They’re passing around popsicles in hell today because I absolutely loved last night's Elementary, no complaints. It gets my full seal of approval, full stop, and when is the last time that happened? Wait a minute—are my cloven hooves turning into hands?! Has the curse been broken? Have I learned to love again?
I don’t know about that, but I do know that the way Watson and Sherlock interact now is so cozy and adorable I just want to watch them stream into my house 24 hours a day like Big Brother. Everything from Sherlock letting Watson awkwardly take the lead in crime scenes to their night session putting together molecule dinosaurs was fantastic. I love the larger sense we get that her medical expertise compliments his big bag of esoteric knowledge.
I also loved the smaller mystery within the weekly mystery, the weird dry cleaners with the amazing thug with sunglasses and the angry woman and her crazy soap operas that were caught on-screen.
Like I’ve said in the past, there’s someone on Elementary's writing staff with an off-kilter sense of humor and when it leaks out in little scenes the rest of the show becomes so much more insouciant and daring, like a man in a flawless black suit with neon pink socks.
If you were to put a gun to my head (why, why are you doing this to me?) and demand that I nitpick something... I did sort of figure out who the killer was immediately, when Holmes pointed out the giant painting of him and called out the office as a tower of ego.
However the idea that he suffered from the same CAA he was dosing New York’s wealthiest with was a pleasing surprise. (CAA, I looked up, is an actual thing so thanks for the pathology lesson, TV! You continue to be the spackle in the yawning holes of my liberal arts education.) And, credit where credit is due, for once they really seemed to make an honest attempt to dot the landscape with possibilities. Was the murder the work of the hardened sociopath Natasha was studying, or the hardened sociopath she was engaged to?
It stretches belief that a woman who dedicated her entire life to classifying sociopaths wouldn’t recognize all the traits in the man she loved, but then maybe there’s an element of subconscious attraction there, like the way people who study sharks ultimately end up in love with a shark. It’s really sad when it happens. Ask Sea World lab techs about the number of times they’ve found a torn-off hand clutching a bunch of flowers stuck in the aquarium drain. Embarrassing.
But let me go back to stuff I loved, because there’s a lot to call out: the seven-screen Skype session that Sherlock immediately cut off when an aged chemical biology professor started talking, his meddlesome and simultaneous texts to Gregson and Belle during their interrogation of a suspect, his screamed Benjamin Franklin quote. I also loved the weird little ancillary characters this week. The billionaire with CAA was surprisingly well played for a bit player and his stolid driver in the full getup was sort of a delightful tip of the hat to Sherlock’s Victoriana heritage.
And the present of a single bee!!! Sort of hilarious. What a menacing gift to get if you don’t breed them. I might wrap up a box with a tape player going of a single “bzzzzz” for Christmas.
The one ongoing mental block I have with Elementary is... I still long to see a smaller locked-room mystery on this show presented in a way where we, as viewers, could plausibly arrive at a solution on our own. And I’ve yet to see the show really do that and I wish it would.
The thing is, such things are actually very hard to write, especially for TV versus prose, where you can embed clues in detailed description without necessarily drawing attention to them. It’s sort of like I’m going into a really excellent pizza restaurant and asking for turtle soup. But since they’ve dialed in the character dynamics so perfectly—I love Watson and Sherlock’s relationship so much—I’m dying to see them solve a closed-door mystery in a way where I could deduce in my hollering-over-a-wine-glass fashion alongside them.
1. Did you love Watson and Sherlock this episode?
2. What kind of mystery do you want to see next?
3. What gift would you ask for from a billionaire?