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.
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.
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.