So a while ago I wrote about Elementary‘s pilot episode. I was pretty critical on a lot of levels, and had a hard time separating my criticism of the first episode from my feelings about the BBC’s Sherlock. I didn’t watch the second episode. But a lot of the peeps on tumblr were really complimentary of it, and I figured it wouldn’t be the worst possible thing to give it another chance. I went back and caught up on all the episodes I’d missed, and…
Guys, I take everything I said back.
Well, maybe I don’t take it back, but I do feel like this is definitely a show that merits a second look. And I wanted to go on record as eating my words. One of my biggest criticisms of the pilot episode was that, for a show where Sherlock’s addiction was supposed to be the focus and not a throwaway joke, they treated said addiction sort of flippantly. Sherlock mentions that having a sober companion will be unnecessary, because he has his addiction under control and won’t be using again. In the later episodes, it becomes clear that he is still struggling, and that that line was probably just bravado, trying to avoid being seen as weak in front of Watson.
In general, I’m finding as I watch that JLM’s Sherlock is a more three-dimensional and relatable character, and that Elementary‘s ways of presenting and dealing with Sherlock’s psychoses are more reasonable. This is tied into another one of my opinions, which hasn’t changed since my last review: Joan Watson is truly awesome. I really like that she doesn’t take any of Sherlock’s shit. Think of the BBC’s Watson, who will pretty much do anything his Sherlock asks of him, even if it’s humiliating or if Sherlock could easily do it himself. Joan doesn’t play that. She is interested in helping Sherlock, but she is not interested in being his babysitter. I like this approach because, instead of glorifying Sherlock’s aberrant behavior, it knocks him down a peg and makes him realize that he is being selfish and privileged and annoying.
My biggest complaint about the season so far is in regards to Irene Adler. She has been introduced to the storyline as someone who was very important to Sherlock, and whose death (yeah, she’s dead already. Whoops.) was what spurred Sherlock’s descent into using drugs. This show has been so successful in making Joan and other female characters into real, three-dimensional people that it was frustrating to have Irene basically fridged and made into a plot point for Sherlock. (And ever since that episode where he blended her letters, we haven’t seen any other mention of her.)
I do still hold that the soundtrack music is not as compelling as the BBC’s, but that’s a small complaint in the face of everything else. I do plan to keep tuning in to Elementary every week, and, since everything else I watch seems to going on winter break following mid-season finales in the last week, it is the bright, non-Christmassy light in this month’s dark, holiday-filled vortex of seasonal programming. I definitely recommend you give it a chance and check Elementary out!