Because I saw frozen_delight
do it, because I live in a five year old land where everything I love MUST be ranked, and because I'm procrastinating going to bed. Of course, since I should really be sleepy, this is mostly incoherent blather. Certainly not an argument against anyone else's ranking. :)
Note that except for 9 and 8, this list was nearly impossible for me. Well, 1-3 are definitely my top three, but ordering them was nearly impossible, too:
9. The Blind Banker: Every episode of Sherlock is good, but this is just the most boring to me. It's a middle episode, so it's not going to have an epic opening or epic conclusion. I think that is part of the reason I don't love it. But I have no other serious criticism. I just don't love it.
8. The Hounds of Baskerville: Mark Gatiss is the best one-liner writer of the three. But he isn't as excellent a story-crafter as Moffat, or maybe even Thompson (this based on DW as well). Hounds rambles about a bit too much for me.
7. The Empty Hearse: There is so much awesomeness in this. SO MUCH. The reunion scene(s), the fangirl-baiting, MARY, Sherlock's parents, the oh-so-Sherlock-y fakeout in the subway . . . I love every moment individually, but like Hounds, it's not tight.
6. The Great Game: See 7 and 8. First scene is amazing and hilarious. The pool scene still gives me the chills for so many reasons (though I always assumed Moffat was responsible for that scene.) But the story itself is a bit incoherent. I'd almost be willing to skip the middle 45 minutes and get to the good stuff, something I'd never even consider for any other episode except for my 9.
5. The Sign of Three: This episode is adorable and hilarious. It's basically the fanfiction we all wish we could write. And yet, it manages to be so much more than that. His Last Vow cements it, but to me this is the episode in which Sherlock proves that he IS a good man. If it weren't for this episode, the conclusion of His Last Vow might have been a moment of adrenaline-fuled heroism. This episode proves that Sherlock can sustain selflessness. And that he really understands what his friendship with John means. I could go on forever, so I will stop here.
4. The Reichenbach Fall. Well done, Steven Thompson! This is a beautiful episode. A lot of great character moments, a lot of great drama. I'm a fan of the fairy-tale stuff and the Paradise-lost-esque fall themes. Constant allusions to those two things made this the one episode that I reallly think of in the context of Western literature . . . if that makes any sense? Very literary, but not in a "LOOKIE AT ALL THE ALLUSIONS I CAN MAKE" way. Rather in a "I know literature, and I'm writing it right now" way.
3. A Study in Pink. This is the best introduction of Holmes and Watson in anything anywhere. Bar none. Better than the source material itself. The great question of this brilliant TV series: Sherlock Holmes is a great man -- can he be a good one? is introduced. I have really nothing bad to say except that the middle drags a bit. Maybe because it was stretched out to fit an extra half hour? But I'm not sure. I couldn't imagine skipping any of it to get to the good bits, but it still does drag a bit in the middle. Just a teeny weeny bit. I mean, if it weren't for my 1 and 2, I'm not sure I would even realize that it dragged a bit.
2. His Last Vow. This was a brilliantly written mystery. It showed some of the darker side of Sherlock along with some of the childishness of Sherlock so that it wasn't too dark or too childish. John and Mary's relationship was great. The way John and Mary's story is told -- the flashbacks -- works really well for me. Sherlock's mind palace was awesome. This was perhaps the most overtly dramatic episode throughout, so it could have gotten corny, but its intensely dramatic, yet not in the lest melodramatic climax justifies the rest of the drama. The final scene managed to redeem the moronic east wind thing Conan Doyle wrote (I get heated about that, so I'll just shut up now). Janine's revenge managed to redeem the horrible treatment of poor Agnes. I could watch it over and over again!
1. A Scandal in Belgravia. This is the most perfect 1.5 hours of anything I have seen on my screen. I've written about it over and over and over on LJ and elsewhere, so I'll just leave it at that. :D