Thursday, November 14, 2013

Positively Elementary S2E8: Spoileder alerts!

Elementary is just getting weird.

First we learn that the goal of Elementary's version of singlestick is actually thwacking your opponent atop the head, which the Holmes brothers practice using eggs as the target. The impracticality of this singlestick head-thwacking as a martial art in the era of mixed martial arts is just plain silly -- having much the same effect as if a modern Seal Team Six marched into Pakistan in formation, along a popular highway, wearing red coats to look for Bin Laden.

And then the word "borborygmus" comes up pre-credits, which was my neighbor and Sherlockian friend Bob Burr's absolute favorite word. That made that moment more Sherlockian for myself and the good Carter than the body falling on a truck immediately after, vaguely echoing "Bruce-Partington Plans." Of course, Bob would never have heard his favorite word on Elementary, not being a fan of any of the modern claimants to throne Holmes.

Elementary still likes its random odd details, so when milking mooses comes up in conversation during the investigation (and having nothing to do with said investigation), it's not really a surprise these days. Like I said: weird.

Less weird are the guest stars: Margaret Colin a favorite since the TV series Now and Again is a welcome sight (and a tribute to her role as Jane Watson in that earlier TV modern day Holmes movie The Return of Sherlock Holmes). Had her husband been played by Michael Pennington, instead of William Sadler, who has been a familiar face since Die Hard 2, it would have been a complete coup.

And then we get to our character development for the episode. Mycroft tells Sean "Sherlock" Holmes that their father wants him to come back to England, and that their father's displeasure risks Sean's trust fund, which is apparently responsible for all of Joan Watson's income at present, if nothing else. Sean and Joan must weigh the option of returning to London to please the father and keep the money rolling in, or stay in New York and try to scrape by. We also learn that consulting for NYPD is not paying them as much as private clients, and Sean prefers NYPD cases for some unexplained reason.

It's interesting to note that limited incomes were what pulled London's Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson together to share lodgings, if not necessarily careers, while New York's Sean Holmes and Joan Watson could be split up by suddenly losing their full incomes. I never was fond of the fact that Joan was paid to be Sean's companion in this show, and it's even more uncomfortable now that Joan has slept with his brother, who is the one voicing the threats to her income.

And Mycroft isn't just threatening as a voicebox for their father . . . an end-of-show phone call from his restaurant (named Diogenes, of course) to someone who is plainly not their father shows that Mycroft is conspiring against his brother somehow. (One almost hoped his only evil plot was to sleep with Margaret Colin's character, so he could have added one more Watson to his harem with Joan and Nigella Mason.)


But the longer Elementary goes on, the weirder it's going to get. Each new season is going to mean more plot space to fill, and as far off the Canonical rails as the show is already, the demands of offering its audiences more shiney things to look at is going to take it to some very strange places . . . on that you can depend.


  1. Elementary makes me think of a bad jester's act, using deception and misdirection to make you think you're not seeing what you know you are actually seeing. "Oh, look, shiny object!," as he fumbles the ball for the cups and ball trick. If they throw out a few Canonical references each episode maybe we won't notice " is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

  2. Watson finds clues that Holmes overlooks, more than once! And figures out who was really being murdered first! - when even I figured it out early in the show! I think Sean needs to go back to detective school 101.