[Contains novelty turtle costumes and SPOILERS!!!]
With many movies and TV shows, the origin story is the boring, exposition-heavy bit you have to grind through so you can get to the fun episodes, where the gang are all off solving crimes or saving the world together. Atypically, it was the gradual evolution of Holmes & Watson’s relationship, from recovering-addict-and-sober-companion to police-consultant-partners, that made the first season of Elementary so compelling and moving, with the murder-of-the-week procedural stuff as icing on the cake. So, I know it was naïve of me to hope that the second season would match its predecessor for spine-tingles and tears… but I’d much rather they’d left the status quo between H&W as it was, and not made such cack-handed attempts to drive a wedge between them.
I might not have minded a romance between Sherlock’s estranged brother Mycroft (Rhys Ifans) and Joan if it had been properly established in the episode where they first met, rather than seeming like an awkward after-thought, as if the writers realised too late that they could squeeze some juicy plot points and running gags out of a liaison, and hastily tried to retcon their relationship, mid-season. “Oh, by the way, we didn’t show it, or even hint at it, but they actually slept together in London… so, just go with it, okay?” Well, I’m afraid I couldn’t go with it… and I really think Sherlock and Mycroft had enough issues and hurdles between them to keep the bickering and bonding flowing, without throwing Joan into the pot with them! Sadly, it really felt like her character was being marginalised this season, so giving her a separate love interest might actually have helped to give her a little more definition, away from her mentor… but the way that Sherlock reached for his secret stash of drugs the moment she started looking for her own apartment suggests that she’s never going to escape his “vortex” and get any decent B-stories to herself, dammit! Hell, Lucy Liu had so little to do one week, she had to fill the time by slipping behind the camera to direct an episode! (#2.22, “Paint It Black”)
Speaking of which: The first season boasted an ingenious play on Irene Adler’s true identity, that was non-canonical but also totally fitting… while the reveal here that Mycroft was working for British Intelligence all along (gasp!), was rather a damp squib, since that’s exactly what we expected him to be doing. On the upside, we did get to see a minor The Boat That Rocked reunion, when my old shipmate Ralph Brown landed a two-episode cameo as Mycroft’s handler, ‘Sharington’. That’s not much compensation for the scant screen-time afforded to Natalie Dormer this season, but at least she still has her day job back in Westeros… [Correct at time of posting]