Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer TV Rewind: Sherlock 1.02: "The Blind Banker"

“How many murders is it going to take before you start believing this maniac’s out there? A young girl was gunned down tonight. That’s three victims in three days and you’re supposed to be finding him.”
- John Watson

This week’s mystery begins with a young woman performing a tea ceremony at a museum. She seems like a fairly normal girl, even rebuffing a co-worker’s offer of a drink after work. She says he wouldn’t like her much. Next we see her, she’s in the museum after closing, tending to her teapots, when a noise catches her ear. She steps out of the vault to find something tall covered by a sheet. Tentatively, she pulls it off and whatever she sees freaks her out. Cut to John at the store, buying groceries. He’s not having a very good time of it. The machine keeps telling him things haven’t scanned (I know how that feels), and then it declines his card and he hasn’t got actual money to pay for it. So he goes home empty handed. Meanwhile, Sherlock’s been having a fight with a guy who looks like he came out of Aladdin or something. But the body is gone by the time John gets back. He complains about why he hasn’t gotten the shopping and Sherlock says he can take his card.

So, off John pops to the store again. He returns to find Sherlock reading an email on John’s laptop. We only get a glimpse of the message but it appears to be from an old acquaintance. And before John can ask Sherlock for a little money, Sherlock decides a trip to the bank is in order. He doesn’t mention that it’s a stock exchange. Apparently Sherlock’s old university pal Sebastian works there, and they’ve had a break in. Someone broke into one of the offices and left a painted mark on the wall and a photo. Sherlock is on the case and bounces around the trading floor in a rather comedic bit until he finds what he’s looking for. As he and John leave, he explains that because of all the wall and pillars in the area, clear line of sight limits who the message was intended for. Sherlock deduces it to be for Edward Van Coon, the head trader for Hong Kong.

So they’re off to look up every Van Coon in London. Which turns out not to be too many. Sherlock weasels his way into the right flat by pretending to be Van Coon and ringing the upstairs neighbor who he deduced just moved in. He borrows her balcony to get into Van Coon’s flat and after rifling around a bit he finds Van Coon dead, shot in the head. The police arrive and Sherlock is surprised to see Detective Inspector Dimmick instead of Lestrad. Sherlock points out with numerous “obvious” references that Van Coon didn’t kill himself. He was murdered. He and John go to share the news with Sebastian, but the police continue to state it was a suicide.

Later that night, we see a man racing towards his house. He gets in and locks all the doors, but somehow the killer still gets in. And we see the young man from the beginning of the episode (the one who asked the girl out) working, and his boss tells him to authenticate some Chinese vases because the girl, Soo Lin, resigned. He goes to her apartment, but she doesn’t answer so he leaves a note. The next morning John goes off to try and get a job so they can actually pay the bills. He’s overqualified but he needs the money. He gets home to find Sherlock sort of talking to himself (Sherlock thinks he’s talking to John). Sherlock points out the man who died the night before is a journalist. He drags John down to Scotland Yard and manages to get five minutes in the man’s flat. And here he has a breakthrough. The killer can climb. He’s been scaling walls and that’s how he’s gotten in. As they leave, Sherlock picks up a book and that leads them to a library where the symbol from the bank appears in the stacks. So they need to find the connection.

Sherlock believes it is a cypher of some kind and he’s going to an art expert. His expert turns out to be a tagger who leaves John literally holding the spray paint can when the community police arrive. So now John’s got to go to court to deal with it. Sherlock’s not interested. He orders John off to get the journalist’s diary while he goes to speak with the banker’s personal assistant. As John climbs into a cab, we see a woman taking pictures of him. That can’t end well. We pop back to the museum guy for a moment as his boss explains that Soo Lin gave “family reasons’ as why she resigned. Her co-worker isn’t convinced since she didn’t have any family. Elsewhere in the city, John and Sherlock find information from their respective decedents and end up in Chinatown at The Lucky Cat Emporium. It’s kind of creepy. While browsing the shop, John notices one of the symbols from the bank and library on the bottom of a cup. It’s an ancient Chinese numerical system. The symbols stand for the number 15. As they eat lunch, Sherlock realizes that both the victims had been smuggling things into the country from China.

From the café where they’re eating, Sherlock spots a phone book sitting on a stoop, and it just so happens to be Soo Lin’s building. He breaks in, but it turns out he’s not the first. The killer they’ve been looking for has been there, and Sherlock realizes a little too late that the killer is still there. Sherlock gets choked out for his trouble, but he finds her colleague’s note and that leads them to the museum. They don’t learn much except that she resigned and had been working on her teapots on her last day. Down in the vaults we see what Soo Lin saw at the start of the episode. Someone’s painted the numbers on a statute.

As they leave the museum, Sherlock’s tagger shows up with good news. He found the paint in a skate park. So they spread out and look for more clues. John finds a massive amount of graffiti and snaps a photo on his phone before going to find Sherlock. It was a lucky move, really, because in the ten minutes John is gone, someone paints over the graffiti. Sherlock spends the night figuring out what all the symbols mean. They’re all numbers and they appear in pairs. So it’s back to the museum where Sherlock notices that two of the teapots are shiny (only one was shiny the day before). So he and John stake out the museum to catch Soo Lin after hours.

They find her and she fills them in on quite a bit of exposition. She was orphaned at fifteen and went to work for a crime syndicate. It was the only way for her to survive. But she left that life behind when she was seventeen. She thought five years of distance would be enough but they found her. ‘The Spider” is after her and it turns out he’s her brother. Before she can explain the code of the numbers, the lights go out and Sherlock takes off to try and find the killer. Unfortunately, John hears gunfire and goes off to help, leaving Soo Lin alone. Her brother slips into the vault and kills her. DI Dimmick still doesn’t believe them about the murder connection. So Sherlock charms his way into the morgue so he can show Dimmick that both men had the same tattoo as Soo Lin linking them to the Black Lotus (the crime syndicate). In his customary arrogant way, Sherlock demands every book from both men’s flats. He’s going to compare them to figure out which book the code references.

Sherlock and John stay up all night, and John ends up crashing pretty hard at the hospital when he’s supposed to be seeing patients. But he does get a date out of it (with his boss). Sherlock tells John to go to the circus for his date. Of course, Sherlock tags along because it’s a one night only Chinese circus. The smugglers have sent gang members to find whatever was stolen. Quite impressively, Sherlock, John and his date Sarah manage to knock out some of the smugglers and get away. Dimmick orders a raid but finds nothing. So the trio head back to the flat. Sarah’s actually quite helpful. She points out that two of the numbers have already been deciphered. Soo Lin apparently started to work on it. Sherlock is on his way back to the museum to figure out what book to use when he realizes it’s a London guide and he decodes the rest of the numbers. Too late for John and Sarah. One of the smugglers shows up and kidnaps them.

John comes to in a tunnel bound to a chair. Sarah is bound and gagged beside him. He denies that he’s Sherlock (despite the evidence the Chinese think they have) and the general says she’s going to kill Sarah if he doesn’t give her what she’s looking for. Sherlock figures out what’s happened when he returns to the flat and makes quite the show of swooping in and taking out the goons. John manages to save Sarah but the general gets away. The following morning, they head back to the bank because Sherlock deduced the banker as the thief and he’d given the pin to his personal assistant. We cut to the general speaking to someone via webcam. All we get is the initial M when messages are sent back. I’m guessing she was linked to Moriarty. We end with her getting shot in the head.

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