An Elementary Community
CBS (ended 2019)
This is it.
It is difficult for me to find the right words for this last review.
There are so many thoughts in my head that it is impossible to express them all.
I don’t want to say much about the episode but rather write down my thoughts on the show in general.

But of course there are some things that have to be said.
I am sad that the Series is gone now but I am quite happy about how it ended.
It was touching how Sherlock pretended to be happy, hiding his real feelings like he had done in the very beginning of their acquaintance and Joan being so busy with keeping her illness and her worries from him that she wasn’t able to read between the lines.
It took the life experience of the retired Captain to deduce why Sherlock didn’t want to stay and his ability to find the right words to get through to him:
„I want you to understand that when you love someone big enough, you can let them choose to be with you.“
What follows is one of the most memorable scenes of the series.
For the first time Sherlock is not ashamed of his tears.
Until this moment he had never allowed anyone to see them, not his brother, not Kitty and not even Joan.

At first Joan tries to keep strong for him but her breaking voice is the first sign that the facade is crumbling.
And then something amazing happens.
Sherlock hugs Joan.
He is following his instincts what is a milestone for him. This enables Joan to let go and finally break down.
Jane Austen once said:
„There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.“

Elementary let us witness the evolvement of a very special one, showing that you can deeply love another person without being romantically involved with them.

I think it is the first time in my life, and I am already 44, that I followed a series from beginning to end without missing a single episode.
For nearly seven years Elementary has been a weekly appointment for me.

I have also never learned that much by watching a TV show before.
Often, when an episode was finished, I ended up doing research on the topics dealt with in the story.
This shows how much effort the writers have put into inventing the story lines.

A few years ago I was watching several shows on TV. Now there is none left although I tried various on different channels and streaming services. I am not sure if this is because the quality of TV series has declined or because I am so spoiled by the excellence of Elementary that all other shows pale beside it.
I am not giving up hope though that in the future there will be a show runner and group of writers that are able to create something at least nearly as good as Elementary.
This leads us to the question what made this show special.

  • The Writing
  • Every episode was thoroughly researched and put together. There have always been enough twists and turns to keep you interested and you can still discover new things on watching an episode for a second or even a third time.
  • A lot of series rely on action and effects. Elementary never needed that. The strength of the show were the brilliantly drafted monologues and dialogues. My favourite is Sherlock’s letter to Moriarty in Episode 12 of Season 2. I know it’s long but it is so beautiful that I just have to quote it here:
  • „We have spilled much ink, you and I, in our discussion of human connexion.And we are no closer to understanding than we were when the correspondence began.I often feel as if I’m standing on one side of a wide chasm, shouting across and wondering if the response I hear comes from you, or if it is my own voice echoing back to me.It seems to me, on my side of the canyon, that the search for unity with another is the font of mich of the world’s unhappiness.I watch as Watson, eager as ever to extract some meaning from the prevailing social conventions, endures a series of curated mating rituals. It seems to me, that she is incrementally less content each time she returns from one.I conduct myself as though I’m above matters of the heart. Chiefly because I have seen them corrode people I respect.But in my candid moments I sometimes wonder if I take the stance I do, because love, for lack of a better word, is a game I fail to understand, and so I opt not to play.After all, if I truly had the purity of all my convictions, I wouldn’t regret so many of the things I’ve done, nor would I persist against so many of my better instincts, in this correspondence. I find you a challenge. One that, inspire of all that you’ve done, continues to stimulate. And so the conversation, futile though it may finally be, continues. And we are left to wonder: have we simply failed to find the answers to the questions that preoccupy us or can they not be answered at all.Fortunately, for both of us, the world always presents the next diversion, the next elaborate distraction from the problems that vex.“

  1. Besides being pure poetry, the quote is also proof of the amazing character development of Sherlock over the years. With the help of Joan and his other friends he was finally able to find out that he understood perfectly well what love meant. It had just been buried under an immense heap of rubble compiled from bad experience.

  2. The Authenticity
    I have read several statements of recovering drug addicts and relatives who thanked the staff of Elementary for presenting the topic of addiction in such a realistic way. They showed that addiction is a chronic condition, that even if you get sober you will always remain an addict. This is very rare in entertainment TV, where unpleasant truths are often eclipsed.
    The other thing that Elementary got right and that I am very grateful for is the portrayal of giftedness.
    It is a common belief that gifted people are very lucky because they are so smart but while there are a lot of pros, giftedness also comes with a lot of cons and it doesn’t help that gifted people in TV or film are often laughing stock. They are portrayed as nerdy geniuses or as autistic individuals.
    Just take the BBC Sherlock. While I loved the stories, I didn’t like the way the character of Sherlock was presented. There was nothing realistically gifted about him, it was more a picture of what people believe giftedness means.
    Elementary was different and it made a difference.

  3. The Cast

    I don’t think that I have to say a lot about that.
    Jonny Lee Miller’s performance was second to none. The intensity and commitment with which he played the role was extraordinary. It is a shame that his efforts didn’t get recognised with an Emmy or at least a nomination, but ironically he may be the living proof for some of Sherlock’s statements.
    Lucy Liu gave the character of Watson depth. As a woman Joan Watson is a role model. She is tough and confident and doesn’t take bullshit from anyone but she is still feminin.
    The rest of the cast, Jon Michael Hill, Aidan Quinn and all the actors that joined Elementary for a Season arc were equally good, it would just take too long to discuss it in length.
  4. The Crew
    Last but not least, a film or a TV show is only as good as the entire team.
    Judging from the statements of cast and crew members the Elementary team has been something special and I think this somehow transferred to the screen.
    It will be very difficult to beat that.

All that I have left now is to thank everybody involved in the making of Elementary for seven years of intelligent, thought provoking and touching TV.
It was a great experience and a pleasure. Thank you for taking us on that ride.

1 Comment
Comments (1)
Aug 26, 2019
So much to think about not that I have watched the end. In the last review you commented that it was 3 years that Sherlock was gone in the book series and they did the same here, I also like that Odin was convicted but not for Sherlock's murder, so if he did resurface, it would not really put the whole trial and crimes in doubt. Though I am sure some lawyer may try anyways but that is not a story that needed to be told. The only thing that disappointed me is that we did not get to see Moriarty once more. But while season 6 ended on a mostly, okay this is where we can leave it, season 7 brought it back in such a good way and also brought about a better conclusion for Gregson and Bell in the process.

You commented above about how hard it is to find shows that really draw your interest and this show was one that is above and beyond. and while another show I like has many more flaws, it is ending this year as well, Criminal Minds, which was something I always liked for the characters more than the stories and when that ends, I will no longer have any tv shows on broadcast tv to watch that I have even a passing interest in. While I do find something on cable, or subscription services, that I enjoy, with maybe the exception of Bosch, which I have and continue to read the novels that connect to that universe, most of the shows if they ended or I just don't get to them does not feel like a serious loss to me. And as for good writing and I am no critic, but only other shows I thought was greatly written, was Hannibal, but again I did not analyze too thoroughly.

I enjoy BBC Sherlock too, but I get your meaning and this show definitely addressed the issue in a very well written and respectful manner. It was a good ending that leads you to imagine they keep up the great work and their lives together continue to grow in friendship and love. It will be missed.

It has been great reading your reviews, insight and comments over the past few years on the show. If you find something else you do enjoy this much,I would greatly suggest you keep on writing about it. It has been a pleasure reading these and hope for the best for the future for you.
Follow this Show