Review: Sherlock – “The Great Game”

The third and final (for now, anyway) installment of the BBC’s Sherlock is by far the finest. The series debuted with the fantastic “A Study in Pink” before airing the just-better-than-average second episode, “The Blind Banker.” The final episode of the shows first run (and there will be a second) is titled “The Great Game,” and that is exactly what transpires during the 90 minutes of screen time. Hold on tight; the tension is thick from the opening scene and never lets up, even after the credits roll.

Sherlock’s nemesis Moriarty was mentioned in each of the first two episodes, and now he is taunting the great detective and forcing him to play his great game. Moriarty has strapped bombs to seemingly random people who then call Sherlock and read Moriarty’s words that include a countdown to detonation. He is given hints and his powers of observation and detection are truly put to the test by the only man who is intellectually his equal. Though the cases seem to all be unrelated, they are all part of the great game and Sherlock is aware of that possibility the entire time. He puts almost everything together except for one major detail which is revealed in the end. The final act is intense, as we finally meet Jim Moriarty, played brilliantly by Andrew Scott. He comes off as a true evil mastermind madman, and he is the perfect antagonist. The last scene will leave viewers clamoring for more and although it’s unknown exactly when that will be, it will be happening.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman continue their extremely strong work as Sherlock and Dr. Watson respectively, and their on-screen chemistry is that of actors who have worked together for years, despite their short time together. Though the show is a modern update for classic characters, creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat remain very loyal to the characters and it shows. Gatiss penned the episode, and his writing plus the work put in from the main actors and the addition of Moriarty all add up to must-see television.

Grade: A

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