Friday, January 9, 2015

Elementary Season 3 Episode 9 "The Eternity Injection" – Recap and Review

Sherlock Holmes Joan Watson Elementary Season 3 Episode 9 The Eternity Injection

Alfredo Llamosa (Ato Essandoh), Sherlock Holmes' (Jonny Lee Miller) sponsor is back. He presents a new challenge to Sherlock in the form of “Odin”, a tough-to-crack sensor.

A Shauna Milius (Julienne Hanzelka Kim) arrives at the brownstone. She worked with Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) at the hospital and is seeking her help to locate her missing colleague  Marissa Ledbetteris.

Sherlock follows Marissa's credit card trail and finds her corpse in a dumpster behind a pub.

Autopsy reveals that Marissa had the DNA of a man under her fingernails. This man turns out to be Christopher Jacoby. His wife, Sarah (Andrea Syglowski) strongly believes in his innocence. Christopher also went missing around the same time Marrisa was killed. 

Mason (Robert Capron), the irregular last seen in the episode “Bella, tracks down Chris from the surveillance cameras installed around the city. From the picture, Chris looks shabby, in contrast to the clean-shaven face he supposedly maintains.

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Sherlock and Joan try to track down Chris, who is living as a homeless individual. He has been murdered. Sherlock discovers a journal Chris has been maintaining. Sherlock learns that Chris had started to lose his mind in the recent past.

It is revealed that both Chris and Marrisa received deposits of 1,50,000 USD in their bank accounts. Sherlock deduces that Chris was being injected with a drug “E-ZED-M-77” by Marrisa as part of a illegal drug trail.

The drug has been created by Purgatorium Incorporated, a pharmaceutical company. It is a time dilating drug that alter a person's perception of time.

Sherlock deduces that there were five other patients receiving doses. One surviving patient is Louis Carlisle (Luke Robertson). He provides the useful information that in addition to Marrisa, there is a black man aged around 40 who looked to be in charge.

This person turns out to be Dr Dwyer Kirke (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.), head of Ubient Pharmaceuticals. He is arrested by Detective Marcus Bell (Jon Michael Hill) when he comes to visit his ailing aunt.

Dwyer confesses to conducting the trials, but steadfastly refuses to disclose the identity of the person who sponsored his research work.

Sherlock Holmes Elementary Season 3 Episode 9 The Eternity Injection

But Sherlock is up to the task. He digs into Dwyer's background and discovers that one James Connaughton (Dakin Matthews) has been the benefactor who has funded Dwyer's education.

James is suffering from a serious disease and is supporting the drug trials in an attempt to prolong his life. James claims to have played no part in the trials.

Sherlock and Joan next force James's nurse Brett Won (Brian Lee Huynh) to reveal the details. In order to provide a closure to the victims of the drug trial, Brett provides the details.

As Sherlock, Joan and NYPD arrive to arrest James, we learn that he has taken a heavy dose of the drug to prolong his freedom before landing in jail.

Lucy Liu Joan Watson Elementary Season 3 Episode 9 The Eternity Injection

This was an OK episode. The focus is primarily on Sherlock and his struggle to maintain his abstinence from drugs. His solution to a working arrangement that involves Bella/Edward/Jacob (from the Twilight mythology) was another reminder of why this version of Holmes is quite unlike the Canonical Version.

Sherlock playing “Reveille” on Bugle to wake up Joan failed to generate any laughs.

Kitty Winter (Ophelia Lovibond) is relegated to the background. The scene involving her trying her hand at picking locks was funny, with both Sherlock and Joan providing her unsolicited advice.

A run-of-the-mill episode that should appeal to fans of the show.

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 Episode # 1 "221B Baker Street" - Recap and Review

Russian Sherlock Holmes John Watson in the new Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 TV Series

There have been many adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic creation, Sherlock Holmes. The Guinness World Records lists Holmes as the most portrayed fictional character of all time with 75+ actors having played the Bohemian detective.

The portrayals of Sherlock Holmes have varied based on the adaptations. We have seen Victorian Holmes (Vasily Livanov, Jeremy Brett, Peter Cushing, Douglas Wilmer). We have also seen many contemporary Holmes (Basil Rathbone, Benedict Cumberbatch, Arthur Wontner).

There have also been some interesting ones like the Robert Downey Jr. version set in a steampunk England. There have been animated versions (The Great Mouse Detective, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century to name a few).

When I heard about the latest Russian adaptation, I was not sure if we really need a yet another series based on the world's foremost fictional detective. Will it turn out to be another run-of-the-mill,  insipid and boring shows that are made just to capitalize on the current popularity of Sherlock Holmes (like CBS Elementary) without any understanding or affection for the original stories? The answer is a resounding NO.

Russian Watson Andrei Panin new Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 TV Series Episode 1 221 B Baker Street

Andrey Kavun, director and one of the credited writers, differentiates this show from others by putting the focus squarely on Dr John Watson. As played by the late Andrei Panin, we get one of the best Watsons ever brought to life on screen. 

Right from the opening credits (set to a nice soundtrack), it is Dr Watson who takes the center stage with his voice-over.

The first episode “221B Baker Street” is based on A Study in Scarlet, The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton and The Adventure of Black Peter with a minor plot element taken from The Adventure of the Three Gables.

In the opening scene, Dr Watson lands in London with the intentions of starting a private practice and becoming a writer.

While walking down the streets he witnesses a man getting stabbed. He tries to save the man's life, but is interrupted by a young man who is more intent on solving the mystery. This person of course turns out to be Sherlock Holmes (Igor Petrenko).

After giving his eye-witness statement to Inspector Lestrade (Mikhail Boyarskiy) at the Scotland Yard, Dr Watson is approached by Holmes with the offer to share the famous lodgings at 221 B Baker Street.

Dr Watson starts noticing that his roommate has his own quirks and follows him on one of his late night errands. Soon, Dr Watson finds himself rescuing Sherlock from a potentially deadly attack from a gang of ruffians.

Russian Sherlock Holmes Igor Petrenko using magnifying lens in the new Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 TV Series

Shortly, Lady Emma Neligan (Olga Volkova) visits Sherlock at 221 B Baker Street to retrieve some papers in his possession. She is being blackmailed by Piter Kerri (Aleksandr Ilin), who has knowledge of the letters written by  her niece, Luiza Barnet (Elizaveta Boyarskaya) to her lover, Rodzher Smit (Dmitriy Lysenkov).

Piter's wife, Jessica is working for Lady Emma and is suspected to have helped her husband in acquiring the letters. Piter demands a ransom to keep this fact hidden, to prevent Luiza's impending marriage to a man of high standing.

The resulting investigation involves Sherlock solving the mystery behind Piter's murder, for which Dr Watson himself becomes the prime suspect.

Canonical References

1. Sherlock requests Dr Watson to stop using the French perfume “Le Jovial” -  Sherlock Holmes states in The Hound of the Baskervilles: “There are seventy-five perfumes, which it is very necessary that a criminal expert should be able to distinguish from each other, and cases have more than once within my own experience depended upon their prompt recognition”.

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The show is obviously influenced by the Guy Ritchie movies. Igor's portrayal is remarkably similar to that of Robert Downey Jr. In addition, the show makes reference to other Sherlock Holmes adaptations as well.

Russian Sherlock Holmes and John Watson Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin

The boxing match between Sherlock and John is a reference to a similar scene from the critically acclaimed Russian series starring Vasily Livanov and the late Vitaly Solomin. Another nod is the old man disguise adopted by Petrenko's Holmes. Still the most obvious one is Petrenko's version wearing glasses consistently - Vasily Livanov's version too wore spectacles, but on rare occasions.

There is a hilarious tip of the hat to Basil Rathbone, that caught me out of the blue and brought a big smile to my face. I will leave it to the readers to discover this for themselves.

The relationship between Sherlock and Scotland Yard is quite unfriendly. Lestrade and his men surprise Sherlock by being present at 221 B and push him around. This reminded me of BBC Sherlock and specifically, A Study in Pink which had a similar scene.

The late Andrei Panin proves to be one of the best Watsons - right along with Vitaly Solomin, Jude Law and David Burke/Edward Hardwicke. He represents the simplicity and integrity of John Watson very well.

The latest Russian adaptation has superb production values. The sets, costumes, cinematography and the soundtrack - all are top notch.

The show has a light tone and a strong sense of humor.

Highly recommended to fans of Sherlock Holmes.

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Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes