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Old May 16 2014, 11:13 PM   #196
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

sojourner wrote: View Post
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Could his "downward spiral" merely be a ploy to keep Watson from moving out?
I don't see how. She doesn't know about the bag of heroin he hid in the book, and she didn't see him retrieve it.
You're making the assumption that retrieving the heroin is the only thing he does.
No, I'm doing the exact opposite of assuming: I'm limiting myself to the available evidence. The only actions we saw him take in the episode suggesting the "downward spiral" we're talking about were actions that he took in Watson's absence, viz, retrieving the heroin packet and going to MI-6 (although, as I've said, the latter may in fact have had just the opposite intent). Therefore, there is no evidence currently available to us which would suggest it's in any way a performance -- and we will be given no more evidence until the season premiere in several months. And as a fellow named S. Holmes once said, it is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts.
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Old May 16 2014, 11:28 PM   #197
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Now you're just moving the goal posts. Since my post was that there is a downward spiral and how the heroin played into it and not whether there is a downward spiral at all. If you didn't think a downward spiral was supported you should have just said as much instead of engaging in my point on whether it was a ploy or not.

Even Holmes would theorize on the fact that the heroin was taken and the potential uses of it.
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Old May 16 2014, 11:39 PM   #198
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

^What? No, the question on the table was not whether the "spiral" exists, but whether it was, in your own words, "a ploy to keep Watson from moving out." I addressed that specific hypothesis and nothing else, relying exclusively on the evidence presented in the episode, and pointed out that none of the depicted actions involved in the "spiral" were done with Watson as a spectator. Therefore, there is currently no evidentiary basis for the particular hypothesis that his actions were a performance for Watson's benefit. That is the only point I intended to make. You seem to have misread my comments and I'm not sure how that happened.

And, again, I'm not making assumptions, I'm advising against making assumptions. Just because I question one hypothesis does not mean I am convinced of its antithesis. It just means that I don't think we have sufficient evidence on which to base a conclusion.
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Old May 16 2014, 11:46 PM   #199
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

So then we are back to my original question, "could it be a ploy". The assumption you are making is that the only thing he will do/has done is retrieve the heroin. An action that does nothing by itself unless we theorize on why he retrieved it. It may be the start of a downward spiral as he starts using again. OR, it may be used as a prop in order to convince Watson that he is using again, prompting her to decide not to move out. A result he has shown to very much prefer and would fit in with his exhibited use of manipulation. It would fit the character.
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Old May 17 2014, 12:18 AM   #200
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

sojourner wrote: View Post
So then we are back to my original qustion, "could it be a ploy". The assumption you are making is that the only thing he will do/has done is retrieve the heroin.

Please listen to me. I am not saying that is the only thing he has done. I am saying that is the only thing we have seen him do. If he did anything more, we do not know about it yet, because we only know what we were shown in the episode. And the only conclusions we can make at present are based on what we have actually seen up to this point.

There is an enormous and fundamental difference between saying "We have no evidence that it happened" and saying "It did not happen." And if you can't recognize that difference, then we are at an irresolvable impasse.


An action that does nothing by itself unless we theorize on why he retrieved it. It may be the start of a downward spiral as he starts using again. OR, it may be used as a prop in order to convince Watson that he is using again, prompting her to decide not to move out. A result he has shown to very much prefer and would fit in with his exhibited use of manipulation. It would fit the character.
But we have no evidence yet to suggest he plans any such performance. Again -- I am not saying "I know he will not do this." I'm only saying we do not yet have evidence that he will do this. If he does, we won't know until we see another episode and are given more evidence, and that won't be for several months. Until then, we have no reason to favor that hypothesis.

But again, I think we have a very solid reason to doubt it -- not based on anything to do with Watson, but based on a simple understanding of what drug addiction is. At every moment of Sherlock's life, he is tempted to use drugs, tempted in a way that non-addicts cannot fully comprehend. If you see an addict hoarding a drug, or taking it out of his hoard and putting it in his pocket, the most probable explanation by an overwhelming margin is that he's on the verge of a relapse. Even if he decided to indulge that temptation as a ploy to make Watson stay with him, that would just be an excuse for acting on the very real craving he can't help but feel. It would still be a genuine relapse regardless of how he justified it. Heck, I imagine many relapses are based on some kind of rationalization or excuse.
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Old May 17 2014, 01:57 AM   #201
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Christopher wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
So then we are back to my original qustion, "could it be a ploy". The assumption you are making is that the only thing he will do/has done is retrieve the heroin.

Please listen to me. I am not saying that is the only thing he has done. I am saying that is the only thing we have seen him do. If he did anything more, we do not know about it yet, because we only know what we were shown in the episode. And the only conclusions we can make at present are based on what we have actually seen up to this point.

There is an enormous and fundamental difference between saying "We have no evidence that it happened" and saying "It did not happen." And if you can't recognize that difference, then we are at an irresolvable impasse.




An action that does nothing by itself unless we theorize on why he retrieved it. It may be the start of a downward spiral as he starts using again. OR, it may be used as a prop in order to convince Watson that he is using again, prompting her to decide not to move out. A result he has shown to very much prefer and would fit in with his exhibited use of manipulation. It would fit the character.
But we have no evidence yet to suggest he plans any such performance. Again -- I am not saying "I know he will not do this."
And yet, here you are posting paragraph after paragraph arguing against what was merely a simple suggestion of an alternative use for the heroin. We have no evidence either way on what he will do with it. My comment was one possibility that for some reason you seem to be pedantically arguing against.

Why didn't you just say, "we have no evidence for that, but it is possible" and leave it at that? Instead, you attacked the theory immediately with "She didn't see him take the heroin". Which implied that taking the heroin was the start and end of it, which is blatantly silly. Why have the scene in the first place if it won't be followed up on?

You do know how conjecture works?
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Old May 17 2014, 04:30 AM   #202
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Yes, it's a conjecture, but frankly I think it's a conjecture grounded in a fundamental misunderstanding of how addiction works. Addiction is not an act or a pretense. You're dwelling on the Watson question and totally ignoring the far more crucial reason why I think it's a bad conjecture. The Watson thing is a sidebar. Heck, the main reason Holmes wants Watson to stay is because he's afraid he can't resist his addiction without her. So of course it's more about his addiction than it is about Watson. That's the point I'm really trying to make here: that trying to explain his display of addictive behavior as "really" being about something else -- anything else -- is unrealistic, because the very nature of addiction is that it overrides other considerations.
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Old May 17 2014, 05:01 AM   #203
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In real life it may be how an addiction works, but the writers on the show have also shown a penchant for misleading us with the real intention of a scene. So, no. I don't have a "fundamental misunderstanding of addiction". I'm just factoring in how the writers like to twist expectations.
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Old May 17 2014, 08:25 AM   #204
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Of course in a show that's dedicated to advertising a sobriety program whose effectiveness is mysterious and controversial, I wouldn't put it past the writers if they get things wrong. The idea that it might be a ploy seems silly to me, but it is not mutually exclusive with Holmes being on the verge of relapse. The heroin might be a "ploy" to get Watson's attention without pretending in the least. Or he might intend to ritually destroy it in front of her and make a speech how he will work to make their collaboration work even with her moving out.

The scene was unambiguous though, I think it's pretty clear what the heroin there was intended to stand for, so far nothing suggests it is anything else, and anything (with the possible exception of him throwing it out) is a bit far-fetched. It is strange though, the transition to him going to MI6 was a bit abrupt. It seems to be what you people suggest – he clearly believes that he needs MI6 to not relapse, but still, the connection between the scenes leaves something open to the imagination.

Since this heroin arc is the first (?) time the show has shown Sherlock admitting to himself and the audience that openly he is close to relapse, for a second there I thought this might be about a case. But that's ridiculous, especially for a season cliffhanger, and especially with the suggestions earlier in the season. Still, that doesn't mean we can't debate it as a possibility! (Especially if it involves aliens. Then we definitely should.)
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Old June 6 2014, 03:15 PM   #205
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

I received this via a Sherlock Holmes mailing list to which I subscribe -- Christopher wrote an analysis of the differences between Sherlock and Elementary for Locus.

It's good work, and worth reading.
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Old June 6 2014, 05:15 PM   #206
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^Thanks for the plug!
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Old June 9 2014, 01:47 AM   #207
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Thanks for the link. Good job with that article, Christopher. I agree completely.
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Old June 9 2014, 03:49 AM   #208
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Great article, Christopher. I have no desire to watch Sherlock, but fell in love with Elementary from the Pilot, primarily because of the performances of the actors and the show's take on the familiar characters created by Doyle.
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Old June 22 2014, 06:42 AM   #209
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Excellent article, Christopher. It sums up a lot of my thoughts about both series, and particularly how Elementary has surpassed Sherlock in terms of my personal enjoyment. The third season of Sherlock was especially irritating, whereas Elementary grew and matured. I'll continue to watch Sherlock, but I would also tune in for a 90-minute Masterpiece special "Benedict Cumberbatch Reads the Lower Manhattan Phone Book".
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Old June 24 2014, 08:11 PM   #210
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Re: ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

I also noticed some of the comments in the article defending Sherlock were frequently of the nature of Sherlock itself. Many of them seemed to be the more immature and brashly excitable kinds. I didn't read too many and almost none I did see were defending Elementary which leads me to believe there's a lot of Sherlock fans making the rounds to tear down Elementary for daring to be better in the eyes of some.

That said, I do like both shows equally, but because they are both so different in their tones and interpetations that comparing them shouldn't be necessary.
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