Thursday, March 12, 2015

E3: 17. "Not the Sherlock! Not the Sherlock!"

"What makes Joan special is that she's not Sherlock."

But that's what makes all of Elementary special, isn't it? The "not Sherlock" quality of it all. And I don't just mean "not Sherlock," but you know that by now.

The electricity is off at the Elementary brownstone. There's trouble in the refrigeration industry. Joan Watson's brother might be having an affair. And Mr. Elementary is droning on pseudo-intellectually about family ties.

There is no "happy" here, on either side of the screen.

Ah, CRYO NYC, the shoddy cryogenics firm enters the picture, in an attempt to make things more interesting with a lot of frozen corpses whose demises aren't a mystery. But it leads to another murder mystery with one of the cryogenics customers, so basically, we just wasted a half hour to get to the murder mystery whose solution will solve in initial murder mystery. Unless, of course, one enjoys listening to the voices of Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller rambling on and on with no real excitement.

Oren Watson, Joan's brother, displays the most passion on the show this week, and he's literally phoning his performance in. On a phone, so it's just voice. But then, Warren is having an affair, so he actually has real relationships with people who are just letting him hang around with their pretend career. At least Oren got to call Watson on the phone, and not just be a voice in her head while she read a letter from him, like Jamie Moriarty a few episodes ago.

Having looked up the spelling of "Oren Watson," it finally, three seasons in, occurs to me that he's a tribute to O-Ren Ishii, the Lucy Liu character from the Kill Bill movies. I think I thought his name was Warren Watson. He probably could have been called John Watson, since Joan's mother is Mary Watson.

And Mary Watson is apparently in denial about her failing mental faculties, but then, that's pretty much going on with every character on this show. And the creators. And the . . . oh. Sorry. Boredom can make one a bit mean. But this subplot about Joan and her mother just seems like the random flailing of a show that doesn't really know what its point is.

And what is the point of Elementary, really? To be a show about Sherlock Holmes? Well, since they aren't actually using much of anything from any past Sherlock Holmes creation, and there aren't many solid touchstones other than the occasional name, it isn't really about Holmes. To be another bland CBS police procedural? Well, since Mr. Elementary and Joan seem to work as if they're a part of NYPD, using their offices and interrogation rooms freely. That's definitely their minimum requirement to stay on the air.

In the end, Mary Watson's illness is a way for Mr. Elementary and Joan Watson to have a little bonding moment as he helps Joan deal with the issue. Because they have to do bonding moments, just to show they have a relationship, since nothing else about their weird psychic Siamese twin pairing makes any sense on a human gut level.

I miss Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on these Thursday nights.


  1. Did I hear Joan Watson ask the skating rink manager if he deposited $4,000 recently for 25 tanks of r22 Freon refrigerant with a black market value of $200 per tank? (Hum elementary school math 25 x 200 = 5,000) If that's the case Joan's knowledge of math is NIL. Just like I wish my knowledge of this show was.

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  3. i'm relatively new to elementary and googled "oren watson" out of curiosity to see if he had been previously mentioned in the show, and came across your blog post. i did catch a previous episode from an earlier season, where natalie dormer is featured as moriarty, and have a suspicion that she could be the "blonde woman" that joan's mother witnessed being with her brother. so i think the whole tie in with that is to build anticipation for the return of moriarty into the script, showing how close she's infiltrated with joan's family, who is essentially an extension of sherlock.