What I understand now about my extreme satisfaction with this episode is that while everyone else crows over Benedict Cumberbatch (and his cheekbones) Martin Freeman is my preferred Watson. No qualifier. He's the best there ever was.
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.