ELEMENTARY - News, Reviews, and Discussion

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Allyn Gibson, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored The Mod Awakens Moderator

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    Time dilation drugs are not that far off, and can have some potentially frightening applications in addition to any positive uses. Drugs like LSD, PCP, Ketamine, Mescaline, etc. can drastically alter ones perception of time. Stimulants can cause you to overestimate time while depressants can cause you to underestimate it. Drugs that reduce Dopamine activity in the brain can make you feel that time is passing much more slowly.

    Advances in the field have given rise to thought experiments on how this can be used in various applications like prisons, where cruelly a prisoner can be made to perceive that they spent 1,000 years in prison when in fact they just spent eight hours in a hospital room, much like the DS9 episode Hard Time. How anyone could think it would be a good idea to horrifically mentally torture a person like that and then let them out upon the world again the same day is a beyond me.

    There's a philosopher named Rebecca Roache who quite frankly has some pretty repugnant views on what constitutes "justice" and how we should treat prisoners using time dilation drugs. Her ideas rank right up there with those two psychologists who got paid $70 million dollars to develop torture techniques for the US government.

    http://aeon.co/magazine/society/should-biotech-make-life-hellish-for-criminals/

    On a side note, early in the episode I kept wondering if this was a repeat because it was so familiar. It was because the show Forever did an episode last year involving their Sherlock like lead investigating a pharmaceutical corporation who was illegally conducting trials on an anti-aging drug and then murdering the subjects too. It didn't involve time dilation but actual physical anti-aging, but also resulted in causing severe brain damage, which is why they tried to cover it up. I knew the episode was new, but it was so close in plot and theme that it confused me for a moment. Not saying it's a rip-off or anything of that sort, just a confusing coincidence (and certainly Forever wouldn't have a leg to stand on in that regard since it's blatantly Sherlock/Elementary/House meets New Amsterdam).
     
  2. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A concept I heard of once was that of the "Near-Death Star."

    Folks with locked in syndrome, people at the end of life, etc. can live longer, do more by having these and other drugs--and maybe some internet connection, so that they can have a pre-death afterlife of sorts.

    The fast computer time and these war-drugs would have a legitimate use.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You mean this?

    http://theinfosphere.org/Near-Death_Star
     
  4. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Last episode was pretty intense. It went in places I didn't expect it to go. And I was shocked to guess who the main villain is right away – I haven't read The Adventure of the Illustrious Client, so I wasn't tipped off to their identity, and there was nothing to suggest it was them (they weren't even named in the episode until they were revealed IIRC). I hope next episode doesn't end up with Kitty throwing acid in someone's face or something.

    I was expecting a direct reference to what Sherlock was wanting to do to Sebastian Moran at some point.
     
  5. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First, a really good article from Buzzfeed about what Elementary did last night and this season as a whole -- Elementary Flipped The Script On The Standard Rape Story.

    Now, this is what I wrote on Facebook about the episode. It's more generalized, since a non-Elementary-watching audience is probably reading it, hence the three paragraphs of introduction.

    I keep thinking about last night's ELEMENTARY. "The One That Got Away."

    In the third season of ELEMENTARY, Sherlock Holmes took on a new partner, Kitty Winter, while Watson struck out on her own as a private investigator. So as not to break the format too much, Holmes and Watson both consulted with the NYPD, often on the same cases, so the show still functioned basically as it had before, but now there was a new element in the mix, a young English woman (Kitty) with a tragic and violent backstory (she was kidnapped and, over the span of a month, brutally and repeatedly tortured and raped until she was able to escape).

    Two weeks ago, a woman's body was found in New York, tortured and branded the same as Kitty had been during her captivity some five years prior. Last week, Holmes, Watson, Winter, and the NYPD hunted down the perpetrator, and Winter went to extreme lengths to find the man who had hurt her. At the end, their main suspect died in a boat fire. But -- shock twist -- the perpetrator was not, in fact, the man they had been pursued. It was, in fact, Del Gruner, the head of a major insurance firm and Joan Watson's new boss.

    Last night, then, was the pursuit of Gruner. Fans of the Canon will recognize these names; Kitty Winter and Aldelbert Gruner come from "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client," and even though I knew how that story ends, I didn't know if ELEMENTARY would go that route. When there was no "murderous attack on Sherlock Holmes" (one of the great lines from the Canon, to be honest), I felt confident that ELEMENTARY was going its own path.

    If you know "The Illustrious Client" (and I'm not spoiling the ending of that here), it ends in a very dark place. "The One That Got Away" actually manages to go to a vastly darker place. The scene where Kitty is preparing the nutmeg concoction was chilling; she was -far- beyond premeditation. She had gone to cold and calculating fury. It was scary. It was also understandable, and Ophelia Lovibond's performance was utterly sympathetic.

    My thoughts keep returning to the three present-day scenes between Jonny Lee Miller (as Holmes) and Lovibond (as Winter). (The episode is told partly in flashback, showing us their first meeting after the second season finale and their early interactions.) Winter brought out a facet to Holmes that no other Holmes story (except, maybe, for the first of the Mary Russell novels) has had -- Holmes as the paternal figure. Holmes and Winter weren't related, but they read like a family. He was the father who had been through hell and still struggled with his demons. She was the daughter who needed to prove herself yet still wanted his validation and approval. Something as simple as Holmes scrambling eggs for Winter's breakfast carried great emotional freight. Later, paraphrasing from memory -- "You will always be special to me. Whatever you do, you will always be my friend." -- spoke powerfully to the bond between the two characters; whatever choice she made, it had to be hers, and Holmes would love her irregardless. And Winter's final line in the episode, though it didn't need to be said, because her actions with Gruner said it well enough, was earned and cathartic.

    I also keep thinking of this episode in terms of SHERLOCK and whether it would have worked with those versions of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. If it were Molly in Kitty's position, would those three Holmes/Winter scenes have occurred with Sherlock/Molly? I can't imagine them. I can't imagine the Sherlock of SHERLOCK as being as open emotionally to another human being as the Sherlock of ELEMENTARY was to Kitty. Neither version of Holmes is particularly healthy emotionally, but the Sherlock of ELEMENTARY has more self-awareness of his failings. SHERLOCK's Sherlock would've been petulant that Molly reached Gruner before he did, and based on "His Last Vow" he would have taken the agency from Molly that ELEMENTARY's Sherlock allowed Kitty by taking matters into his own hands. The two shows and their approaches to Sherlock Holmes are fundamentally different and valid in their own ways, but I think ELEMENTARY remembers that there's a human being inside of Sherlock Holmes that SHERLOCK sometimes forgets.

    Suffice it to say, last night's ELEMENTARY was impressive. It had to be; I keep thinking about it.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Good article. It's interesting how much Doherty and Lovibond disagreed on the character -- and it goes to show how valuable it can be for a male writer, even one sympathetic to a female perspective, to have female input when writing female characters.


    Yep. This was a terrific arc, adding something utterly fresh to the Holmes-Watson dynamic without diminishing it. I'm just sorry it's over. I know that Kitty's fate was somewhat dictated by the precedent of the canon, but I wish it hadn't been. I don't really agree with the article that she succeeded in transcending her victimhood; she had been, but giving in to an act of cruelty like she did at the end, sinking to Gruner's level in retaliation, means that she failed to transcend the violence and let it become part of her. I mean, I don't want to diminish the rage and pain that drove her to it, but revenge doesn't make anything better, it just perpetuates the cycle of abuse. At least I wish she'd done it in the heat of the moment to save Holmes, closer to the original tale.

    Not to mention that she's an outlaw now and has to flee from the law. That's not really a happy ending for her. Granted, I doubt Gregson would be all that motivated to hunt her down given the circumstances, but as he said, it would still be his duty. So her decision here has kind of ruined her life, and she deserved better than that.

    Even aside from that, I didn't want it to end this way because I didn't want it to end. I would've been happy to maintain the three-person partnership indefinitely, to make Lovibond a regular.


    No doubt. Sherlock's Holmes is a caricature. As a rule, Moffat is more interested in showing off how clever and zany and twisty he can be than he is in exploring human emotions and relationships in a sincere and believable way. It can be fun, but it's far from deep. Elementary has far more humanity and sensitivity.

    The thing about Elementary is that it's very much a show about the recovery process. It's sympathetic to the struggles people go through as they attempt to heal and redeem themselves. And so there's infinitely more compassion in its makeup than there is in Sherlock.
     
  7. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Considering how far afield Elementary has gone in its interpretations of Moriarty and Mycroft, I didn't think Elementary would hue quite as closely to Kitty's fate as it did. For that matter, I didn't even consider Gruner as a possibility for the series; since her kidnapping happened in London, I thought it would have been a coincidence too far for Gruner to also appear in New York City when the series' writers started talking about "The Illustrious Client" on Twitter when Kitty was introduced.

    I broadly agree with you. He inflicted immense physical and psychological pain on her, now she returned the favor. Yet, I feel that burning Gruner's face off instead of dissolving him entirely as she had originally intended is still a victory for her because she didn't take a life as he did with so many others.

    I wondered about that. Kitty would still be in the air over the Atlantic when Gruner achieves consciousness, and Gregson could make the phone calls he needs to have her detained when she lands at Heathrow. Like you say, though, Gregson probably isn't especially motivated to do so; he knows her backstory, too, and he knows that she's fleeing the home and support structures she had around her, and nothing good would be achieved for anyone by making a move to apprehend her.

    In my head, I imagined that any contacts Holmes could call upon, any favors he could call in, with the NSA, MI-5, and Scotland Yard on her behalf, to possibly give her a new identity, he would.

    I don't think we'll see Winter again for all the various reasons of the character's legal jeopardy which is unfortunate because of all the questions surrounding where the character goes from here. And they're interesting questions!

    I also wasn't anxious to see Kitty leave, and I assumed she was essentially a regular even though Ophilia Lovibond was billed with the guest cast. As some observers noted after her introduction, adding Kitty to the cast afforded Miller and Liu some time to not be on camera because there was now another protagonist to do things to move the narrative forward.

    I assumed that at some point we would see a "Winter's Case"-type episode, where she's basically in charge of the investigation for the week. I also hoped, if Natalie Dormer's schedule allowed it, for an episode that had Kitty and Moriarty interacting. And I thought the season finale (arc) would revolve around a case that hit Kitty's emotional buttons and wreckage that pushed her to the edge -- but pulled her back at the final moment to show that she had, in fact, made significant progress on her recovery.

    I find Moffat fundamentally cynical as a writer, which is why I see little empathy or compassion in Sherlock. I also think that Moffat is not as versed in the Canon as he claims; some comments he made after "His Last Vow" about the necessity of Moriarty as an ongoing problem showed some fundamental misunderstandings of the stories as though he had confused the pop culture perception of Holmes with the reality of what's on the page.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "Fundamentally cynical" may be an overstatement, since his approach to Doctor Who is often sentimental to a fault (says the guy who just finished rewatching "The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe" a couple of hours ago). But I will agree that he's generally more focused on being clever and twisty and playing with elaborate plot mechanics than he is on the sincere emotion of a story. If he gravitates toward cynicism, I think it's just because it allows for more surprising plot twists, more subversion of the conventional expectation of happy endings. Although maybe that's cynical and manipulative in itself.


    Then again, Moriarty has become such a large part of extracanonical Holmes tales that you can't really make a Holmes show or film without the audience expecting Moriarty to be included. So maybe it wasn't ignorance of the canon as an awareness of factors beyond it.

    Although I still hate Sherlock's cartoony Jim Moriarty with a passion, and his apparent return is making me seriously think about not watching the next season. Conversely, I'd really like to see Natalie Dormer's Moriarty return to Elementary.
     
  9. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I admit I have no book-canon-knowledge, so I didn't know what was coming. But this 3 episode-arc was great, and the end of the last episode - both Sherlock's discussion with Kitty in that warehouse and then the phone call contrasted with the flashback -... well, suffice it to say I had tears in my eyes and I'm really sorry to see Kitty gone because she brought a new element to this show (and she was much more interesting than Joan is at the moment).

    As for what she did - is throwing acid on his face so much better than outright killing him? Frankly, after the discussion with Sherlock it was clear she wasn't going to kill him, but I thought she'd put a brandmark on his back or stomach, so I was a bit shocked by this very overt form of revenge... especially because I immediately thought of those innocent women who got acid thrown on their faces in India, Pakistan and other countries. It's a cruel way to ostracize people, to shame them, to make them stand out. If it was Kitty's intention to put him on the stand publicly for what he did in this way then she definitely succeeded better than she would have had she killed him.

    Agreed. "Did you miss me?" Definitely not! HLV should have ended with Sherlock's leaving.

    I love Sherlock to bits, but Moriarty has been its weak spot. I always thought him to be some kind of Joker-equivalent, but where the Joker works brilliantly in TDK Moriarty simply doesn't.

    Well, I'm not as fond of season 3 as of season 1 or 2, because the dynamics felt off especially in HLV, and the writers got a bit too carried away with making fun of all the internet theories about "how he did it" in TEH, but there's no question about whether I'll tune in. *g*

    Absolutely. The idea behind her character's simply fascinating, as is the dynamics this brings with Sherlock in Elementary - much more personal.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Here's a thought... Depending on his methods, maybe she was thinking of protecting other women. If maybe he lured them in by being attractive and friendly to them before abducting and torturing them, maybe scarring his face was a way to neutralize that tactic.

    Although she'd better have been sure to scar both sides of his face, because doing it halfway has a tendency to create supervillains...


    Yup. What was the point of having Sherlock take that shocking action requiring his exile, essentially, if they were just going to reverse it three minutes later by having him come back to deal with Jim Carrey-arty? It showed that they care more about superficial shock value and twisty-wisty storytelling than about giving any real dramatic weight to anything.

    Well, as Allyn pointed out, Moriarty is a minor part of the canon; he isn't even introduced until the story where he dies, and his role as Holmes's arch-nemesis is pure retcon. And he only appears in one other tale, set before "The Final Problem" but written many years later, and I think is mentioned in passing in The Hound of the Baskervilles (IIRC). It's only in screen adaptations and pastiche novels/stories that Moriarty has really grown into a recurring villain. (Ditto for Irene Adler; she was only in one story, but she's been a fixture of screen adaptations for decades. Not for Kitty Winter, though; this has been her first appearance outside of adaptations of "The Illustrious Client," and Lovibond is only the third actress to play her onscreen.)
     
  11. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I also had The Feels. The warehouse conversation wss potent, as wss Kitty's "I love you."

    The problem with Joan right now, in my opinion, is that she's been superfluous.

    She has to live with the physical and psychological scars of what he did to her for the rest of her life. Now, he has scars of his own that will torment him until the end of his days. Killing him would have been a blessing, in a way.

    Canon Kitty did the same thing, but the reason was different. She was a former lover of Gruner's. He jilted her and ruined her reputation, and on the eve of his marriage she attacked him. She went to prison, and because of the circumstances of Gruner's monstrous behaviour toward her she was shown leniency.

    I have been pondering Moriarty hard the last twenty-four hours, to the point where I've wondered what Moriarty knows about Winter and whether or not there are any chips Holmes could play with her to Winter's benefit post-Gruner. She may be locked away but, as we saw last year, she has her methods.
     
  12. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm delving back into the first season after taking a detour through Season 1 of Game of Thrones, and have to say that I'm loving it even more than I did the first time. The way the show hits the ground running is awesome, and the "serialized procedural" structure is superbly handled, giving us just the right balance of case-of-the-week accessibility and ongoing character development and escalating narrative.

    I'm currently rewatching Child Predator, which is, IMO, one of the best episodes of the season for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the way it, in hindsight, telegraphs in a very subtle way the season's big twist, which was a brilliant move, intentional or otherwise, by Rob Doherty and the other writers and producers.
     
  13. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    I hope Kitty and Moriarty return. Ophelia Lovibond and Natalie Dormer have done a great job on this show.
     
  14. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I agree - it would be a horrible waste if they were never seen again. However, in the case of Moriarty, being Sherlock's arch nemesis, her return would need to be epically proportioned.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Anyone else want to see Moriarty and Kitty team up in a Holmes/Watson-style partnership of their own? I dunno, I don't want to see Kitty turn evil, but she's sort of on the fence, and Moriarty's kind of an ambiguous character herself.
     
  16. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Who is John Galt?
    That might be quite interesting, actually. However, facing his lover-turned-dead-lover-turned-really-alive-arch-nemesis along with his protégé with whom he's grown very close and taught quite a few of his trade secrets might serve to completely unhinge Holms in the end and it would be up to Watson to hold him together. He does seem to still be quite emotionally fragile at times, as some recent flashbacks would seem to indicate.
     
  17. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    At least it would give Watson something to do... she is the weak spot in this programme (even though she had quite a lot of screen time this season on her own, particularly in the beginning), she's just bland and boring right now. Which is why I'll miss Kitty even more.
     
  18. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Did you hack my computer, Christopher? I sketched out a rough outline for the very thing over the weekend, and I'm trying to decide whether it's worth pitching to Titan. :)
     
  19. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd go further than both of you and say that the way things are playing out so far it was intended for Moriarty/Kitty to eventually happen since some time ago, and it was probably the reason they choose the Kitty Winter character to be Sherlock's apprentice. It makes little sense to me to develop this so far only to throw it out, especially if the culmination that gives Kitty's full background and her introduction to Sherlock is done in the very last episode. Not to mention that the retrospect here was reminiscent of Irene Adler's.

    That said, I would be disappointed if we go there, because I want last episode to mean that the dark place Kitty's character went was solely a reaction to her horrific experience, and not the actual path where she's headed as a person. I don't want to see her destroyed by her experience and turned into a dark person completely. Which would mean K/M would have to be a genuine mistake on Kitty's part... Which would, save for some very good writing, be undramatic and underwhelming after what she did in the last two episodes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  20. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't want to say what the story I sketched out was (because I think it could be usable), but I saw something that made sense in terms of Kitty's development and Moriarty's complicated feelings for Sherlock. And while Moriarty might see Kitty as a potential asset for her organization that could be used, she would have to balance that against the real danger, which she feels somewhat responsible for based on previous appearances, to Sherlock's psyche if she were to recruit Kitty.

    If that makes sense. :)

    The trick to making this work is that Moriarty is confined, and it's unlikely that Moriarty and Kitty would ever meet. So how do you build a story around that, how do you credibly create a relationship between two characters when, for one of them, every action and every word is monitored? Like I said, that's the trick. :)