Friday, January 11, 2013

TV Review: Elementary Episode # 12 - "M"

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary Episode # 12 M
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes
It is the last week of Watson’s six week term with Holmes. Watson is reluctant to leave since she actually likes the investigative work done by Holmes.

As can be expected, a murder has happened that puzzles Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and soon Holmes and Watson are at the crime scene. There is no body at the scene and no indication of a crime like footprints or fingerprints, except for a big pool of blood.

Holmes immediately discovers the handiwork of “M”, a serial killer he had tracked in London in the past. M kills victims in all age ranges, removes the blood from their bodies and dumps them in the sea.

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Sherlock could not catch M back in London due to his increasing drug addiction. Holmes believes M killed Irene Adler, who Sherlock was dating for a few months. Sherlock wants to be the judge, jury and executioner for M.

This is easily the one of the best episodes in the show. We get to see the dark side of Holmes. The ending is inspired and promises some interesting episodes in the future.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in Elementary Episode # 12 M
Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Holmes and Watson
The acting is solid. Miller and Lucy get to go deeper into their roles. Joan Watson makes some good deductions at various points in the episode. The part where Holmes mentions that people only need Haptics to converse with others was a nice touch. Other fun parts were Holmes’ opinion of a Vietnamese restaurant as a front for songbird smuggling and Holmes arranging security measures for his apartment. These were very Sherlockian in nature.

Vinnie Jones does his usual “menacing thug” routine. M being a fan of British soccer (Arsenal F.C.) was played out well.

Vinnie Jones as M in Elementary Episode # 12 M
Vinnie Jones as M

This episode had an amazing number of references to the original stories. There are some spoilers in the next section. I would recommend the readers who have not watched the episode yet to skip this section.

Canonical References:
1.    Holmes’ plans to convert Joan Watson’s room to an apiary – In His Last Bow, Sherlock Holmes has written a book: “Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen.
2.   Holmes’ lock collection on the wall and Holmes commenting on M’s excellent way of picking the locks – In The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, Holmes displays his burgling kit, complete with keys, glass-cutter and a jimmy.
3.  Miller's Holmes maintains his own personal files on M - Sherlock Holmes maintained alphabetically sorted files, as stated by Dr Watson in A Scandal in Bohemia: “For many years he had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs concerning men and things, so that it was difficult to name a subject or a person on which he could not at once furnish information.”
4.  We get not one but 3 Ms from the Canon – Sebastian Moran, Moriarty, and Mycroft Holmes who is revealed to be Joan’s employer. We see Watson preparing the final assessment of her client to be given to her employer, a certain M.Holmes.
5.   Watson’s employer does not extend her contract – Further credence to the fact that Mycroft is her employer as he would be having knowledge of Sherlock’s latest activities and probably wants to keep Joan out of danger. After all, according to Sherlock Holmes: Mycroft is the British Government.
6.  M’s message composed by pasting together printed words - Reference to Beryl Stapleton’s message to Sir Henry in The Hound of the Baskervilles: “As you value your life or your reason keep away from the moor.”
7.    Miller’s Holmes makes deductions based on the scent from M’s note – Sherlock Holmes made a deduction from Beryl Stapleton’s message to Sir Henry in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in Elementary Episode # 12 M
Lucy Liu as Joan Watson

 8  Miller’s Holmes states to Watson: “My enemies are legion” – Sherlock Holmes has had many enemies in the Canon.

9.   Miller's Holmes observes from M's expensive gloves and shoes: “M has money. That much is obvious” - Sherlock Holmes makes a similar deduction about his client in A Scandal in Bohemia: “There’s money in this case, Watson, if there is nothing else.”

10. Theodore aka Teddy is a young homeless man who performs errands for Holmes in return for money - Baker Street Irregulars!

11. Theodore’s comment about being Holmes’ associate as the latter does not have any friends - Reference to Holmes’s exchange with Watson about having friends from The Five Orange Pips: “Except yourself I have none…”

12.  Miller’s Holmes quotes the following line (attributed to William Winwood Reade, British historian) from The Sign of the Four almost verbatim – “.. while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant.”

13.  Miller’s Holmes gets emotional towards the end of the episode – In the Canon, Holmes rarely showed his emotional side. The few exceptions include The Adventure of the Three Garridebs and The Adventure of the Six Napoleons.

14. Miller’s Holmes uses drugs even in the midst of a tough investigation – A direct departure from the Canon, where Holmes takes drugs only when he has no case.

Aidan Quinn as Captain Gregson in Elementary Episode # 12 M
Aidan Quinn as Captain Gregson

    The plot and the Canonical nods made this episode eminently watchable. Hopefully, the show will not fall back into its usual routine of mediocrity with the next episode and will continue to be as exciting as this one.

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  1. A lot of twists and turns concerning Moriarty. It even present Sherlock's father as a probable suspect (maybe Irene was hiccup in his son's preordained life). M. Holmes, the name left from the text msg and how he turns down Watson's plea.

    1. Well said. The plot had some nice twists.

      As for Joan's employer, I believe it is Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's brother. Sherlock did not have any living relatives in the Canon, except for his brother.

      Thanks for the comment.

    2. It might be another departure from the Canon and we might get Mycroft Holmes as Sherlock's father and not his brother. It would make sense if we take that Mr. (M.) Holmes communicates only via his assistant on phone or e-mail. He's probably living isolated from all humanity, using only the means of modern technology for communication? But I just might have taken things a little too far just now.

    3. Considering that they made Watson a woman, it is quite possible that they might make Mycroft Sherlock's father. Still, that would be too much of a departure and I do not think they will venture that far.

      But I do think if they do introduce Sherlock's Dad (whose first name also coincidentally starts with M), he can live a totally isolated life. Probably his lifestyle led to Sherlock developing his Bohemian and eccentric nature.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    4. Another option is Mycroft Holmes could be named after his dad. Though who knows? Maybe Mycroft was her real employer, not his father...

    5. Yes, the names could be a coincidence. Let's see how the show handles this..

    6. I doubt Sherlock wouldn't know it's his brother and not his father, who made sure Watson will look after him.

    7. I agree with you on that point. Perhaps it is because of the reason that it is Sherlock's brother Mycroft (who is Joan's employer and who is presently in England), Sherlock arranged his friend, Allistair (played by Roger Rees) to act as his father and meet Joan for dinner in the sixth episode "Flight Risk".

  2. I didn't catch the fact the text/e-mail said it was "M. Holmes". Guess I was too busy being excited by the reveals, trying to get another pen when the one I was using ran out, and reading the message to observe. Huh.

    Anyway, this one certainly makes me optimistic for the show from here...

    1. Yes, this episode makes me optimistic as well about the show.

  3. Well, you put all you caught into a great piece and I am glad you came out more optimistic about the show.
    I to liked the show, but found the lack of deduction a little disappointing.
    I din't catch to 'M' in the emails even after watching it twice. Good catch.

    1. Thanks John.

      I am as excited as you for a good Sherlock Holmes adaptation. Lets hope Elementary proves to be one in the long run.