Elementary Thoughts & Open Thread: Art in the Blood


I had very mixed feelings about “Art in the Blood.” On the one hand, I’m always excited when MI-6 comes into things, and I love the complicated Holmes family dynamics. But I just can’t seem to buy into the Mycroft/Joan relationship. But Mycroft’s “I am British Intelligence” comment made me very happy. And it’s amazing that he managed to keep that from Sherlock, of all people, though as he points out, it’s not like they’re close.

MI-6 recruits Sherlock to solve the murder of their ex-analyst – and it turns out that the man had been analyzing him, years ago. But the analyst had bipolar disorder and was no longer working for MI-6, and had become the analyst who cried wolf – so this time, when he insisted there was a mole in the Circus, so to speak, he was mostly ignored – except, of course, he was correct and ended up murdered for his trouble. The “invisible ink” tattoos he used to store data were an interesting twist – something I don’t think I’ve seen used on a procedural before.

Joan’s encounter with Mycroft started out so well – “No.” “No to what?” “No to whatever you came here to say.” – and I was happy that she recognized that she’d never be able to trust Mycroft. “[Sherlock] deserves better than you. And so do I.” But then she finds out that the reason Mycroft kept working for MI-6 – after getting out at one point – was to make a deal to protect Sherlock, who wound up unknowingly mixed up in a terrorist plot while in the depths of his addiction. And I get that Joan would be grateful and see Mycroft’s actions differently once she knows his motivations, but I don’t like that this revelation apparently magically fixed her trust issues and made her ready to jump into a relationship.

And, of course, Sherlock did not react well to Joan’s announcement that she was moving out. “You get that it’s never a good time with you, right?” she points out, and she’s right, but this is one of those situations where both their viewpoints are sympathetic and understandable, and so this all was heartbreaking. And I’m curious to see what the show would look like next season if Joan does move out. At the end of the episode, Sherlock realizes that Mycroft is being framed for the analyst’s murder – which he realized because he recognized his brother’s fingerprints, a great touch – so presumably the trio will have to put their differences on hold to find the real killer. So I will try to put my worries for next season on hold as well.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • I liked Sherlock going to the cops at the beginning – it shows both how important Joan is to him and how much he’s come to trust his police coworkers.
  • I really thought Sherlock was going to hug Joan when he finally saw her safe at home. JUST HUG HER.
  • “Everything I’ve told you is true, more or less. I’ve just omitted a great deal.”
  • “What’s your double 0 designation? License to kill, or just annoy?”
  • “I saved your brother’s life, too.” “I’ll let that slide.”
  • “Worried I’ll show you up?” “More worried you’ll start a war.”
  • “I came in a less orthodox entrance to see if I could. I could.”
  • “I saw a mole hunt up close once before.” During the Cold War. Please no one tell me this isn’t a Le Carre reference.
  • Ooh, MI-6 wants Sherlock permanently. Obviously that would completely change the show and I doubt it will happen, but it would be interesting.

Elementary Thoughts & Open Thread: Paint It Black


“Paint It Black” was Lucy Liu’s directorial debut – she did a great job – and revolved around Watson being kidnapped by Mycroft’s French mob buddies and Sherlock and Mycroft trying to find a Swiss bank employee who stole customer information (including info on the mobsters) in order to trade him for Joan. The way Sherlock went about solving the case was basically his normal methodology without the limits he usually places on himself because of societal conventions and some attempt at being a decent person, which is to say that he proved himself capable of deception, torture, and more when Joan’s life was at stake.

And, of course, he’s extremely angry at Mycroft, who has – so far as Sherlock and the audience think for most of the episode – been working with the French mob for years, so he doesn’t have to lay off employees at his restaurant. Sherlock is, of course, not impressed by this reasoning, especially now that Mycroft’s actions have put Joan in danger: “I wish it had taken you. The leukemia. I wish it had rotted you to bones.” “Sometimes I wish the very same thing.” Sherlock tries to convince Mycroft that his mob friends will just kill them all, rather than keeping their promise to release Joan, and he is, of course, correct. But then Mycroft says “paint it black” – apparently some kind of code word – and he and Joan are seemingly saved by some sort of British government operatives. Has it been some sort of long undercover thing for him? Is this how he will end up “running the government,” as the original Mycroft did?

One of my favorite things about this episode was the way that it made clear the depth of Sherlock’s feelings for Joan without making it explicitly a romantic thing. At one point, Mycroft says Joan is the person Sherlock loves most in the world, and his brother certainly doesn’t disagree. Mycroft cares about Joan too, to some extent, but not the way his brother does: “If anything happened to Joan, I’d never forgive myself.” “Well, that won’t be an issue. If anything happens to Joan, I will murder you.” Sherlock was amazingly angry, and upfront about his feelings: “Someone for whom I care with all the depth I am capable of mustering. She is remarkable in ways you could never imagine.” But a lesser show would have used this incident for him to have some sort of revelation about being in love with Joan, and I’m so glad they didn’t go that route. I’m not opposed to that happening eventually, but the way the relationships were handled in this episode seemed truer to the characters as they are right now.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • At one point it seems like Sherlock is actually typing in Joan’s whole phone number. It drives me nuts when people do that with people they’d clearly have in their contacts.
  • “You’re not sure you can do what needs to be done without her.” Siblings certainly know how to hit where it hurts.
  • “We need only be our father’s sons.” I love the trope of people who usually eschew their family connections using them for a case.
  • Mycroft on Sherlock: “He can be the instrument of your salvation or your demise.”
  • “He may have more information than he knows he does. It’s a common affliction.”
  • “Your brother, he’s insane.” “Yes, that’s always been a matter of some debate within the family.”

Elementary: Behind the Scenes of Lucy Liu’s Directorial Debut!

ElementaryStar Lucy Liu directed tonight’s episode of Elementary, “Paint It Black,” and the network released this very interesting video in which she talks about the experience (and Jonny Lee Miller and Rhys Ifans give their perspectives, too). It also shows a few more teases about the hour than we’d seen in the preview. Can’t wait to see the episode!

Elementary Thoughts & Open Thread: The Man with the Twisted Lip


“The Man with the Twisted Lip” has an interesting place among Elementary episodes: it’s one of the few (the only?) that shares a name with one of the original Conan Doyle stories. You can read “The Man with the Twisted Lip” right here. It doesn’t seem to have too much to do with the episode, other than the fact that both stories start when Watson is asked to look for a friend’s missing addict family member and is then led into the actual mystery. Anyone see other connections? One thing that jumped out at me from the original story is that there’s no actual murder! Fascinating. There is murder in the episode, of course, and it’s super-creepy murder by drone. There’s also a tiny mosquito-like drone spying on Holmes and Watson. “A bug that is literally a bug. It’s like something from a sci-fi movie.”

And the big thing going on this week: Mycroft’s back! And he wants to date Joan! Of course, this is happening at the same time as Sherlock is recognizing that his lack of meaningful relationships is something making him potentially in danger of a relapse. “If I can never value a relationship properly, then at what point do I stop trying to maintain them?” “But I am without peer, and that’s the greatest threat to my sobriety.” He may be without peer, but Joan is the closest he has, so of course he flips out at the idea of Mycroft “taking” her. “We could draw up some sort of shared custody arrangement,” he suggests, and Joan, of course, objects. She’s so great here, constantly asserting her agency in this battle between brothers while making it clear that she cares about Sherlock and doesn’t want to hurt him by jumping into things with Mycroft. And I love that Sherlock apologizes, but also that she doesn’t completely fall for it: “I value you as a person.” “That’s nice. It really is. But your apologies always seem to come after you already got what you wanted.”

At the same time, Mycroft’s . . . maybe plotting something? Involved in something? The Previouslies remind us of his secret plans of some sort, and in this episode Sherlock and Joan figure out that French mobsters are hanging out at Mycroft’s restaurant. And then Joan gets kidnapped! So we’ll see where that all goes this week.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • So delightful to see Ms. Hudson again!
  • “We email sometimes. Mycroft and I are friends. That’s what friends do.”
  • “Did he take liberties with you?” is quite something to say when you’re in a sleeping woman’s room uninvited, dude.
  • “Have you considered the likelihood that you consistently undervalue that woman?” “I hold her work in the highest esteem.” “I’m not talking about her work, I’m talking about her.”
  • “She has a very symmetrical face. She will attract a mate when she’s ready.”
  • Is Joan really going to move out??
  • “I think you might have been right.” “Yeah. On what topic?”
  • “Can’t we find a hacker collective that accepts cash?”
  • I’m worried about what’s going to happen with Chekhov’s heroin, you guys.

Elementary Preview: Paint It Black

ElementaryLast week’s episode of Elementary ended on quite a cliffhanger – Joan getting kidnapped – and this preview for this week’s “Paint It Black” may or may not make you feel any better about the situation. This kidnapping means Sherlock has an extremely personally important case to solve, of course, but as his brother points out, it also means he has to solve it without Joan, which could present both practical and psychological challenges. And, for the record, I’m still not convinced Mycroft is one of the good guys.

Elementary Promo: The Man with the Twisted Lip

ElementaryTonight on Elementary: Mycroft returns for an episode with the same title as one of the original Conan Doyle stories. I’ll be talking about the story in my post about the episode, so here’s your heads up if you want to do your homework. (Homework not required, of course.) Here’s a promo for the hour:

Movie Updates: Pan, Under Milk Wood, Wolverine & More

Levi MillerLevi Miller will play the title role in Pan.

Rhys Ifans is going to star in back to back English and Welsh adaptations of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood.

Fox has announced a bunch of release dates for Marvel things, including Fantastic Four 2 and a Wolverine sequel.

Sofia Coppola is in talks to direct a live-action The Little Mermaid.

Warner Bros. has acquired Harlan Coben’s new book Missing You.

Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin may direct the adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s The Son.

Ben McKenzie to Gotham & More TV Casting News

Ben McKenzieBen McKenzie will star as James Gordon in Fox’s origin story Gotham.

Author Diana Gabaldon will cameo on Outlander.

Rhys Ifans is returning for several more episodes of Elementary this season.

Will Sasso will guest star on About a Boy.

Under the Dome has added Grace Victoria Cox.

Game of Thrones is promoting Nathalie Emmanuel to series regular.

100 Code has cast Dominic Monaghan and Michael Nyqvist.

Elementary Thoughts & Open Thread: Blood Is Thicker


Mycroft is still in New York during this episode of Elementary, and while he isn’t directly involved in the case – which is good, because too much of that strains credulity – there’s a definite theme of family estrangement and reunion running through both the case and the personal subplots here. The case is about a wealthy tech entrepreneur who is hiding his illness to avoid shareholder panic, but reunites with his biological daughter, who is then our victim of the week. Does he just want a blood transfusion, or does he actually want to know his daughter? And is she well-intentioned or just hoping for money from his will? It’s probably a little of all of that, but we’ll never know, as the man’s wife in order to kill him (as widowhood would leave her wealthier than a divorce would) and then killed her husband’s daughter to cover her tracks.

In between adorable/hostile sibling fencing matches – “the age-old tradition of two siblings hitting each other” – Mycroft tries to broker another father/child reunion, telling Sherlock that their father wants Sherlock to move back to London, for some mysterious unstated reason, and offering him the keys to 221B Baker Street. At first, Sherlock is polite but thinks little of it: “I appreciate the gesture, but I live here now.” But Mycroft points out that their father owns the building where Sherlock lives and has control over the trust that pays Joan’s salary and tells him “For the first time in your life, you’re making decisions for two people.” Sherlock makes two big steps in personal growth here: he realizes that his success in New York is because of the people, primarily Joan, rather than the place (“I feel that I have thrived here not because of who I am, but because of who I have come to know”) and he talks to Joan about it, suggesting that they could both move to London. They decline, because neither really want to go, and that’s good, because at the end of the episode the show reveals that the father had no idea what was going on after all – this is all a plot cooked up by Mycroft and a mystery partner. Any theories?? Moriarty springs to mind, for one . . .

Other favorite bits:

  • I loved that Joan (seemingly) noticed the first big clue in the case independently.
  • “Having never milked a moose, I imagine one must catch us in the right mood.”
  • Sherlock on writing a demurral/apology to his father: “It was not unlike carving the words into my very skin.”

Elementary: Blood Is Thicker Preview + The Marchioness Recap

ElementaryHere’s a preview for tonight’s new episode of Elementary, “Blood Is Thicker.” Oh hey, looks like Mycroft’s sticking around for at least this one more episode. And will Holmes really move back to London?? (I assume not.)

And if you need a refresher on what went down last week, here’s a recap video for “The Marchioness:”