Sherlock vs Elementary: Move Along, Keep Calm and Respect Gregson
by Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)
All work and no play makes Sherlock a dull boy. This is certainly not true for Jonny Lee Miller or Benedict Cumberbatch’s interpretation of the legendary character. In Elementary’s case, his addiction to his work allows Watson to delve into the reasons behind his addiction to illegal substances. In Sherlock, his work paths intertwine with social circles of intriguing characters he would not otherwise associate with. In both cases there is one common denominator: Irene Adler.
Elementary’s focus as of late has been on Irene Adler and Captain Gregson. Both character-driven plots represent the conflicting themes of Elementary’s interpretation. Irene represents the path of the past, the path Watson is trying to dig up: Sherlock’s demons are coming back to haunt him – very Sir Conan Arthur Doyle. Gregson represents the TV crime drama aspect of the series: the traditional open-close cases, the hostile interrogations and as of “One Way to Get Off”; the archetypal “case that hits close to home” episode. I’m going to take a wild guess and volunteer the assumption that in the near future there will be a personal attack on someone Sherlock cares about; whether it be Watson, Gregson or the recently introduced sponsor, Alfredo.
Watson: Move Along
A questionable path Elementary has taken was to lead audiences to believe that the character of Joan Watson, as Sherlock’s sober companion, has an expiry date and her services might be replaced very soon. Yeah, we’re definitely going to take those not-so-subtle hints that Watson is going to leave the show and actually make a big deal out of it … Or not.
Lucy Liu’s representation as Watson has been believable, admirable and enjoyable to watch. Joan Watson has finally become Sherlock’s moral compass – he said so himself in “One Way to Get Off.” Although their friendship seems to have progressed from that awkward moment in the pilot where he-did-but-didn’t profess his love to her, there are the ever-present doctor-patient boundaries.
In Sherlock, John Watson and Sherlock Holmes are accustomed to each other, their daily routines are in sync, it even gets to a point where Watson openly blogs about their boyish adventures on the internet. In Elementary, Watson does not have the same luxury; their friendship adopts a more serious tone. Joan snoops into his past; she even persuades an old friend of Sherlock’s to hand over Irene’s letters to her. Watson in Sherlock has been his caretaker but on a much more subtle, behind-the-scenes kind of way. But thankfully, remnants of their quirky idiosyncratic friendship shine through in Elementary – my quirky favorite moment? When Joan calls Sherlock his ringtone is the theme song from Hitchcock’s Psycho. Move along from Watson? We think not.
Irene Adler: Keep Calm
Irene Adler. I’m disappointed. SPOILER ALERT: Really? She died? I was honestly expecting a turn of events where Sherlock’s imaginary demons physically return to haunt him in New York. But no, Irene is dead. Or so Sherlock has told us in Elementary. We have seen her near-demise twice in Sherlock’s “A Scandal in Belgravia,” but it never occurred to me that she might actually die. As a guarded fan I’m going to wait and see how this carries on. Because as the woman who outsmarted Sherlock Holmes and made Houdini look like Criss Angel – I’m sure faking her death would be child’s play. There has still been no reference to this series’ Irene’s personality, except for the fact that she writes letters and has nice handwriting. I wonder if her American-television alter ego would mirror Sherlock’s dominatrix sex-worker-esque portrayal of the woman. As there was no more information about it in the latest episode of Elementary, here I am, keeping calm and carrying on, waiting patiently for more to come.
And Respect Gregson
Oh, Sherlock how you have grown. Miles away from how Sherlock’s Sherlock treats Detective Lestrade, Elementary’s Sherlock actually respects Captain Gregson. The difference in demeanor is interesting. Gregson is an older member of the police force and holds a more respectful position, demanding the same respect from Sherlock. With Lestrade however, that is not the case.
Sherlock Holmes talking to Captain Gregson in Elementary:
“I have said it before, I have the upmost respect for you”
Sherlock Holmes talking to Detective Lestrade in Sherlock:
“He sends down my handler to spy on me. Is that why you’re calling yourself Greg?”
“His name is Greg.”
There you have it. As a quote is worth a thousand words, and worth a thousand insults in Sherlock’s case, I leave you with the above.
Using my very own skills of deduction, Elementary is setting itself apart from Sherlock but the question is; are they straying too far from the Herd of Holmes?