Previously: Elementary 1x02: While You Were Sleeping.
The opening scene of this episode was so dire that I was straight-up boggling at the screen. A twelve-year-old gets into a car with a strange man, who then leaves "THANK YOU" balloons behind as a taunting gift for the kid's parents? WHAT. First of all, this is cheesy as hell, but also it doesn't make sense once we know that the boy has the emotional intelligence to begin manipulating his captor almost immediately, and within two years is masterminding his own crimes. Our society is so riddled with paranoia about child abduction and paedophiles that the "get into my van" narrative is something that children are warned about from a very young age, making this episode's opening scene rather difficult to believe. I realise that putting it this way does sound somewhat like victim-blaming, like smart kids "shouldn't" get kidnapped, but considering the characters involved I feel like it's a fair point.
The crime stories in the first two episodes of Elementary were kind of so-so, but 1x03 made me think that there's a real Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde thing going on when it comes to the writing in this show. On the one hand we have the witty, thoughtful writer who deal with all the Holmes/Watson scenes and drops e e cummings references into the dialogue, and on the other we have the cliche-dependent moron who writes the crime subplots using some kind of CBS-affiliated Random Crime Generator.
There weren't enough Joan-centric scenes this week to see much of how the Holmes/Watson relationship is progressing, but I'm still absolutely loving their dynamic. I've written before about how impressed I am with this show's willingness to break away from the "asshole genius" archetype, but not only does Holmes apologise to Watson when it's warranted, he apologises well. Maybe this is a weird thing to pick up on, but well-written, heartfelt apologies aren't something you see on TV unless it's regarding something really major and emotionally frought. In a similar vein, Holmes thanks Watson for her help in a very direct and genuine way, which you don't see very often either. Apologising for minor slights doesn't usually make good television unless the show is aimed at very young children, but I think it works really well in this context because in many ways, this version of Holmes is quite childlike. The only other show I can think of where the characters regularly make sincere, specific expressions of gratitude or apology is Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is aimed at children and has significantly better writing than pretty much anything else on TV.
my theory that Holmes doesn't give two shits about what he looks like. Not only do we hear him state that showering is a low priority (a stark contrast to the BBC's eternally well-coiffed Sherlock), there's a scene where he literally did not notice whether he was wearing a shirt or not. Which was actually kind of impressive considering the fact that it seems to be autumn in New York. In the first couple of episodes it was cold enough that everyone was bundled up in sweaters and scarves, but maybe the heating in Holmes' apartment is just really good?
- Disappointed by the lack of BEES.
- Disappointed by the lack of VIOLIN.
- Angus the phrenology skull is a prop from House's office in House, MD. Head writer/producer Peter Blake (co-writer of this episode of Elementary) stole it from the set when the show was wrapping up.
- "From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other." -- I loved this ACD quote, just dropped casually into dialogue. Happily, JLM's Holmes has the correct voice and inflection for this to work as something he'd actually say.