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Fourth floor. That’s why they think they’re safe. Put the chain on the door, bolt it shut. They think they’re impregnable. They never consider for a moment there's another way in.
Holmes is hired by an old friend to investigate a mysterious break-in at a bank in the City. He discovers that symbols spray-painted onto an office wall are a coded message intended for an employee of the bank, who is later discovered dead in his flat. The next day, a journalist is killed and the same symbols are found nearby. Holmes and Watson follow a trail of clues that link the two dead men to a Chinese smuggling ring, who are trying to retrieve a valuable item that one of them stole. Holmes eventually cracks the coded message based on Suzhou numerals and a book cipher, but not before Watson and a female friend are kidnapped by the criminals. Holmes rescues Watson's friend but the leader of the gang escapes. After escaping, the leader of the gang is in communication with her superior, who is identified by the initial "M". She is then shot by a sniper. Holmes figures out that the banker was killed because he took a piece of jewelry from one of his shipments as a gift to his girlfriend, not realizing how valuable it was.
This episode provides examples of the following tropes:
- Bound and Gagged: "The Blind Banker" has Sarah bound, gagged, and facing a giant crossbow.
- Cypher Language
- Drop What You Are Doing: Soo Yin would have broken one of the teapots she cared for if not for Sherlock catching it -- although, he was the one who startled her into dropping it in the first place.
- Explain, Explain, Oh Crap: In "The Blind Banker," Sherlock is looking through an apartment and talking to John (well, sort of- John's left grumbling outside the door, can't hear a thing and might as well not be there).
John: You think maybe you could let me in this time? Oh for heaven's sake. Can you not keep doing this, please?
- Hey, It's That Sound: John's phone makes the same sound as when turning on a Gameboy.
- Idiot Ball: The Blind Banker more or less revolves around the villains being complete and total morons at every turn. Killing two operatives who they could have tortured to get info out of -- just to get Sherlock's attention? Mistaking John for Sherlock? Only hiring Moriarty to get them into the country instead of to find the pin? You almost can't blame Moriarty at the end, Shan was clearly Too Dumb to Live.
- Fridge Brilliance: They were commanded by Moriarty, who probably didn't care at all if they got the pin. He probably just wanted to screw with Sherlock.
- John, a trained soldier, leaving a defenceless woman alone to run after Sherlock, while knowing that someone is out to kill her.
- Imminent Danger Clue: The open window, signalling the presence of the acrobat assassin.
- It Was Here, I Swear: In the second episode, John discovers a wall covered with vitally important graffiti; in the ten minutes it takes him to fetch Sherlock to show him the evidence, however, it's been painted over. Subverted; Good thing John took a picture with his camera phone.
- Look Behind You!: Used by Sherlock in the first five minutes of "The Blind Banker", against a sword-wielding assailant. Surprisingly, it works.
- Mistaken Identity: The crime syndicate in the second episode believes John to be Sherlock because of a series of unfortunate coincidences.
- Redemption Equals Death: Soo Lin
- The Triads and the Tongs
- Yellow Peril: Several reviewers have noted that the portrayal of the Chinese villains (and a random Arabian Nights Days assailant wielding a sword) in the second episode smacks uncomfortably of this trope.
- A particularly interesting change considering that, while Yellow Peril villains were common enough when the original "Adventure of the Dancing Men" was written, the villains in that story were actually Chicago gangsters with a secret code.
- You Have Failed Me: In this respect, Moriarty is a traditionalist.