Season 1 Episode 3

The Great Game

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Aug 08, 2010 on BBC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
533 votes

    Fantastic television and the casting is nothing short of brilliant. Until Moriarty. I understand that they're gunning for a younger angle but it didn't work for me. The actor did fine, sure, but unlike the other reinterpretations this one rang a bit false. Moriarty was a match for Holmes intellectually but it was his extra years, his wisdom, that hinted at having an edge over the genius; this was how he became an honest threat.
  • Two brilliant characters meeting each other

    With the season finale "The Great Game", Sherlock returns to the successful formula of its pilot and makes use of Paul McGuigan as a director, one of the two series creators as a writer, Rupert Graves and Mark Gatiss as supporting actors, and a villain worthy of receiving Sherlock Holmes' attention and guess what? It works perfectly.

    Reintroducing the world's only consulting detective as he interrogates a British murderer in a Belarusian prison and gets more irritated by the man's incorrect grammar and manner of speaking than his actual crime, "The Great Game" starts superbly already. What follows doesn't disappoint either and both the development of Sherlock and John's relationship and the crimes they try to solve are a delight to watch. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman show exceptional acting talent in their characters' snide repartee and their actually taking quite a liking to each other. However, there is someone dwarfing them: Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty. Although, when Sherlock's arch enemy makes his first appearance in one of the series's all-time best moments, he's just office romance Jim. The Irishman later returns for an even greater scene in the history of Sherlock and gives an unequalled performance that I'd be perfectly fine with if it were the only one I'd ever see again for the rest of my life.

    And even if, as Scott stated himself, this swimming pool scene I was alluding to in the previous paragraph was rushedly written by Mark Gatiss, the result is brimming with witty writing and one of the best ideas the Sherlock creator have had for relocating the classic story into modern times. As has been established, he and Steven Moffat practice such re-writing of the Arthur Conan Doyle story on other occasions as well, and for "The Great Game", the two have come up with some jewels "I'd be lost without my blogger" instead of "I'd be lost without my Boswell" or Holmes' network of homeless persons instead of the Baker Street Irregulars, to name a few.

    The main plot underlying such little references is just as good, merging multiple entertaining cases into a bigger picture that culminates into what I'd venture to judge as a perfect final showdown. Yet all of the 90 minutes of running time are outstanding filmmaking, amusing and suspenseful, well-written and well-directed. One minor drawback of "The Great Game" are its scores of supporting characters, often but rudimentally evolved ones that echo the likes of less original television crime programmes.

    This spectacular final episode of Sherlock's first season makes amends for its offering no more than three feature-length episodes and manifests the series as true high-quality entertainment. And though it truly is a finely crafted one, it's not that much the cliffhanger at the end that has your excitement for the second season go sky high, but what the series has accomplished overall.

    My detective scribblings:

    - Una Stubbs is such a lovely little cast member her facial expressions when being ignored by Sherlock, John, and Lestrade are just wonderful acting and make you want to cuddle her, don't they?

    - The thought of a woman just sitting in a car in the car park wearing a bombing vest is actually quite a spine-chilling thought if you contemplate it.

    - Character information: John's lying and Sherlock's astronomy knowledge are about on the same, abysmally low level.

    - You could argue that the planetarium fight scene John and Sherlock vs the Golem is plainly ridiculous, but I'm a big fan of it anyway: the cinematography, editing, and astronomy trivia heard in the background make it an ingeniously crafted scene and a lot of fun to watch, in my opinion.

    - Making his hostage John say "gottle o' gear" makes Moriarty all the greater and really had me bursting into laughter.

    - Exceptional editing by Charlie Phillips in this episode, I personally loved the transition between Sherlock and John at the train tracks and the two walking to Joe Harrison's flat.
  • Great Episode.

    I loved this episode, it was just a constant barrage of case after case. Moriarty (Who I knew from Band of Brothers, Episode 2 I think), is Irish, played Moriarty as Irish,(the name is Irish), the accent was soft spoken(A couple friends identified it as a mix of D4 and something else). Also in the books he is described as reptilian, and he did hiss a couple times, and moved his head that way.

    I thought it was a great, and different take on the villian.
  • Holmes, Moriarty - Moriarty, Holmes....

    .... "The Great Game" finds the two ends of the consulting spectrum finally meet: the detecting consultant Sherlock Holmes and the crime consultant Jim Moriarty. Andrew Scott (whose only work I was familiar with was his memorable turn in "John Adams") made at the very least an intriguing modern Moriarty - but I find his portrayal of the character hard to judge at this time without seeing the rest of the series.

    I find myself somewhat disappointed in this series after first being blown away by "A Study In Pink" and, while surely entertained, not treated to as good of a show in the following episodes as I witnessed the series slip from brilliant to simply enjoyable in just three episodes. Season 1 finale "The Great Game" is an enjoyable watch and I thought the final climax was excellent; however, the story had too many things crammed into one episode from start to finish to the point that the story never seemed like it was going anywhere until the thrilling but largely abrupt-feeling ending.

    Oh well, Season Two here I come!
  • 1x03 - the great game

    One of the things I really liked in this episode was seeing Sherlock's ruthlessness and pragmatism. John having a side mystery was good and I liked how the recovery the drive wasn't actually important overall.

    I was highly irritated by Moriarty but I suspect that is intentional.
  • Moron-arity

    Good God, was Moriarity annoying! The hero's measured by the antagonist, and poncey Jimmy is pathetic.
  • Excelent episode, full of action and twists and with an expectacular cliffhanger! SPOILERS follow!!!!!!

    What can I say except that it was one of the greatest episodes I have seen in the BBC this year! The quality of the show certainly increases.

    A misterious Bomber challenges Holmes to a deadly game, giving him a limited amount of time to solve a crime that was committed or is being committed from just a few clues. The stakes are the lives of five hostages, taken one after another by the Bomber and his/her accomplices and strapped to explosives. A sniper targets them and their deadly packages and forces them to taunt Holmes on the phone.

    At the same time, Holmes' brother Mycroft asks him to find some secret plans stolen from the Ministery by an employee, now murdered. Holmes sends Watson to investigate on his behalf while he pursues the Bomber, but keeps an eye on him, just in case.

    It is not surprise that both cases are linked and, being episode 3 and last of this run, Moriarty is involved and appears at the end. He is unfortunately the reason why I took 1/2 point: I am not convinced by the anoying voice and over-the-top phycho performance. This needs improvement!

    The rest was great, action packed and very well done by the actors, writers and production team. It was easy to see that, given Holmes apparent lack of concern for the hostages ("worrying for them does not make me work faster!"), the last one would be the only person for whom he cares. But even that was managed in such an way as to make you doubt and wonder... Great Holmes/Watson moments all around!!!
  • Absolutely bloody brilliant!!!

    I offically love this show.
    The finale was only ten minutes ago and i'm writing the review. Brilliant episode but I absolutley hate the fact that I was left on a cliffhanger, you can't leave us a full year with a cliffhanger like that. Its cruel but it makes me even more eager to watch the next series.
    Benedict Cumberbatch was again brilliant as Sherlock and so was Martin Freeman as Dr Watson. I loved that we were able to see a small crack in their friendship but I also love the fact that Sherlock was so himself in this episode. He will do anything to keep himself from being bored but in this episode he also learns of the consequences. I won't spoil anything but I didn't even guess that Moriarty was a certain person.
    BBC I applaud you on creating this awesome show but the cliffhanger is just annoying. I just shouted No at my television.
  • Fast-paced, plenty of cool mysteries and a first look at a refreshing Moriarty.


    My biggest problem with the previous episodes of Sherlock was that they were far too long for any one mystery, almost the length a of an actual movie and as a result, they did get a little tiring at some point and felt disjointed. Which is why having six simultaneous cases AND the appearance of Holmes' arch nemesis makes The Great Game so great! All of the separate cases are tight and focused, making them gripping and wonderfully entertaining. Ever since the first episode I was looking forward to seeing how the show would modernize Moriarty and the performance at hand is truly something new, refreshing and interesting - but it amounts to nothing more than a cameo so far, so I'm still waiting to see how it pans out. Considering how jam-packed this episode is, I consider giving any more information about the plot line, characters, or events, utterly spoilerific. This is all you need to know - its the best in the series so far. Its simply awesome.

  • Circus!

    I do like the new Sherlock. The first episode was amazing! I couldn't wait to see the next one. Second episode was just a pure disappointment. Starting with the fact that Hangzhou is an incorrect term (Sherlock would have known that) for Suzhou numerals. The pace was slow, dragged, lacking nice switches and turns of action. All I did was yawn and decided to wait for the next one, which turned out to be final (why???)

    Final episode - was like a circus. Starts with Sherlock shooting at walls - what the h*ll? Ok, he is an eccentric, but out of boredom I would expect him to do sth totally else - teach children to cook or cut his hair.
    Lots of "victims", lots of "colours" (each mystery to solve was actually interesting), but the ending... Moriarty turns out to be a freak, who couldn't make up his mind if he wants to kill Sherlock or not, had really annoying voice and manner of speaking. And then comes the "sniper". The sniper couldn't point at Watsons head but perfectly pointed at Sherlock's. If you look closely the red dot switches from Sherlock's forehead to Watson chest in seconds (meaning there were at least two people pointing at them - that would explain the change in pointing skills). Well it all changes in last seconds - there are at least 5 different lasers pointed at Sherlock... Work a bit more on making it rather shorter but full of the first episode magic and you will be the most watched show here :)