Tonight* will mark the final episode of CBS's Elementary, after a tumultuous seven season run.
Is "tumultuous" the proper word to define these last seven years? Perhaps not for the average Elementary viewer or consumer of CBS procedurals. And maybe not for those Sherlockians who have remained faithful to the show since day one. To me, however, it was the first word to come to mind.
Elementary has always been one of those things I only consumed because of the name "Sherlock Holmes." That name, always a lure, can dependably make a curious Sherlockian come out to see what might be going on with it this time. But with Elementary running a full seven years, at some point we were all forced to choose: Worth the time investment? Pushing those "Sherlock Holmes" buttons like we want it to? Just going to finish it out of compulsive completism? Or letting it go?
Many a Sherlockian took a taste and went back to their favorite Sherlock. But you know . . . you know! . . .that this very night, this very week, some Sherlockian somewhere is going to proudly state: "I am proud to say I never watched a single episode of that show!"
Never even gave it a look. Some people are weird that way.
But here's the thing: In spite of observing what I saw as flaw after flaw after flaw in Elementary (and perhaps pointing that out a little too often for a time), I am glad the show made its way through the tangled web of American network TV. For a show that wasn't pushing the limits of the weekly procedural all that hard, it certainly had no qualms about blowing through Canonical traditions like they weren't even there. The stupid Mycroft. The two-faced Moriarty who actually went to prison . . . and stayed there. A Watson who wasn't a soldier, wasn't wounded, didn't get married, and actually left Holmes for a career in consulting detection of her own. And after the faithful adaptations that Granada's run of Sherlock Holmes was famous for, we need our boundaries pushed now and then.
While its British predecessor went out of its way to surprise and delight its viewers, only to maybe try a bit too hard and alienate some fans, Elementary remained on a steady course, getting better at doing what it did along the way. Those who liked what it did had no complaints. In a way it was the TV series Watson to BBC's Sherlock, if one was to compare the overall personalities of the show.
So tonight, this seven year run of broadcast network American Sherlock Holmes comes to a close. He's lived past his Reichenbach, gone on his great hiatus, and somehow combing "His Last Bow" with his "Empty House." It's going to be interesting to see how that works, just as it's been interesting to see where this show was going from day one.
It seems like the end of the Downey/Cumberbatch/Miller era in a way, even though Downey will be back in a couple years, and I'll wager Cumberbatch cannot go the rest of his life without one more shot at it. I can't even help but think Jonny Lee Miller might be back in the role again one day. It's the benefit of such young Sherlocks -- plenty of time for an encore.
But tonight we enjoy one last bow, Elementary's second final episode, actually, which is a Canonical point in its favor. Conan Doyle ended his series a couple of times as well.
On to the party.
* Okay, here's where it gets weird. Maybe once a year, I have to work on Sunday. That was this week. So I wind up being a day off kilter. So tonight, I actually sit down to watch the last episode of Elementary and Seal Team Six comes on. And I'm suddenly going, "HOLY CRAP!! CBS WAS SO DISAPPOINTED IN THE RATINGS THAT THEY PULLED THE SERIES FINALE?!?!?" And for about three whole minutes, I'm debating on whether to be outraged, or just going to check the CBS paid streaming service to see if they just decided to charge or it like they do Star Trek, knowing fans will pay, or what? But eventually I remember, "Oh, yeah. It's still Wednesday!" So, back to this, tomorrow night.