Thursday, February 27, 2014

LESTRADE SPEAKS! And speaks, and speaks, and . . . damn!

"Do you have an aversion to cocks?" he says to Watson.

Yes, that is what Mr. Elementary's writers consider the clever conclusion of an opening scene in their "Baker Street NYC" moments for this week's Elementary. The thought of an emulator of Sherlock Holmes wasting his time breaking up a common cock fight as a use of his detective prowess was actually offending me enough that the punchline to it all was a relief. "Oh, that's what they're doing. At least it wasn't pointless."

Lestrade is back this week, and he's just talking and talking and annoying Mr. Elementary. I'm finding I kind of like the grizzled inspector, too. In a Bizarro Sherlock world, I guess that would make sense, but it also could be that all the talking Lestrade is doing might actually be quieting Mr. Elementary's amount of dialogue to that of a normal Sherlock Holmes. Go, Lestrade, go!

Gregson phones it in, and he's seeming a little sleepy next to Lestrade, who's now doing a "DOUG Talk" on Mr. Elementary's TV. (Of course, Mr. E. should be happy Lestrade is doing the off-brand and not a real TED Talk.) Of course, nothing lasts forever, and eventually Mr. Elementary has to do a long procedural discourse on his reconstruction of a bomb's blast, which is a bit dull. But just when I start to despair, here comes Lestrade once more!

Gareth, as opposed to Graham or Greg, or George, or whatever those other Lestrades' names are, is just ruling this episode. He even offers Joan Watson a job as his partner . . . which actually wouldn't make a bad show if Jonny Lee Miller ever gets tired of the CBS payroll. Joan could solve the cases while Gareth puffs up and claims credit.

Mr. Elementary apparently bakes some sort of puff pastry when he's feeling stressed. And of course this would be the ONE time he doesn't explain every detail of what he's doing, because they actually look tasty. Given that his older brother is a restauranteur, cooking in the blood must take the strangest forms in this odd exploration of how far the outer reaches of calling someone "Sherlock Holmes" will reach.

Wow, when Jonny Lee Miller and Sean Pertwee are doing a key scene together with just them, you can almost imagine this is some cool Brit crime movie and not just another CBS procedural with aspirations of Sherlock-ness. There's actually a relationship moment there, which is something I usually find missing in Elementary, despite its fans' claims otherwise.

But, alas, it's just one scene, and then we're back to business as usual. And as usual, one of the most appealing regular features of Elementary are the scenes of Joan being woken up in the morning, just to see what she's wearing to bed -- this time a cool tie-died rib cage tank top. (And she's at first wrapped in a white puffball sort of bedspread like my grandmother used to have.)

The mysteries of these little procedurals are usually pretty ignorable, and mostly this one is, too, but Sean Pertwee is actually making this one compelling when he talks about it. The thought that he's going to be playing Alfred Pennyworth (yes, Bruce Wayne's butler) in the WB Batman prequel series Gotham is kind of intriguing, even though he doesn't seem the traditional Alfred.

"The One Percent Solution," as this week's episode is titled, ranks as one of my two favorite episodes of Elementary, next to last season's "Snow Angels." Well, except for those damn cocks. They have to return at the end of the show, but like Lestrade (who is seen coming to stay with Mr. Elementary and Joan), I'm sure they'll be gone next week. Which is too, too bad . . . in Lestrade's case. Not the roosters.


  1. Brad thought you might enjoy this WelcomeHolmes comment - posted after I posted link to your blog on it:
    "Straker, thanks for the Peoria blogs. I just spent 30 minutes catching up and they'll be the best 30 minutes of my day. I so agree with Brad that yesterday's Elementary was different and Lestrade so aggravatingly enticing that I want more of him. Brad Keefauver has become my favorite essayist in the Sherlockian world, the best since the days when Chris Morley and Edgar W Smith wrote each other every day. He makes me enjoy myself even when he's purposely trying to upset me and folks like me who enjoy Elementary. He's a window to fresh air in a world that sometimes seems too entombed. Gulp. Gulp. Aaaah! ~Gael"

    1. Thanks, Howard. Gael may be exaggerating just a WEE bit, but I appreciate it!

  2. you said,. 'Mr. Elementary apparently bakes some sort of puff pastry when he's feeling stressed.'

    Yorkshire pudding.