Saturday, April 25, 2015

E3:21. Alfredo appears.

I remember back in season one of CBS's Elementary, when Mr. Elementary's generic addiction group sponsor, Alfredo, first appeared near the end of an episode. He was my favorite character in that moment, and gave me hopes that something interesting might be going on. And then, like so many "recurring" characters on Elementary, he vanished for all intents and purposes.

Alfredo, Miss Hudson, Clyde, Everyone, Hannah Gregson . . . Elementary has a tradition of rationing out its characters who aren't one of the big four (Mr. Elementary, Joan, Gregson, and Bell) like they're the last bottle of Imperial Tokay.

But Alfredo came back this week, as the focus of the episode's non-case subplot. The main focus of his appearance in the opening scene quickly turned to a nice turn on the thing that's going to happen if you put Mr. Elementary into a twelve-step program, but that was a part of Alfredo's tale, too, it seems.

Fun side fact: On November 29th of 2012, I had this theory about Alfredo . . .

Ah, so naive I was back then! Irene Adler and Professor Moriarty have always been such important cards in the Canonical deck that doubling them up just didn't enter my consciousness. (Yet like the rationing of side characters, one can now see it as an effective cost-cutting measure. Unless you hire an actress from a wildly popular HBO series who is about to star in a wildly popular tween novel adaptation, which might make her hard to get. But again, it could just be more rationing.)

"And nah-ow, so do Oy." Excuse me, had to stop to do a Mr. Elementary impression.

HEY! It's Fisher Stevens! The bad guy is here!

One of the flaws with Elementary that even it's biggest fans can't deny, and common to many a procedural, is that when you see an actor of such stature that you recognize him or her, you know that character is the bad guy for the week. Of course, Detective Bell and Joan immediately go talk to someone nefarious looking with an accent just to distract from Fisher Stevens, but he is definitely our guy.

Being a TV viewer detective is a lot easier than being a real detective.

I've always had a soft spot for Fisher Stevens, ever since the short-lived Fox show Key West. Loved that show.

Oh, Fisher Stevens is so the bad guy. The more he appears on the episode, the more he digs his own villainous grave.

Not a lot of Joan Watson on this episode, which makes me wonder . . . oh, wait, they're bringing her into a scene in place of Mr. Elementary just to give her more screen time. Oh wait, again, just as I'm starting to question Joan's usefulness, she bring out her old surgical expertise -- an appearance as rare as those of Miss Hudson.

One of the great problem with Alfredo's character from the start was a slightly racist bent to it. He's a black guy, so of course his greatest skill is breaking into cars. (Yes, Detective Bell doesn't demonstrate that skill, but his character is so underdeveloped that he's practically decor. Which is kind of . . . well, back to Alfredo.) Now he's being harassed for stealing twelve cars in one night, which would be way cool if he was Nicholas Cage of a decade ago, but here it just feels a little like racial profiling.

And just as we're worried about Alfredo and hoping Mr. Elementary will step in to help him, we have to go back to Fisher Stevens and his inevitable capture and forced confession. Okay, show, he said "I did it," let's get back to Alfredo! I'm having a very bad feeling about this.

I hope they don't cliffhang Alfredo, send him to jail, and then suddenly start pretending Mr. E. is going to have addiction issues. Oh, no, it get's weirder still . . . Mr. Elementary has magically solved all of Alfredo's problems off camera. This whole subplot was so that Mr. Elementary can announce to Alfredo that they're now friends. Relationships work that way a lot on Elementary, with someone just telling us that the relationship exists. So there's that now.

"Now that we're friends, can I ask out Joan?" Alfredo asks Mr. Elementary at the last.

I wish you would, Alfredo. I really wish you would. But I'm afraid you're not going to be showing up enough on the show to go steady.

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