Tuesday, April 14, 2015

E3:19. Just be yourself.

Back to everyday life, back to Elementary. And while I was enjoying myself in Atlanta, it seems like the normally plodding CBS procedural had a pretty decent episode.

"WHAT?" the regular reader of this blog might ask themselves. "Did the Elementary fans at 221B Con get to him? Is he still filled with Sherlockian bonhomie and spewing sunshine and rainbows at everything?"

Nope and nope. Even though I missed the one Elementary panel at 221B Con for the "Sherlock and Dinosaurs" film commentary by Ben Syder, my experience with the show's fans there emphasized why I don't really want to debate the matter with them: We seem to have different sets of eyes. If I see a fire truck and say "it's an awful shade of red," and someone else sees the same truck and honestly says, "I love the lovely blue color of that fire truck," it's a little hard to have a discussion of the truck's color.

But lasr week, the fire truck that is Elementary did what a good fire truck should. It acted like a fire truck.

Rather than work a throwaway procedural mystery this week, Elementary dove into its own mythos to investigate trouble in the hacker group "Everyone" and look at Joan Watson's social life. Clyde made an appearance. Many things from the show's continuity were referred to and used in a positive manner toward building the story. In short, this week's Elementary was written by someone who actually cares about the show's fictional universe.

Yes, it's Mr. Elementary's fictional universe, and if you don't try to tell me it's Sherlock Holmes's fictional universe, we'll get along just fine this week.

There is even a wonderful, somewhat meta, conversation this week when Mr Elementary talks about he and Joan's roles, a dialogue that gives the episode its title, "One Watson, One Holmes."

"Our relationship is predicated on one Holmes and one Watson," Mr. Elementary tells Joan. "It doesn't function properly if there are two Holmeses and no Watsons."

Mr. Elementary is actually trying to fix the show from the inside. I've never loved Jonny Lee Miller as much as I did in this episode. He's not playing "Jerk Holmes" or "Damaged Holmes." He's playing "Competent and Even Slightly Warm and Charming Holmes." Or as close as he can be in the Elementary-verse.

Last week's Elementary was a great example of the show just enjoyably being itself with a good writer/director team. I don't know why it can't do that every week, but then, I think the fire truck is red.

The last interchange between Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu from this episode ended the show on the earlier meta note, almost like Mr. E. and Joan were looking at themselves from outside.

"Enjoy yourself . . . Watson."

"I'll try . . . Holmes."

And that is all we can ask of any fictional Sherlock-verse. Enjoy yourself. And this week, it felt like that was what Elementary was doing.

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