Friday, February 20, 2015

Elementary Season 3 Episode 15 "When Your Number's Up" – Recap and Review

Elementary Sherlock Holmes Season 3 Episode 15 When Your Numbers Up

The post contains spoilers and readers who have not yet seen the episode are recommended to skip the review, if they wish to avoid plot details.

This week, Elementary surprises us with a Columbo-type mystery - the killer is revealed at the beginning and the rest of the episode is about how the killer is caught in the end by Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

Dana Powell (Alicia Witt) has lost her husband, Nick in a crash involving a Aceway Airlines Flight 1059. In addition to Nick, there were 80 other victims. 

Dana intends to get a hefty payoff from the airlines. She kills two men, who have also lost their relatives in the same mishap. Her first victim is a homeless man, Henry (Moti Margolin). The second man to fall prey to Dana's machinations is Freddy Duncan (Jason Pendergraft).

After shooting both men at point blank range, she leaves cash near the corpses. Her aim is to draw attention to the crash victims and subject the airlines to compensate the crash victims' families.

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Dana tries to divert attention by leaving a quote at the crime scene. This quote is credited to Arlen Shrader (Michael Cumpsty), an attorney at Arlen Shrader and Associates. Arlen specializes in victim compensation. He in turn points the finger at another attorney, Erin Chatworth (Anastasia Barzee) with whom he had a brief affair. He dumped her in order to capitalize on the aforementioned air disaster.

Dana's sister, Penny (Maria Dizzia) also doubles up as her accountant. Penny informs Dana that she needs to make some payments urgently in order to retain her house.

Dana pretends to be the next target of the killer. She sets up a bullet shot through her house window.

As can be expected, Sherlock sees through the deception and works out the solution.

Canonical References
1. Sherlock mentions that Luc does not speak at all and goes on to mention how much this makes Luc such a good companion to him - In the Canon, Sherlock Holmes once complimented Dr John Watson: “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion”

Elementary Sherlock Holmes Joan Watson crime scene investigation Season 3 Episode 15 When Your Numbers Up

The secondary subplot involves Joan's return to the brownstone. Sherlock tries to get her to reverse her decision. After a couple of discussions with him, Joan moves into the basement of the brownstone.

This was an OK episode. Only Alicia Witt managed to breathe some excitement into the episode. Her scene in the kitchen with Penny was fraught with tension.

Sherlock and Joan are their usual selves. Ditto for Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) and Captain Thomas Gregson (Aidan Quinn).

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Elementary Season 3 Episode 14 "The Female of the Species" – Recap and Review

Gina Gershon Allison March Joan Watson Lucy Liu in Elementary Season 3 Episode 14 The Female of the Species

This post contains spoilers. Readers who are yet to see the episode are recommended to skip it, if they wish to avoid details.

After being subjected to hemlock poisoning, Andrew Mittal (Raza Jaffrey) has died. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) investigates and discovers that Elana March (Gina Gershon) is responsible for her boyfriend's death.

As readers might remember, Joan had Elana arrested in the first episode of the third season, “Enough Nemesis To Go Around”. Elana had one of her assassins, Marion Desjardins mix the hemlock in Andrew's drink. During her meeting with Joan at the prison, she teases her about her impending breakup with Andrew. 

Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) receives his latest case from Vernon Joseph (Chandler Williams), the moderator of forum and Curator of Mammals at the local zoo. He needs Sherlock's help to track down two pregnant zebras who have been stolen recently.

Since Joan is still mourning Andrew's death, Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) teams up with Sherlock. Sherlock deduces that a truck belonging to the Axiom Parcel Delivery (APD) company was used in the theft.

Sherlock lists all the intended deliveries for the stolen truck and deduces that one of the recipients, Criterion Equine Services is a lead worth checking out. Sherlock and Bell discover the two zebras and the corpse of Dr. David Chang, one of the veterinarians.

Sherlock deduces that the thief wanted to steal the zebra foals. Working on Joan's advice, Sherlock and Bell track down one of the newborns, who turns out to be a quagga. Quaggas are an extinct species of Zebras. 

Sherlock deduces someone working at the zoo is working on “De-Extinction to bring back the Quagga species for their own monetary benefits.

Sherlock zeroes in on one of the zoo employees, Ben Reynolds (Louis Cancelmi) after deliberately falsely accusing another employee Donovan Gaines (Anthony Gaskins) for the theft.

Ben refuses to co-operate with the investigation. The NYPD assigns officers to keep him under surveillance escapes through hidden tunnel in his apartment. Sherlock lays a trap for Ben and has him apprehended successfully.

In the subplot, Joan apologizes to Santhosh Mittal (Brian George) for being responsible for his son's death. Santhosh expresses his wish that had Joan taken more proactive steps earlier, his son would still have been alive. Later, Elana sends a death threat via mail to Joan.

Joan receives a letter from Jamie Moriarty (Natalie Dormer) who claims responsibility for Elana's death in her cell. In the final scene, Joan decides to move back to brownstone and completely concentrate on her work as a detective.

Canonical References

1. Elementary Sherlock uses the nickname Sigerson to lure Ben into a trap. He claims to use that pseudonym occasionally - In The Adventure of the Empty House, Sherlock Holmes uses the alias Sigerson”, as he explains to Dr John Watson: “You may have read of the remarkable explorations of a Norwegian named Sigerson, but I am sure that it never occurred to you that you were receiving news of your friend.”

2. Ben escaping through a network of tunnels from beneath his apartment - This is a bit tenuous, but reminded of the plot element of the Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, The Valley of Fear, in which John Douglas hides inside his own house after killing Ted Baldwin. 
Elementary Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat in Season 3 Episode 14 The Female of the Species

This was a good episode. The exchanges between Miller's Holmes and 's Detective Marcus Bell were genuinely funny. The episode focussed on how Sherlock's methods were different from that of Bell and his department.

Sherlock is not one to stick to a working schedule of certain number of hours a day. He just keeps working on the case till a solution is found.

I liked Sherlock's comment about Vernon's username BeeBeeking17” being offensive to both apiarists and musicians alike. I also liked his line: I am not against contemplative silence.”, while explaining his working style with Joan to Detective Bell.

When Detective Bell informs Sherlock that he does not eat red meat, Sherlock responds that he is a man of hidden depth. Miller's delivery was excellent and was very similar to the dry wit often practiced by the Canonical Holmes.

Elementary Quagga extinct zebra species Sherlock Holmes Season 3 Episode 14

An interesting point - Unlike Joan, Bell gets a decent wake-up call courtesy of an alarm clock.

Joan gets her own version of Moriarty in the form of Elana March. Gina Gershon is as devious in the role, just as Natalie Dormer was a Jamie Moriarty. Unfortunately, Gina's role came to an end today. Perhaps, we will see her in flashbacks in future episodes.

Her discussion with Sherlock, in which she confesses that she has always found it tough to separate her personal life from the detective work was executed well.

Lucy Liu has also directed this episode and deserves applause for delivering one of the best episodes of this season.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Russian Sherlock Review - Episode # 3 "Clowns"

Russian Sherlock Holmes Igor Petrenko 2013 TV Series Episode 3 Clowns

As seen in the last episode, Irene Adler (Lyanka Gryu) stole a photograph from Sherlock Holmes (Igor Petrenko) right from his coat at 221 B Baker Street. This photograph proves to be of great significance due to the fact that one of the men is a complete stranger unknown to Dr John Watson, who is able to name most of the them due to his experiences with them during the war.

That picture is now published in the papers and Holmes is mystified as to why Irene would have stolen a picture that is to be printed for public consumption. 

Inspector Lestrade (Mikhail Boyarskiy) needs Sherlock's help in solving a case of murder. A photographer is killed just as he is about to take a picture of Tom Taylor (Sergey Burunov) and Mary (Natalya Tyurkina), an engaged couple.

Sherlock, using his knowledge of chemistry, figures out that trinitrotoluene was used as the explosive. He also deduces that there was a fourth person present, who was the murderer.

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Lestrade informs Holmes that it was Mycroft Holmes who had asked him to take Sherlock's help. Mycroft believes that Tom, the bridegroom was the target of this attack. Tom works for the Navy and was working on a very secret submarine project.

Sherlock and Dr John Watson (Andrei Panin) visit Bimbom Bramsel, a tavern frequented by Tom. They successfully capture Tom and after interrogating him, Sherlock concludes that he is not a spy.

Dr Watson identifies one of the persons in the photograph as one his wartime acquaintances, Charlie (Andrey Zibrov). Charlie is in jail right now and Sherlock and Dr Watson try to get him to identify the mysterious man in the picture.

Though Charlie recognizes the man, he is scared and pretends  not to know him. Despite Sherlock's warning that he is in mortal danger, Charlie pleads innocence. Just as Sherlock and Dr Watson are leaving, he is attacked in his cell and dies. He only mouths the word “Mor” and dies before he can complete the name.

Sherlock is forced to retrieve the picture from Irene Adler. He accomplishes this with Dr Watson's active help. As a result, Irene is kidnapped. Sherlock gets a ransom note: he has to steal the fur coat from the French Ambassador in exchange for Irene's safe return.

The rest of the episode deals with how Sherlock works with the French Ambassador, Charles Gauthier (Semyon Strugachyov) to save Irene's life.

Russian Lestrade Mikhail Boyarsky new Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 TV Series

Canonical References
1. During the opening credits scene, Dr John Watson's voiceover mentions the following lines from A Scandal in Bohemia - “To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position.... And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.

2. The plot involving the conspiracy to kill a navy sailor for knowing secrets about a top secret submarine project and Mycroft enlisting Sherlock's help through Lestrade - This reminded me of the original story, The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans in which Mycroft requests Sherlock's assistance to solve the mystery behind the death Arthur Cadogan West, a government clerk and the missing pages of a secret submarine project.

3. In the Admiralty office, Sherlock refuses to take the case, if he is not provided with information. The Admiral (Aleksandr Polovtsev) finally relents to share details - There is a similar scene in Arthur Conan Doyle's story, The Adventure of the Second Stain in which the Prime Minister of England himself visits Sherlock Holmes at 221 B Baker Street regarding a missing document of high importance. Holmes refuses to help, unless he is provided with complete details about the document. Faced with this obstacle, The Prime Minister is forced to reveal more details.

4. Sherlock interrupts Irene and a stranger walking together in the park and deduces that he is an American who has recently arrived in London - This is a tenuous reference: In A Scandal in Bohemia, Sherlock Holmes mentions that Irene Adler was born in New Jersey in the US in 1858.

5. In order to retrieve the photograph from Irene's safe, Dr Watson makes a plan and creates a fire using photographic chemicals inside Irene's place. His strategy works and Irene bring the photograph outside - In A Scandal in Bohemia, it is Sherlock Holmes who comes up with the plan and asks Dr Watson to create the distraction with fire. Here too, the intention is to make Irene disclose the hiding place of her photograph with the Crown Prince of Bohemia.

6. The American Ambassador's wife, Jane makes the suggestion to write a message on the wall with blood - Possible reference to A Study in Scarlet, in which the murderer writes the word “RACHE” on the wall in blood.

We finally come face to face with Professor Moriarty (Aleksey Gorbunov). He looks and actually comes across as a genuinely scary criminal mastermind. Credit to the casting director for making this choice.

Mrs Hudson (Ingeborga Dapkunaite)'s passion for astrological signs adds a facet to her character. Though not present in the Canon, this is an enjoyable aspect. The “reception” she gets when trying to help Sherlock and John as they are working on the case was funny.

The late Andrei Panin also contributes to the humor aspects. His reaction to Tom's reunion with his fiance underlines the decent nature of Dr John Watson well.

His scenes with the publisher continue to be the best scenes in the show. The publisher advises Dr Watson to write a detective tale involving a young lady who receives a pearl every year and comes to a detective for help - A clear reference to The Sign of the Four, on which the previous episode “Rock, Paper, Scissors” was loosely based on.

An interesting scene was the one in which Sherlock rouses Dr Watson from his sleep by playing on his violin. This scene was genuinely funny, with Andrei Panin's reaction being top notch. This is something that the writers and actors in the CBS show Elementary can learn, since Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock wakes up Joan in pretty much every second episode.

Guest actor, Semyon Strugachyov is a hoot as French Ambassador Charles Gauthier. He is great in all of his scenes and especially the dinner scene with the American Ambassador (Yaroslav Boyko) and his wife, Jane.

The show has a great sense of humor and this differentiates it from the other very serious minded adaptations. I personally prefer Sherlock Holmes adaptations with a lighter touch and this one scores on that front, just as it's legendary predecessor, the classic TV series with Vasily Livanov did.

Highly recommended to fans of Sherlock Holmes. 

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Image Sources: Channel One Russia, Central Partnership, Lenfilm Films Studio

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Elementary Season 3 Episode 13 "Hemlock" – Recap and Review

Elementary Sherlock Holmes Jonny Lee Miller in CBS Season 3 Episode 13 Hemlock

After the departure of his protege Kitty Winter (Ophelia Lovibond), Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is desperate for company in the brownstone. He is even willing to use the women he sleeps with as a sounding board.

The opening scene shows one such instance where a shirtless Sherlock is discussing a case with couple of scantily clad women on the bed. Despite his enthusiasm, the ladies do not share his passion for crime solving.

The next day, Holmes receives a new case in the form of Jill Horowitz (Amy Hargreaves), who suspects her husband Steven Horowitz of having an affair. Steven is an attorney at Dorchester-Reid, a famous law firm.

At the firm, Sherlock and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) find out that Steven had been fired six months back. But, Steven has hidden this fact from his wife by having his secretary continue to take her calls and continue the pretense that he still has his job.

Steven runs SMH Inc., a debt collection agency. The NYPD picks up Eduardo Pena (Jacinto Taras Riddick), one of Steven's employees for questioning. He informs them that Steven had let go off all his employees last week.

Sherlock deduces that Eduardo has stolen the list of Steven's list of people. One of them is Owen Downey in Connecticut. Sherlock and Joan discover that he is bed-ridden and suffering from a life threatening disease. His aunt, Carla (Jayne Houdyshell) tells them that Steven had forgiven Owen's debt and was more of a friend to him.

Sherlock deduces that Steven was killed due to his sudden change of mind about collecting debts. The killer turns out to be one Coleman Brown (Ben Livingston), a partner in a firm whose attorneys turn out to be Steven's company, Dorchester-Reid.

Canonical References
The episode's plot reminded me of the original story, The Man with the Twisted Lip. In Arthur Conan Doyle's work, Neville St. Clair claims to be working a regular respectable job in the city. But he is actually a street beggar, earning alms to support his family.

In the customary subplot, Andrew Paek (Raza Jaffrey) is back in town, after setting up business in Copenhagen. He invites Joan to meet his father, Santosh Paek (Brian George) over a dinner.

Joan Watson boyfriend Andrew Raza Jaffrey Elementary Season 3 Episode 13 Hemlock

But Joan is having doubts about the future of their relationship, as Sherlock correctly deduces. She decides to break up with him.

In the closing scene, she is having coffee with him and informs him of her decision. Andrew starts gagging and falls unconscious to the floor. Joan tries to revive him.

SPOILER ALERT................ (Scroll below to read)

The preview for the next episode indicates that Andrew has died from hemlock poisoning in his drink.


This made me think as to why this episode was named Hemlock”, when that poisonous material plays such a small role in today's episode.

Joan Watson wearing black blazer dress CBS Elementary Season 3 Episode 13 Hemlock

Everyone's favorite turtle, Clyde make his reappearance. He is inadvertently painting. 

After a relatively strong first half, this episode was a bit of a letdown. The impact of Kitty's absence was quite telling.

Hopefully, the next episode will pick up the steam as Joan seems to be the target this time (as was Kitty in the previous episodes).

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