[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF ELEMENTARY]
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?'”