Friday, September 27, 2013

Elementary Points and Counterpoints, Part One.

Bill Mason's Point:

After a year of establishing the reborn characters of Holmes and Watson, Elementary got off to a rousing start in its second season. The action moves from New York to London to search for Lestrade, who has gone postal after being persecuted by a ruthless publisher.  Finding Lestrade is no problem; rehabilitating him is more difficult, requiring solving a murder committed by the publisher’s arrogant son.

Any devotee of the Canon should revel in the plethora of references  to the original stories: proof positive that the writers not only have read them, but are determined to repurpose them.  Lestrade (Sean Pertwee), whom Holmes describes as “the best of a bad bunch” despite his “limitations” certainly has “bulldog tenacity.” 221B Baker Street is Holmes’ “womb of creativity.” The Norwood Builder, the secret London hideaways, brother Mycroft heretofore hidden from Watson, Holmes on all fours at a crime scene, his use of burglary tools, Inspector Hopkins, Lestrade’s credit hogging—all make their appearance.  And Holmes solves the case as he should, by observing what others do not: a mask out of place, a bottle of milk in a lactose intolerant household.

Watson (Lucy Liu) continues to be a delight and the strongest character, among the best of Watsons on the screen.  No bumbling, confused simpleton is she; nor is she suffering from a seemingly chronic case of irritable bowel syndrome.  She is a worthy companion, a woman of action and perception, a loyal friend.  Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is true to the Sherlockian essence, brilliant while vain. The addiction references remain, but are muted. Yet Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) and his adversarial relationship to his brother are weak spots.  He is supposedly a restaurateur (who can build a bomb), and we wish for a major role in government or at least business for him. 

The best episode yet; Holmes and Watson have hit their stride.

Brad Keefauver's Point:

With its second season premiere, CBS’s Elementary has proven what I suspected last year: this show hates Sherlock Holmes and everything about him. I used to think they were just trying too hard not to be BBC Sherlock, but in one episode, they turned Holmes’s best friend at Scotland Yard into a broken man, lowered Mycroft to a skirt-chasing, trust-fund foodie, and not only turned our beloved 221B into a sanitized yuppie condo, they blew up all of its contents so it could never exist again . . . for the sake of a cheap, one-time joke.

This is not a show about anyone close to the man I know as Sherlock Holmes. “Mr. Elementary,” as I can only call him, still makes an extra effort to be rude to people for no reason. Not because he's got some bogus version of Asperger's. Not because he's just not empathizing while intent on investigating. Just because he's an ass. Sherlock Holmes was not an ass.

And, typically, it seems that Mr. Elementary was once caught having oral sex with his brother’s love. Is there no depth to which this show will stoop to titillate its audience? The mystery itself seemed to be written by someone who thinks reality and mystery don’t mix. It was about as grounded as believing Mr. Elementary can magically follow a pigeon across New York City.

Yes, they use random lines from the Sherlockian Canon. And since they can’t have their Mycroft be like Sherlock’s Mycroft, they haul in Langdale Pike to man the CCTV cameras. But this is not the creation of anyone who loves the character of Sherlock Holmes, or even respects him and the world Conan Doyle created. It’s more like a kid tormenting a bug he found.

And about as fun to watch.

Coming soon . . . Bill and Brad's counterpoints. (You might want to save your comments until after that one.)


  1. Can't wait for the next instalment of points/counterpoints. Just have to say, I'm really too scared to watch the episode.... *shudders*

  2. *rubbing hands together* Oh, this is going to be fun. Two brilliant and gracious gentleman, both of whom I hold in high regard, having a little joust of words. Let the games begin!