Fear.

    • International Airdates:
      The Netherlands: October 27, 2010 on Nederland 1
      U.S.: October 31, 2010 on PBS (Masterpiece Theatre)
      Czech Republic: October 18, 2011 on AXN


    • Dimmock: Like Spider-Man?
      Referencing the Marvel comic book character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and who first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug. 1962). Peter Parker, bitten by a radioactive spider, gains spider-like powers and becomes a superhero. The hero, Marvel's icon, has had several of his own comic book series and appeared in TV shows and movies.