Friday, April 25, 2014

Elementary S2, Ep 21 #41 - The Man with the Twisted Lip - a review

Mycrofts back, and Watson has him. . . if she wants. And Ms. Hudson is back.

Last nights story opens with Holmes at one of his AA meetings.
While Watson is waiting to join Holmes for the trip home, Watson gets involved with the disappearance of another AA members sister.
When they get home after talking to Tess about her sister, Mycroft is waiting with dinner ready.
We soon learn that Mycroft wants to be more than friends with Watson, again. We also learn Mycroft, again, once again, is up to something.
The hunt for the missing sister soon involves Holmes and Watson in a triple murder mystery and high tech gadgets.

The opening, one relative seeking information about the disappearance of another, is a nod to TWIS, as is the fact that the case was introduced to Holmes from Watson.

As was also the case with TWIS, the case had references to Holmes drug use.

What I found interesting about the opening scene is the dialog from Holmes to his meetings companions about him having no peers. Basically him saying the reason he has no real friends is that there is no one with his mental capabilities that he can actually form a friendship with. All others would be, to steal a phrase from "Sherlock", boring.

I think this is a Canonical reference to the few times Holmes is surprised by others thinking there are better detectives (or smarter people?) than himself. I can think of Insp. Baynes in WIST.
It could also be a nod to Holmes' unsociable life style.

Also within those first few minutes we find a Holmes that also thinks some cases are beneath his talents, another Canonical nod.

Some other interesting aspects of this episode.

I don't think there are many Sherlockians who do not wish Mycrofts character had been a little more fleshed out in the Canon, or that he had more things to do. Canonically we are told how bright he is and how important he is, but rarely do we see much of that.
This episode, and a couple others, has handled this fairly well. Mycroft is still a mystery to us, and we, as of yet, do not know what he is involved in, but we know it is going to be something (Is it for Queen and Country or is it something more nefarious?). Is he using Joan? Or is his affection real. Is he trying to get Holmes involved in some investigation? When we think of the Canonical Mycroft most of us probably just see him standing in the Diogenes Club, when actually we are told he is involved in much more than that. This series is giving him some what more energy and personality.

The story is becoming pretty interesting with some nice twists, and it will also be interesting to see where it ends up. The topic, drones in the hands of civilians and the use of drones in the military,  is quiet topical at the moment.

Something else this episode is doing well is examining the relationship between Holmes and Watson, and why they need each other. Is Holmes now co-dependent on Watson, or is it that they are really friends?
Canonically it doesn't seem that Watson has as much need for Holmes as Holmes has for Watson. We see Watson move out a couple of times. This episode suggests that Watson would not have as much trouble 'moving out' as Holmes would. I think within the next couple of episodes we are going to get to examine that relationship.
It is also doing a real good job of developing the realization for Holmes of the importance and position of Watson in his life.

Although interesting this time, again, the case is not as important as the personalities.

With all the peripheral goings on, and Myrofts involvement, and the use of high tech military applications, we may be headed towards a modern adaption of BRUC. Those two men in the Diogenes Club are going to be involved soon.

Some of the deductions were handled well; The hidden track on the recordings, foot prints near the bodies. The gun splatter pattern.

The short comings of the episode are the same as the last few weeks, but not as many.
Ms. Hudson's involvement was unnecessary, unless she will be given more to do in the upcoming weeks.
And, if the murderers are willing to use a bug bite to kill the doctor, why not use a bug to kill the whistle-blower?

But it's strengths were, well, a little stronger.
The story is pretty good, so far.
Mycroft, as he is Canonically, is being very mysterious.

I enjoyed this episode and look forward to it's resolution.
For that reason I give it;

out of a possible five.


  1. I'm not sure how I feel about this episode. The Mycroft/Joan relationship was sprung on viewers out of left field and for me never seemed believable. I like how Liu tried her damnedest to sell Joan's fondness for Mycroft in the restaurant scene, but because the viewer knows Mycroft has a hidden agenda, it's possible she's getting played which leads to a greater feeling of unbelievability about the pair.

    The Mycroft/Joan business leads to another aspect that always strikes a false note, the Sherlock/Mycroft sibling rivalry over Joan. Of course adult brothers can and do behave like the children they once were, but I feel that it should be played with a bit more British reserve. This episode frames it as Mycroft stealing Sherlock's only friend, but we also get the impression that the friendship is still not that deep (Joan remarking that Sherlock always seems to apologize after he gets what he wants, Joan thinking about moving out, and earlier in the season Lestrade and Moriarty's comments that Joan doesn't really know what Sherlock is like). While the "without peer" comment plays into the theme about the difficulties of forming true emotional connections with others, it also strikes a false note because after two seasons "Elementary" has yet to establish its Sherlock is without peer among TV detectives and the undercutting of Sherlock's brilliance on the show with Joan occasionally outshining him.

    The drone aspect was well done. Such insect-sized drones do exist, despite mockery from some corners, but the solution devolves into the usual "Elementary" evil-business-exec-killing-to-save-his-bacon. If only the show would stop focusing on murder as its crime-of-the-week; so many interesting story-telling possibilities could open up.

    As with the fight between brothers over Joan's (platonic or otherwise) affections, the show ends in the cliffhanger kidnapped-damsel-in-distress. Will the brothers overcome their feud to unite to save Joan? We'll have to wait and see next week if the show goes into that cliched direction or, as some of the best "Elementary" episodes have done, go into unexpected directions. Until next Thursday, I'm holding judgement on "Twist".

    By the way, good catch on the opening scenes of both the story and the episode. Will Mycroft turn out to be the man with the metaphorical twisted lip, lying about being a restauranteur and his feelings for Joan? We (and others) complaint about the show introducing interesting secondary characters then not revisiting them, but Ms. Hudson appearance highlights the difficulty; she is given nothing to do. Now, one can make her a regular on a show and make her a quirky part of the ambiance (as in "Sherlock" and the Downey movies) but who does nothing to advance the story, or one can use her sparingly like Doyle and introduce her as needed (ushering a client into the sitting room or bringing breakfast) but again she's only apart of the ambiance and not a plot-mover. Ms. Hudson will re-appear in these last shows. I'm trusting she''l be given more to do.

  2. I agree with you for the most part.
    I don't like the relationship between Mycroft and Joan, and I keep hoping for a twist that will explain it.
    And it also goes along with 'Elementary's' weaknesses are the same, but at least a little subdued.

    The sibling rivalry is also tiresome, but again, not as bad as it was.
    Mrs. Hudson was a waste of time.

    But like I said, I did enjoy the episode, and part of that comes from hoping it will all come together in the end.