“A few words may suffice to tell the little that remains.”
--Dr. John Watson, “The Final Problem”
Austin: Now we've talked a lot about the story that has happened in these last four episodes of Elementary and often times it disappointed us. However, there is plenty of fascinating decisions they've made with the characters. Not only as modern examples of the Doyle creations but also what they've set-up.
Right away, I want to talk about how they're treating women on the show. From day one, we were very worried about Watson being a woman. At least one season in, I think they are firmly not romantic which is ideal. They respect each other as colleagues and as friends. I'm not sure it was well earned, but I did really enjoy the moment of Sherlock naming a bee after her. Yet that friendship still seems to be defined by what she isn't. It seems like they had that bee scene at the end because Watson was someone close to him that didn't manipulate him on a demented level.
The most interesting part of the second episode was Gregson (randomly) trying to get Watson as a new job as a sober companion. On one hand I really liked it because early on in the show, they had a problem establishing why she was even helping with cases. So I liked a crossroads where she makes her decision that she wanted to be there. However, it's still up in the air on why she's doing it. Is she doing it because she is such good friends with Sherlock? Is that it? What I really didn't like about this crossroad decision was that it seemed to be to get her out of danger because she's a woman. I know that was brought up as dialog, but there's a difference between acknowledging it and it not being true.
|"This is just like the setting for Kill Bill." "Why do you bring that up?"|
But then the really frustrating thing is that I thought that episode was set-up for Watson to be in danger and to solidify her role in this show. THEN SHE DOESN'T DO ANYTHING IN THE FINALE. She basically says "There, there" to Sherlock and has one table scene with Moriarty which really felt underwhelming since they just talked about Sherlock.
I really criticized Liu's performance early on and I do think she is a lot better. As an actress, she knows she can kick everybody's ass so I think we're seeing more of her restrained patience. I just wish they would let her explode with anger every once in awhile. She feels like an authority now even though the show has no idea what they want to do with her. She needs to be independent, not just a detective into Sherlock's emotions/backstory.
You said in the last blog that you want her off the show. Is that even possible at this stage? I want Gregson and Bell gone. The show killed off Moran and (essentially) Irene Adler. Moriartyis (stupidly) in prison until they can figure out Natalie Dormer's schedule, I assume. (Once again, please no Game of Thrones spoilers.) Are they burning through too many characters? More importantly, why are the ones they're removing the ones that challenge the characters?
Leigh: I've been (generally) happy with the treatment of Watson on this show. I know that we were both apprehensive about Watson and Holmes eventually sleeping together but at this point it time, it doesn't look like it's going to be a thing. I didn't like how Holmes jokingly referred to Watson as his wife in one of the episodes but I think it was more because it was a misplaced joke instead of him thinking of her as a romantic partner of any kind. At this point, it could still happen between these two characters but I think it would be more disastrous if they did it now than if they had done it earlier. For some reason, the Sherlock Holmes fandom is less fanatical about Elementary's Watson and Holmes hooking up than BBC's Watson and Holmes hooking up.
I suggested they get rid of Watson. They can't at this point because she plays the important role of moderator between the genius that is Holmes and the audience even though she isn't needed 95% of the time. It seemed to me that the writers for this show didn't know how to go about using Watson. Watson is furiously loyal to Holmes but in Elementary, she just seems to be his good friend. Why Holmes is hurt, Watson is hurt. That part of their relationship seems to be lacking here and a great way to show that is to go further with that out of place crossroad scene. She could've said "No, I'm gonna stay with Holmes no matter the risk because I'm a bad ass (supposedly.)" But that element of danger never showed up. The most danger we get is when Moriarty half-heartedly threatens her in the restaurant.
|"I've stolen all of your medical files from every case you've had. Still? Nothing? I can never seem to piss you off..."|
You mention that you want Liu's character to explode with emotions but the problem is that she hasn't been given anything to be angry about. She was a surgeon that took herself out of the medical field. She didn't lose her medical license because of some false claim or anything else. ACD's Watson, along with many other adaptations' Watsons, have him as former military for a reason. He needs that war injury that sends him home and dooms him to a sedentary life. He needs Holmes to show him he isn't handicapped. He needs this complexity that Elementary's Watson doesn't have. Right now she has none of this complexity which is why it is confusing as to why she stays with Holmes. She has no real loyalty to him and he hasn't done anything for her. The relationship of Holmes and Watson is one that both of them bring something to the table. Holmes gives Watson his life back and Watson gives Holmes a companionship and loyalty that he has never experienced. That's what's missing from Elementary's Watson. That's what's missing from their relationship and that's why it feels that Watson is just a bump on a log that asks questions for the audience. They could've fixed this really easily by making Watson former military (like most other adaptations) and having her injured and THEN become a sober companion. DONE. Instantly more interesting character. To make her super interesting, have her have volunteered for the Israel Defense Force (she's half Japanese, have her father be Israeli) and be injured during Desert Storm. There is SO MUCH that could be done with that addition.
I fear that Moriarty being in jail is going to turn into a Harry Potter situation where Voldemort only attempts to attack Harry Potter at the end of the book/movie. Moriarty will get out of jail in a mediocre way (I guess she's going to pay people off and have a guard beat up the other guards for her) and she'll be back for the season finale arc for season 2. To me, the season finale didn't feel like a finale. It felt like a mid season finale and we just have to wait for Moriarty to get herself out of jail. They are shooting themselves in the foot because every hero needs a villan and getting rid of the arch nemesis at the end of season 1 is the best way to write yourself into a corner/some really bad plots.
Enough about Watson. What did you think about Moriarty?
Austin: I think part of the reason that the weirdo fans on the internet are most interested in the hookup of the BBC duo is because they are more dimensional than the American team-up.
Natalie Dormer as Moriarty. I really am fascinated by the idea. She's the perfect actress to play such a cerebral mastermind even as she's getting a bit typecast. Like most characters, there's no reason why Moriarty has to be male. The main purpose of the character is the intellect. Yet having her be Irene Adler poses more of a problem for me. Irene is an emotional point of Sherlock's life, in fact it's the only thing that distracts him from his over-analytical process. This isn't because she's a beautiful woman, but because of their history together. That's a smart move from her perspective to tactfully create this environment, but now they're in this trap of the reason why Sherlock finds Moriarity a formidable foe is because he's in love with her. It's not an equal playing field. She's not the smartest criminal of all time; she's an ex.
While that makes for good drama, it hurts both of the characters.
|This will only end in blood.|
To me, Irene has always been a more interesting character than Moriarty, especially in terms of what she means to Sherlock. Moriartyis evil because he goes against all that Sherlock believes in. Yet Irene is also a criminal but Sherlock finds her intriguing. She's the gray area in the lines of good and evil. Now on Elementary, that it's no longer walking the line but Irene is just evil. You're right. She is destined to break out of jail when the HBO scheduling allows for it.
But now both Sherlock shows have the same problem: Life after Moriarty. Both shows have built up the ultimate criminal mastermind and then had their big encounter. (SPOILER FOR BBC'S SHERLOCK) One show definitely definitely killed off the character and the other put her in time-out.
Elementary jumped the gun by killing off Moran so now what do they do? We'll watch the premiere to see what they'll hint at for a future and Sherlock should return sometime soon. I think both shows should just set up a new bad guy. Doesn't have to be the GENIUS OF CRIME. (Especially since Elementary's Moriartywas defeated through one stupid move.) Just get a great villain that maybe is more crazy than smart. Keamy was a perfect midseason villain on LOST.
What say you about Moriarty? Work as a woman? Doesn't work as a woman? And when are we going to get an adaptation when Irene is a man, dammit?!? Equality!
Leigh: Moriarty's gender totally doesn't matter for this. The relationship Moriarty has with Sherlock does though. You bring up a very interesting point. We know that Elementary's Moriarty isn't the brightest (either that or she just likes really convoluted plots to steal money and then gets caught for visiting Holmes) so she obviously isn't the smartest criminal of all time. The advantage that she has is that she knows Holmes intimately and knows how to manipulate him. Like you said, she isn't the smartest criminal of all time; she's an ex. What ex doesn't know how to completely wound and manipulate their former significant other? You don't even have to be that smart, you just need to know what buttons to push.
I would love to see Irene be a man. It could be done REALLY well if the right writers were on it.
|"Andrew Garfield said I should play Irene Adler, but only if he could play Sherlock."|
And the Irene/Moriarty bit is a very interesting idea and they did it relatively well but it does change the essence of Irene Adler. The Robert Downey Jr. movie might've made caricatures of them all, but it did keep the basic building blocks of each character the same, including Irene Adler. They made her a bit of a scoundrel but someone that Holmes was interested by and wanted to save. Irene is complex and intriguing and, for lack of a better word, a scoundrel. She's the perfect good bad guy. But making Irene and Moriarty the same character, the character of Irene disappears completely. She no longer is Irene Adler, she's "Irene Adler." A persona that Moriarty put on to fool Sherlock Holmes.
As for the next bad guy? It could go either way; really well or fantastically awful. We saw at the beginning of the season that there was no linking bad guy, it was just a Monster of the Week set up. I'm afraid that that is going to happen again and there won't be a bad guy introduced until episode 20 of 24 for the season. That's not the way to set up a good story arch, even if your seasons are 24 episodes long. Especially since that bad guy is going to be Moriarty again (probably). It definitely poses a challenge for writers when they kill off the main foe (even if he faked his death.)
Next time, we go to the countryside and act as glorified dog catchers for a dog that happens to scare people to death. It's a great time!
And here’s Austin Lugar with the final word…
Austin: Girl power.
|The Five Orange Pips|