In The Reichenbach Fall it's Moriarty's turn to show off, Watson's turn to show up Mycroft, Molly Hooper's turn to matter most, and Sherlock's time to see he does have more than one friend in the world—so of course it's a showstopper from beginning to end.
Congratulations Steven Moffat! You took a paragon of 18th century feminine prowess and turned her into a prostitute, a blackmailer, and, perhaps worst of all, just another stupid girl waiting by the phone. You ruined Irene Adler for everyone.
The Great Game is action packed from beginning to end with Sherlock and Watson solving five crimes in under 90 minutes and while these feats make me love watching it, I also feel the writer cheated a bit by taking bits from as many as ten different stories and weaving them together to serve his plot. But this is nitpicking and really just a preamble to my admission that I adore this episode.
Aside from the story of the crime what we have here is the evolution of the Sherlock/Watson relationship. And hey, that’s swell. It’s even quite funny in its moments, but as a whole the episode doesn’t hold a candle to anything else in the series.