I missed watching Elementary live this week, and I'm a bit glad I did. Watching it "on demand" gave me a little more time to savor it and appreciate a minor miracle taking place. This week's episode was actually tolerable TV. In fact, I would have to call it the best episode the series has produced to date. Why?
Well, even though a blizzard episode in April is not the most timely thing, the mass of snow gave New York a coating of clean, kept the characters close together, and brought some nice visuals to the thing all around. No silly serial killer or murder mystery nonsense. And there were continuity bits. Clyde was back.
And then there was Miss Hudson, who came to clean up. Not Mrs. Hudson, nor landlady Hudson, as that would apparently risk a Sherlock lawsuit as most classic Holmes details would. Miss Hudson was a completely charming lady, a "muse" by profession, giving her a bit of the modern Irene's cachet, and in taking up a job as housekeeper (Mr. Elementary needs a cash transaction in his relationships, it seems.), seems to have been built exactly the opposite of any Mrs. Hudson we've ever known.
Miss Hudson seems to have an organizational mind completely to Mr. Elementary's liking, and isn't nearly the lovable irritant that comes with the flat, as she usually is to the usual fellow named Sherlock Holmes. In fact, she's just adorable. Combine that with Lucy Liu's own charms getting played up in a well-directed episode where Mr. Elementary is finally letting her accompany him and behave as a proper Watson. (In the nineteenth episode. Are we trying to evolve life forms here?)
Elementary's biggest problem, however, continues to be Mr. Elementary. He might have even grown on me a little bit this episode, but is he Sherlock Holmes? No way in Hell.
In a movie version of this show, Jason Statham would play Mr. Elementary, though he might have to get prosthetic forearms to make them Wolverine-level hairy. Jonny Lee Miller's character remains a yattering, bouncy ragamuffin who seems to be consciously avoiding the quiet cool of classic Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes was many things to many people, but he was never a man-child, which seems an intrinsic part of Mr. Elementary's character. And as Mr. Elementary becomes more and more fully realized as a character on this show, such stark differences between him and the real deal become forever two different brands of detective. (Detective Bell, looking cool enough to be from the Matrix at one point this week, should give him wardrobe pointers, just the same.)
I hope the show continues upon the path begun with Miss Hudson's arrival, as I'm going to be watching it anyway -- it might as well be somewhat enjoyable. But Elementary has offered moments of hope before, only to backslide into its formula procedural silliness. Who knows, though, it might continue to improve and someday be an Emmy-level entertainment. In any case, an episode in which Mr. Elementary's past as a Baker Street Irregular to the real Holmes is revealed would still make the whole affair much more palatable, as well as keeping the marketable connection.
We shall see.
Mr. Elementary's bookshelf contains You Can Learn Telepathy by Morton Zuckerman, by the way. Make of it what you will.