Once again, so far this season, 'Elementary' is not giving us very much Sherlockian to talk about or even consider. And that is not really likely to change very much. But be that as it may, let's get as much as we can out of it and 'Play the Game.'
Our question for today is; Would we like our Watson to be deductively as capable as Holmes? His equal in crime solving?
Would the relationship have worked that way Canonically?
Is that part of the bigger problem with 'Elementary'?
The most popular modern (in time period made or time period in which it is suggested it takes place) adaptations of Holmes have all given us strong Watson's, in their own way, without Watson being Holmes' deductive rival. I am of course talking about Brett's Holmes, RDJ's and 'Sherlock'.
Although not a fan of RDJ's portrayal of Holmes, I do however like very much Jude Law's take on Watson.
I also find Martin Freeman's take on Watson more appealing actually than I do Benedict Comberbatch's Holmes. Of all the modern takes (in time period when the stories take place), his so far is the best Watson.
And who can really argue about both the fine actors who played Watson next to Brett's Holmes, David Burke, and Edward Hardwicke.
But, as I think will prove out, a Watson who is close to Holmes equal in detection skills will not be acceptable Canonical lore. How many super heroes out there have 'partners'? How many police procedural's have lead detective's on equal footing with another officer?
Part of, and a very big part, of the allure of Holmes and Watson, and other duo teams, is the difference in skills and personalities.
One of my favorite new shows this year so far is 'Forever'. A very Holmes like lead character supported by, in their own way, very capable 'side kicks'. Side-kicks that have different, but just as relevant skills. Often times an individual who can ground them to the conventions of society.
It does however seem our theatrical adaptations of Holmes need more social grounding than the Canonical Holmes.
Every one of the three most recent adaptations suggest Holmes in one form or another needs a social handler. RDJ's certainly did, as does 'Sherlock's'. 'Elementary's' most definetly does, he just hasn't realized it yet.
We find the companionship less needy in the Canon than we do on the modern big screen.
Brett's Holmes does not seem to need that social crutch.
But what makes this pairing most interesting Canonically and theatrically (where it works) is that both man are very different, and each has 'skills' that benefit the relationship and not make it competitive.
It will be interesting to see how 'Elementary' handles it.