Random TV Note: “Elementary”

You know, I’m really enjoying this show. Stuff I like:

* Let’s be honest: My main thing that I like is the way Sherlock’s addiction history and recovery are handled. I like that he’s skeptical and combative about 12-steppery yet still does a lot of the hard work of it, the constant apologies (the first season of this show really was like that cartoon with the heterosexual date movie theater showing “Things Exploding/Men Apologizing”) and amends. I loved his speech at the beginning of an episode earlier this season about how he wonders what he’d be like in an earlier, less distraction-crazed, more frustration-tolerant era. It was such a great, poignant nod to the character’s origins as well as a legitimate insight into addiction. I like that Joan is completely sold on AA ideology and he’s not, and they both get to be right in different ways. I like that even when he’s really trying, he’s a jittery mess of black-and-white thinking–he’s such an emotional fascist, and he makes so many mistakes (and gives terrible advice, wow), and his attempts to grow as a person are kind of hilarious disasters.

* Johnny Lee Miller is just painful/funny to watch. He is so constantly uncomfortable–awkward, edgy, you can see the intrusive addictive thinking poking its jagged edges out of his brainpan. He’s rigid and constantly trying to solve his problems, and I laugh and laugh. Lucy Liu’s Watson is too often written as a sighing straight-man character, but somehow they sell their chemistry so that she never comes across as scolding or predictable.

* The mysteries are basically pointless and forgettable, although I did love “THIS IS A FRAUDULENT DIMETRODON” this week. There are a lot of weird little touches like that.

* I do enjoy many of the side characters, esp Gregson and Alfonso, although they never get quite enough depth.

I think the show works best as a week-to-week rather than a big gulping binge-watch, just because the mysteries really are not great. And some of the humor is dumb (I get that the whole “I’m Gaye” thing this week was meant to make Sherlock look like an awkward jerk, but it was not as funny as I think it wanted to be). But I love the rapport between Sherlock and Joan, and it’s a treat which will make you feel better about your own amends-trainwrecks and apologies-gone-wrong.

About Eve Tushnet

CLOSE | X

HIDE | X