Thursday, October 31, 2013

CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode # 6 "An Unnatural Arrangement" - Review

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 6 An Unnatural Arrangement

Sherlock takes Joan to a police station to observe cell inmates to sharpen her skills of observation and deduction. Joan protests that they can make better use of the limited number of Friday nights.

A NYPD detective, Craig Basken (Peter Hermann) approaches Joan with a request for assistance in solving a seemingly trivial case.

Captain Tommy Gregson's separated wife, Cheryl Gregson (Talia Balsam) encounters an masked man in her house. The intruder claims to be looking for her husband.

Cheryl shoots at him in self defense and wounds him. The unknown stranger makes his escape.

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James Monroe (Ted King), a neighbor gives his eye witness account of the intruder's escape on foot.

Captain Tommy Gregson (Aidan Quinn) gives access to all of his personal files to Sherlock and Joan, with the intention of catching his enemy.

Talia Balsam and Aidan Quinn as Captain Tommy Gregson and his separated estranged wife Cheryl Gregson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 6 An Unnatural Arrangement

Sherlock notices that one Dustin Bishop has been persistently sending emails to Gregson. Sherlock and Joan break into Dustin's apartment and (surprise, surprise) Dustin has been shot.

Holmes and Joan's investigation leads them to one Jacob Esparza (Armando Riesco) and subsequently Elizabeth Roney (Sarah Wynter).

I recommend the readers to check out the episode for the resolution.

Canonical References
1. Miller's Sherlock deducing that a prison inmate's crime involves a litter of purebred Yorkshire Terriers - In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes deduces that Dr James Mortimer is “the possessor of a favourite dog, which I should describe roughly as being larger than a terrier and smaller than a mastiff.” 

2. Elementary Sherlock deducing that Sam Clennon had military experience in Afghanistan - Sherlock Holmes makes the famous deduction about Dr John Watson in A Study in Scarlet: “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 6 An Unnatural Arrangement

3. Miller's Sherlock expresses his disapproval of marriage as something that forces two participants into unhealthy monogamy - The Canonical Holmes too expressed his aversion to marriage, but for completely different reasons. He states in The Sign of the Four: “But love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment.”

4. Joan's statement about Elementary Holmes: “You have been doing this since you were a kid. I have some catching to do” - Sherlock Holmes tells Dr John Watson in The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual - “Yes, my boy, these were all done prematurely before my biographer had come to glorify me.”

5. Miller's Holmes brings Tibetan fried bread to Joan for her breakfast - Sherlock Holmes informs Dr John Watson in The Adventure of the Empty House: “I travelled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhassa, and spending some days with the head lama.”

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 6 An Unnatural Arrangement

6. A significant deduction involves the silence of Elizabeth's dog, Gotham - This reminded me of “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time” in The Silver Blaze.

Trivia
The song "Heal" from Long Way Down by Tom Odell is played in the closing scenes of the episode, when Elementary Sherlock is observing Joan Watson.

This was another weak episode. I watch the show mainly to catch the nods to Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories.


Ted King as James Monroe with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 6 An Unnatural Arrangement


Recommended only to die-hard fans of the show.

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Step Nine

Thursday, October 24, 2013

CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode # 5 "Ancient History" - Review

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson wearing coolers in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 5 Ancient History

The episode opens with the dead body of a man besides his battered up motorcycle. 

Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is shopping with a friend, Jennifer Sayles (Danielle Nicolet) who is trying to track her acquaintance from a one night stand, Tony.

Sherlock refuses to take up Joan's "case" due to professional pride and instead takes  here to a mortuary for fresh cases. He comes across the corpse of Leo Banin (Dean Neistat), the aforementioned victim.

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Sherlock and Joan discover that Travis Hardwick (Wass Stevens) was being threatened by Leo. Sherlock tracks down Travis to a seedy motel.

And the episode just rambles on...

Canonical References

1. Elementary Holmes' statement: “The good thing about a wild goose chase is that there is a delicious goose to eat at the end of it.” - I was reminded of the Canonical story, The Case of the Blue Carbuncle.

2. Joan scolds Miller's Sherlock: “You have not left the house for a week”  - In A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes tells John Watson about himself: “I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right.”


Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 5 Ancient History

3. Elementary Sherlock Holmes listening to the taped video of the buzzing of bees in the background, as he tries to solve the case - In the story His Last Bow, Sherlock mentions he is writing a book on Bee Keeping entitled “Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen”.

4. Joan's line to the bartender: “It was a long shot” - In Silver Blaze, Sherlock Holmes tells Dr Watson: “A long shot, Watson, a very long shot,...”

5. Miller's Sherlock practicing his single stick skills on a dummy - In A Study in Scarlet, John Watson notes that Sherlock Holmes “Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman.”


Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 5 Ancient History

Miller's Sherlock had some good moments in the episode and at the same time does some patently unSherlockian things as well.

The episode seems to be strongly inspired by the Canonical novel The Valley of Fear. Leo's wife, Lara Banin (Mia Barron) refusing to believe he was a killer and Leo having a good reputation in his neighborhood. Further, Leo's wife believing that he had a bad past and Leo running away from his gang and the gang having made an earlier attempt on Leo's life. Finally, the use of a motorcycle - the assassin uses a bicycle in The Valley of Fear.


Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu and Jon Michael Hill as Sherlock Holmes, Joan Watson and Detective Marcus Bell question a suspect in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 5 Ancient History


Just like the previous episode "Dead Man's Switch" (based on The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton), this one falls flat too.

Better luck next time, CBS.

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Step Nine

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BBC Sherlock - Season 3 Premiering in the US on Jan 19 2014



Benedict Cumberbatch returns as BBC Sherlock Season 3 US Premiere Jan 19 2014

Dear Readers,


Here is some great news for fans of BBC Sherlock.

Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Sherlock when the third season premieres in the US on Jan 19 2014 at 10 pm EST on PBS Masterpiece.

As has been the case with the previous two seasons, Season 3 will also have 3 episodes.

The first episode, “The Empty Hearse” is based on The Adventure of the Empty House. It has been penned by Mark Gatiss and directed by Jeremy Lovering.

Steve Thompson has written the script for the next episode, “The Sign of Three”. Readers familiar with the Sherlock Holmes Canon will recognize the obvious reference to The Sign of the Four. Colm McCarthy directs this episode.

Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat takes over the writing duties for the season finale, “His Last Vow”. Directed by Nick Hurran, the episode title refers to “His Last Bow”, the collection of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories published between 1908 to 1917. The last story in that series is also referred to by the same name.

Having enjoyed the show so far, I am excited for the Season 3 premiere.

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Canonical Nods in "The Empty Hearse"
Canonical Nods in "The Empty Hearse"
Canonical Nods in "The Sign of Three"
Canonical Nods in "The Sign of Three"

Friday, October 18, 2013

CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode # 4 "Poison Pen" - Review

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 4 Poison Pen

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) receives a call from Mistress Felicia (Keesha Sharp), a call girl. Her latest client is found dead in a black bodysuit, right when she is about to provide her services.

Holmes deduces that Titus Delancey (Steve Greenstein), head of APMG Financial Consulting has been poisoned with a overdose of nitroglycerine.

Burt Jefferies (Paul Fitzgerald), head of acquisitions at APMG is interrogated, after Holmes discovers that he bought the bodysuit from a store known as “The Pleasure Parlor”.

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Anne Barker (Laura Benanti), nanny to Titus' children becomes the new suspect, as she herself was once accused of her father's death (also because of nitroglycerine poisoning) way back in the 1990s. Anne's real name is Abigail Spencer and Holmes had taken a strong interest in her case and communicated with her for some time, before she disappeared to start a new life under a new name.

Anne reveals to Holmes that she was recently being followed by someone and gives the license number. NYPD discovers that the number belongs to a detective hired by Titus' wife, Peri Delancey (Noelle Beck) to spy on all women in her husband's life. Peri is intent on getting a divorce and is trying to frame her husband in an affair.

The NYPD is confident that one of these two women are responsible for the murder of Titus. Sherlock thinks otherwise and Joan believes that his feelings for Anne is influencing his investigation.

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 4 Poison Pen

I recommend the readers to check out the episode to find out the resolution. 

Canonical References 

1. Miller's Holmes is seen boxing with an unknown opponent in the opening scene and practicing on a punching bag in the closing scenes - In A Study in Scarlet, Dr Watson mentions that Sherlock Holmes “is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman”. In The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist, Sherlock Holmes states memorably: “It was a straight left against a slogging ruffian.”. In The Sign of the Four, Sherlock Holmes reminds the ex-prize-fighter McMurdo of the three rounds they fought at Alison's rooms on the night of the latter's benefit. McMurdo, in turn, fondly remembers Sherlock's “cross-hit under the jaw”.

2. Miller's Holmes deducing that bourbon was used to hide the odor of nitroglycerine - In Silver Blaze, Sherlock Holmes deduces that curry was the medium used to disguise the taste of powdered opium, used to drug the stable-boy.

3. Elementary Holmes is seen using a bullwhip with considerable ease and precision - This reminded me of Sherlock Holmes' weapon of choice - riding crop. Holmes uses it in a number of cases: A Case of Identity, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Speckled Band and The Six Napoleons.

4. Miller's Holmes talks about following Abigail Spencer case in the 90s, when he was 15 years old - In A Study in Scarlet, Dr Watson mentions about Sherlock Holmes: “Sensational Literature.—Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century.”

5. Elementary Sherlock remembering the fact that Abigail wanted to have a Phoenix tattoo from the correspondence they shared years ago - Sherlock Holmes has a strong memory and is well known for remembering even seemingly trivial points.

Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu and Aidan Quinn as Sherlock Holmes, Joan Watson and Captain Gregson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 4 Poison Pen

6. Elementary Holmes' statement: “nothing so mundane as love” - Dr Watson states about Sherlock's attitude towards love in A Scandal in Bohemia: “All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind.”

7. Miller's Holmes agreeing with Joan that Abigail was his first murderer in his career - In the Canon, Sherlock Holmes refers to The Adventure of the Gloria Scott as “the first in which I was ever engaged”. (Credit to John Foster for catching this reference)

8. Miller's Holmes lists a couple of reasons to prove that he knows that truth about Abigail Abigail Spencer and asks: “Shall I go on? I can” - In The Adventure of the Red-Headed League, Sherlock Holmes comments to Dr Watson: “You did, Doctor, but none the less you must come round to my view, for otherwise I shall keep on piling fact upon fact on you until your reason breaks down under them and acknowledges me to be right.”

9. Joan observes some scratches near the lock to a table drawer - In The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez, Sherlock Holmes observation of scratches round a keyhole proves significant to solving that case.

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in their brownstone in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 4 Poison Pen

Interesting to know that Miller's Holmes reveals that he corresponded with Abigail Spencer under the pseudonym, Sean Holmes and also about his childhood experiences. Sherlock's statement: “If it were not so frustrating, it would be interesting” was a nice touch.

Still, it is Joan Watson who did the crucial deduction that ultimately solved the murder. This has been the trend in most of the recent episodes.

The plot and the episode was definitely more interesting than the previous one. Miller and Liu were solid. Jon Michael Hill and Aidan Quinn continue their token appearances as Captain Thomas Gregson and Detective Marcus Bell respectively.


Laura Benanti and Jonny Lee Miller as Anne Barker Abigail Spencer and Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 4 Poison Pen



Trivia

The song “State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)” by Jim James can be heard in the closing scenes, when Miller's Sherlock is practicing his boxing skills on a punching bag. 

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Step Nine

Friday, October 11, 2013

CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode # 3 "We Are Everyone" - Review

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 3 We are Everyone


Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) gets some unsolicited help from her friend Emily Hankins (Susan Pourfar), who sets up Joan's profile on an online dating site calledTrueRomantix”. This constitutes the mandatory secondary plot for this episode.

One Mr Mueller (Ronald Guttman) wants Holmes to track down Ezra Kleinfelter (Christian Campbell), a contractor who leaked highly confidential secrets to the media. Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) discovers that Ezra is using Celia Caroll (Laura Osnes) of the Dispatch to publish the secrets.

Sherlock takes the help of his associate, Milton Van Kirk (Peter McRobbie) in the investigation. Holmes suspects that Ezra has killed a known acquaintance.

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Ezra has the support of an anonymous hacker group called “We are Everyone” and the group targets both Holmes and Joan. Soon, power is down at the brownstone and Joan's profile on the dating site is also hacked into.

Holmes and Joan race against time to catch Ezra, before he can leave the US to relocate to an unknown destination. 

The plot has a marked resemblance to the real life incidents involving Edward Snowden. Further, the group “We are Everyone” reminded me of the Anonymous hacker group.

Still, this was one of the most boring episodes of Elementary. After a couple of better-than-usual episodes, the show is back to its usual level of (low) standards.

The references by Miller's Holmes to his former love, Irene Adler/Moriarty (Natalie Dormer) did not help either.

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 3 We are Everyone

The acting by the leads as well as the plot was subpar compared to the previous episodes.

Perhaps, the next episode will be better.


Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson face a power cut in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 3 We are Everyone


Canonical References

1. Mr Mueller states that Miller's Holmes comes highly recommended from a certain corporation - In the Canon, Sherlock Holmes often received cases through recommendations from previous clients. 

2. Joan Watson is seen typing The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes” on her laptop - Direct reference to Arthur Conan Doyle's final collection of Sherlock Holmes stories of the same name, that were published between 1921 - 1927.
 
Trivia 

The song The Load” by Barbarossa is played in the final scenes, when Miller's Holmes is reading the letter from Jamie Moriarty. 

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Step Nine

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Elementary "Solve for X" Episode - Review


Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in Solve For X CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 2


A man gets mugged and is attacked. The mugger hears a shooting in progress and soon becomes the next victim.

Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) visits the grave to pay her respects to Gerald Castoro, the patient mistakenly killed by her in a surgical operation. She runs into his son, Joey Castoro (Jeremy Jordan), who tries to get some funds from Joan to help his plans of buying a bar.

Felix Soto, a math tutor is found shot. He was working on the P vs NP problem and was probably only weeks from solving this classical mathematical problem. Holmes' investigation leads to a Tanya Barrett (Lynn Collins). Holmes deduces that Cyril Nauer is the working partner of Felix.. He too has been killed within an hour of Felix's murder.

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All clues point to a certain suspect. But is everything what it seems or is there more than what meets the eye?

Check out the episode for the solution.

Canonical References

1. Miller's Holmes asking Detective Bell if he learnt his observation skills from him - John Watson makes this statement in The Sign of the Four: “More than once during the years that I had lived with him in Baker Street I had observed that a small vanity underlay my companion's quiet and didactic manner.”

2. Miller's Holmes using his sense of smell to deduce that Cam phosphor is present on the walls and about Joan's meetings with Joey Castoro - The Canonical Holmes has an acute sense of smell.


Lucy Liu and Jeremy Jordan as Joan Watson and Joey Castoro in CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 2 Solve For X

3. Miller's Holmes showing knowledge of the chemicals used to write the mathematical equation on the walls - In A Study in Scarlet, Dr Watson states that Holmes has “Profound” knowledge in Chemistry. Stamford also describes Sherlock Holmes as a “first-class chemist”.

4. Joan finding a bare chested stranger solving mathematical equations in their apartment and Miller's Holmes is seen doing push-ups at 2 am - John Watson mentions about Holmes in The Adventure of the Dying Detective: “His incredible untidiness, his addiction to music at strange hours, his occasional revolver practice within doors, his weird and often malodorous scientific experiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around him made him the very worst tenant in London.”

5. Miller's Holmes comments that Joan has quite a "Victorian" attitude about having partly naked men in their apartment - A reference to the values and mores of the era during which the original stories were written.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Solve For X CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 2


6. Miller's Holmes using handwriting analysis to determine that there were 2 men who wrote the equation - Sherlock Holmes uses handwriting analysis to deduce that 2 men wrote the message in The Adventure of the Reigate Puzzle. Holmes uses handwriting analysis in other cases too.

7. Miller's Holmes deducing that the dog is a Boston Terrier - In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes deduces that Dr James Mortimer is “the possessor of a favourite dog, which I should describe roughly as being larger than a terrier and smaller than a mastiff.”

8. Miller's Holmes states: “I am an expert on poisons, Watson” - Dr Watson documents Holmes' knowledge in A Study in Scarlet: “Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally.”

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in Solve For X CBS Elementary Season 2 Episode 2


The mystery component was good. Miller gave a much better performance in this episode.

Lucy Liu, as always, is good as Joan.

Lynn Collins makes an attractive mathematician, a throwback to the female characters in Bond movies.

A good episode. Hoping that the show maintains the quality.

Trivia

The song "Sea of Air" by Portugal. The Man is played in the episode.

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