Friday, May 16, 2014

Elementary - S2E24 #48 - "The Grand Experiment" - was a failure.

Don't get me wrong, there were a few great moments in this episode, but for the most part the finale left me pretty disappointed.

And I guess in a sense they did have a "Final Problem" of sorts, only with Mycroft going on an hiatus and not Sherlock.

We left off last week with Sherlock informing us that Mycroft was being framed for murder by a mole in MI6.
That in and of itself could and should have made for a great story line.
But without the framing of Mycroft there was no indication that there was a mole within MI6 that needed ferreting out. And if Mycroft had not been framed, Sherlock would not have become involved.
The last couple of episodes became more about spy's playing spy games that became overly involved because, well, spy's like playing spy games.

And although there were several great places to use the line about Mycroft's lack of energy and industry, the line became more of a declaration of failure (which was the point they were trying to make) than a declaration of possibility and admiration of Mycroft's intelligence. When Rhys Ifans was first introduced as Mycroft, there was a promise of intellectual sparing, even though they hated each other, that never materialized. Instead of being Holmes mental better, we ended the season seemly, slightly dim-witted, but an unknowingly caring, older brother. Over the course of the last couple of weeks, Mycroft has become even less mentally astute. (I just about barfed at the closing hug!)

Ever since Mycroft said, "I am British Intelligence", it seems like he has been trying to prove he is not. That should have been the starting point on a case to prove how deeply involved and necessary Mycroft was.

We have been led to believe that some where in both brothers past, something happened to them that created this wedge. Something bigger than Sherlock's drug habit, something before then. Yet no matter how hard Mycroft seemingly tries to make amends, it never happens and we are never told the base reason for the mutual discontent. They milked that story line way longer than they should have.

And I was hoping they would bring Irene back.

This show, after the season it has had, needed to end on some type of positive note about one or more of the relationships within, or on a positive note about Sherlock's new maturity or skills. It failed to end in a very Sherlockian way for me.

I think the show does continue to examine relationships in a way that maybe has not been done before, and even if I don't like the way they do it, I do find it a plus in the show.

I do however think some of the great Sherlockian lines used in this episode were wasted on where and when they were use.

This episode also become way to convoluted and tingled up in it's own story line.

Wasted also on the show was the lack of re-use of Mrs. Hudson. Although mentioned, hardly ever present.
I can't believe I am going to quote Sherlock Peoria here, but, they had the money to blow up a car, but not enough to bring back Mrs.Hudson? (That was painful.)

I am not sure where the Watson moving out story line is going to go, but with Sherlock's lack of growth in his relationship with her (and in general), you can't really blame her for looking for new digs. The line Sherlock made when entering the 'safe house' library (which was a great room by the way!) about "don't touch the first additions, or Watson" just goes to prove the point.
Lucy Liu, it must be said, is doing a great job of showing her increasing lack of respect for Sherlock's behaviour.
And every time Sherlock seems sincere in his feelings for Watson, the show allows him to blow it. He states the one of the things he has learned during his time with her is that he is capable of change, yet he is never allowed to.

This episode left me feeling like I needed to defend this show, as I have done a little in the past. And, like I said, there were a few very good moments, but the show was way to disjointed for me, and it lacked a good Sherlockian ending for the season. High hopes dashed.
The episodes have become way to repetitive in plot and personalities (much like the Hamish Macbeth series of books).

So for those reasons, I can only give it


  1. Appreciate your honesty.

    You summarized the reasons, why I lost hope in this show.


    1. I haven't lost hope yet, but it is getting close.

  2. I think I have to re-watch this episode. Your review has made some interesting points. I will say I liked it better that you, but is three pipes to your two that much better? "... CBS actually spent the money to blow up a car. They certainly never spend it on Miss Hudson, who gets referenced once again in the first post-credit scene, but only appears once per season." I'm not sure where Brad gets his information on "Elementary's" budget, but I'd like to see his source on his financial speculations (unless, as I suspect, he's pulling it out of his butt, then forget it). There may be many reasons for Ms. Hudson's criminal underuse, and we can all agree we'd like to see her on more, but I doubt money is one of them.

    1. Brads point was more along the lines of it seeming silly to spend money on explosions and not put out to bring back liked individuals to the show.
      I am sure there is more to it than that, but it is a good point.
      There were some things I liked about the episode, but not enough to increase the pipe count.

    2. One of the writers tweeted after "The Man With the Twisted Lip" that we'll be seeing more of Ms. Hudson during this four story arc. I have a feeling due to time constraints her appearance in "The Grand Experiment" was edited out. That is one of the problems with a convoluted plot. Like "The Retired Colourman" the guilty goes to Holmes to solve the crime at the behest of others ("He has been sent on by the Yard. Just as medical men occasionally send their incurables to a quack. They argue that they can do nothing more, and that whatever happens the patient can be no worse than he is," Holmes says about Josiah Amberley. As dialogue makes clear, Sharington institutes the mole hunt at Sir Walter's request.)

      Usually, "Elementary" uses quotes from the Canon in subtle and appropriate ways. They don't call attention to themselves but highlight plot or character. For the most part, they stick out like a sore thumb in this episode, but I thought Ifans quoting Holmes assessment of Mycroft from GREE was well done and turned the quote on its head. Unlike you, I was touched by the hug at the end of the show. It brought to the fore the fact Mycroft is a cancer survivor who got to make amends with the estranged brother that, despite past history, he loves, "This last year has been a blessing", and may never see again. Yes, Rhys Ifans is not the Mycroft from the Canon (or the overused one who seemingly gave Moriarty dirt on his brother or brushes his murder of Magnussen under a governmental rug, as in another current series) but one who can be as brilliant as Sherlock, as when prodded by Sherlock to look for clues in "Paint it Black", and shows some flashes in "The Marchioness", but who really does have "no ambition and no energy". Even though he's the older brother, he seems to be living in the shadow of his father and Sherlock. As Joan says, he's had successes in his life to be proud of but the familial bar has been set high and is haunted by 15 year-old Sherlock's assessment and it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps Sherlock's joining MI6 is away to help Mycroft out of his predicament, but why the heroin? The episode started out with a bang (Mycroft's car) but ends with a shrug. Good review as always, John.

    3. This episode and the past couple have offered promise then withdrawn it.
      Most of the time the Sherlockian quotes are thrown in at odd places but this time where they were used really bothered me.

      I like what you said about Mycroft making amends after being a cancer survivor, but felt with the pacing and still unresolved issues in the season, the hug was out of place.
      Thanks for stopping by.