Saturday, November 10, 2012

In-Class Movie: "Flight Risk" (S01E06)

"There is, however, one of [the cases] which was so remarkable in its details and so startling in its results that I am tempted to give some account of it in spite of the fact that there are points in connection with it which never have been, and probably never will be, entirely cleared up."
 -- John Watson, The Five Orange Pips

Austin: This episode was fascinating for a variety of reasons but only a few of them were the mystery. This week we had a plane crash but the victim in question wasn't killed in the crash. From this premise I was intrigued because I was trying to get the puzzle to fit. Was he murdered separately and was quickly stashed in the debree? How was he murdered on the plane? Is this the first time a wrench was used in a non-Clue related murder?

But the episode only wanted to focus on that part for a little bit. Whenever Sherlock rambled it was like he started a new mystery. It's all about lawyers! It's all about who was in the hangar! It's now about drug smuggling! I didn't care about any of this because once again Elementary didn't set up any groundwork for this to be solved. Yet I still kinda liked this episode. Most of it was because of Sherlock's past which we'll get to in a bit, but I liked the initial premise of this mystery.

It tied in well to Sherlock's past due to his fear of flying which is what every weekly mystery should do. Not as bluntly like this every week, but there should be some tying together. Anywho, am I being too nice to this episode considering most of the mystery didn't make any sense or is motive and mechanics not always the most important in a mystery? Am I judging this for what it could have been or for what it presented for a few minutes?

Leigh: (As a side note, debree is spelled “debris” I remember because the Brits pronounce it “deb-ris” simply because I think they hate pronouncing anything even remotely French-like. Filet is pronounced “fill-it” usually too.)

Just finished the episode and I have to say that I am confused as to what the episode wanted the audience to take away. You mentioned that Sherlock’s fear of flying is tied to the mystery but I think it is only there so that the two plotlines of the episode are related in some way. Aside from this one detail the mystery and Sherlock’s past have nothing to do with each other. I’m not saying that every episode should meld the two aspects beautifully but I think this episode was more clunky than not.

Earlier this week we read a mystery that didn’t quite add up but it didn’t really leave me confused, just curious. This episode left me confused. Each clue seemed to build on top of each other, like LEGOs, but also like LEGOs, the mystery tower got so big and complicated with each addition, like a child building their dream home and having to add the basketball court and the swimming pool and the zoo that it got too complicated fell over from being too top heavy, much like this metaphor. I like the idea of stashing a body on a plane and it was a great starter to a mystery but there were so many odd additions that didn’t seem to make sense. First the plane is too heavy and that’s why it failed and that is what everyone agreed on but then the sand is in the gas tank and that’s OBVIOUSLY the reason why it failed. So why was the audience presented with the first explanation at all? Instead of having a smooth yet interesting murder mystery, we have a complicated, confusing, cumbersome mystery. I still don’t quite understand why the company owner killed seemingly his entire staff. That seems like incredibly poor planning if he was hoping to get away with the murders. Any remaining staff should/would fear for their life.

Sherlock’s past was very interesting in this episode. Even the greatest Holmes scholar doesn’t know much about Holmes’ past simply because it’s rarely talked about. As far as we’ve read with this project, we know nothing about Holmes except what Watson has told us. We haven’t even been introduced to Mycroft yet. But Elementary is ignoring that. I’m okay with this. They’re providing good reasoning to the assumptions that they’re making. One would assume that even Original Holmes came from at least a middle class family so that he could get the education that he received. Sure, he might’ve been lower class and gotten scholarships but in Victorian England, that wasn’t very likely. Of course, I could just be speculating and the writers are doing what makes the most sense to them. How else could someone afford a house in New York City and rehab and a sober companion without some outside income? Why not have a rich relative?

You asked if you were being too nice and now I’m going to ask if I’m being too mean. I will admit, I was a little let down with this episode. After last week’s amazing comeback, I was hoping for something a bit more on par and I felt this was lacking. Am I wrong? Am I crazy? And how much would it cost to build my childhood dream LEGO house, complete with movie theater?
This guy could probably give me an estimate...

Austin: I think why I liked the mystery on the surface level is that it was the attempt at a Sherlockian puzzle mystery. It never added up properly but it made me curious to what was going on even though I had a feeling it was filling the plot with red herring filler. I will give the episode points for this: they had a guest actor I recognized and 24's Michelle Dressler was not the killer!

"I'm a recognizable guest star and I wasn't the murderer! Or was I? DUN DUN DUUUN!"

But really Sherlock was the A and B plot to this episode with C being whatever was going on with that plane.

Today in dramas we can't just have an icon; they need to be a person as well. Daniel Craig's James Bond isn't just a jokey womanizer but a man tormented by his lifestyle. Matt Smith's The Doctor is haunted by his violent past and his incredible loneliness. Christen Bale's Batman is all sorts of messed up. Now with Jonny Lee Miller's (and Benedict Cumberbatch) we have a Sherlock Holmes whose intelligence removes him from any emotional connection and the pains caused from that.

Icons appear fully formed but people have pasts. With Elementary I'm worried it may just add up to a betrayed love and daddy issues but it is something. I was all ready for the name to be Moriarity but instead it was Irene. They want us to know what makes him the way he is and even if it's network TV simplicity, it shows that audiences aren't settled with a Superman.

But now the criticism. The show isn't handling it well. There is not a solid sense of the show's world. Whatever happened to Watson having to be with Sherlock all the time? She went to bed early instead of following him to a witness where we know he is often erratic. That is in addition to her going to dinner. I know I'm repetitive, but the show needs solid rules on her working relationship or she will only be a plot device.

Teasing the backstory this much means we will only get answers during sweeps months and finales. (And Super Bowl episodes!) I want a proper story not just stalling for answers. Move things forward; challenge the status quo. Why hasn't a show like this had a couple episode arc about the media catching on that the police is too dependent on consultants and now they look bad so they have to hold back on people like Sherlock. Then have one of their biggest cases but the police chiefs won't let Sherlock at the crime scenes. Bam! Challenge the structure or you will be stuck like all of its predecessors. By the time they solved Monk's wife's murder the mystery was too vague to make sense. How I Met Your Mother just has codewords pretending to be a mystery and let's not start on how little Burn Notice's mythology makes any sense.

I'm on your side Elementary. A little bit. Don't be lazy

Leigh: I completely agree. Audiences have gotten bored with Superman and they want Batman. Audiences might not realize it but they enjoy fully fleshed out, 3D characters as opposed to cardboard cutouts. We need to see the flaws in our fantastic hero to show that he is a person so that eventually we can (hopefully) see the character learn and grow.

Audiences also need something to relate to. There are more people out there who have parental issues and lost loves than have extreme social awkwardness. It’s easier to have a character distressed by his dad coming to visit than it is to have him be thrust into the middle of a social situation because then you risk our hero becoming the comedic sidekick like Big Bang Theory. Sheldon Cooper isn’t a hero by any means and instead is laughed at by his inability to understand basic human interaction. Sherlock Holmes would risk becoming this extra character if audiences are forced to watch his painful social interactions. Everyone has been in a situation where they worried about seeing their parents again whether if you had wrecked the car in high school and were waiting for dad to get home and see the damage or if you got a new haircut and you knew your over-critical mother would hate it. It’s a more relatable situation and for that, I give Elementary props.

I, too, wished it would’ve been Moriarty. This would’ve set up a great overarching storyline which I still think this show needs. Okay, we have an addict on the road to recovery but what made him this way. The episode talked about not learning about Sherlock’s past and it’s true. We know nothing! And for a show that’s trying to tell us about it, it’s doing a really crap job of it. Irene has been a very vague continuing mystery but there haven’t been enough clues, I feel, to count really. It isn’t something that loyal viewers are rewarded with. Anyone watching this episode would’ve been caught up with what’s going on whether they had seen the other five episodes this season or not. I know that there are still 15+ episodes left this season but if Irene is going to be introduced by the end of the season (she will) they need more clues about her. And I really hope that the drugs and Irene are more tied together than Sherlock was doing drugs to get over Irene because replace drugs with alcohol and you have every police drama ever. It has to be interesting or different at least.

Next time, we get to deal with more drug addicts and learn that all the cool kids were doing opium in Victorian England.

And now Austin with the final word!

Austin: Whythehelldidgregsontouchallofthatmoneywithoutgloveson?!?!?!

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