The Man Who “Bested” Sherlock Holmes

I am indebted to Matthias Bostrom, who, via his writings, drew my attention to the problem of an early pastiche of a Sherlock Holmes story.

Many have assumed that Sir Arthur’s close friend, J M Barrie, produced the first “parody” of a Holmes story, but Charles Press, in his book “Parodies and Pastiches Buzzing ‘Round Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” mentioned “The Man Who ‘Bested’ Sherlock Holmes” as having been first published in Tit Bits on October 27th 1894. The story is included in John Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green’s book “My Evening with Sherlock Holmes”.

Mr Bostrom had managed to find an earlier publication of the same story in a Northern provincial newspaper. That paper was the “Express and Advertiser” which is now known as the “Burnley Express”.Burnex

This itself is a remarkable coincidence, as my Literary Agent hails from the very same town! So I set him the task of tracking down the paper, published in December 1892, and obtaining a copy of the story for my library. It has taken him a while but I now have a copy of the story.

The newspaper boasts about “Our Almanac and Special Christmas Number”, saying that “Next Saturday every purchaser of the Express will be presented with a splendid local almanac, produced regardless of cost. It will be printed on excellent toned and specially-prepared paper, in two colours,and will be embellished with excellent portraits of Sir John and Lady Thursby with a capital view of Ormerod House.”

Sir John Thursby was well-known to people in Burnley and gives his name to a college in the town.

The paper goes on to say that “the almanac will contain a vast amount of useful local and district information, and will prove the best ever presented by any paper in North – East Lancashire. Next Saturday’s Express will contain, in addition to the fullest local and district news and the regular features, the following entertaining Christmas reading :—

“Owd Nick and Scotch Snuff,” a laughable Lancashire Sketch by the Editor of Ben Brierley’s Journal,

“A Pendle Forest Christmastide Story of the Forty-Five” by Henry Kerr.

and “The Man Who Bested Sherlock Holmes” by Joseph Baron.

The paper also says that “Dr. Conan Doyle has gone through the manuscript of this story, and emphatically pronounced it “good”.

Well, see what you think . . .The Man Who Bested Sherlock Holmes

Watson’s Christmas Letter 1893

This is the third Christmas without Holmes following the tragic events of May 1891.

Although Holmes was never one to be sentimental about Christmas we would when we shared rooms at 221B Baker Street always mark the occasion with one of Mrs Hudson’s splendid feasts.

Even when following my marriage and subsequent start in private practice the very intimate relations which had existed between Holmes and myself had become to some extent modified I would still see him from time to time when he desired a companion in his investigations.

Although I have only published records of three cases in 1890 (A Case of Identity, The Copper Beeches, and The Red-Headed League) the case I referred to under the ominous title of The Final Problem was, although I did not know it, to be our last case together and now, over two years since those fateful events, I have had my hand forced by Moriarty’s brother, and I have laid the facts before the public exactly as they occurred.

My close intimacy with Sherlock Holmes had interested me deeply in crime, and after his disappearance, I never failed to read with care the various problems which came before the public and I even attempted more than once for my own private satisfaction to employ his methods in their solution, though with indifferent success.

As Christmas 1893 approaches, I wish you all the best for 1894 in the hope that there will be an end to the attacks upon him whom I shall ever regard as the best and wisest man whom I have ever known.

JHW Signature

Holmes Christmas List 2013

About this time every year, as the shops start to fill up with Christmas gifts, I take a look at what’s new for those who follow Holmes’s adventures.

Sherlock 2014 CalendarFirst on my list is the “official” Sherlock calendar for 2014.

Also, tied in to the BBC Series, the BBC has been publishing sets of my stories with interesting forewords by those involved with the BBC series. On December 5th, two more volumes will be added to the series.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes with an introduction by Mark Gatiss (in which he explains how “Sherlock in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms”) and includes “The Empty House” on which the opening episode of Series 3 is based.Return

BowHis Last Bow with an introduction by Steven Moffatt (who expects Sir Arthur to ask him to write another story!) includes the last case we worked on together.

It would be nice idea to complete the series with a boxed set containing all nine books (the four novels and the five sets of short stories).

glass

 

By the way, if you want one of the neat little magnifying glasses that Sherlock uses they are still available.

Later in December (the 23rd, though I do not understand why we have had to wait so long) is the DVD of the first series (my American readers call them “seasons”) of Elementary. I have yet to see any of these though I have become intrigued as I have read The Woman’s reviews on this site so I am looking forward to acquiring this set. PILOT

To go with this DVD, there is an unofficial guide, The Immortals,  to both Elementary and the BBC Sherlock written by Matthew J Elliott, himself a proficient adaptor of my stories for the radio.immortals

garmentMary Russell released her latest set of memoirs, A Garment of Shadows, earlier this year. Also available, as ebooks are three little “monographs”, the first of which, Beekeeping for Beginners, details how Russell met Holmes. The second, Sherlock Holmes, written by Russell’s literary agent, gives some insights into Holmes, and me for that matter! The third, Mrs Hudson’s Case, harks back to shortly after Russell’s initial encounter with Holmes and how the redoubtable Mrs Hudson solves a case on her own.

newannotatedFor those wanting to delve deeper into the Canon, Leslie Klinger’s New Annotated Sherlock Holmes is now available on the Kindle, putting less strain on their handling than the original weighty tomes. Volume 1 and Volume 2 cover the complete set of fifty six short stories. Volume 3, which covers the novels, is not yet available on the Kindle but should soon be.

mrshudsonsdiariesIn a lighter vein and again with reference to Mrs Hudson (“I am not your housekeeper”) is a unique insight to life at 221B Baker Street from her diaries that have been found (apparently) in “battered biscuit tin” found in the vaults of the same bank where my “battered tin dispatch box” also resides.

shgamejpgFinally, “the game is afoot” with a new board game with ten cases for you to solve as one of the Baker Street Irregulars.

Plenty to keep you busy until Sherlock returns in “The Empty Hearse” after Christmas. I could drop a few clues here – tea, bus, ball – some of which or none of which may turn out to be true.

A very merry Christmas to all my readers!

JHW Signature

The Watson Files

“A century after Holmes and Watson’s adventures together in London, their grandchildren, Spencer Holmes and Jack Watson, experienced their own adventures. As his grandfather did Jack Watson often kept notes about these adventures and has decided to share them with the world. These are his stories…”

So begins the series of stories from Strobie Studios in Eastern Iowa with Michael Helgens as Spencer Holmes and Greg Kilberger as Dr Watson.

The stories usually last between 10 and 15 minutes and follow the same format as Rathbone and Bruce’s “The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”. The host, Craig Dahlen, goes to visit Watson each week to hear him relate one of the stories. The shows are very atmospheric, complete with gunshots that will make you jump if you’re not expecting them. Some characterisations are peculiarly American which takes a little time to get used to.

Season 1

In the first season of  21 episodes there were two from the Canon, “The Dying Detective” and “The Red-Headed League” – both expertly done. We meet a certain mathematical genius called Professor Marty and Lestrade has become Officer Weathers and Mrs Hudson … well, I will leave you to work that one out!

  1. The Missing Cat
  2. The Locked Room
  3. The Dying Detective
  4. The Cunning Thief
  5. The Strange Case of the Underwater Fire
  6. The Headless Ghost
  7. The Case of the Red Light Ripper – Part 1
  8. The Case of the Red Light Ripper – Part 2
  9. The Adventure of the Red-Headed League
  10. The Poisoning of Juliet
  11. The Beginning
  12. The Case of the Stolen Manuscripts
  13. The Case of the Fatal Premonition
  14. The Case of the Missing Reporter
  15. The Case of the Tacky Lipstick
  16. The Case of the Stolen Teddy Bear
  17. The Purloined Letter
  18. The Inferior Liver
  19. The Viral Video
  20. The Assassination of the Scots – Season Finale Part 1
  21. The Riddling Henchman – Season Finale Part 2

The complete set of Season 1 episodes is available from Nimbit Music along with a few bonus recordings including outtakes!

Season 2

In the second series there were again two stories from the Canon – “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Empty House”.

  1. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Season Premiere Part 1
  2. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Season Premiere Part 2
  3. The Return of the Ripper
  4. The Secret in the Narwhal
  5. The Case of the Flying Pig
  6. The Kidnapping of Jennifer Watson
  7. The Adventure of Ancient Antiquity
  8. The Case of the Killer Cave
  9. The Adventure of Alien Abduction
  10. The Adventure of the Empty House
  11. The Case of the Combustible Comedian
  12. The Twenty Million Dollar Mistake
  13. The Case of the Missing Case
  14. The Continuing Saga of the Missing Case
  15. The Case of the Drugged Doctor
  16. The Pursuit of Professor Marty
  17. The Continued Pursuit of Professor Marty
  18. The Billion Dollar Blunder
  19. The Zoo Escapade
  20. The Case of the Missing Smell
  21. The Explosive Trial – Season Finale

Season 3

Again two stories from the Canon – “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Speckled Band”.

  1. A Scandal in Bohemia – Season Premiere Part 1
  2. A Scandal in Bohemia – Season Premiere Part 2
  3. The Case of the Smoking Ghost
  4. A Little Cheese with Your Wine
  5. The Case of the Mummy’s Curse
  6. The Case of the Crazy Millionaire
  7. The Case of the Cold Case
  8. The Speckled Band – Part 1
  9. The Speckled Band – Part 2
  10. Two Funerals and a Wedding
  11. Murder in the Viper’s Nest
  12. It’s All Fun and Games – Part 1
  13. It’s All Fun and Games – Part 2
  14. The Case of the Questionable Merger
  15. The Quest for Excalibur – Part 1
  16. The Quest for Excalibur – Part 2
  17. The Quest for Excalibur – Part 3
  18. The Case of the Mirror Twin
  19. The Case of Low Mileage
  20. Capturing Moran – Season Finale Part 1
  21. Capturing Moran – Season Finale Part 2

Season 4

Another two stories from the Canon in this series “The Musgrave Ritual” and “The Cardboard Box” plus a behind the scenes video of a third “The Red-Headed League” from Season 1.

  1. The Case of the Dental Alarm
  2. The Return of Frankenstein
  3. The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual
  4. The Case of the Railroad Murders – Part 1
  5. The Case of the Railroad Murders – Part 2
  6. The Harker’s Landing Whale Preservation Society – Part 1
  7. The Harker’s Landing Whale Preservation Society – Part 2
  8. The Case of the Impossible Shot
  9. The Strange Case of the Does
  10. The Deadly Recipe
  11. The Strange Case of E. Edmond Montebank
  12. Max Noir
  13. The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
  14. The Magic Bullet
  15. A Swift Caper
  16. The Return of the Governor
  17. A Case of Mistaken Identity
  18. The Death of Holmes
  19. The Case of the Questionable Mummy
  20. The Succubus Adventure

Season 4 episodes are available on the Strobie Studios web site, via Facebook, YouTube and iTunes. Only a few of the Season 1, Season 2 and Season 3 episodes remain available online.

Strobie Studios can also be followed on Twitter. Along with the studio’s commercial work (which is well worth a look) they have recorded some of Edgar Allan Poe’s work and a time travel saga called “The Ark of Time”.

No new adventures so far this year . . . 

Elementary

The Woman finally wraps up her reviews of Season One

Elementary 22 – Risk Management

I should start my review of this episode by mentioning that when I saw Natalie Dormer was to be joining the cast of Elementary, I was delighted although I hate spoilers. I have seen her in The Tudors and of course the epic Game of Thrones and was very pleased that she would be joining the cast. I however, completely ignored that I had seen no mention of anyone being cast as Moriarty…

This episode actually goes back to the dull writing that we have seen throughout this series at times, although it might have been because we were all waiting for that scene. You could just fast forward to the end and have the episode all tied up really. Basically Moriarty is playing with Sherlock and it all leads to a mansion where of course she sits painting…

Elementary Episode 22The Woman. She isn’t dead. Also JLM’s performance of seeing her alive made me get a bit teary and a massive throat gulp happened. Yes she’s alive!

Episode 23/24 – The Woman/The Heroine

With Irene back on the scene, Sherlock is mainly AWOL from detective work and Watson takes the lead throughout. Through flashbacks we see Irene and Sherlock in London together and how in love and also blind to anything Sherlock is. The same seems to be the case now as Sherlock cannot believe that he has Irene back but does not seem at all to be wary of how this all really happened. It’s a basic love story but missing the whole criminal side of the woman and the detective side of the man… Bit weird really.

Now as this review is super, super late and everyone knows. Irene Adler and Moriarty are the same person in this Elementary series, at the time I hadn’t seen it coming AT ALL. I was on heavy ‘avoid all spoilers’ and I was a bit annoyed that I had found that Dormer was joining the cast. I really liked the way Dormer handled these two massive roles and particularly her voice change really was wow.  Dormer is English and the American accent that she had in the first half of the finale was indeed all an act. When her beautiful British accent came through it became believable that she was indeed two people.

With Watson still doing her detective work she had worked on a way to ‘smoke out’ Moriarty using Sherlock’s drug problems. The fake overdose that seemed so real to you and I because this was how much Sherlock loved Irene, and it had been well documented how his life had derailed before with drugs – a lie and Moriarty was caught. I particularly enjoyed the final scene with Sherlock and Watson and how he named a bee after her. They have been on some journey and he knows that Watson is the one he trusts and she also can trust in him too.

Overall Review of the First Season

ElementaryJonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu have both kept this programme going through some rather wayward storylines at times. JLM is a very different Sherlock to what I have previously seen before and he has handled the role as I had expected him to. I’m intrigued to see where they take Elementary from here. I think everyone was cast perfectly throughout the series, even Detective Bell who I previously had disliked a bit had started to win me round.

The best casting because of the major twist was Natalie Dormer BUT I have to also give credit (unbelievably) to Vinnie Jones, his portrayal of Moran was very good. But he is quite a scary, henchman type isn’t he? Some of the episodes throughout the run have been far superior to others and there have also been some episodes to miss. Episode 22 is sadly one of them, except for the big reveal ending. I felt at times possibly due to the uncertain nature of how long a series we would get or whether there would be another season, that they tried to tie up too many loose ends all the time and they didn’t seem to do it very well either.

I have written many times through these reviews and on twitter about not comparing Elementary to the BBC’s Sherlock which I believe I did not do. But I did compare it to other crime dramas that I have watched and whilst it wouldn’t be my pick of a crime drama from choice, it still could have the possibility to get there.

Lastly, the reveal – we have to talk about it. Whilst avoiding all the spoilers going into the final two episodes I’ll admit I was surprised, not shocked by the decision just surprised. Already they had given the Watson role to a woman and now Irene and Moriarty were the same person? Nope. Never saw that coming. It was a brave and some say ridiculous decision but I thought it was in keeping with what Elementary had set out from the start, they were not BBC Sherlock’s twin. They would both co-exist but Elementary would be different, it achieved that and more.

But I know people who *shock horror* have never read the Canon who seemed quite taken aback when I told them that in the books it was not like that. “Oh really, I might have to read them then”

Elementary finale scene beesLooking forward to where Season Two brings us with Moriarty behind bars but for how long? Will those bees really be happy on top of that roof? Will Sherlock reward himself with a new tattoo?

Elementary Season Two should be back around October this year. Meanwhile we are still awaiting a release date for the DVD here in the UK. In the USA it is available from August 27th.

Sherlock Holmes – The Best Kept Secret

BCS 1I have lost count of the number of books, plays, films and games that purport to disclose a previously hidden fact about my colleague (shades of BBC Sherlock there) Holmes. Google has over twenty million references to such secrets – has anyone realised that Google is the ultimate commonplace book?

So when I go to see “Sherlock Holmes – The Best Kept Secret” then I know it cannot be so. When the cast list includes Irene Adler, my suspicions are aroused. Moriarty does not appear in the cast list but, apart from The Woman, he is the worst kept secret. Putting them together is therefore no surprise (the second Robert Downey Jr film did just that) and potentially a little yawn inducing.

The first few minutes of anything like this are quite a challenge for the writer. How does he (or she) introduce the characters that are so well known but maybe not from my original stories but from the latest screen incarnation – Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman or Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Lui? Some people may think I am a woman!

BCS 2So here we have Jason Durr as Holmes and Andrew Hall as me – Hartbeat meets Coronation Street – but we also have Lestrade (Victor McGuire from Goodnight Sweetheart) and Mycroft (Adrian Lukis who was also in Heartbeat and, as was informed by my companion for the evening, Peak Practice, though I never warm to medical dramas for obvious reasons).

We hear of Moriarty and we actually hear Mrs Hudson but never see either of them.

So then, none of this is new, and when Adler appears (the stunning Tanya Franks who certainly eclipses many women) I am beginning to wonder why I bothered to stray from my cosy London nest this far north.

But as Act One unfolds I start to recognise this Holmes as the troubled person he became during The Final Problem and the different person that came back from The Falls. I am portrayed, as often, as the willing companion who occasionally puts a foot wrong, perhaps a little too Nigel Bruce in this case.

The writer only made one mistake that I noted. The story is supposed to have been set in the gap between The Final Problem and The Empty House but it must have been later than that. There is a reference to those words Holmes spoke to me when I was shot by Killer Evans in The Three Garridebs – “You’re not hurt, Watson? For God’s sake, say that you are not hurt! This was many years after his return from the Falls.

What was achieved though was through some pure stage magic, some clever prestidigitation that was almost worthy of the cinema and very well executed in a provincial theatre.

BCS 3Three performances were outstanding, Jason Durr has a remarkable range that he used to good effect to move from lethargic to energetic Holmes (with a little madness on the way) that had elements of both Brett and Cumberbatch. Adrian Lukis as Holmes brother Mycroft gave depth to character that we see very little of in most productions (and too much of in the second Downey Jr film). Finally, The Woman steals the show, not least for her appearance in Holmes drug-induced delerium that certainly made half of the audience pay close attention.

I will not give away any of the plot except to note that it builds up through the two acts to a dramatic climax. I came away pleasantly suprised and wanting to see it again to make sure I did not miss any of the twists and turns through this intriguing plot. But it has finished its run in the North and we must now wait for it to reappear in the West End.

 

 

Elementary Season One draws to a close

With her penultimate reviews, the Woman returns with her reviews . . . .

Episode 17 – Possibility Two

Episode 17 When Elementary first started we saw the rather over protective nature that Watson would feel to Sherlock. Now that we have got through that it is more of a level ground which I hope might endear more people to Lucy Lui’s Watson. I think she stepped into the female Watson with everything we expected but now that she is off on her cases we can see another side to her character. Don’t get me wrong I really do like the spin on Watson being a female but in recent episodes it became a bit too flimsy. Sherlock was taking centre stage for most of it and Watson deserved some of the limelight too.

I had mentioned how I hadn’t really warmed to the character of Detective Bell but in this episode I started to. Watson and Bell have their own case to solve and I found this to be an intriguing glimpse into what’s next for Watson within her new role working for Sherlock.  There were three cases in this episode which each brought the episode to one of its best. The episode did not offer any real plot towards Moriarty or any clues as to what is next in the Elementary story.

It did however bring a bee. A very important bee.

Not saying why until… well, you know when…

Episode 18 – Déjà-vu all over again

Episode 18As I had mentioned before with Watson now taking on her own cases and also stepping way out of being Sherlock’s sober companion, we now have Watson solving her own case. The episode is not again littered with many Canon references, there was a mention of Holmes Snr but that didn’t really go anywhere.

We see flashbacks from before Watson had met Sherlock and how happy and carefree she looked. She looks absolutely depressed and different if you look at her now, I prefer to think she’s more focused now on the job in hand and has found a life more interesting than she had before. By life I mean Sherlock of course!

With Watson’s first case being a success, it’s evident that she feels more confident in this new role. I also started to see more of Watson being Sherlock’s partner and not assistant. Their relationship has formed a somewhat parallel behaviour to Mulder and Scully from The X Files. I randomly caught a couple of the early series episodes of The X-Files recently and Scully is very much like Watson. They are both intrigued and let’s be honest a bit freaked out by Mulder/Sherlock.

Episode 19 – Snow Angels

Snow AngelsThe last couple of episodes have offered nothing in terms of Moriarty and it’s clear that the finale is fast approaching but a 24 episode run has possibly been ill thought out through its entirety. That is how TV programming works but I wouldn’t say that the last couple have been the worst episodes that Elementary has had to offer.

This episode I did really enjoy because it gave us two side characters, one of which I hope we will see more of. The other, Pam who is the snow plough driver to help them in their investigations and she is very interested by Sherlock and Watson. The case isn’t one of the best but it does provide more time now for Watson to work alongside Sherlock as a partner rather than sober companion. That said that the case wasn’t one of the best, I did like the way that it was reliant on brains rather than technology to solve.

Also Miss Hudson made an appearance as a transgender woman trapped in an abusive relationship. She ends up staying with them for a bit and cleans the place for them and even puts Sherlock’s books in OCD order. I found this scene to be incredibly funny as Sherlock was at first a bit “What have you done” to “That makes sense”. I liked the resolution that he had with himself.

Sherlock hires Miss Hudson as a cleaner and I’m not sure how much we will see of her but I liked her. Watson was not at first happy with the idea of her staying but she seemed agreeable when Hudson had found somewhere to live and she was pretty bored of asking Sherlock to clean!

Episode 20 – Dead Man’s Switch

Dead Man's SwitchEpisode 20 brings the best Elementary episode so far and also the best performance by Jonny Lee Miller. This is the first modern update of one of the original stories The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.

It is Sherlock’s sponsor (Alfredo) that brings the case forward and when Sherlock goes to the Milverton home he ends up being a witness to the murder. With the case unravelling very quickly he has to act fast. There is also a very emotional scene where Sherlock tells Watson that he had a drug relapse, it was before she had come but the scene pushes Sherlock into telling her and Alfredo that he cannot accept his one year anniversary for staying sober. Sherlock ends the episode by tattooing himself, of course…

I liked this episode and not just for the modern day take on an original story but because all the characters now feel like home. We’re used to them more and even I have grown quite fond of Bell! I also liked Alfredo and with Miss Hudson in the previous episode there is a strong back up cast waiting in the wings.

Episode 21 – A Landmark Story

Episode 21I’ll start this episode review with a comment that many UK readers and viewers will find very entertaining – Vinnie Jones has been in two of the best episodes of Elementary. Yes. Really. First he played Sebastian Moran perfectly in ‘M’ and now he’s back as the Arsenal-loving tough guy in ‘A Landmark Story’.

Sherlock is very different to the Sherlock we saw back in the episode ‘M’ and quite a lot of that can be down to his new relationship with Watson. He seems stronger and whilst he acknowledges that he might go back someday to taking drugs, he needs the trust in that very second of what he is doing.

In Sherlock’s decision to try to decipher some code, when he visits Moran in prison he sets about a chain of events that he cannot stop and inevitably leads to Moran’s violent suicide. Just as Sherlock is about to feel great remorse over his actions, he takes the call.

Moriarty!

Although if that’s really Moriarty’s voice, it’s not very threatening… (no spoilers!)

The writing has very much remained inconsistent throughout the series so far, so this episode being so well thought out with plot and character interaction really brings focus. As I have mentioned before, imagine if they had written consistently well throughout? Such a shame.

We now await her reviews of the last three episodes, especially the last two – The Woman and Heroine – but we now have a date for the release of the DVD of the first season of Elementary August 27th in the USA.

“Elementary” said he [CROO]

The Woman is back with her latest set of reviews as we head to the finale of Season 1 of Elementary.

Episode 13 – The Red Team

Episode 13

After all the goings on of the previous episode when I watched this one I had totally forgotten or perhaps not even thought that Sherlock would be suspended from working on cases. Of course he had set out to kill Moran so just getting away with that would have been highly unlikely. So yes, it was probably just not in my thoughts.

This week’s case is about a war game but Sherlock’s input is not required or wanted. His relationship with Gregson is at its lowest again. Bell has never been a particular fan of his so he is happy to turn him away. Of course Sherlock continues with his own investigations and then ends up as part of the investigation itself! The story itself is very twisted and is probably one of the better episode plots that we have seen. Although there were two other parts that I enjoyed more.

Joan’s counsellor tells her that lying about her contract could make Sherlock have a relapse. Joan tries to argue that she doesn’t believe that it’s the case but she seems to be trying to convince herself more than anyone else. I’m not sure that she manages to do it and it will be interesting to see how this information will come out. It has to, doesn’t it?

My other favourite moment was the ending with Gregson and Sherlock and that punch. But at least Sherlock is back on investigations now although he doesn’t tell Joan about the punch, men don’t do that do they?

Another good episode.

Episode 14 – The Deductionist

Episode 14

This episode starts with Sherlock being tied to a chair as two scantily dressed women are robbing him. Yes, really.

Of course it’s all a set up as the police arrive and arrest the women. With Watson still staying with Sherlock she has to check on her flat and visits her landlord about one of the radiators and she is told that her apartment has been used for a porn movie. Joan confronts the man she sub-lets her apartment to and he confirms that he needed the money.

The episode moves to the case, this time a serial killer has escaped before he underwent kidney surgery. He was supposed to be giving the kidney to his sister but he killed all of the surgery staff and leaves a very unsightly scene for Sherlock and Watson. The serial killer Ennis, was captured by profiler Katherine Drummond who has worked with Sherlock before. Sherlock does not think very highly of her and later on find out that they have had more than professional relations.

Katherine profiled Sherlock under the name ‘the deductionist’ and Ennis knows all of her written work and in a phonecall to Gregson just wants Katherine. Sherlock and Watson then look at his own profile that Katherine did and all the inaccuracies and wonder if she made the same mistakes with Ennis. Visiting the house of the sister of Ennis they discover that it seems she is in with Ennis as the food in the kitchen seems to allude that she has been faking her kidney problems.

In Katherine’s book of the Ennis case she had claimed that he was sexually abused by his parents and although she was going to be sued they dropped the case. Instead Ennis and his sister wanted their own revenge and Katherine ends up being stabbed by his sister. It is Sherlock that finds and captures Ennis bringing this case to a close.

As for Watson’s apartment? It is Sherlock that finds some continuity errors in the porn film and her landlord was indeed in the apartment for the filming. This little Watson titbit story was both a distraction from the main story but also another glimpse into the fact that she’s off investigating things on her own.

Episode 15 – A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs

Episode 15

In this episode we meet Rhys, Sherlock’s former drug dealer and his daughter Emily has been kidnapped. There is a video and a ransom note, he wants Sherlock’s help. Watson is concerned that Rhys could be a trigger for Sherlock’s past addictions. As the case unravels Rhys tells Sherlock that he needs his “meds” and has some cocaine for him that will help him find Emily. Sherlock reacts angrily to the suggestion.

The case soon gets silly and then sillier. I think even the cast got lost where this one was going. The above part was the most important part of the episode that Sherlock isn’t going to take drugs again. But the character Rhys has to have been one of the most intriguing side characters we’ve seen, played by John Hannah he could match Sherlock’s quick wit. The case is probably not supposed to be the focus but instead some time to look into his drug addiction past.

Rhys is unable to support the new recovering Sherlock and Watson is probably right in thinking he could upset how well he has been doing. She confronts him about it and she really fights for Sherlock’s corner and it’s clear that she is incredibly loyal to Sherlock. There has been nothing to persuade me differently from that view throughout but she certainly backed up that theory here. The only sad part of this episode was that whilst Rhys could have been a downfall for Sherlock, he was sent packing. As much as it was good to see a strong side character if only for a short time.

Episode 16 – Details

Episode 16

Bell has always reminded me more of Lestrade in many ways from the Sherlock Canon. Sherlock’s presence in investigations has always seen like he doesn’t deserve or need to be there in Bell’s eyes. Now Bell finds himself at the centre of a case. The episode has a case that although centres around one of its main characters, it is incredibly dull and I’ve found that for every couple of good episodes you might get at least one or in this instance from Episodes 15 and this one, two in a row that are stinkers.

Episode 15 had a good side story but this one I couldn’t feel any sort of feeling for Bell as he’s always been quite a cold character and I really didn’t care what happened. Oops. The clues were as weak as my feelings for Bell and I found that it wasn’t really putting together all of Sherlock’s deductive skills to solve.

Although as a major side story, Sherlock now knows that Watson is staying under her own steed now. At least that was resolved in this episode…

 

Elementary as it was, there were some points of interest [BLAN]

She’s back with her points of view and The Woman seems to think that Elementary is getting better . . .

Episode 11 – Dirty Laundry

Elementary episode 11This episode was somewhat plot lost but not in a way that it didn’t twist totally into the unknown or unseen but because the clues leading up to it were unsubstantial. This has been a theme with many previous episodes but this one threw me more than the others have done.

When the body is found in a washing machine I did think about a sort of mafia style killing. As I have mentioned before I have watched too many TV programmes over the years and then when we met the family my suspects were getting stronger and then confused. The victim’s husband, Oliver was played by Mark Moses (Desperate Housewives, Mad Men) so I had him down as the culprit. Then we met their daughter Carly, played by Melissa Farman (Lost) and I flitted between the two as being the culprit. Throw in another suspect Geoffrey, played by Jake Weber (Medium) and I was lost as to who this would turn out to be. As I mentioned the clues seemed vague and this seemed to just fall together rather than be put together in any coherent form.

The episode is held together by Holmes, Watson and Gregson even though they are mostly sidelined for this plot. With things gearing up to episode 12 and the “M” episode, there is also how Watson will end up staying with Holmes. The next episode will hold some answers to how the rest of this season will play out.

With this review I thought I’d take a moment to look to the beginning part of every Elementary episode, the opening credits. I’m a terrible fast-forward person and I’ll admit I tend to whizz through credits in the same light but I have never done so through the Elementary opening credits.

The reason I love it? Basil The Great Mouse Detective of course!

Episode 12 – M (WARNING: FULL OF SPOILERS)

Episode 12 - MThe episode that has had me intrigued since I knew the title – M. My mind had obviously gone straight to Moriarty with a slight possibility of Mycroft, or maybe just a coincidence?

First thing about this episode sees us come across Vinnie Jones, yes the very same Vinnie Jones from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Mean Machine. He looks to be the villain of the episode and also an Arsenal fan, that becomes very prominent throughout. He also likes to hang people via a tripod device, drain their blood and dump the bodies later. Quite a nice chap!

With Gregson, Watson and Holmes at the location of the victim, Holmes is quick to deduce about the missing tripod and this time his deductions have a method. But this time it’s also because he knows the killer, from London. With Holmes knowing so much he is on hand to lead the case and feeds the past history of M. One of M’s previous victims had been Irene Adler, which still left Holmes cold by the lack at the time of his ability to capture M. His drug addiction had taken hold and he was way lower than he had previously been before. He sees this as his big opportunity to get M but Gregson is worried about him and thinks he could be the next victim. Holmes is not at all worried by this and refuses all of Gregson’s requests for protection.

When the body turns up it’s a chance for Holmes and Watson to share one of their incredibly poignant moments.

“I’m going to miss this. Maybe not this so much, but this. I think what you do is amazing”

M breaks into the house and leaves a message for Holmes. You know those newspaper letter clipping messages made with glue, one of those. Of course Holmes has security cameras placed around the place so now has a photo of M. He then can give this photo to Teddy & Co, a group of kids on the street that will do jobs for Holmes for money. Teddy finds and talks to M and comes to get his reward, only Holmes is not there so he has to tell this all to Watson – who is not amused! She is obviously less amused as she knew nothing of the cameras and confronts Holmes when he returns.

Watson rushes to Gregson for help when Holmes goes after M with the intention of torturing and murdering him. In the end it is Watson who uncovers where Holmes has taken M. As a side note there is a very funny moment involving M, Holmes and a baton. Now Holmes has M it is clear he really is out to torture him but could he really? Throughout the episode until now Jones has played M as the usual heavy thug that we know. Now is where you can understand why he was picked, sure there is the fact he has the British accent but he has a great psychotic smile. Yes, try putting that on your CV! With the two opposing each other it allows both to shine, I’m more inclined to lean to this being Jonny Lee Miller’s best moment in Elementary so far. The emotion that he goes through in his conversation with M talking about Irene is evident.
The revelation comes that M is not Moriarty but a hired help under the name of Sebastian Moran is unexpected to Holmes but maybe not us. Had Elementary not been given the full season order then this could have actually been the last episode of this series. We’ve now still got to come across Moriarty and as Moran had said:

“Moriarty said you were obsessed with puzzles but he’s the greatest puzzle you’ll ever come across”.

With Holmes still reeling and coming to terms with the fact that Moran is not Moriarty and that Moran is now telling a remade story of events to Gregson under a police interview, Holmes is reflective.

Then these words again but this time from Holmes to Watson:

“I’m going to miss this. Maybe not this so much, but this. I think what you do is amazing”

With Watson’s decision to stay not being agreed by Holmes Snr she lies to Holmes that everything is fine for her to stay. I thought it would come down to it being her decision to stay. I even said that in my review of Episode 10. As the episode ends and another thing that Elementary is good for, the music. Gil Scott-Heron’s Me and the Devil plays. This was the perfect song to end this episode.

Nods to the Canon were huge in this episode; the bees, Irene, Baker Street Irregulars (Teddy & Co) and of course Moriarty. By far the best episode so far and that’s not because the others haven’t been good enough, this one was just far more superior. Jonny Lee Miller is fast becoming my favourite Sherlock Holmes and I know that will not be a view shared by most. I think I like the more vulnerable, emotional and underlying rage within the Holmes that Miller portrays.

I have also seen that Elementary will get a two hour season finale. Moriarty finale?

Oh I hope so.

More elementary problems [STUD]

STRThe Woman is back with some more reviews though she is somewhat perturbed by references to “Irene” in some of these episodes . . .

Episode 4 – The Rat Race

A simple missing person case soon evolves into a murder case and Sherlock is about to be tested more than we have seen in previous episodes. He is faced with a case with drugs, his addiction is laid bare and Watson is worried of any sudden relapse. The opening scene sees a worried and confused Watson with Gregson as Sherlock is missing, then she tells him about Sherlock’s past drug addiction as she is so worried about her client. Then we skip back in time to the case and it all becomes clear.

There are moments of pure Sherlock joy with the acronym ‘IMLTHO’ confusing both Watson and us, of course it means ‘In My Less Than Humble Opinion’ – who will admit to using that in texts from now on? I may have done it. Twice.

This episode brings more of the dynamic between Sherlock and Watson and also Sherlock and Gregson. With Sherlock’s insistence that Watson get back in the dating game, he helps by looking up her date online. He’s not been married because of course he still is married! Watson is also annoyed by his interference, a big brother move. Deep down he’s showing he cares and she knows that, however much it annoys her. The final scene of the episode we see a different Sherlock, a broken and fragile man telling Gregson about his drug past. Again he is laid bare, emotional and then the real twist.

Gregson knew. How could he not?

Another great episode, the case again somewhat flaky but the character development is spot on. More please.

Episode 5 – Lesser Evils

With Watson having giving up her surgical career it was time we got to see if she missed it and yes she most certainly does. The case causes her to meet up with an old friend from her surgeon days.

The case involved the pair finding serial killer ‘The Angel’ who targeted terminally ill patients in the hospital. FYI producers, if you’re going to put David Constabile (The Wire, Damages, Breaking Bad) in an episode and expect me not to shout “it was him, he did it” then you’re an idiot. You never cast a major star as the culprit so within minutes of them entering I had the crime all tied up and Sherlock needed to catch up. They also let the camera follow the janitor around and focus on him, it was all just way too obvious.

The other side story with Watson helping her friend with a case showed that she can still do medical cases but she is tied to her past. But she seemed more resolute by the end, maybe Sherlock and Watson can be good for each other.
An ok episode, I enjoyed the Watson side story but the main plot was weak. Good to see David Constabile though, although a bit obvious…

Episode 6 – Flight Risk

Possibly the best episode of Elementary yet, with an enticing plane crash investigation that of course is not what it seems. The case sadly then falls away again but luckily there is a very good side story emerging – Watson has arranged to meet Holmes Snr.

Sherlock is adamant that he won’t go as his Dad will not meet them, Watson is absolutely sure that he will after conversing with him throughout her stay with Sherlock. Watson goes to dinner and meets Holmes Snr but a few questions in and it is clear this is not him. Sherlock hired an actor to pose as his father as he knew he would cancel and he didn’t want to disappoint Watson.

After Watson has discovered that Allister is not Holmes Snr she soon discovers that he is an old friend of Sherlock’s and has many stories from his drug fuelled days. We also get to hear a woman’s name mentioned.
“Irene”
*credits roll*

I have to wait a week? OH COME ON!

Episode 7 – One Way To Get Off

After the wait for this episode after the revelation at the end of the previous episode, it’s clear we are not going to get a quick explanation. Sherlock is now ignoring Watson and she desperate for answers heads to his rehab place and despite no luck from the doctor she finds more luck from the groundsman whom Sherlock shared an interest with -bees.

He also gives her some letters that Sherlock had left from Irene. Watson then obviously chooses to give them to Sherlock who then stuffs them in the blender. Watson is forced to give up asking about Irene. I’m so disappointed!
Whilst all this is going on there is also a case and this time the writers got this spot on. Finally! Gregson looks back into an old case after a serial killer seems to be repeating. He looks back into the old case and is worried that maybe he caught the wrong man and when he finds out that his partner at the time had planted evidence to frame their suspect, Gregson is forced to admit that he was wrong. Sherlock’s relationship with Gregson has been steadily growing and this time we see how much Sherlock respects Gregson. Sherlock finds out that the right person was arrested at the time and there is a new serial killer, Wade’s son. He had wanted to get to understand his father and the only way he could see that was a possibility, was to become him.

With the case all sorted it causes Sherlock to reflect. He mentions Irene

“I did not take her passing well”

She can’t be dead, can she?

Episode 8 – The Long Fuse

Here we have another episode which looked into the developing relationship between Sherlock and Watson. They are looking for a sponsor for Sherlock as Watson’s six week stay is coming to an end. Sherlock is his usual unhelpful self as he is unhappy with all the candidates until he finds a carjacking ex-con only because he’s sure she will dismiss him. She doesn’t and Sherlock is forced to admit that he is going to lose Watson

The case this episode is about a bomb that goes off several years after being planted. Sherlock must find out who planted it and he has to meet a flirty PR executive who he enjoys meeting with. Now if I told you that she was played by Lisa Edelstein who was of course Cuddy in House and much the same as Episode 5 it was obvious the main star was the guilty party. Otherwise this case was enticing and well thought out, the casting was the major problem.

Now with Sherlock accepting his new sponsor, Alfredo (Ato Essandoh from the movie Blood Diamond) and even suggesting they test car security systems as part of his job, it seems we might get a new regular cast member. At the moment there are only four main characters; Sherlock, Watson, Captain Gregson and Detective Bell so Alfredo would be a welcome addition.

With Watson’s time coming to an end my mind has already been wandering as to how the writers will keep her there. Is Sherlock going to have a relapse? Will she just end up staying on?

Episode 9 – You Do It To Yourself

We’re back to the case being the real side point of the story and Sherlock’s deducing skills are back to the ridiculous. I think if the series is going to progress more in the minds of Sherlock Holmes fans it needs to make the cases and the deducing skills needed much more realistic. That aside, this week we’re back focusing on Watson as her ex-boyfriend has been arrested and accused of a hit-and-run. He also a recovering addict seems to have fallen off the wagon before the accident and Watson confides in Sherlock but doesn’t tell him all the details.

Sherlock can of course find all the information that is needed and the case is indeed solved. Watson admits that she knew Liam (her ex) before he started using drugs and she gives a very good performance as she says how much she longs for someone she used to know. When Watson decides to go and wait for Liam at the rehab facility, even though she told him she wouldn’t, Sherlock arrives. She tells him that he doesn’t need to stay and he says “I have nowhere else to be. Not tonight”. The scene and the way they are sat on the bench shows their need for each other’s companionship and also how far their characters have developed through the episodes so far.

A very good episode but the cases have to get better but I can understand why this series is proving to be more successful than critics would have you believe.

Episode 10 – The Leviathan

Finally a case that has Sherlock confused and also quite energised to resolve the case that you can’t help but get swept away by it. ‘The Leviathan’ is the Fort Knox of bank vaults but somehow it has been robbed. The case itself is quite complicated and I would certainly confuse myself and you if I tried to explain it so you really have to watch it for yourself.

Both Sherlock and Watson have in recent episodes really developed as a team and when Watson’s family arrives in town it’s time for Sherlock to meet them. Of course he goes early to the arranged dinner to the surprise of Watson and at the end her mother realises that Watson is enjoying her time with Sherlock. Watson has always felt that her family were disappointed that she gave up her surgeon job and did not like her companion job but they just want her to be happy. Now that they have seen that she is with Sherlock they are also happier.

This really could be how Watson will stay with Sherlock, she is enjoying being with him.

Despite his rudeness and his quirks they have much common ground laid already with more being revealed each episode. They are still opposites in many ways and I do like how Watson is given more of a stand out part on her own, I feel I know her more than Sherlock. He still intrigues me and I still want to know more about Irene.
Definitely the best episode so far and hopefully many more to come after the Christmas break. I can also see that Episode 12 is titled “M.”

Could it be Moriarty?

I hope to have more for you in the New Year! Amazon are now listing the Season 1 DVD but no release date yet . . .

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