Elementary S01E19: "Snow Angels"
Elementary is back, my dears! Did they realize how long the hiatus would be when they sketched out a blizzard-based episode? Maybe it's the privilege of living in sunny California, but the ethereal city snowscape last night felt vaguely off-topic. Still, the storm seemed more a device to cater to critics who might complain that a Sherlock with access to Google is much less deductive than a Sherlock with Victorian levels of electricity. And in "Snow Angels," Sherlock had to solve the crime in the old-fashioned way: using only cool hard reason and social media.
Last night Sherlock got down and dirty with his inner child, making a road map of locks for his pet turtle Clyde to navigate and stewing over blueprints in child’s tent/fort/sheet teepee.
Watson remarked on the use of locks to represent locked-down checkpoints and JLM snapped, "I’m not interested in making a visual pun!" But let me take a minute or two and give much respect to the writers and art department who go out of their way to find visually interesting devices to explain the crimes in every single episode. Its not all blue-tinted flashbacks on Elementary, and for that I’m greatful. However, sometimes (as in the ending of this episode, where he was splattering fake blood all over a freshly cleaned floor and then told her to go put on a blindfold), it seems like these sorts of set pieces are less to illustrate a point to the audience and more to hammer in Sherlock’s eccentricity.
The emotional B-story this week centered around a stunningly lovely transgender woman who cleaned the house, settling once and for all my issue of, is it sexist that Sherlock makes Watson do all the chores, or merely part of her apprenticeship? Well now both of them can focus on the serious business of case work (i.e. hitting cupcakes with a tennis racket into a bouncy castle) instead of pretending the beautifully lit brownstone is dirty.
I really don’t like to, or see the point in, dissecting the weekly "throwaway" story in a procedural; I prefer to focus on where Watson and Sherlock are in their relationship. But since they had few conflicts this episode and were going along as swimmingly as peanut butter and jelly in my mouth, I’d like to unpack a few moments of this week’s caper:
1. Never help a damsel in distress with a wig on. She’s up to no good. But seriously, is it a bad thing to show some good samaritan getting butchered because he put aside his duty of keeping a door closed in order to help a woman in great distress?
There’ve been incidents of women screaming for help in NYC who were left to be killed or raped because no one wanted to get involved, and it always makes me wince when I see people who actually try to be decent human beings punished for it on television. Should TV make a point of rewarding socially responsible behavior/doing the right thing? Or would that destroy countless thousands of perfectly delightful CSI episodes?
2. The theft of blueprints to ERoC (more pertinent information on ERoC here) was masked by the theft of 200 fictional cellphones. With Microsoft pushing its windows phone on every major network and previously featuring its click-clack-flap tablet on Elementary, it seems crazy they’d sidestep such a custom-made opportunity to showcase a gadget. I’m assuming associating the phone with theft and the brutal slaying of a security guard made them wary of product placement, and for that I am begrudgingly admiring.
3. Lena Dunham’s onscreen mother (Becky Ann Baker) from Girls made an appearance!
She’s brilliant, and may I say incredibly busty and sexy on Girls. I wonder if they be any sort n as some sort of regular as well in Elementary while she’s on her HBO off season, although I would especially love to think its the same character she plays in GIRLS. That would explain why she cut off funding her daughter’s writing career, she’s enjoying her own NY adventure of driving extremely large vehicles.
4. Someone on Elementary’s writing staff still hasn’t forgiven FEMA. Hey, do you think getting to the head of a major organization after presumably rising through the ranks over decades of dedicated service and then realizing the salary was only the thirteenth-highest would turn YOU to a life of crime? Yeah? Well.
5. I’m still confused if those bundles of shredded, old currency were just bales like hay bales or if they’d already been reconstituted into snuggly warm throw blankets to be sold online and in ERoC’s gift shop. Wouldn’t that be cool, to have a snug little blanket made up of chewed up dirty currency?
Despite the fact Sherlock and Watson are working hand-in-glove, have resolved the roommate-relationship crisis that is chores (I used to live in a crumbling art commune over a gallery space made up of custom-picked, peace-loving, vegan artist types, but the issue of who was and was not sweeping the stairs almost brought us to each other’s throats. Seriously our house leader called an emergency meeting over "broken fuju.") There was a lovely moment where Sherlock pointed out that his sober companion was lost before he found her and gave her a purpose as his apprentice. She disagreed but the lingering note of the episode was that he’d indeed sort of saved her from an ordinary life. So, a nice subtle moment in an otherwise enjoyable (if chilly) return to form.
... Did this episode feel seasonally off to you, or is there still snow on the ground where you live?
... Was Watson lost when she met Holmes, or is that a case of heroin addicts throwing stones from glass houses?
... Had it occurred to you that dollars eventually get thrown into landfills, and does that knowledge make you want to leap into the nearest landfill like Scrooge McDuck into a vault of coins?
... Does TV have a responsibility to not punish characters for doing the right thing, or is seeing good samaritans repeatedly killed for stopping and helping bystanders actually an important cautionary message? How much influence does either message really have?
... Currency blankets: Would you buy one? (Assuming the mulched dollars woven in had been thoroughly disinfected?)