Elementary Thoughts & Open Thread: The Five Orange Pipz


Elementary doesn’t always directly reference the original Conan Doyle stories, but it’s always fun to read along when they do. You can read “The Five Orange Pips” online for free, though it really only resembles “The Five Orange Pipz” in some superficial ways: a few of the characters have the same names, and, most importantly, the victims are warned of their death by receiving five orange things in the mail: pips (orange seeds) in the original, and beads called “pipz” on the show. In the original, the case ends up being all about the Ku Klux Klan, which is not the case on the show.

On the show, some of the pipz were accidentally poison, due to a manufacturing error: they metabolized into GHB and killed some children. The victims were involved in the cover-up of this, and the father of one of the dead children confesses to the crime 17 minutes into the episode, so obviously it’s not a real confession. The real culprit is an FBI agent, who realized that if he could get the court case about the poisonings to end via blackmail and murder, he could steal the “evidence” and sell it as GHB. It was a perfectly fine case of the week, but served largely to let us see the developing dynamics between Holmes, Watson, and Kitty.

So, Kitty. I spent much of the episode being ready to be done with her, even as we learned a bit more about her – for example, she helped Scotland Yard when a boy was missing and didn’t want any credit, which is, of course, admirable. She’s jealous of Watson (and the fact that she thinks Holmes gives Watson all the interesting work) and/but also trying to present herself as the anti-Watson, blaring loud music and painting things in an attempt to make Holmes’s townhouse hers as well. This got me thinking: Is Watson more biddable or actually just more compatible with Holmes, or both? Related: Bell points out that Watson seemed to keep Holmes stable, and Kitty is definitely doing the opposite, messing up both the investigation and Holmes’s ordered life.

Watson is worried as well, and does a background check on Kitty, which seems to surprise Holmes more than it should, or perhaps he’s just insulted: “Was there some question you didn’t think you could simply ask me?” Watson finds that Kitty has no records past five years ago, which Holmes of course knows; he tells Watson that Kitty was the victim of a horrific crime and had to hide her identity, and he offers Watson paperwork to prove it. I loved that Watson went to Kitty with this, and didn’t read anything until Kitty urged her to. The scene between the two of them at the end of the episode made me like Kitty better, and be more patient with the idea of sticking around. Holmes certainly seems to think they’re in it for the long haul: “I believe she will make an excellent investigator. Just not today.”

One thing I definitely like is the way Kitty’s presence has gotten rid of some of the power imbalance between Holmes and Watson and made them closer to equals. “It’s unlikely I’ll find another case even half as worthy of my attention.” “I could say the same thing.” “And indeed you should.” I love him acknowledging her skills, and this is making me less averse to an eventual romantic connection between the two.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “The file that was on your desk.” “The file that was in my drawer?”
  • “He failed to provide a compelling alibi and then refused to allow the police to search his home. I’m inclined to think he’s innocent.”
  • Bell: “When am I going to meet this Andrew guy? I thought we were going to get drinks.” I want to see this!
  • Interesting body language in the conference room scene: Joan and Sherlock sit close to each other, with Kitty far away.
  • “Did you think I would place an ad in the classifieds, ‘Detective seeks protege, no questions asked?'”

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Elementary Premiere Thoughts & Open Thread: “Step Nine”


Elementary returned for season two last night in fine form, and I am so happy to have this show back. I think it does a remarkably good job of simultaneously making its main character recognizably Sherlock Holmes and making something that works on its own terms as a modern procedural.

Holmes and Watson head to London in this premiere to find (and ultimately help) Lestrade, Holmes’s previous police contact who has now gotten himself into trouble related to a case. The London setting was a ton of fun, and it was delightful to see Holmes and Watson – this Holmes and Watson – back in the setting of Conan Doyle’s original stories. And it gave the show a chance to bring in two great British(/Welsh) actors to play iconic Holmesian characters, with Sean Pertwee as Inspector Lestrade and Rhys Ifans as Mycroft Holmes.

There was a more serious purpose for this London trip too, though. The episode is called “Step Nine” – in AA speak, that’s making amends. Holmes has Meeting Lestrade and Mycroft gave Watson some additional insight into Holmes’s past, and into the potential fallout from working with him. Mycroft tells Watson that “Sherlock is addicted to being himself,” and it’s clear that Lestrade’s current troubles have been caused at least partially by his addiction to being around Holmes – and getting credit for cases that Holmes solved. It’s completely logical that Lestrade’s career would suffer setbacks once Holmes left for New York, and that his sudden apparent loss of skill would be inexplicable to most of the people around him, and I love that the show pointed out how something the viewers are used to thinking of as good – Holmes moving to New York and teaming up with Watson – in fact wrought havoc on the lives of those he left behind.

This episode also gestured toward dealing with the obvious question of whether Holmes and Watson will ever become romantic, when Holmes states that Watson will sleep with Mycroft because his brother is a cheap knock-off of him. She doesn’t, but I’m glad that they brought this up – if nothing else, Holmes and Watson living together must lead to plenty of questions and assumptions, so it’s not like the issue could believably just not occur to the characters. Holmes states matter-of-factly that they can’t get involved because they work together and because of Watson’s former role as his sober companion, and while I’m not opposed to them exploring a relationship at some point, for now I’m perfectly happy to watch them as friends. Mycroft certainly belabors the point that Watson is really the only friend Holmes has ever had, and dealing with a friend is probably more than enough for Holmes to handle at this point.

(At one point Holmes mentions a previous case he worked with Lestrade, and it’s “The Adventure of the Norwood Builder.”)

What did everyone else think of this premiere?

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Elementary Finds Its Lestrade!

There have been some interesting pictures and tidbits trickling out as Elementary films its season two premiere in London, and British actor Sean Pertwee (Cadfael, Poirot) tweeted some news: he’ll be playing Lestrade, the police detective from the original Conan Doyle stories!

Rhys Ifans to Play Mycroft Holmes on Elementary

Rhys IfansCBS has announced that Welsh actor Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, The Amazing Spider-Man) will recur on season two of Elementary in the role of Sherlock’s estranged brother Mycroft. He’ll first appear in the premiere, which will be shot in London. From the press release as quoted by Give Me My Remote:

“Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) is called to London to revisit an old case, where he is forced to face his older brother, Mycroft. Although the siblings suffered a drastic falling-out a few years earlier, Mycroft allows Sherlock and Joan (Lucy Liu) to stay in his new home, 221B Baker Street. With Joan in the middle, the brothers are forced to confront their very complicated history.”

I’ll admit that I hadn’t really thought about whether they’d introduce Mycroft in this version of Sherlock Holmes, but I think Ifans is a great choice.

Elementary Season 2 Premiere to Film in London

Elementary in LondonCBS has announced some exciting news for Elementary fans: The season two premiere will be filmed in London! Holmes will be called back because of something to do with an old case, which will of course make him confront aspects of his past – and will mean that Watson finds out more about Holmes’s mysterious past as well. From the press release:

“We couldn’t be more excited to have this opportunity to see Sherlock’s old stomping grounds and take a closer look at a life that, until now, we’ve only been able to glimpse through the lens of his recovery,” said Executive Producer and Creator Robert Doherty. “By meeting old friends and revisiting prior cases, Watson will gain even more insight into Holmes. She’ll have to keep up with a Sherlock who is both more comfortable in his surroundings and even bolder in testing the limits of those around him.”

Elementary & “The Problem of Thor Bridge”

Jonny Lee Miller in ElementaryOne of the little things I love about Elementary is the way they casually drop in mentions of canonical Sherlock Holmes stories without making a big deal of it. I know I don’t always catch them – I’m not a Conan Doyle expert – but I like to point them out when I happen to notice the references. In last week’s episode, “A Landmark Story,” Joan asks if Sherlock has broken into funeral homes before, and he says something like “There was a certain problem of Thor Bridge.” But there’s an, er, problem with this “problem.” You can read the story “The Problem of Thor Bridge” for free online – and see for yourself that there’s nothing in it even close to breaking into a funeral home or performing an autopsy. Did the writers just throw in a random title? Were they confusing the story with a different one? Hmm. Perplexing. Thoughts?