Saturday, March 18, 2017

Kitty and Porky together again?

"Hell, London, gets me every time. Same address for Porky Shinwell. We're old mates, Porky, you and I."
-- Kitty Winter, "The Illustrious Client"

It's been a while since CBS's Elementary crossed my television threshold, but this March, with word on the streets that Kitty Winter was returning, it seemed a good time to catch up with that old debatable. It had plainly been a while, as Mr. Elementary himself had taken on a new look, with a suit and his hair clippered down to the stubble, making him look more like a Jason Statham character than his typical . . . well, his typical Mr. Elementary look.

"She's a detective now, Watson, so she's one of us," Mr. Elementary tells Joan Watson, regarding Kitty, and Kitty Winter is detecting all over the place as she joins her old crew from a couple seasons ago to solve a string of murders that may place herself and Mr. E. as upcoming victims.

Joan and Mr. Elementary's new friend, Shinwell Johnson, whose name comes from the same original Sherlock Holmes story as Kitty Winter, didn't seem to be in the first part of this story, March 5's "Wrong Side of the Road," even though he was very much present in the previous episode. Kitty's the one bringing a baby to Elementary, rather than John and Mary. Little Archie has a good Canonical name just like his mother, though unless his father is Watson's old pal Stamford, it's probably in first name alone.

The episode ends with that old cliche, the guy who can't tell you all the answers over the phone only to meet his end before the appointed rendezvous for revelations. But this is just part one of Kitty's return, so there's still one more chance to see Kitty Winter and Shinwell Johnson on screen together, just for some small tribute to the story that birthed them both.

The final moments of the show is shot in front of the awning of an Owens Funeral Home, so a little Google Earth detective work can show you the neighborhood where the "221B" of Elementary is located.

The March 12th Elementary episode, "Fidelity," starts with Mr. Elementary under arrest by some clandestine U.S. Defense intelligence agency, looking a bit old, tired, and haggard. Morland Holmes gets a mention, but as the show's budget seems to only afford one guest star at a time, Morland will have to continue to hang out off-stage like Shinwell Johnson seems to be. But Mt. Elementary is quickly freed and running to pee (Really.) so there's no time to dwell on that. Well, sort of . . .

Kitty Winter's return with baby Archie seems a lot like one episode's usual plot has been stretched to fill two weeks' episodes, and Kitty's presence seems to be just spending two hours getting around to telling Mr. Elementary about her baby and that Archie will be the cause of her retiring from detective work. That subplot even climaxes with a scene between Mr. Elementary and Kitty that is pure cheese, complete with the sort of soppy piano soundtrack that usually denotes cancer or another terminal diagnosis. The fact that Mr E. is giving Kitty grief for being another guest star who doesn't stay in touch is rather ironic, given the show's treatment of cast outside of the main four.

But, all in all, the show's very relaxing, and probably makes an effective sedative if one is having a stressful life. But for a Sherlockian hoping for something other than in-name-only references, Elementary continues to be an arid desert of New York scenery and chatting. (Yes, I know, Kitty Winter kicks a guy in the nuts to make him double over and not get shot by a machine gun, yet somehow Elementary even takes that in its sleepy stride.) Hopes of seeing Kitty Winter and Shinwell Johnson on screen together, even passing in a doorway, as a nod to the stories CBS supposedly based this series on fade quickly.

One does have to give the show credit for one thing, as the ratings dwindle in the latter half of its fifth season: Consistency.

Consistency, if not as the episode title says, "Fidelity."

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